Southern League Premier Division

 ST NEOTS TOWN   3 - 0   CHIPPENHAM TOWN          

 It was make or break time if a Southern League play off place is to be gained and St Neots rose to the occasion in their last Cozy Stadium league match of the season with a competent display and a home victory over visiting Chippenham for the first time in three meetings. 

It was at times a feisty affair with a second half penalty incident a key moment in the game with the visiting keeper Kent Kauppinen unnecessarily charging Lee Clarke to the ground with his elbow to concede a spot kick confidently despatched by St Neots leading scorer Drew Roberts. 

 The keeper was lucky to escape with just a yellow card and that gave St Neots some breathing space in a game in which up to that point they had not really oozed confidence. They were without skipper Adam Tann who failed a pre-match fitness test on his injured thigh but they had the bonus of Robert’s return after he had been unavailable for the previous trip to Dorchester. Utility player Brett Longden slotted back in defence with Nathan Frater moved out wide in a line up now looking settled with each passing match.   

With Weymouth beaten at home by Corby, St Neots know that victory in their final match at Frome will guarantee a play off place for the first time in their history – and that place could be further confirmed if Weymouth lose at home to Poole in midweek.

There was a nervy start to the match with the visitors showing a lack of attacking ideas and St Neots cautious in their approach. However they were really unlucky not to go ahead after ten minutes when Lewis Hilliard threaded a neat pass beyond the final defender and Roberts cut in to go round the goalkeeper and shoot towards the unguarded net but somehow Jon Beeden got back to clear off the line. Roberts then had a second effort blocked after a poor clearance by the keeper but there was a shock at the other end when Brett Longden had to clear a sliced clearance off his own goal line.  

From a free kick Matt Mitchel-King hooked a shot over the bar and Ryan Frater headed narrowly wide from a lengthy throw by Jack Wilkinson. The visitors made no real headway towards the St Neots goal and the sum total of their first half efforts was a shot from 25 yards by Connor McCormack that flew well wide. 

A Hilliard volley was deflected for a corner and the almost incessant possession paid off two minutes before the break when Lee Clarke neatly headed home a Hilliard cross to put St Neots ahead. There was still time in the final minute of the half for Kauppinen to produce a full length diving save to keep out a well placed second Clarke header.

 Upon the restart Kauppinen was kept at full stretch pushing away a Clarke snap shot and doing well to react to a low Hilliard effort from 15 yards. From a Wilkinson long throw into the box Clarke saw a header rebound from the crossbar as St Neots applied further pressure and then the unexpected penalty gift from Kauppinen saw Roberts coolly give his side that important two goals cushion. 

Chippenham by no means gave up and Paul Bastock for so long a spectator in the St Neots goal had to be alert to collect the ball at the feet of Alex Ferguson and then field a couple of high crosses into the box. However St Neots were looking well in control and they sent on Sam Harty for Matt Spring in midfield. A mistimed tackle by Harty earned him a booking and reduced Chippenham to ten men for they had used all three permitted substitutes. 

 It was a St Neots substitute who clinched the victory for making a late 79th minute appearance for the struggling Nathan Frater, seventeen years old Luis Vieira used his pace three minutes from time to cruise past the final defender and beat the keeper with a well placed low shot. It was no less than St Neots deserved and the bumper shirt-sleeved crowd of 514 heralded the victory in noisy fashion

 

St Neots: Bastock, Longden, Wilkinson, Mitchel-King, Frater (R), Ward, Frater (N), Spring, Clarke, Roberts (D), Hilliard

Subs: Harty (for Spring 65), Vieira (for Frater (N) 79), Ferrari (for Clarke 89), Bickerstaff and Marango.

