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Southern League Premier Division

BURNHAM  0 - 1 ST NEOTS TOWN      

On a very wet pitch that resembled a ploughed field St Neots ground out an important result against one of the bottom markers in the league.  

It was never going to be a pretty match and as the game progressed St Neots were never going to be able to produce in the mud their usual brand of neat flowing football.  

The valuable points came at a cost with two of their strikers – Nathan Frater and youngster Ebey Marango – both forced off with hamstring injuries and they may need intensive treatment if they are to recover in time for the next match. However a third clean sheet in a row for the first time ever in the Premier Division was a measure of how well Manager David Batch has remodelled his defence.  

The lockout was down on this occasion to the agility of goalkeeper Paul Bastock who produced two vital saves in the final three minutes to deny Burnham and goal and most probably a point.

Playing up the slope against the driving rain St Neots took the early initiative and after Drew Roberts had sent a shot wide the visitors took a fifth minute lead. Lee Clarke picked out Lorenzo Ferrari on the left flank and his early cross into the box was headed home by Lewis Hilliard.  

Clarke almost repeated his feat seven minutes later when his astute ball picked out a run by Matt Spring but his finish was less accurate and flew wide. Roberts was booked by the over-fussy Referee for diving – an incident that looked more like an inevitable slip on the waterlogged surface and after 31 minutes Burnham created their only decent first half opening.

A through pass from Joshua Webb saw Adam Dickens get past Tom ward to go clear but Paul Bastock anticipated his shot to save. Three minutes later Nathan Frater limped off with a hamstring pull to be replaced by Ebey Marango but sadly he only lasted around twenty minutes before suffering the same fate as the player he had replaced.

Meantime Burnham striker Inih Effiong tested Bastock from distance and Ferrari brought a save from Alex Lynch with a miss-hit shot.

By the start of the second half the pitch had deteriorated badly and St Neots were beginning to look unhappy as Burnham upped their pace. Joshua Webb shot wide and when just before the hour Ryan Frater came on to replace the limping Marango St Neots had to reshuffle.  

With Mat Mitchel-King playing in front of the reconstituted back four and Ferrari leading the attack St Neots were pushed back with much of the play now in midfield. Hilliard flashed a shot just wide after more good work by the impressive Lee Clarke and St Neots then made their final change with Sam Harty on to boost midfield and Clarke moving up front.  

Apart from a lone shot by Roberts most of the goalmouth action in the last fifteen minutes was at the opposite end with Bastock producing two magnificent saves to deny Nathan Webb and substitute Adam Bernard. It was a case of survival for the visitors as Burnham threw everything – including their goalkeeper late in the game – into attack.  

Tom Ward and the returning Ryan Frater won all the important aerial battles and St Neots took their recent record to five wins and three draws in nine games since the turn of the year.

St Neots: Bastock, Tann, Wilkinson, Clarke, Mitchel-King, Ward, Hilliard, Spring, Ferrari, Roberts, Frater (N)

Subs: Marango (for Frater (N) 34), Frater (R) (for Marango 57) Harty (for Ferrari 71) Bickerstaff and Wilson.

Cards:  Roberts (Y – 19), Spring (Y – 40)

Goals:  Hilliard (5 mins)

Burnham: Lynch, Montgomery, Gray, Brown, Page, Gordon, Fogarty, Webb (J), Effiong, Dickens, Webb (N)

Subs:  Bernard (for Dickens 70), Lossaso (for Fogarty 77), Davies (for Brown 85), Thompson-Wheeler and Risbridger.

Cards:  Montgomery (Y – 90 + 3)

Goals:  none

Attendance: 116

Referee: Richard Kendall (Luton)

John Walker

 

 

Dave Batch talks to the supporters

 
Firstly many thanks to all of you our brilliant supporters who travelled down to Hungerford last Tuesday night.
You really did make yourselves heard and gave us so much support.
Thank you all.
 
