Tuesday, 10 March 2020 11:31
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL St Neots Town        0          Berkhamsted        1 In midweek Berkhamsted had taken over as league leaders as they beat FA Trophy heroes Halesowen Town and despite their record of ten matches undefeated prior to this match, the visitors looked far from potential champions.   Great credit then  to Barry Corr’s side who did everything in the second half but score a goal which would have afforded them at least a share of the points.   Long before the final whistle the visitors were employing every tactic in the book to waste time, and despite a strong finish to the first half, they seldom got close enough to goal after the break to extend their narrow advantage.   However, St Neots are finding to their cost that their inability to find the back of the net is undermining some attractive approach play as their recent tally of just four goals in nine hours play clearly indicates.    It is true they are playing without a recognised striker with Joe Neal injured, but top scorer Prince Mutswunguma leading the attack was almost totally ineffective and his colleagues’ efforts were far too often off target.    With just two wins in their last ten league outings St Neots are grateful that the two teams below them are displaying similar form and with just seven weeks of the season remaining, St Neots are now odds on to retain their place at Step Four next season.   Manager Corr made just one team change for this match blooding midfielder John Freeman for his debut and leaving Rajan Badiani on the bench.   With team skipper Tom Boxer completing his two match ban he looks likely to feature in the next match – a trip to bottom side Wantage Town when a victory would give St Neots a twenty points cushion above the almost doomed Oxfordshire side.   Although St Neots began brightly and created the first two openings it was not long before the visitors began to show their recent form.   The impressive Lewis Simper robbed a hesitant defender to set up new boy John Freeman, who brought a full length save as the visiting keeper pushed the ball for a corner and then Aaron Smith joined the attack to bring a good save from the keeper.   Then in their first notable attack the visitors took the lead as Joshua Chamberlain broke clear of a square lying defence after 18 minutes to beat Finley Iron with an angled low shot to open the scoring.   In the next ten minutes St Neots found themselves under pressure as Iron had to produce a smart save to deny Lee Stobbs, and when the defence was again caught out Jonathan Lacy sent his effort wide of the far post.   To their credit the St Neots defenders were shackling the Division’s leading scorer Lewis Toomey who was unable to manage a serious effort on goal throughout the ninety minutes, and as half time approached St Neots seemed to grow in confidence and with the aid of some patient passing build-ups they began to threaten the visiting goal.   Berkhamsted lost their full back Matt Cooper to an injury and with seven minutes to go before the break, Simper unleashed a fierce drive from 25 yards that the unsighted Xavier Leon did well to parry and then in time added on at the end of the first half a Simper free kick was gratefully pushed for a corner by the visiting keeper. Neither side made half time changes either to personnel or tactics and after Lacey had sent the visitors’ first second half chance wide, Chamberlain curled a freekick also wide of target.   As the second period progressed St Neots really pushed their opponents back on the defensive and now Berkhamsted appeared to be content just to preserve their narrow lead.   Lee Watkins shot narrowly wide after a patient build up and Freeman just failed to get on the end of a Joe Sutton cross.   The visitors utilised both of their remaining substitutes in a bid to wrest back their dwindling possession, but St Neots persevered with Smith firing over the bar and Prince Mutswunguma was also off target from a narrow angle.   In a bid to waste further time Max Farrelly was booked for kicking the ball out of the ground after conceding a free kick, and as time ticked down Prince had the final St Neots chance as he won a header from a Simper chip forward but Leon saved comfortably.   Saints Supporters' Man of the Match - LEWIS SIMPER (pictured right) St Neots: Iron, Goode, Smith, Boxer (P), Shaw, Dickens, Sutton, Freeman, Mutswunguma, Simper, Watkins Subs:  Badiani (for Boxer 85 mins), Martin, O’Hara and Hudson. Cards:  Freeman (Y – 80 mins) Goals:  none   Berkhamsted:  Leon, Akubuine, Cooper, Amu, Kinnane, Farrelly, Stobbs, Toomey (C), Toomey (L), Lacy, Chamberlain Subs:  Olajubu (for Cooper 37 mins), Dowridge (for Stobbs 64 mins), Witham (for Amu 73 mins), Folarin and Summerfield. Cards:  Farrelly (Y – 70 mins) Goals:  Chamberlain (18 mins)   Referee:  Jeffrey Aldous (Bedford) Attendance:       211   John Walker  
Saturday, 22 February 2020 21:07
