Southern League Premier Division

ST NEOTS TOWN   1 - 0  LEAMINGTON

St Neots began their home programme with a narrow victory over Leamington and three well deserved points but their opponents who were relegated from the Conference North at the end of last season contributed to their own downfall.  

Their physical approach to the match resulted in them picking up two red cards and four yellow as they finished the match with just nine players.  

For long spells St Neots seemed unable to cope with their visitors’ robust approach but the match was lit up by a peach of a winning goal that gave Tom Meechan his fourth goal in just two matches.  

There was one initial team change with St Neots able to welcome back central defender Tom Ward after injury and this saw Mat Mitchel King moved into midfield and skipper Adam Tann slotted in at full back with Jamie Anton on the bench.  

The first half was very disappointing.  Neither side managed to find any rhythm amongst the littering of free kicks and it was difficult to identify a single save made by either goalkeeper. 

No one in the midfield area seemed to have the confidence to slow play down and produce a significant pass to mobilise an attack and the efforts on goal were limited to lengthy shots off target.  

St Neots had to overcome an early setback after ten minutes when Mat Mitchel-King was injured in an off the ball incident and despite lengthy touchline treatment he failed to recover and had to be replaced by Jamie Anton.  

Brett Longden shot well wide and Tom Ward had an attempt at a corner deflected whilst at the other end old boy Ben Mackey looking sharp rounded his marker but saw his shot blocked.  

Jamie Hood was booked for a cynical foul as he upended Remy Gordon and the half ended with a Mackey volley that flew over the bar.

The second half began well for the home side. A silky move after 48 minutes saw Ryan Hawkins win his way to the bye line and his early pull back was met at the near post by Tom Meechan whose Zola like flick went past goalkeeper and defenders to open the scoring. 

Three minutes later Gordon crossed from the opposite flank and Hawkins rose above the defence but sent his header the wrong side of a post. Leamington’s best effort of the game to that point after 55 minutes saw Mackey cleverly release Rob Ogleby who beat the offside trap but shot straight at Danny Gay.  

Conner Gudger then tested the keeper with an out swinging cross well claimed by the keeper but the visitors’ resurgence was only temporary. Hawkins headed down a cross into the path of Nathan Frater but he shot well wide and then St Neots thought they were denied a penalty when Hawkins was bundled over by two defenders but play was waved on.  

Four minutes from time Jack Edwards picked up his second yellow card of the game and was sent off but Leamington made a determined effort to salvage a point and substitute Will Green should have done better in injury time when he shot wildly over the bar with his sides’ best chance of the game.  

Then three minutes into added time Joe Magunda became the second visiting player to depart for an early bath after picking up a straight red card for kicking an opponent when he was down and in the melee that followed visiting skipper goalkeeper Tony Breeden was also booked and really very lucky to stay on the field of play. 

Overall St Neots deserved their victory but for much of the game were pushed out of their rhythm by a side that come to town to operate negative tactics.

 

St Neots: Gay, Tann, Wilkinson, Mitchel-King, Ward, Hall, Frater, Longden, Meechan, Hawkins, Gordon

Subs: Anton (for Mitchel-King 14),Clarke (for Frater 74), Cisse (for Meechan 83), Harty and Mailancol.

Cards:  Frater (Y – 13)

Goals:  Meechan (48 mins)

 

Leamington: Breeden, George, Gudger, Magunda, Hood, Mace, Moore, Edwards, Ogleby, Mackey, Jones

Subs:  Green (for Jones 72), Taundry, Westwood, Mitchell and Fenney.

Cards:  Edwards (RED – 86), Magunda (RED – 90+3), Hood (Y – 30), Jones (Y – 50), Breeden (Y – 90+3)

Goals:  none

Attendance: 368

Referee: Mark Wardell (Wellingborough)

John Walker

 

Cozys Coaches and Cozys Travel

We are pleased to announce that we will again be working with Cozys this coming season for our travel requirements.

This will be the forth year we have worked with Norman, Greg, and Brad and we thank them for looking after us.

We are in the process of finalizing initiatives with Cozys that we hope will encourage our other business partners, youth development partners and especially our Primary school partners to make the most of Cozys expertise in supplying travel solutions

Please keep an eye out for partnership packages in the very near future.

The Bideford Match

A very open and honest assessment of our away fixture against Bideford,  Something very rare in football.

