Plucky Saints Push Second Placed Stourbridge All The Way For The Three Points

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

Stourbridge       1        St Neots Town        0

Sometimes there is no justice in football.  The youthful inexperienced St Neots side were up against second in the table Stourbridge and suffered the disappointment of conceding a third minute goal but could and should have gone on to rescue a point after an impressive fighting second half display.   Home officials were quick to concede that the visitors deserved a point, but luck was against them, clearly displayed in added time when substitute Joe Sutton just failed to reach a cross by the impressive Jordan Norville-Williams.   Manager Marc Abbott in charge for just the second time expressed pride at the performance of his side and believes the experienced gained by his charges will be of immense value despite the defeat.   His team selection saw Jacob Joseph, Leon Fulianty and Prince Mutswunguma dropped to the bench to be replaced by Gary Wharton returning from injury, and two new signings, defender Joe Hood and wide man Harry Beckley.   St Neots had been beaten at home by the odd goal in three earlier in the season by their Worcestershire hosts after they had led by a Dylan Williams goal at the break.

 

It was disappointing that the powerful home side went ahead after just three minutes in the first attack of the match.   Their attack down the left split the St Neots defence and having been involved in the break, Greg Mills then sprinted forward to turn an Aaron Forde cross past Finley Iron to score what proved to be the only goal of the match.   Robbie Thompson-Brown then shot narrowly over the bar and a feature of the early play was the ball retention of the home side as they waited patiently for an opening to present itself.   On the break St Neots carved out openings but Gary Wharton shot wide after good work by Scott Pollock and then Harry Beckley cut in from the left to shoot over the bar.   Stourbridge are the second highest goal scorers in the league and their potential was clearly displayed as striker Luke Benbow a former National League player with Solihull Moors, and Greg Mills late of Derby County terrorised the St Neots defence with the latter twice shooting wide when well placed.   Forde also ran at the defence shooting over the bar and putting a second effort wide so despite having a smaller share of possession, St Neots survived comfortably until the break.

 

Both sides made half time substitutions with Prince Mutswunguma replacing Mason Rhiney for the visitors and playing down the slope St Neots began to look more confident.   However the home side clearly decided to go for the kill and Iron had to produce two outstanding saves to keep his side in the game.   He first denied substitute Bilal Yafai pushing away his fierce shot and then added the save of the match after 52 minutes, acrobatically denying a Leon Broadhurst header from a Thompson-Brown cross.   Benbow then displayed great skill to take two defenders out of the game with a clever turn to set up Forde but his low shot rebounded from the inside of a post to be cleared.  Although the visitors were enjoying a much greater share of play, they created few significant chances, but the balance of play was switching and with a quarter of an hour remaining the home side seemed to go into defensive mode.   Second St Neots substitute Joe Sutton was looking lively up front and after shooting narrowly wide he was cynically tripped from behind by Broadhurst earning the home player the only yellow card of the match.   Norville-Williams took the free kick and from 25 yards beat the keeper but saw the ball land on the roof of the net.  Stourbridge were now quite blatantly time-wasting to preserve their narrow advantage and as the match moved into added time Sutton just failed to convert that cross mentioned earlier and the same player had a second late chance that was too high.  

The St Neots team were cheered off by the home crowd – a deserved measure of their performance.

 

Stourbridge:  Wren, Hayden, Brown, McCone, Christophorou, Forde, Birch, Broadhurst, Benbow, Thompson-Brown, Mills

Subs:  Yafai (for Birch 46 mins), Powell (for Thompson-Brown 60 mins), Anderson (for Benbow 72 mins), Pierpoint and Westlake.

Cards:  Broadhurst (Y – 84 mins)

Goals:  Mills (3 mins)

St Neots:  Iron, Hood, Norville-Williams, Miles, Hughes, Shaw, Rhiney, Pollock, Wharton, Rider, Beckley

Subs:  Mutswunguma (for Rhiney 46 mins), Sutton (for Rider 60 mins), Joseph and Fulianty.

Cards:  none

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  Robbie Dadley (Coventry)

Attendance:  596

John Walker

Looking ahead to the weekend's trip to Stourbridge

UPCOMING MATCH PREVIEW

It does not get any easier for St Neots as new Manager Marc Abbott settles in to his new challenge.   There was no real comparison between the performance and the result at Tamworth last weekend.   The youngsters worked their socks off against a side not far above them in the table prior to kick off but in the end, it was a clear case of an average Step Three side playing against an excellent Youth team.   No one could criticise the effort and commitment of the visiting side but in the final analysis they were outplayed by a better side.   The lack of experience is again likely to feature this Saturday when the team embark on their second furthest away league trip of the season to Stourbridge.   Stourbridge were in the Southern League Premier Division in 2011/12 and 2012/13 before transferring to the Northern Premier League still at Step Three.   In the five years in that league they were beaten in the plays offs once and twice just finished outside the play-off zone so have been consistently successful.   They host St Neots, sitting in second place in the table just five points adrift of leaders Kettering Town, having led the way for two months around the Christmas/New Year period but three consecutive defeats saw them slip.   St Neots have twice played at Stourbridge winning on their first visit by a goal to nil courtesy of a Lewis Hilliard strike but losing on the second occasion by the odd goal in three.   Last weekend Stourbridge recorded a 2-0 home victory over play-off chasing Biggleswade Town.   With three players injured last weekend missing out on the trip to Tamworth, their recovery could mean an injection of experience from within the existing squad and the new Manager might well be bringing in fresh blood before the weekend.