Saints go into tomorrow's game away at Burnham off the back of consecutive clean sheets and Batch was keen to praise the players attitude. 
 
'Tuesday was a very good performance by the team. Hungerford are a very physical and well organised outfit and we more than matched that as well as creating the better chances to win the game.
 
'That performance was a great example of the characteristics we must have at our club. For me it is an absolute pre-requisite to have players who will give everything they have, regardless of ability or state of the pitch. Paul Bastock, Matt Spring, Lee Clarke, Matty Mitchell-King and Adam Tann are players who have played a higher standard, are still very talented, yet are still giving everything they've got and are prepared to get hurt for their team mates. 
 
Drew Roberts is the leagues top scorer, but he doesn't stop closing down defenders and chasing around, which is what team mates, managers and fans want. Talented players with that attitude are the profile we must have if we are going to be successful.  We cannot carry anyone who is not prepared to put in maximum effort - or we won't pick up clean sheets at places like Hungerford'. 
See you all at Burnham, be loud be proud, but of course you always are.
Batchy
 

An excellent game for the Saints fans who were treated to a pleasing and dominating win over Arlesey Town. The new additions to the squad have got right down to business, we looked well balanced and dangerous going forward.

 

 Video: Goals & Reaction with David Batch

 

 

Southern League Premier Division

HUNGERFORD TOWN  0 - 0    ST NEOTS TOWN      

 

With both teams on the fringe of the play off places a tight contest was expected and that prediction proved to be fully justified as they fought out a goalless draw – but the final result could have gone either way.  

 

St Neots were the dominant side overall bossing the first and last twenty minutes of the match but the host side had their chances as well. In goalkeeper Paul Strudley Hungerford had the man of the match with his two second half saves from Lee Clarke and Lorenzo Ferrari worthy of saving the point for his side but St Neots are to be commended for their hard working and committed all round performance that rewarded them with back to back clean sheets for the first time this season.  

The side is now beginning to look settled with the only team change seeing the return of Nathan Frater after suspension in the place of teenage starlet Ebey Marango who was on the bench. Frater was handed a wide role and normally an out and out striker he displayed a pleasing ability to perform in what could be seen as an unfamiliar role.

St Neots made the better start with the slope in their favour and Tom Ward up for a Matt Spring corner glanced their first chance just wide before Frater brought Strudley into early action with a crisp shot.  

 

Probably the nearest to a goal throughout the match came after just 17 minutes when an astutely placed Spring free kick went around the defensive wall to rebound from the inside of a post and run along the goal line before being scrambled away. Most of the chances being created by either side were coming from set piece play with corners and free kicks making continuity of play difficult.  

For much of the first half St Neots looked comfortably in control with keeper Paul Bastock seldom tested whilst his opposite number had to save well from Lorenzo Ferrari and Drew Roberts.  

Just before the break Hungerford leading scorer Mark Draycott was left unmarked from an Alan O’Brien corner but he sent his header high over the bar.

Chances from set piece play continued after the break with Ward bringing a comfortable save from the keeper from another Spring corner and at the other end O’Brien shot wide from a long throw by James Rusby. After 67 minutes a clever flick on by Ferrari played Roberts clear on the right but driven wide he sent his shot into the side netting.  

 

Three minutes later Hungerford then tried to vary their play sending on all three permitted substitutes at the same time and adopting a more attacking approach.   Bastock then had to make his first serious save full length to deny O’Brien after good work by substitute Sam Wilson and then Lewis Hilliard tested Strudley with a low shot inside the far post.  

He was then replaced by Sam Harty and ten minutes from time Lee Clarke made a strong run from the half way line swapping passes on the way before bringing the save of the match from the home keeper. A long Roberts cross-cum shot just evaded the far post before the final three minutes produced chances at either end.   Ferrari brought a fine save from Strudley at the expense of a corner before Hungerford’s final fling that saw a cross from substitute Harry Goodger deflect off the crossbar and then Jack Wilkinson cleared off the line after a late goalmouth scramble.