Manager David Batch's thoughts;

'Returning with a point on the furthest away trip of the season, would probably be seen as a reasonable result before the game kicked off'. 

'But for most of the match, this performance was as comprehensive as you are likely to see. We SHOULD (not could), have scored another 4 goals comfortably and our forward play for the large majority of the game was simply unstoppable'. 

'But I have to take responsibility for not winning the game.

We have a new, young squad with the pace and technique to do that, but we have not yet worked on our game management and how to see games out.

That's my fault, as we simply have not yet had time to do that and teach our players how that works'.

'We have a number of things we introduced last year and more things to introduce this season, but we are yet to practice or even talk about them with this group.

I shouldn't expect a young team to do something that they haven't yet been taught how to do, so I need to put that right'. 

'However, the players were a bit unlucky with that one - as Bideford had 4 shots from inside our box and they all went in. Contrasted to our  12.

That stat wouldn't normally end in a 4-4 draw and it detracted from many excellent performances including of course Tom Meechan who got a hat trick on his debut at our club and at this level'. 

We will work even harder on the training pitch to get everything right.

David Batch

 

United Counties League Division One

ST NEOTS SAINTS  2 - 6  LONG BUCKBY       

Lydia Bedford’s home league debut as Saints Manager ended in disappointment as her young charges were swept aside by a powerful performance by visiting Long Buckby.

Buckby were playing in Division One for the first time since their promotion to the top division in 1972 but were relegated last season.

This showing suggests they have ambition to make it back to the top flight after just a brief period at the lower level. Saints were undone by two principal factors – their inexperience and their defensive frailty but they struggled at times to match the sheer physicality of their opponents.  

Trailing by just a single goal at half time they collapsed under a rush of four goals in just twelve minutes after the break but persevered to knock in two goals themselves – both scored by second half substitutes.

However, there was enough emerging talent on show to suggest that as they gain experience they will be able to compete at this level.

Saints created the first real chance after nine minutes when an impressive weaving run by Sean Barker brought a fine save from visiting keeper Oliver Manuel. It was 26 minutes before Buckby managed a telling shot on goal but it was good enough for Simon Barby to open the scoring with an impressive strike from outside the penalty area.

There were some feisty exchanges leading to two bookings for each side in the first half but the only other significant moment came after 33 minutes when Lewis Strafford was judged to have fouled Callum Lewis as he dribbled away from goal and from the resultant penalty kick Evan Jeckells guessed right to turn Ed Kostiuk’s effort over the bar.

After their less than impressive first half showing Buckby resumed after the break with all guns blazing. Substitute Liam Kenny terrorised the Saints defence every time he moved forward and he scored twice after 47 and 50 minutes with first a glancing header and then a mis-hit shot. Simon Barby joined the party with a tap in after the unlucky Jeckells had made a good parry from a close range shot and then Kostiuk made up for his penalty miss as he added the fifth goal a minute before the hour.  

Saints could easily have folded in the face of this onslaught but substitute Dan Lewis took on defender and goalkeeper to score a clever goal and this seemed to give the home side confidence.

Kostiuk made sure of the Buckby victory with a 71st minute sixth goal but Saints refused to capitulate and another substitute, Alfie Ball, snatched their second goal two minutes from time.

Saints: Evan Jeckells, George Berke, Ben Burton, Goran Smilkov, Lewis Davis, Lewis Strafford, Sean Barker, Sam Tamakloe, Terence Ageymang, Chris Lewis, Claudio Ofusu

Subs:  Alfie Ball (for Berke 46 mins), Dan Lewis (for Ageymang 58 mins), Solomon Orejei (for Davis 66 mins) and Scott Davies.

Cards: Tamakloe (Y – 30), Ofusu (Y – 38)

Goals: Dan Lewis (61 mins), Alfie Ball (88 mins)

Buckby: Manuel, Knights, Jones (S), Yeates (M), Fry, Merry, Barby (R), Barby (S), Kostiuk, Yeates (A), Yeates (C).

Subs:  Kenny (for ?), Worton (for ?), Wilson, Clements and Jones (M)

Cards: Barry (S) (Y – 21), Merry (Y – 38), Yeates (C) (Y – 64)

Goals: Barby (S) 2 (26 & 57 mins), Kenny 2 (47 & 50 mins), Kostiuk 2 (59 & 71 mins)

Referee:  Peter Moore

John Walker

 

Southern League Premier Division

BIDEFORD AFC   4 - 4   ST NEOTS TOWN

Football is back but St Neots’ first Southern League Premier Division performance of the season promised much but delivered little in the end.