Cards:  Clarke (Y – 16), Longden (Y – 77), Harty (Y – 84)

Goals:  Clarke (43 mins), Roberts – pen (57 mins), Vieira (87 mins)

 

Chippenham: Kauppinen, McCormack, Beedon, Coupe, Roberts (J), Preece, Ferguson, Pook, Griffin, Holgate, Guthrie

Subs:  Obam (for Guthrie 65), Campbell (for Griffin 65), Phillips (for McCormack 78)

Cards:  Coupe (Y – 24), Kauppinen (Y – 57)

Goals:  none

Attendance: 514

Referee: Matthew Buonassisi (Rushden)

 

John Walker

End of season presentation night will be on Saturday 9th May 2015 

Kick off in the Gregory Suite will be at 7-30 till late.

Entry will be FREE

All welcome 

See you all there

COYS

The Saints were three one down at half time and with Brett sent of controversially on the half hour mark you may have been forgiven for thinking that the Saints were done and dusted, but not this Saints team! A thrilling and dominating second half was almost capped with a winner from Drew but was well saved on the line by the Dunstable keeper. 

Video: Action & Reaction With David Batch

Drew GoalCam

 

Southern League Premier Division

DORCHESTER TOWN  1 - 1   ST NEOTS TOWN      

As we reach the last two nervy matches of the season the current position of St Neots’ hopes for a play in the play offs in two weeks time is as follows.  

If St Neots win their last two matches (at home to Chippenham and away at Frome) – and they have drawn their last five (!) – then Weymouth (with a game in hand) will need to get seven points from their three matches (at home to Corby and Poole and away to Biggleswade) to push St Neots below that coveted fifth placed finish. 

Less likely is that if Hungerford lost their last two matches (away at Cirencester and at home to Paulton) they could be overhauled by two St Neots victories. 

If St Neots beat Chippenham next Saturday the outcome will go to the last day of the season when St Neots’ 320 miles round trip to Frome will be critical – and Frome could still be fighting the threat of relegation that afternoon!  

After around 40 weeks of competition it is still all down to ifs and maybes.

This was all set up by St Neots’ draw at Dorchester where sadly it was the case of a repeat of their recent form with valuable points potentially surrendered against opponents with little to fight for themselves.  

St Neots created almost all the better scoring chances, they dominated possession especially in the second half and were quite clearly the better side but that all important goal that should have won them the game did not materialize.  

The players cannot be criticised for their effort because that was there in abundance but they were at times unlucky and at other times wasteful with their best chances.   However with only one defeat in their last eighteen outings under Manager David Batch this should surely be the springboard for more success than they are assured of at this late stage of the season.  

In Drew Roberts St Neots have one if the leading scorers in the league but sadly he missed this match due to a long time private commitment elsewhere and that final spark in front of goal was missing. His absence meant that defender Tom Ward returned to the reshaped side after serving a two match suspension and it was he who got the vital goal that did ensure that the side did not return from Dorset empty handed.

St Neots began this match confidently against a side that last season was playing in the Conference South. After three minutes Brett Longden cut in to set up Lewis Hilliard who shot was pushed for a corner at full stretch by Alan Walker-Harris.

 From that corner the ball ran loose to Matt Spring who saw his shot blocked and then Nathan Frater failed to catch a through ball with the home defence square.   Dorchester responded with Nick Crittenden heading wide from a Bradley Tarbuck cross to the far post and then Lewis Horsburgh played clear saw his effort well saved by Paul Bastock.  

Despite play being end to end clear chances became few with each defence well on top but the sides were guilty of not playing enough creative football with the option of a long ball over the top in use too frequently. St Neots did create three more good chances in the first half but failed to convert them.  

After 21 minutes a trademark Hilliard shot from outside the area was only just too high and then a deft flick fron Lee Clarke freed Nathan Frater whose low shot was well saved by the keeper.   However the outstanding chance of the half was created after 26 minutes when Nathan Frater did well to beat his marker close to the bye line and his perfect cross was met by the arriving Brett Longden whose free header sailed harmlessly over the bar.

Another positive start after the break saw St Neots reverting to a 4-3-3 formation with Hilliard joining the two strikers up front and it brought dividends with Nathan Frater seeing Walker-Harris produce a fine save to deny him and then when a Hilliard blockbusting shot was dropped by the keeper it was Clarke who followed in but he could only lift the ball over the crossbar.  