St Neots: Bastock, Tann, Wilkinson, Clarke, Mitchel-King, Ward, Hilliard, Spring, Ferrari, Roberts, Frater (N)

 

Subs: Harty (for Hilliard 79), Vieira, Marango and Frater (R).

Cards:  Frater (N) (Y – 54), Mitchel-King (Y – 88)

Goals:  none

Hungerford: Strudley, Horgan, John,Rusby, Day, Pilling, Clark, Collins, Mpi, Draycott, O’Brien

 

Subs:  Goodger (for Pilling 70), Rees (for Mpi 70), Wilson (for Draycott 70), Munday and Osei-Tutu.

Cards:  Draycott (Y – 23), Collins (Y – 70)

Goals:  none

Attendance: 100

 

Referee: Ben Cobb (Poole)

 

John Walker

 



St Neots Town FC now has a new Academic Partner for our Scholarship Programme

 

 

     The SNLP (Longsands and Ernulf Academies) 

 

What Does this Mean?

We believe this is now a pretty unique opportunity for Scholars to make the very most of their footballing talent while at the same time ensure they get the very best education that is available to them as school leavers. You don’t have to be the next David Beckham to join you just need to want to do a Sports based Btec and football development programme that will give you opportunities to work within the sports industry or go onto higher education.

Btec Scholarship Programme based and Delivered at Rowley Park

The entire Btec Scholarship programmes (level 2 and Level 3 Triple) will be based and delivered at Rowley Park by highly qualified, experienced staff. These teachers have vast experience and will teach our scholars in classrooms at Rowley Park. It cannot be overstated how important it is to make the most of the education you receive.

But that’s not all

Because our academics are being delivered by SNLP we have options!

A levels or A Level Btec combinations, other none sport based Btec units and access to Maths and English resits will also be made available.

So let’s give you an example

David Smith wants to join our scholarship programme. He’s pretty switched on so opts for the Btec Triple but also wants to do an additional A level, no problem David your Btec Triple will be delivered at the football club and you will have access to A levels Via our Academic partners

Andy Jones wants to join the Scholarship Programme but is not yet ready for the demands of the Btec triple, he opts for the B TEC 2 Extended Certificate worth 3 GCSE’s and retakes his GCSE maths to gain a ‘C’. After the 1st year he is then confident to take the Btec triple and remain in education for a further 2 years within the Scholarship programme.

Next Trial Date

Our next trial date is during the February half term week. Tuesday 17th Feb at Rowley Park, 11am registration in the Reedmans Suite. Please wear suitable Astro footwear. Please see the club's facebook and website.

Our New Academic partners will be on hand to answer any questions you may have but don’t worry if you can’t make it we will be offering a one to one academic consultation evening very soon.

Our Football Development Partners

We work closely with a number of League clubs to ensure that if you have the ability you will get your chance however our main Development Partner is Stevenage Borough FC.

Playing and Development

This year two of our scholars have broken into the first team (Step 3 Southern Premier) our U21’s (Step 6 UCL Division One) and our U18’s (Thurlow Nunn Thursday Evenings) as well as college leagues teams will ensure you get the right level of football for you talent with the emphases bridging the gap between youth and Adult football a fundamental priority. All home games are played at Rowley Park. However if you wish to continue playing for your current team then that is also an option for you. All of the academic options are structured into a timetable that will run hand in hand with your football development giving you the best opportunity to make the most of your talent.