 

John Walker

 

 

 

 

RIP - Gary Pilsworth

It is with great sadness that we have to inform you of the sad passing of former manager GARY 'PILSY' PILSWORTH after a period of illness.

Our thoughts go out to Gary's family and friends at this very sad time.

Details of funueral arrangements will be published in due course.

RIP GARY

 

Official Club Statement

Having made a very conscious decision three years ago to become much more focused on our community responsibilities, we launched the clubs Gift of Use initiative. This was aimed at providing free use of the club’s GESS 3G arena, function rooms and main pitch, for a variety of charities, primary schools , youth clubs, local FA's and much more. This initiative has proved very successful.

We have always wanted to do much more, but our financial obligations have made this somewhat prohibitive. So, with this in mind, we are currently investigating all possible avenues that will allow us to redistribute net income. This will allow for a far more expansive approach to the Clubs Gift of Use initiative, and give us a working budget to reinvest back into the club, ensuring that St Neots Town FC continues to thrive and become the hub of the community.

 There has been a lot of speculation regarding voluntary demotion to step 5 football. We have a care of duty to explore all avenues to ensure the long term stability of St Neots Town FC as such we have been in open dialogue with the FA. The Southern League have been informed that we do not wish to pursue this avenue and that we will continue to play our football, albeit at a reduced first team budget, at step 3 or step 4 should we be relegated and this has been sanctioned by both the FA and the Southern League.

 

Your support, whether as a trusted supporter, business partner, advertiser, or sponsor, is and will remain, very important to the long term health of the football club, and makes a huge contribution towards all that we are trying to achieve.

From August 2020, we will be launching the St Neots Town FC Partnership Community Fund. This will help us to facilitate a far broader support mechanism of community projects, as well as continuing our Gift of Use initiative, and a monetary fund.

Our promise, is that from August 2020, twenty percent of all money generated by the club by way of business partnership, advertising, naming rights or sponsorship, will be allocated to our Community Fund. Businesses supporting us will benefit from the association of investing in well worth community projects.

 

Over the next few months the club will potentially undergo a huge transformation, necessary if we are to ensure that the club remains healthy, and give it the opportunity to become the blue print for what a community football club should be.

 

Thank you for your continued support.

 

THE BOARD – ST NEOTS TOWN FC

Baptism of fire for new boss Abbott as Tamworth hit five

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

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

Looking ahead to Tamworth

UPCOMING MATCH PREVIEW

Last weekend was hugely significant and disappointing for the Club overshadowed by the news that serious consideration was being given to voluntary resignation from Step Three of the Football Pyramid.   FA regulations direct that in these circumstances a relegation of at least two steps is mandatory meaning that the UCL Premier Division is the best the club can hope for in the 2019/20 season if the proposed change is followed through.   The match scheduled for Saturday at home to Coalville then fell foul of the weather and then both Lowestoft and Halesowen picked up unexpected victories to dump the club back in the relegation zone for the first time since Christmas.   That was preceded by an announcement that Manager Matt Clements would vacate his role at the end of the season and then the departure of Assistant Manager Jack Cassidy and the two most senior players on the books.   Team skipper Luke Knight (141 includes 17 as sub) and defender Taylor Parr (125 includes 2 as sub) had amassed 247 first team starts between them – experience that will be impossible to fill in the sides’ remaining 14 league matches and the Hunts Senior Cup Final this season.   These departures were followed a few hours later by senior team regulars Johnny Herd, Russell Short, Tom Wood and James Hall.  On Tuesday a very inexperienced side made up of the remainder of the squad plus the Youth team battled bravely against play-off seeking Biggleswade Town only to lose to a single late goal.   The spirit and effort of the side was truly amazing and now life must go on under newly appointed Manager Marc Abbott who is to work in conjunction with Matt Clements before the latter ‘moves upstairs’ to his new role at the end of the season.   So on Saturday the side make their first ever visit to Tamworth who were relegated from the Conference (now National League) at the end of last season.   Tamworth currently in 17th place in the table just three points ahead of St Neots are on their third Manager of the season, former St Neots Manager Dennis Greene having had a short spell at their helm.   In the first meeting of the two sides at the Premier Plus Stadium a goalless draw resulted and with both teams now in urgent need of points it will be a vital meeting.