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL Daventry Town        2       St Neots Town        1           With three key players missing St Neots fell to a fourth consecutive away league defeat – this time at Daventry.  Having had the better of a blustery first half facing into the wind, the expectation of a change in fortune looked possible and then, going on to take the lead after the break seemed to strengthen further that expectation.   However, they then gifted their hosts two goals and did not raise the skill or ability to hit back for at least a point.   Now four of their most recent defeats have been as a result of just an odd goal difference in the final score line, and so they seem unable to change the outcome of closely fought contests.   Still missing from the starting line-up was on-loan striker Joe Neal who has been restricted by injury to just four appearances, along with another forward Sam Gomarsall who has what could be a lengthy illness.   Joining that pair was current team skipper Tom Boxer who was sitting out the first of his two matches ban following his sending off at Yaxley.   Into the side came Rajan Badiani for his full debut following three very brief substitute appearances, with Steven Shaw reinstated in defence.   Also, back into the side from the substitutes’ bench came leading scorer Prince Mutswunguma who responded with his ninth league goal of the season – with Lewis Foster starting on the bench. The first fifteen minutes were competitive but with the conditions testing there was only a single shot on target – that from new boy Rajan Badiani who failed to test home custodian James Martin.   Daventry responded with Jack Bowen finding space in the penalty area to head over from an Aaron King corner.   King then cleverly created space but shot well wide and gradually St Neots began to dominate proceedings.   Martin did well at full length to deny Lewis Simper after the young midfielder had started and finished one of St Neots’ better attacking moves, Sutton set up chances with several searching crosses, and Prince Mutswunguma leading the visiting attack saw his effort blocked by a defender.   The half ended with Jarvis Wilson earning the first of four home side bookings for upending the lively Sutton. After suffering a painful foot injury, Sam Goode failed to reappear after the break and was replaced by Lewis Foster with a noticeable visiting side reorganisation.   Foster went to lead the attack with little success, Mutswunguma was withdrawn to a deeper role, Panny Boxer moved into central defence with Stevan Shaw moving to fill the vacant full back berth.    Initially it did not seem to upset St Neots rhythm and just before the hour a clever through pass from Simper found Prince Mutswunguma with his back to goal but he turned to shed his marker and shot across the diving Martin to open the scoring.   However, any feeling of pleasure was almost quickly extinguished as just ninety seconds later a cross from the right saw Boxer and Tom Dickens going for the same clearance which neither achieved, leaving ball to run through to the unmarked Aaron King who was brought down by the St Neots keeper as he tried to go past him.   That resulted in a booking for Finley Iron and a successful penalty converted by Jake Bowen, the leading home goal scorer.  That seemed to knock St Neots confidence and their play became ragged as Daventry introduced two fresh substitutes.   After fifteen minutes of inconsequential play the home side were attacking again and in the slickest move of the game substitute Michael Gyasi rounded his marker to pull the ball back to Jake Bowen who rapped the ball home to give his side the lead.     At that point Daventry clearly opted to sit on their lead and they deliberately slowed the game unashamedly smothering St Neots’ attempts to get back on terms.    As a result the Referee added on almost eight minutes of added time and it was during that spell that St Neots created their best opportunity of a late share of the spoils when a long ball found Joe Sutton free on the right and his measured shot beat the dive of the goalkeeper but passed just the wrong side of the far post. Saints Supporters' Man of the Match - LEWIS SIMPER (Pictured top right)   St Neots: Iron, Goode, Smith, Boxer (P), Shaw, Dickens, Sutton, Watkins, Mutswunguma, Simper, Badiani Subs:  Foster (for Goode 46 mins), Joseph, O’Hara and Hudson. Cards:  Shaw (Y – 51 mins), Iron (Y – 61 mins), Watkins (Y – 73 mins) Goals:  Mutswunguma (59 mins)   Daventry:  Martin, O’Connor, Wilson, Harris, Barrett, Confue, Emery, Finch, Bowen, King, Print Subs:  Creaney (for O’Connor 62 mins), Gyasi (for Confue 72 mins), Stanbridge (for Kay 86 mins), Childs and Cerga. Cards:  Wilson (Y – 39 mins),Finch (Y – 51 mins), Bowen (Y – 74 mins), King (Y – 81 mins) Goals:  Bowen 2 (61 mins – pen - & 76 mins)   Referee:  Ruebyn Ricardo (Leicester) Attendance:       110   John Walker  
Saturday, 08 February 2020 21:34