A message from  Mike Bond

Assistant Headteacher: Director of PE

St Neots Learning Partnership (Ernulf and Longsands Academies)

“The St Neots Learning Partnership (a partnership between Ernulf and Longsands Academies) are delighted to become educational providers for the football scholarship scheme based at St Neots Town Football Club. The Partnership will enable us to offer a high quality education programme that has been designed specifically to meet the needs of individual learners.  As the education provider, the SNLP offers students within the football scheme access to a significant range of courses. This flexibility and access to courses provides a unique opportunity to study appropriate subjects to achieve the very best outcomes. Alongside the academic delivery, students will receive high quality coaching from the football club to enable them to further develop their involvement within football.”

 

NB, If you already attend either Longsands or Ernulf you are guaranteed a place of the programme. Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 07970 851511 or alternatively speak to your schools careers advisor.

 

 

 

Chairman’s View.

In my last programme notes I promised to give an overview of my experience of being first team manager for the couple of matches over the Christmas period, well here it is an overview of my experiences.

“Mike Bassett Football Manager”

Firstly, I like probably most of you have your own opinion on how the game should be played both before, during and after the match and yes I suppose we could all pick the players who should play and the formation on how we should play, yes of course we can that’s easy, but what about the pre match preparation, the playing system the opposition are fielding, how to combat their best players, how should we set our team up, do we play just our own game and let them play theirs.

Or do we do the job right and try to cover every eventuality the opposition might bring to the match.

At this level of football that’s exactly what you have to do.

My experience for two games as first team manager was a serious eye opener and something I am now glad I had first hand experience of.

Firstly I had “NO” time with the players on the training pitch and that was the first massive mistake, thinking myself and young Bassett (my son Jamie) could pick the side and formation, instruct the players in the dressing room and motivate them by building their confidence up with a will to win and not get beaten attitude.

Well yes we did the motivation part and did it very well, but we quickly found out just how hard it is to coach and give instructions from the touchline.

Many of us think if the manger is “Active” in the dugout shouting instructions and waving his arms then that is the right thing to do, well maybe it might help providing the players can “actually hear you in the first place” and I can assure you all that its not easy to get the message across that way, in fact it is near impossible, so the first theory of seeing a manager just standing there with his arms folded and not shouting out instructions is out of the window, lesson number one learned I think.

At this level the key to the game plans and a say “Plans” is definitely on the training pitch, everything can be worked out there “yes everything’ then hopefully as the game progresses its just a message in the form of a “Code word” to change things on the pitch, of course the players have to understand and buy into what they are being instructed to do.

So I am convinced that in my short time in the dug out, most of the game plan is organized on the training pitch.

Now knowing how vital that part of management is and when I was thinking what was needed in the new manager, near the very top of the list was someone who had the very best coaching credentials, with the icing on the cake being his assistance having those same credentials.

I’m not saying I would have missed that one but it did make me think a lot harder because in David Batch, Steve Eastaugh and Darren Plowman we have three EUFA A licenced coaches and for those of you who don’t know that is a very serious accreditation to have in coaching.

Now the life of a Football Manager and the pressures they are under I believe many supporters just do not quite understand, “and I myself thought I knew most of them”, the tension and anguish managers have to put themselves through, the pressure from many quarters to win every game, the disappointment of not doing very well each game, yes us supporters go through some of those emotions but believe me it is nothing like the “football manager of the club” have a look at the picture on this page, look at the disappointment and frustration of myself and Jamie after we pulled ourselves back to a winning position against Corby only to concede victory over the last thirteen minutes.

Our first match, the victory over Frome was great and we had that high from the win, but games like Corby where it really came home to us that it is seriously hard to make loads of changes for what ever reason on the pitch during the game, and not having that game plan organized on the training pitch.

Unfortunately we had to make three substitutions before half time in that match forced on us by injury did not help.

Corby battered us that first half and even though we tried to get the message across we just found it impossible to make the changes we wanted to.

Only when we had the half time break could we reorganize and try and match the opposition up and press for that vital goal of which we did and then went in front only to collapse at the end.

Frustration, Disappointment, and many other emotions came to us and the players in the dressing room at the end of that game.

Not a very pleasant “Boxing Day” I must say.