 

John Walker

 

 

 

 

 

Unlucky not to get a result but a performance to be proud of for our young side

SOUTHERN LEAGUE CENTRAL PREMIER DIVISION

Biggleswade Town       1         St Neots Town        0

An heroic performance by the least experienced St Neots side ever to play in the Southern League fell just eight minutes short of a deserved but unexpected League point at play-off chasing hopefuls Biggleswade.   The imposed austerity due to the club announcement of an immediate cutback in the budget, had seen the prompt departure of no fewer than six senior first team regulars and with three more on the injury list Manager Matt Clements had to call upon the youth team for reinforcements.   As a result eight changes were made in the starting line up with no fewer than five players handed a senior league debut for the side.   In all the team boasted less than a hundred St Neots senior starting line-ups between them but they belied the statistics and almost recorded a totally unpredictable result.   However, with more than a third of the season remaining, it was the performance on the night that was as important as the result and with Marc Abbott announced as the new Manager immediately after the match it is now an exciting new beginning for the side.   The Biggleswade side were naïve, perhaps believing they only had to turn up to collect the points, but the determination and effort of the young visiting side quickly made it clear that they were going to have to work hard for the points.   Significantly it was a Biggleswade substitute introduced to replace former St Neots player Dylan Williams that made the late breakthrough with the only goal of the match.

Williams had the first goal effort of the game after ten minutes, but he could only find the side-netting.   St Neots replied with a Joe Rider effort comfortably handled by Saints former keeper Sam Donkin.   Joe White then had the chance to open the scoring played clear in space by Williams, but he volleyed well wide.   Another effort by White from close range was deflected by Matt Miles – the fifth player to wear the St Neots captains’ armband this season.   As the game settled on the very heavy surface Rider had another effort saved but the best first half chance fell to Biggleswade’s Matt Ball after 31 minutes, whose shot was brilliantly turned over the bar by Finley Iron.   Biggleswade were shading possession indicated by a growing corner count but the St Neots defence playing together for the first time were resolute and determined.   From one of those corners, another former Saint, Jordan Gent won the ball in the air only to see it rebound from the crossbar to be cleared.   The half ended with a St Neots breakaway attach in which Jordan Norville-Williams shot over the bar.

A smart move at the start of the second half saw Ball and White combine on the left to set up Williams, but he volleyed over the bar and was shortly afterwards replaced by substitute Johnny McNamara.   Another Norville-Williams effort was wide from a Scott Pollock free kick and then new skipper Matt Miles joined the St Neots attack to short narrowly over the crossbar.   For a spell St Neots seemed to take the initiative with the impressive Jacob Joseph and Prince Mutswunguma both going close for St Neots but with the home side regrouping with all their substitutes utilised the visitors began to flag in the difficult conditions.   Gent again used his height and strength to carve out another shooting opportunity but saw his effort fly wide and Iron saved well from White.   The deciding moments came eight minutes from time when following another Biggleswade corner Johnny McNamara forced the ball home from close range in a goalmouth scramble.   It was a disappointing blow, but St Neots refused to submit and in a late show of defiance Pollock sent a lengthy effort just wide.

Biggleswade Town:  Donkin, Makoma, Walster, Forbes, Gent, Longe-King, Lucien, Williams, White, Ball, Nwaboukei

Subs:  McNamara (for Ball 63 mins), Clark (for Williams 66 mins), Donnelly (for Lucien 78 mins), Thomas and Bell.

Cards:  none

Goals:  McNamara (82 mins)

 

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

Subs:  Mutswunguma, Bissett-Clark (for Jacob 76 mins), Minall (for Mutswunguma 83 mins) Dunnett (for Fulianty 84 mins), O’Hara and Burberry.

Cards:  Mutswunguma (Y – 56 mins)

Goals:  none

 

Referee:  Andrew Hitchcox 

Attendance:  188

 

John Walker

Please Welcome Our New First Team Manager

The Board Of Directors are excited to confirm the appointment of MARC ABBOTT as the new First Team Manager.

MARC joins us from Thurlow Nunn side Haverhill Rovers, having been associated with the club for fourteen years , a feat rarely seen in the game these days.

MARC leaves Rovers sitting in 11th place in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division after a 15 month spell in the managerial hot seat. He was also this season's leading scorer with 10 goals from midfield.

Holding the Uefa B badge, he has become a highly sought after coach and we are absolutely overjoyed to have secured our number one target to replace the outgoing MATT CLEMENTS, who has become the Club's new Director of Football.

MARC will be in charge for Saturday's trip to Tamworth and will work closely with MATT CLEMENTS as the pair prepare for the 2019/2020 season.

MARC'S statement can be found to the right of the page (click to enlarge)

Please join us in welcoming MARC and his family to the Premier Plus Stadium and we hope your tenure with us will be both successful and enjoyable.

 

Tom Wood Leaves The Club

TOM WOOD has today decided to leave the Club.

Mr Versatile took to social media this morning to leave a message saying goodbye and thank you.

We would like to wish TOM and his family all the very best of luck for the future and thank him for his efforts and goals during his second spell here with us

Another Two Players Depart

Following on from yesterday's announcement on player departures, we can confirm that another two players have decided to leave St Neots Town FC with immediate effect.

Long serving left back JOHNNY HERD and centre half/midfielder RUSSELL SHORT both took to social media this morning to confirm their exits.

Two of the nicest guys you could meet off the pitch, we would like to take this opportunity to thank them both for all their efforts in the blue shirts and we wish them all the very best of luck in both their football and personal lives.

Thanks lads......

Page 1 of 29