Leading 4-1 with just ten minutes left it was looking like the perfect antidote to their play-off final disappointment last season but almost unbelievably they collapsed to concede three goals in the last ten minutes and return from Devon leaving two valuable league points behind. 

St Neots Management team were said to be ‘seething’ at the teams’ total ineptness at the performance in those last few minutes but some credit must be paid to the home side who clearly have no notion of a lost cause.  

The biggest pity is that the final score line does not give the credit that is deserved to the team and new striker Tom Meechan who announced his arrival two steps up in seniority in the Southern League with a debut hat trick which is a memory he will treasure for the rest of his career.  

St Neots were without last season’s leading scorer Drew Roberts who is awaiting surgery and their first line up of the season included six players not with the club last season.  

Their pre-season preparation had been mixed with injuries and non-availabilities preventing Manager David Batch from assessing the full potential of his rearranged squad but they gelled almost immediately to suggest that he has prepared them well.

They started strongly with Remy Gordon producing a first minute cross that was won in the air by Nathan Frater – his header just grazing the wrong side of the crossbar.  Bideford’s first effort on goal by Billy Tucker eight minutes later flew harmlessly wide and then a long clearance by Danny Gay found Gordon free on the left and his cross saw the lively Tom Meechan win the ball in front of home keeper Kyle Moore only to see his header cleared off the line by a defender.  

However in the next attack Brett Longden threaded a fine pass forward for Meechan to race clear and claim his first Southern League goal to put Sty Neots in control.  

After 16 minutes the advantage was doubled as Jack Wilkinson’s long throw was flicked on by Mat Mitchel-King for Meechan to net with an acrobatic overhead kick and from that point on until the break St Neots were in total command. 

After 17 minutes Gordon outpaced the defence to cross for Ryan Hawkins who was just unable to apply the finishing touch and three minutes later Meechan turned to free Hawkins who drilled the ball into the keeper’s chest.  

As half time approached Gordon looked likely to create defensive panic each time he got the ball and St Neots almost got a third goal when a net bound Hawkins effort was blocked.

The first half ended with the saints totally dominating the game.

Bideford looked more determined after the restart with a free kick and a corner both coming to nothing and then after 47 minutes a long clearance by Mitchel-King was collected by Meechan who turned provider to set up Gordon for the third St Neots goal.    

After 63 minutes St Neots replaced the yellow carded Longden and Frater with Lee Clarke and Bamoussa Cisse and this seemed to hamper the sides’ rhythm. 

Five minutes later Bideford produced a significant break-through when skipper Matt Hockley converted a Tucker cross at the near post to signal his side a faint chance of a comeback.  

St Neots  with ten minutes left  seemed to have clinched victory when Hawkins fed Meechan and he cleverly tricked his way around two static defenders to complete his hat trick and make the score 4-1. 

Within sixty seconds however Tucker bent a shot around his marker to make it 4-2 but even worse was to follow.  

With one minutes left Danny Tapp knocked down a corner for substitute Kevin Squire to fire in through a packed six yards box and with the last kick of the game in time added on a Sean Downing cross was forced in at the far post by Squire for his second goal that earned the host side a most unlikely share of the points.

St Neots will learn from this as most of the days performance was very top notch,what happened at the end was something that the management team will never allow to happen again.

Four goals away from home is excellent at this level of football and the signs are there that this team can score for fun, however a little work has to be done on concentration to see out a game.

St Neots: Gay, Anton, Wilkinson, Tann, Mitchel-King, Hall, Frater, Longden, Meechan, Hawkins, Gordon

Subs: Clarke (for Frater 63), Cisse (for Longden 63), Harty, Hobbs and Mailamcol.

Cards:  Longden (Y – 54)

Goals:  Meechan 3 (12, 16 and 80 mins), Gordon (47 mins)

 

Bideford: Moore, Sampson, Reed, Downing, Harrison, Tapp, Hockley, Tucker, Charran, Andrews, Milton

Subs:  Squire, Phillips and Johnston

Cards:  none

Goals:  Hockley (70 mins), Tucker (82 mins), Squire 2 (85 and 90+1 mins)

Attendance: 233

Referee: Robert Dabbs

John Walker (with a little help from his friends)


 

Season starts Friday for the Saints

St Neots begin their season the day before most other clubs as they enjoy an overnight trip on the way down to Bideford for the first game of the season. 