But as many say “that’s football” well yes I suppose it is if your not involved in the team but watching your team play win or lose and being happy or disappointed for a little while then getting back to reality until the next game.

Maybe in future we can all have a little thought for the Manager the maybe the Chairman and all of the other active people in the club who seem to never get back to reality and just want the next match to come and hopefully a win that will give us that enjoyable following week.

So when you get a little disappointed in the clubs performance and get “Trigger” happy on the Social Media keyboard just remember how hard these guys work, how they take the not so good performances, how they take all this home with them, it really does run their lives.

Sometimes you are successful like we have been over the years, but lets not forget at any level of football primarily it is nothing more than a “Financial Dogfight” yes it is and no one knows that more than I do.

Only one team can win the league and be champions, only one team can win the Cup, coming second and not winning anything is in many eyes a failure.

But in non-league there really are no failures as just surviving is an achievement for all clubs.

Dave Batch and his team like all other managers in football will give their very best, take home all the worries and hopefully enjoy the successes as well, but above all they will give their “everything” all the time every time.

 I know how hard that job is “I have now been there”.

Mike Bassett Football Manager “No Thanks”

Mike Kearns

 

 

 

We continue our series of Question and Answer from behind the scenes

How did you become a part of David's management team?

I had worked with Steve Eastaugh at Norwich City where I coached the GK programme and also at Norwich City FC Academy.

I was very aware of David and his management record in local football, so when Steve asked me to join him and David at Wroxham I was flattered and viewed it as a great opportunity for me to continue my development as a coach into senior football. And so the journey began....

What made you decide on the Saints?

In my eyes being an ambitious coach is no different to a player, you want to work at the highest level possible. So when David asked me to join him at St Neots, although it was difficult to leave the GK’s at Sudbury whom I had a great working relationship with, I knew it was the right decision to make.

What will be your role at the Saints?

My role will be Head of Goalkeeping, first and foremost to make sure the senior GK’s are both physically and mentally prepared for match days and to ensure any GK recruitment is co-ordinated.

However, my background is youth development so I look forward to working with the grassroots GK coaches to implement a GK development programme from U9s to seniors, with the aim of producing a senior GK from within the club in the future.

Working with someone of Paul Bastocks’ experience is a new one for me, however I aim to challenge him in training sessions and try to get that extra % out of him along the way.

What are your first impressions of the club?

From the moment you drive into the club the whole set up looks and is run professionally. The facilities are excellent and we have been given a warm welcome by the Chairman, staff and supporters.

On that note I must say the atmosphere created by the supporters both home and away has been excellent, we have all commented on how positive the supporters are toward the players at all times and long may it continue!

Daz

 

 

Southern League Premier Division

ST NEOTS TOWN  3 - 0  ARLESEY TOWN      

 A goal and a very impressive performance on his debut by Lee Clarke led St Neots to a very comfortable victory over struggling Arlesey. The former Peterborough United and Northern Ireland U21 international dovetailed neatly into St Neots midfield and took just nine minutes to announce his arrival with a stunning finish from a Lorenzo Ferrari cross. With only two wins in their last eight league outings, the Bedfordshire visitors looked short on ideas and confidence and this defeat sent them tumbling into the relegation zone.

Clarke was not the only debutant in the St Neots side because 17 year old Ebey Marango, a product of St Neots Scholarship system and a regular member of the Club’s U18 side was also included in the starting line up. With Ben Mackey released from his contract by mutual consent, Lorenzo Ferrari was handed the striking role alongside Drew Roberts and did not look out of place. Only a third clean sheet at home must have been very pleasing for Manager David Batch who named three of his new signings in a very solid back four and the victory confirmed St Neots as within three points of a play off spot.