 For a ten minutes spell St Neots bombarded the Dorchester goal winning three successive corners and from the third of these Ryan Frater got up above the defence but saw his header land on the roof of the net. The Dorchester management realised they had to do something to counter this so they changed the shape of their side by introducing two substitutes and for a spell the game settled.  

St Neots was still enjoying the bulk of possession and Matt Mitchel-King saw a shot blocked with the home keeper out of position and Hilliard sent a volley over the bar.   Then after 64 minutes and totally against the run of play Dorchester took the lead.  

A long clearance saw Adam Tann slip as he attempted to head away allowing substitute Dan Smith to go clear and beat Paul Bastock with as low shot. To their credit St Neots showed great character to recover from this setback and seven minutes later after an Adam Tann header from a Matt Spring free kick had rebounded from a post Tom Ward claimed his third goal in a month heading home a Jack Wilkinson corner to level the scores.  

After that St Neots introduced fresh legs in a bid to snatch a winner but the closest they came was in added time when a Clarke header from another Spring free kick was deflected wide by a defender.

 

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

Subs: Hobbs (for Hilliard 64 mins), Harty (for Tann 74 mins), Vieira (for Frater (N) 86 mins), Bickerstaff and Ferrari.

Cards:  Ward (Y – 80), Frater (N) (Y -  84)

Goals:  Ward (71 mins)

Dorchester: Walker-Harris,Murray, Smeeton, Morgan, Walker, Dillon, Crittenden, Lanahan, Watson, Horsburgh, Tarbuck

Subs:  Smith (for Horsburgh 56 mins), Jermyn (for Crittenden 56 mins), Brookes, Old and Gleeson.

Cards:  Morgan (Y – 80)

Goals:  Smith (64 mins)

Attendance: 383

Referee: Andrew Bennett (Hatherleigh, Devon))

John Walker

 

Southern League Premier Division

ST NEOTS TOWN   3 -  3   DUNSTABLE  TOWN          

On the face of it St Neots could have blown their chances of a play off place with this disappointing home draw but that bland statement does not give the picture of a most extraordinary match. 

They slipped out of the play off places to sixth swapping places with Hungerford but all the top sides still have at least three matches to play so one of those could do St Neots a favour - provided St Neots win their three remaining matches after drawing five of their last seven.  

The ultimate outcome of the match hinged on a 27th minute incident when they were reduced to ten men and worse was to follow as they surrendered a one goal lead to concede three in seventeen minutes to go in at half time trailing 3-1. The side was well on top with both central defenders up for a set piece when Brett Longden left in charge at the back misjudged a high ball forward allowing Gary Wharton to squeeze past him to go clear.

 Longden as last man was adjudged to have brought down his opponent from behind and was sent off.  However subsequent video evidence suggested that Longden had first been fouled by Wharton – an incident missed by the Referee. That decision reduced St Neots to ten men for the final 63 minutes and left them with a mountain to climb.

The St Neots side unchanged from their starting line up at Slough 48 hours earlier began extremely well once an early snap shot from visiting striker Chris Marsh had rebounded from a post. 

After just four minutes Matt Mitchel-King netted only his second goal for St Neots with a brave diving header to a Drew Roberts corner to put them ahead and then as they buzzed around the Dunstable goal both Ryan Frater and Lee Clarke had close range shots blocked on the goal line – both from corners.   

St Neots set piece threats were keeping the visiting defence at full stretch although on the break Charlie Henry cut in to shoot the visitors second attempt at goal wide of the far post.  

Then that sending off incident that stunned St Neots and they were further set back when Danny Talbot sent the resultant free kick through the defensive wall to level the scores leaving goalkeeper Paul Bastock helpless. The St Neots bench St Neots reacted swiftly to reshape their side sacrificing Nathan Frater and sending on Bruce Wilson and playing three in midfield without a wide attack. 