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL Barton Rovers        3          St Neots Town       0       After picking up seven points from their past four matches this was a very disappointing overall team performance by St Neots.   They were outmuscled and eventually outplayed by a host side struggling for form after four defeats in their last five matches.   Having had much the better of the first half St Neots might well have hoped to go on to record their first away victory since Boxing Day, but two very late goals gave Barton a margin of victory that made a nonsense of the balance of play.   An unchanged St Neots side, still without injured striker Joe Neal, might have expected to come into the game with a measure of confidence, but their overall possession was wasted due to very poor execution of the final pass whilst the home side failed to seriously test Fin Iron in the St Neots goal in the opening half hour, except for one headed attempt that the keeper collected under his crossbar.   Lewis Foster continuing to lead the visiting attack could not be faulted for his commitment and effort but his finishing, like his colleagues, was unconvincing after some neat team approach play.   It was only the second time in eleven league and cup matches that St Neots have failed to score a goal – a failing that must be rectified urgently. On an uneven, bobbly pitch both sides struggled to play constructive football in the opening quarter of an hour.  Charlie Smith had the first opening for Barton but shot badly wide and at the other end a diving header by Sam Gomarsall from a Tommy Boxer cross was well gathered by home custodian Niall Cooper.   It was a looping header by Victor Osobu that was gathered by Iron but most of the play was in the opposite direction, with a stinging shot by Lewis Simper requiring a double save by Cooper and Joe Sutton seeing his effort blocked after he had left two defenders in his wake.   Sutton was tormenting the home defence and Lewis Thomas earned the first caution of the match after upending him just outside the penalty area.   With almost half an hour played St Neots were dictating play and Foster had a shot saved when he should have done better and Gomarsall cut in from the left to see his net bound shot blocked by Kai Phelan.   St Neots though they should have had a penalty when Lee Watkins was shoved in the back as he closed in on goal, but the referee waved play on.   A minute before the break following more St Neots pressure Sam Gomarsall had the ball in the net but was ruled offside and the half ended with Phelan picking up a yellow card as he callously ended a St Neots attack with a late challenge. Prince Mutswunguma was introduced after half time with Gomarsall having picked up an injury but the restart was marked by a first significant break for the home side.   A corner carelessly conceded saw Osobu lift the ball to the far post where tall defender Lewis Thomas outjumped the defence to open the scoring.   This setback seemed to knock the stuffing out of St Neots whose play became ragged and unconvincing.   Sensing their chance Barton, pushed their visitors back in defence and around the hour created three good chances.   Iron had to be alert to gather a rising shot from Osobu, then, played clear of the defence Connor Vincent fired over the bar and Nathan Tshikina bore down on goal to bring the save of the match from Iron who had narrowed his angle to block the low shot.   St Neots were collectively guilty of some very careless and often too optimistic passing when they were in possession and even the introduction of substitute Rajan Badiani failed to inspire their attacking options and ideas.   A collision between Simper and the home keeper looked to be nothing other than a legal 50/50 challenge but with the keeper requiring treatment the Referee booked the St Neots player – judged a harsh decision even by home officials.   The constant and frustrating time-wasting tactics employed by the home side earned another yellow card but St Neots could not take full advantage and two minutes from time a long defensive clearance found Nathan Tshikina in space and he doubled the lead.   In time added on for home side timewasting, they took full advantage as Victor Osobu made it 3-0 with the best goal of the match curling a shot over Iron and under the bar. SAINTS SUPPORTERS' MAN OF THE MATCH:  LEWIS SIMPER (pictured right) St Neots Town: Iron, Goode, Smith, Boxer (P), Dickens, Boxer (T), Sutton, Watkins, Foster, Simper, Gomersall Subs:  Mutswunguma (for Gomersall 46 mins), Badiani (for Foster 74 mins), Shaw, Clarke and Crosby. Cards:  Simper (Y – 77 mins) Goals:  none   Barton:  Cooper, Palmer, Ward, Smith (C), Phelan, Thomas, Osobu, Dummett, Vincent, Tshikina, Furlong Subs:  Andrews (for Thomas 74 mins), Boland (for Dummett 77 mins), Williams (for Vincent 85 mins), Okuboyejo and McCormick. Cards:  Thomas (Y – 21 mins), Phelan (Y – 45+1 mins), Furlong (Y – 65 mins), Smith (C) (Y – 81 mins) Goals:  Thomas (47 mins), Tshikuna (88 mins), Osobu (90+4 mins)   Referee:  Grzegorz Komasiewicz (Eynsham) Attendance:       158   John Walker  
Sunday, 02 February 2020 14:09