St Neots were very quickly in control and from a fourth minute Matt Spring free kick, Mat Mitchel-King rose imperiously above the defence to head his side in front. Three minutes later a long throw from Jack Wilkinson created panic in the visiting defence and Drew Roberts bundled the ball over the line but was penalised and booked for deliberately handling the ball into the net. Ferrari then produced an acrobatic overhead effort that was palmed away by the goalkeeper and that was shortly followed by the Lee Clarke debut goal from the edge of the area.

The majority of the action continued to be around the Arlesey penalty area and Roberts brought a good save from Thompson before being brought down by the keeper on the edge of the area.   The expected penalty kick was waved away, replaced by a free kick on the edge of the area and a booking for Thompson.  

Although a spectator for much of the half, home custodian Paul Bastock had to be alert to turn away for a corner a Jack Vassey shot after 33 minutes – the only serious first half effort by the visitors and Matt Spring could have twice added to St Neots tally, heading his first effort wide from a Lewis Hilliard cross when left unmarked at the far post and then lobbing a speculative shot from 45 yards just wide of an empty goal after Thompson had charged out of his area to block an effort from Ferrari.

 Mat Mitchel-King had been injured just past the half hour by an unpunished clumsy foul by an onrushing Arlesey player and he failed to appear after half time suffering from a thigh injury with skipper Adam Tann moving seamlessly into the centre of defence. Substitute Sam Harty quickly made his presence felt setting up Clarke for a fierce volley just wide of the far post with the keeper rooted to his spot. Roberts had two chances marauding down the right flank putting the first over the bar and seeing the second from a narrow angle well saved by Thompson. A close range header from a corner by Adam Tann brought his best save of the match from the visiting keeper and the almost constant pressure paid off after 65 minutes when Drew Roberts beat the offside trap to collect a superb ball over the to from Tom Ward to net with a perfectly placed low shot just inside a post.

That third goal killed off the game and although Arlesey did not give up and produced another effort from Vassey to test the reflexes of Paul Bastock the result was never in doubt.

St Neots: Bastock, Tann, Wilkinson, Clarke, Mitchel-King, Ward, Hilliard, Spring, Ferrari, Roberts, Marango

Subs: Harty (for Mitchel-King 46), Vieira (for Marango 62), Ford (for Hilliard 75), Bickerstaff and Plowright (R)

 Cards:  Roberts (Y – 6), Marango (Y – 47)

Goals:  Mitchel-King (4 mins), Clarke (9 mins), Roberts (65 mins)

Arlesey:  Thompson, Longden, Willett, Plowright (W), Sage, Corran, Powell, Gregson (L), Vassey, Lee, Ironton

Subs:  Lobjoit (for Willett 50), Gregson (J) (for Gregson (L) 57), Bailey (for Lee 72), Tavernier and Kegni.

Cards:  Thompson (Y – 23), Plowright (W) (Y – 64), Gregson (J) (Y – 83)

Goals:  none

Attendance: 372

Referee: Geoffrey Russell (Thrapston)

john Walker

 

Ben Mackey and Edd Adjei leave the saints, and Max York is in talks with Brackley Town.

 

Striker Ben Mackey has had his contract cancelled by mutual consent this week. 

Manager David Batch said, 'A mix of personal, work and football reasons have led Ben and I to this decision and I wish him all the very best in the future. 

He has conducted himself extremely professionally and it has been a pleasure to work with - albeit very briefly'. 

Edd Adjei has also left the club, Edd only returned last november but because of injuries has not been able to find a regular place in the side.

Defender Max York has also been given permission to talk to other clubs.

With a 7 day approach from Brackley being waived earlier this week. 'Max is a lovely lad and deserves the chance to speak to other clubs without hindrance from us', David Batch continued. 

'I am mindful that we have recruited 5 new players (Adam Tann, Jack Wilkinson, Sam Harty, Matt Mitchell King & Lee Clarke), as well as signing Nathan Frater on an 18 month contract and that this has to be balanced out in exactly the same way any household budget has to be managed'. 

We wish all three players all the best for the future.