For ten minutes play was fairly even but then in a catastrophic two minutes period leading up to half time St Neots conceded two very sloppy goals. The first was a gift misjudged pass by Wilson who set up Adam Watkins to beat Bastock with a crisp finish and then the unfortunate substitute was again involved when Watkins broke clear to sent a shot onto the crossbar and as the defence stood statuesque Jamale McKenzie Lowe was left with the simplest of headed finishes into the unguarded net.   In added timer St Neots should have pulled a goal back when Lee Clarke found himself unmarked ten yards from goal but he mistimed his effort heading the ball over the crossbar.

Wilson never appeared after the break and so Sam Harty was sent on in his place in midfield. St Neots needed a herculean second half performance to salvage anything from the match and they produced just that.  

Never looking a man short they almost totally dominated the second period.   Reshaped again in a 3-4-3 formation they pounded the Dunstable defence and after 50 minutes Matt Spring brought the save of the match from visiting keeper Charlie May whose reflexes protected his sides’ two goal advantage. 

 However a minute later Spring was hauled down on the edge of the penalty area and a trademark quality free kick by Lewis Hilliard reduced the deficit to a single goal.   Now Dunstable’s only aim seemed to be to keep the ball out of their penalty area and they were lucky not to concede a penalty when May appeared to handle outside his area but play was waved on.  

With 13 minutes left St Neots pressure paid off as Jack Wilkinson found Matt Spring who fed Lee Clarke and from 20 yards his low shot beat May to level the scores.  

In a frantic last ten minutes Roberts saw a shot blocked on the line and the ten men of St Neots trooped off at the final whistle justifiably convinced that they had deserved to win.

 

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

Subs: Wilson (for Frater (N) 28), Harty (for Wilson 46), Vieira (for Hilliard 81), Bickerstaff and Marango.

Cards:  Longden (RED – 27), Hilliard (Y – 35), Roberts (Y – 71)

Goals:  Mitchel-King (4 mins), Hilliard (51 mins), Clarke (77 mins)

Dunstable: May, Bailey, Smith, Longe-King, Blackett, Talbot, Watkins, Henry, McKenzie-Lowe, Wharton, Marsh

Subs:  Fontanelle (for Bailey 53), Dixon, Gardner, Jones and Lynn

Cards:  Longe-King (Y – 48), Henry (Y – 65)

Goals:  Talbot (27 mins), Watkins (43 mins), McKenzie-Lowe (45 mins)

Attendance: 446

Referee: James Turner (Kings Lynn)

John Walker

 

Southern League Premier Division

SLOUGH TOWN    3 - 3    ST NEOTS TOWN

St Neots flattered to deceive as they squandered an early three goals advantage to return home with just a single point. 

It was their fourth draw in their last six outings and this constant haemorrhaging of points is beginning to reduce their chances of a much cherished play off place at the end of the month. With Redditch losing to Truro they remain in fifth place but it is getting very tight with seven clubs still in contention for the four playoff places.  

The suspended Tom Ward was a notable loss in defence in the side as it conceded three goals away from home for only the third time this season and to add to the problems his automatic replacement Ryan Frater managed just 45 minutes before being forced off feeling ill.  

However the reshaping of the attack bore immediate results with Lee Clarke moved up to lead the attack coming up with the second of St Neots three goals.

Matt Spring returned in midfield after injury and it would be wrong to be ultra critical of the result because Slough needing a point to be mathematically sure of the Premier Division berth next season were very worthy of their result as they produced a determined performance.

Slough started strongly with their long throws in causing the visiting defence some early problems. Brett Longden then burst through to fire narrowly wide and Lee Clarke deftly set up Lewis Hilliard whose low shot brought a full length save from home keeper Luke Williams.  

Paul Bastock then was in action at the other end making a one handed save to deny home skipper Ben Edwards – all this goalmouth action coming in the first ten minutes.   St Neots then took control with two goals in the spell of ninety seconds.   After a quarter of an hour Nathan Frater employed wide right in the attack pulled a cross back from the bye line and leading scorer Drew Roberts joyfully claimed his first goal since 21st February to give his side the lead.  