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL St Neots Town        1       Biggleswade FC        1           Two points lost rather than one point gained – that was perhaps a rather harsh assessment of the outcome of this local match, because St Neots had done almost everything except put the ball in the net in a dominant second half performance.   After a slow start in which they had conceded a goal, St Neots came back to level the scores and share play in an entertaining first half.   Biggleswade are a team in form having won five of their last seven matches – but only one of those victories had come on foreign soil.   The home side lacked a killer punch but to the credit of the visitors they defended as those their lives were dependant upon it, and they paid the price for their determination when defender Daniel Newton picked up a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Lee Watkins.   Even with a numeric advantage St Neots lacked the penetration their superior possession deserved, and the visitors will be well pleased to return home with a share of the spoils.   St Neots inability to take full advantage was partly down to having to play without their main striker Joe Neal who had failed to shake off an injury picked up in the midweek match, and there were in total three St Neots team changes from the Corby match with Jacob Joseph also carrying an injury and Prince Mutswunguma left on the bench.   Into the reshaped side came man of the match Joe Sutton, playmaker Lewis Simper and Lewis Foster. In an end to end start it was the visiting side that impressed.   In their first real attack after five minutes they almost went ahead when a looping Tom Coles header bounced on the top of the crossbar from a Ryan Inskip corner, and then sixty seconds later they did forge into the lead.   A swift move from the back saw the ball switched wide towards Scott Joseph wide on the left, and with a neat turn of speed he nipped in between defender Tom Boxer and keeper Finley Iron to skilfully lob the ball into the unguarded net.   This setback seemed to prompt St Neots into positive action, and they took the game to their visitors and were rewarded twelve minutes later when an Aaron Smith corner picked out Lewis Simper and his cross to the far post was bundled in by skipper Tom Boxer (pictured right middle) from six yards.   St Neots then continued to look in control as Sam Gomersall had a shot well saved by Tyler Josephs, and Joe Sutton saw a net bound shot blocked by a defender.   Biggleswade then had a good spell around the half hour as Joe Leslie had an effort blocked and when a St Neots defensive error set up the visiting attack, the unmarked Joseph was only inches away from what would have been a second goal for him and his side.     In the St Neots goal Iron had to be alert to keeper at bay shots from Lee Northfield and Inskip and the half ended with St Neots full back Sam Goode moving forward to join his attack to see his effort blocked by a combination of two defenders. St Neots had the wind at their backs after the break and quickly began to make it count.   From a Lee Watkins cross, Gomersall went inside his marker to see his effort rebound from a post and then Tom Boxer headed narrowly over the crossbar.   Sutton tested Josephs with a low shot and the keeper had to be at his best to get down to gather a low shot at full stretch from Panny Boxer.   Sutton in full flight was then hauled down by Oswick but the free kick on the edge of the penalty area from Simper was too high.   For 25 minutes nothing had been seen of the Biggleswade attack but then a clever through pass freed Joseph beyond the St Neots defence, but his woeful finish was several yards wide of the goal.   That proved to be an exception to the pattern of play as St Neots strove to keep the pressure on the visiting defence and they sent on Prince Mutswunguma for Lewis Foster but still created few clear openings.   The sending off of Newton saw Biggleswade reinforce their packed defence in order to preserve their point and this they achieved despite Simper skimming the crossbar and late substitute Rajan Badiani and Mutswunguma both firing over the top.   Bottom right photo - Tom Boxer's equaliser - courtesy of David  R. W. Richardson, copyright (c) Rich In Video 2020   SAINTS SUPPORTERS' MAN OF THE MATCH - JOE SUTTON (pictured top right)   Match Highlights courtesy of SNTtv - St Neots Town 1 - 1 Biggleswade FC     St Neots: Iron, Goode, Smith, Boxer (P), Dickens, Boxer (T), Sutton, Watkins, Foster, Simper, Gomersall Subs:  Mutswunguma (for Foster 74 mins), Badiani (for Gomersall 90 mins), Shaw, Butler and Crosby. Cards:  none Goals:  Boxer (T) (18 mins)   Biggleswade:  Josephs, Hunt, Marsh, Northfield, Newton, Oswick, Coles, Fisher, Joseph, Leslie, Inskip Subs:  Andrews (for Northfield 67 mins), Gauge (for Inskip 77 mins), Langley, Richardson and Simpson. Cards:  Newton (RED – 77 mins), Leslie (Y – 74 mins) Goals:  Joseph (6 mins)   Referee:  Jeffrey Aldous (Bedford) Attendance:       287   John Walker  
