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Baptism of fire for new boss Abbott as Tamworth hit five

Sunday, 10 February 2019 08:04


Tamworth       5         St Neots Town        0

Forget the score line it was the performance that mattered, as St Neots struggle to find a semblance of normality following the midweek defection of seven senior players.   As they had four days earlier, the youngsters came up trumps despite the defeat by a side with several years’ experience in the Football Conference.   5-0 sounds like a thrashing but it was far from that with two key moments that shaped the final score.   Tamworth scored twice in two minutes prior to the break after the visitors had kept a clean sheet for 43 minutes, and then in a further two minutes spell in the second half experienced and much travelled striker – substitute Gregg Smith who had played for almost all the senior clubs in Lincolnshire – added two headed goals to extinguish any hopes of a St Neots come-back.  The visitors never gave up and created the two last chances of the match, but luck was never on their side trying find their way through an uncompromising home defence.   With three players still on the injury list St Neots named an unchanged side for the trip to Tamworth – only the fourth time in 38 games that their starting line-up has been unchanged.  With new Manager Marc Abbott an interested spectator in the dug-out, he will have made his assessment of what he needs to do going forward to try to pilot his side out of the relegation zone.

Tamworth man-of-the-match Chris Lait quickly made his mark on the game dribbling past three defenders to go clear in the fourth minute, but Finley Iron anticipated his shot and blocked with his legs.   A minute later the same player then cut in from the left but shot over the bar and shortly afterwards Jack Concannon and Claudio Dias both shot wide of the target.   St Neots first real attack after 22 minutes was halted when Kristian Green cynically upended Jordan Norville-Williams as he bore down on goal earning the home player an early caution.   For a spell there was limited goalmouth action as St Neots seemed to get the measure of their opponents but after 35 minutes the visitors were lucky not to concede when the lively Lait set up Jordan Gough whose volley beat Iron but rebounded from the inside of a post across the goal and was cleared.   Another run and shot by Norville-Williams flew wide and then after 43 minutes Jack Concannon was given too much space just inside the area and his lob beat Iron to put Tamworth ahead.   In time added before the break Chris Late was somewhat fortunate to double the lead when his complete miskick fooled the defence and made it 2-0.

Two efforts immediately after the break – one at each end could have shaped the outcome.   First hard-working Scott Pollock brought an excellent save from home keeper Jas Singh whilst at the other end Iron produced the save of the match to deny Lait.  However the home player had to wait only sixty seconds to make up for that disappointment as he rapped home from ten yards from a Joe Magunda free kick.   St Neots then introduced two substitutes pushing skipper Matt Miles into midfield, but it was a Tamworth substitution that was to prove more significant.   Within five minutes of joining the fray Gregg Smith picked up two goals to kill St Neots hopes, first rising high over the defence to power home a header from a Ryan Beswick corner and then stealing in unmarked at the far post to head home an accurate cross from Lait.  

To their credit St Neots refused to buckle and it was in the last fifteen minutes that they produced their best chances.   Pollock shot wide and substitute Reif Bissett-Clarke forced a good save from Singh.   The other substitute Owen Dunnett had a shot blocked following a Norville-Williams corner and the home keeper had to dive bravely at the feet of Joe Rider to smother a cross.   Smith was denied a home hat trick when Iron produced another good save, but St Neots had the last word when Bissett-Clarke cut in from the right to see Singh deny the visitors a consolation goal that they deserved.

Tamworth:  Singh, Green, Gough, Beswick, Kettle, Magunda, Clement, Waite, Dias, Lait

Subs:  Smith (for Dias 64 mins), Jemson (for Magunda 75 mins), Gordon (for Waite 81 mins)

Cards:  Green (Y – 22 mins)

Goals:  Lait 2 (45+1 & 55 mins), Smith 2 (67 & 69 mins), Concannon (43 mins)


St Neots Town:  Iron, Miles, Fulianty, Rhiney, Hughes, Shaw, Joseph, Pollock, Rider, Mutswunguma, Norville-Williams

Subs:  Bissett-Clark (for Joseph 57 mins), Dunnett (for Mutswunguma 66 mins) and Abbott

Cards:  none

Goals:  none


Referee:  Jonathan Maskrey (Newark-on-Trent)

Attendance:  512


John Walker

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