In the very next attack Roberts registered an important assist as he found Lee Clarke with a short pass and his snap shot beat the keeper. However it was not all one way because Jake Parsons was played clear of the St Neots defence and he saw a net bound shot deflected for a corner by Jack Wilkinson and then from a Parsons corner the unmarked Tom Moran skied the ball high over the bar.  

Then after 25 minutes the voluble visiting supporters must have thought their side had taken a huge step towards three points when from a long throw by Matt Mitchel-King the Slough defence dithered and Lewis Hilliard picked his spot through a crowded penalty area to make it 3-0.  

Adam Martin volleyed narrowly wide from a Parsons corner for the hosts and Daniel Reid hit the crossbar with a speculative lob but with ten minutes to go before the break Slough got their reward for persistence when Reid capitalised on a poorly defended long throw to fire his side back into the contest.

St Neots needed a solid start to the second half to defend their lead but got just the opposite. Just three minutes after the restart from a well delivered Parsons corner kick defender Reece Yorke rose high above the St Neots defence to head down for Daniel Read to bundle home his second goal of the game from close range.  

St Neots now looked ragged at the back and six minutes later a Guy Hollis free kick was blocked on the goal line and Reece Yorke scored from close range with the St Neots marking not very good.  

At that point they could have fallen apart but they rallied with Roberts and Clarke bringing saves from Williams. Two St Neots defenders were booked as they unsuccessfully tried to curb the pacey runs down the left of Chris Henry and as the tempo dropped both sides looked happy to settle for a point although both Roberts and Longden had late chances to snatch a winning goal for the visitors – the latter seeing his shot blocked by the goalkeeper’s feet.  

This result still  left St Neots with a target of maximum points from their last four matches to guarantee a play off play – subject of course to the other results.

 

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

Subs: Bickerstaff (for Frater (R) 46), Vieira, Marango, Harty and Wilson.

Cards:  Longden (Y – 53), Spring (Y – 62), Wilkinson (Y - 74)

Goals:  Roberts (25 mins), Clarke 16 mins), Hilliard (25 mins)

 

Slough: Williams, Moran, Parsons (R), Hollis, Yorke, Martin, Parsons (J), Edwards, Harris, Read, Henry

Subs:  Smith (for Harris 76), Fraser, Short, Palmer and Betts

Card:  Yorke (Y – 64)

Goals:  Read 2 (33 & 48 mins), Yorke (54 mins)

Attendance: 354

Referee: Shaun Barry (Northampton)

John Walker

Note. 

Pictures courtesy of "Horsham Rebel Photography"

All Slough match pictures can be seen on the above flicker page

A vital 3 points as the Saints continue to maintain a play off place.

 

Video: Action and reaction with Steve Eastaugh

 

Southern League Premier Division

ST NEOTS TOWN  1 - 0   BIDEFORD TOWN          

For the second time in six weeks a single strike from Lewis Hilliard was sufficient to earn St Neots all three points and cement their place in the play offs with several of the leading contenders dropping points.  

However a ninth clean sheet in fourteen matches since the turn of the year will do no harm to confidence as the team approaches its final five critical matches this season and in these last few matches results are far more important than performances.  

St Neots now continue their chase of Weymouth who are three points ahead of them and Truro (five points) as they bid for the possible prize of a home play off fixture end of season.  

Visitors Bideford who had beaten divisional leaders Poole Town seven days earlier contributed to their own downfall having midfielder Nick Milton red carded leaving his side to play the last hour with ten men. The other winner on the day was the weather with the strong blustery wind making good football almost impossible and the overall quality of the game was poor.  

St Neots had an enforced change with Matt Spring nursing a heel injury so teenager Ebey Marango was handed only his second start and in an interesting team shuffle Brett Longden was moved to his favoured full back berth with skipper Adam Tann sharing central defensive duties with Tom Ward who begins a two match ban next weekend.