The squad will arrive in the afternoon and have a training session followed by evening dinner and an early night. Tomorrow they will have a light breakfast followed by a team talk and video presentation of pre season games then make the short journey on to Bideford.

The furthest away trip in the league season is up first and Manager David Batch welcomes the timing;

'We have to have the journey at some point, and the players are just pleased its for the first game of the season when the pitch will probably be in the best state it will be all year and the chances of the weather intervening are very slim'. 

'To go overnight at this point is also handy, as it gives the new squad members the chance to integrate more and will help with the team getting to know each other'. 

Tom Ward and Drew Roberts are both missing for another couple of weeks, but Lee Clarke impressed over 90 mins in the reserves during the week after his return from holiday. 

Lee's impact last season was clear for all to see. His goal scoring record at the level above and now Step 3 is outstanding.

He has also Captained a Conference National side playing Centre Midfield and brings more experience to the squad. 

Forty six games to go and we are ready to go.

 

We have been drawn away to United counties side Yaxley in the first round of the Hunts Senior Cup, with a date to be confirmed.

Ironically our aborted semi final in last years competition was also away to Yaxley FC

 

 

Young players Ebey Marango and Luis Viera have been loaned for one month to St Ives.

Both made debuts last year whilst still in the clubs Scholarship programme and were given one year contracts at the start of this season 

'We believe in the ability of both these players, which is why we are developing their pathway to regular senior football' said David Batch. 

'We don't want them stagnating by sitting on the bench for too long so we have raised the bar a bit and are asking they jump the next hurdle - which is performing regularly at senior level'. 

'We know Ricky Marheineke at St Ives will help that process and after a month we can reevaluate their next steps'. 

 

 

 

Concord reflection from the Manager

Overall I was pleased with our last performance of pre season. We achieved many of our in-game targets we set as a team and as a consequence, a good level of performance and result followed.

Our forward line looked very sharp and caused problems all afternoon, as did their replacements when we made more substitutions than I had envisaged and a lot earlier than expected - due to the fact the players had done a great job after 60 mins, (it was 3-0 at the time), against a team from the league above.

We have been ravaged by unavailability this pre-season and I didn’t want to risk anyone else before Saturday and wanted to give the substitutes more minutes.

This turned out to be a good decision, in particular with the two latest signings who have come our way in the last couple of weeks of pre-season;

Kelvin Ossei-Adei

Is a quick, strong and very technical forward who was last year playing for MK dons where he had appeared for their first team. He looks sharp and looks like he could get goals.

Bamoussa Cisse

Has impressed with his pace, strength and eye for goal. His goal ratio in reserve sides at professional clubs is impressive and you can see why he has it.

Ben Burton

A local lad who was at Shrewsbury Town last year where he made a handful of first team appearances, has improved over pre season and ads another left footer in the squad.

In all their cases, it will be a question of whether they are able to adapt to non-league and the role we want them to perform for the team. Hopefully, they will rise to that challenge.

Ollie Thorne

Conversely, we have waived a 7 day approach for Ollie Thorne from Dunstable this week. I really thought what we wanted to do would suit Ollie’s strengths and take him to another level, but financial market forces dictate, added to the fact that Matt Mitchell-King confirmed he would be signing after turning down many clubs, including two from Conference National League,  and we also have Lee Clarke returning from holiday. So we wish Ollie well for the future.

 

 

SPONSOR A PLAYER FOR THE SEASON.

 We have a great opportunity for supporters to “Sponsor” a player for this season.

The package will include,

A full news item on the website Including front page "slideshow" for each sponsor for one full day with a picture of the sponsor and the player as shown. (This will then revert to the “news archive section” of the web site) and always able to view at any time.

The picture of the sponsor and the player will be shown on the players “Player profile” page on the clubs web site for the remainder of the season.

A picture of the sponsor and the player in the match day programme “Sponsor a player” page.

The cost of sponsoring a player or any of the management team will be £150 for each one.

Or two supporters can share the cost and have a joint sponsorship with both having their picture with the player.

Tom Ward is available for sponsorship as Mick and Simon were just our sponsor models. 

Please contact Louise on

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