Ironically it was the confident visiting side with the wind at their backs that created the first two early chances. After eleven minutes a corner from the right found the head of defender Matt Villis and his perfectly guided header just under the bar brought a fine tip over the bar from Paul Bastock.  

The ball was not cleared from that resultant corner and full back Ian Sampson curled a shot over the defence and just inside the far post but again the goalkeeper got across to save. St Neots then settled and were disappointed not to be awarded a penalty when what looked like a clear handball offence occurred in the Bideford penalty area.   

Nathan Frater shot wide and then when Tom Ward collided with visiting keeper Steve Oliver there was a second shout for a penalty but the Referee awarded the free kick to the visitors.  

The critical moment came after 32 minutes when Nick Milton brought down Brett Longden with a very dangerous challenge and the Referee after calming down the players issued a straight red card for that challenge. It was the first and almost the last bad tackle in the match but it gave St Neots the numerical advantage.  

Lewis Hilliard sent the resultant free kick into the side netting with Oliver beaten and shortly afterwards Drew Roberts sent his effort high over the bar.

Despite their position Bideford maintained an attacking format after half time but St Neots were now beginning to dominate.  

A Nathan Frater flick freed Roberts but he shot across the face of goal but then brought the save of the match from Oliver after good work by Hilliard. Hilliard also set up Lee Clarke whose header was wide and in a rare breakaway attack Mickey Parcell shot wide at the other end.  

A minute after replacing Marango with Lorenzo Ferrari St Neots scored what proved to be the important winning goal. Brett Longden clearly enjoying his full back role won the ball just inside the visitors half and set up Lewis Hilliard who went around the outside of his marker with pace to beat Oliver with a crisp low shot. 

 Bideford needed to respond but found the lack of that extra midfield player restrictive to their efforts. They did have one half chance when substitute Dan Tapp chased down a through ball but Bastock anticipated the danger and left his line to clear well outside his area. 

Late in the game leading scorer Drew Roberts had two good chances to seal the result but he first brought a good save from Oliver before curling a shot narrowly over the crossbar to the relief of the goalkeeper.

 

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

Subs: Ferrari (for Marango 57), Vieira (for Frater (N) 85), Frater (R), Bickerstaff and Wilson.

Cards:  none

Goals:  Hilliard (62 mins)

Bideford: Oliver, Sampson, Reed, Milton, Villis, Harrison, Veal, Parcell, Squire, Tucker, Swain

Subs:  Tapp (for Squire 73), Wilson (for Tucker 87) and Barker

Cards:  Milton (RED - 32)

Goals:  none

Attendance: 409

Referee: Ellis Clark (Kettering)

John Walker

 

Our latest feature "Performance Centre" is just the thing for all of you analysts out there.

The centre gives you many statistics of not only St Neots Town but all of the clubs in our league.

Update on a weekly basis you can have fun seeing just who is doing what on a performance level.

Just Click on the team who's statistics you wish to view from the "League" table icon and off you go.

The feature is not quite finished as yet but with only six games to go for this season we thought we would give it a try out.

Next season the Performance centre will give even more detailed information about every team in our league (whatever that league maybe).

So enjoy for the moment and we will keep you informed with any new updates.

Performance Centre can be found on the front page of the web site, bottom left hand corner box.

Just click on the box and start your search.

 

With the season rapidly drawing to a close and our current three year deal with kit manaufacturer Uhlsport coming to an end, we will be selling remaining stocks of teamwear at discounted prices (apart from playing shirts). This is in readiness for our new-look kit and associated teamwear which "The First Team" will be wearing from the start of the 2015/16 season.

Items available ( In various sizes) for purchase will be:

POLO SHIRTS     £15 (were £20)

SWEAT TOPS      £20 (Were £30)

RAIN JACKETS      £20 (Were £30)

TRACK SUIT TOPS      £20 (Were £30)

TRACK SUIT BOTTOMS      £15 (were £22)

TRAINING T SHIRTS      £5