Wednesday, 29 January 2020 10:24
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL  St Neots Town        1        Corby Town        3           Following two excellent home victories, St Neots were outplayed by league leaders Corby Town in their rearranged league match.  Although the match was goalless at the break it only took Corby a few minutes after the break to forge ahead and St Neots could only point to the first twenty minutes and the last ten when they competed with any conviction.   The victory propelled the visitors back to the top of the league table although displaced Berkhamsted have a game in hand and a superior goal difference, but this was a match in which the Northamptonshire side were determined to push home their advantage.   Unusually after two unchanged starting line ups, Barry Corr made four team changes, two of then enforced with Joe Sutton unavailable, and playmaker Lee Simper injured but he also rested Stevan Shaw and Jonny Butler bringing in Sam Goode, Lee Watkins and Prince Mutswunguma and he also included teenager Jacob Joseph for just his second start since September.     The start was disappointing with neither side imposing themselves. St Neots, criticised for a slow start in their previous matches were out of the blocks quickly and they created the first real opening after eleven minutes when Lee Watkins ran at the defence, only to be brought down by a combination of two defenders and a penalty looked possible but the well-placed official waved play on.   At the other end Stephen Diggin was proving the main threat and his searching cross after 17 minutes found Jordan Crawford behind the St Neots defence but his fierce volley was too high.   St Neots were beginning to be forced back after their bright start where they had shaded possession and as Corby grew in confidence leading scorer Elliott Sandy fired in from the edge of the area for Tom Dickens to clear off the goal line.   James Clifton twice broke into the box from the left and the second time he was impeded by Tom Boxer earning the St Neots skipper a yellow card.   From the free kick on the edge of the box Jake Duffy’s free kick was deflected wide.    Three minutes before the break, Jordan Crawford was left in too much space on the right and he crossed back to find Clifton at the back post whose effort was also deflected for a corner, from which defender Gary Mulligan fired high over the bar. St Neots Manager Barry Corr clearly had to vary his sides’ approach if they were to compete in the second half and he freshened up his side with two half time substitutions replacing Jacob Joseph and Joe Neal with Reif Clarke and Lewis Foster.   The changes had hardly registered because just five minutes in Corby stuck with a quick break through the heart of the home defence, as Clifton skilfully set up the unmarked Steve Diggin to fire across the keeper for the opening goal.   Tom Boxer was then injured to be replaced by Stevan Shaw, so the home side had utilised their three permitted substitutes with almost forty minutes remaining.   On the hour St Neots might have drawn level when Panny Boxer released Prince Mutswunguma beyond the visiting defence, but his finish was a foot too high and the opportunity squandered.   After 66 minutes the impressive Lee Watkins wove his way into the penalty area and looked to be fouled but once again St Neots’ penalty appeals were rejected.   A rising Clifton shot was palmed away by Iron for a corner after 73 minutes.  Before it could be taken, Corby replaced Sandy with James Ireland and the substitute, on the pitch for around ten seconds, headed home Jake Duffy’s corner with his first touch to double Corby’s lead.   That really was the killer blow although the visitors added a third goal nine minutes from time through Curtis Hartley.   This stung St Neots into a late revival and although Sam Gomarsall (pictured bottom right)  netted a consolation goal from the penalty spot after he had been brough down by a defender, the rally proved too little too late to have any meaningful effect on the outcome of the match.    SAINTS SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH - LEE WATKINS (Pictured top right)   St Neots: Iron, Goode, Smith, Boxer (P), Dickens, Boxer (T), Joseph, Watkins, Neal, Mutswunguma, Gomersall Subs:  Clarke (for Joseph 46 mins), Foster (for Neal 46 mins), Shaw (for Boxer (T), Butler and Martin Cards:  Boxer (T) (Y – 28 mins), Boxer (P) (Y – 57 mins) Goals:  Gomersall – pen – (87 mins)   Corby:  Wortley, Hartley, Warburton, Ling, Wise, Mulligan, Clifton, Duffy, Sandy, Diggin, Crawford Subs:  Ireland (for Sandy 73 mins), Robbins (for Diggin 82 mins), Robinson (for Crawford 87 mins) and Montgomery. Goals:  Diggin (50 mins), Ireland (73 mins), Hartley (81 mins)   Referee:  Luke Scott (Northampton) Attendance:       178   John Walker  
Saturday, 25 January 2020 20:00
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL St Neots Town        1         Didcot Town       0         Back to back wins without conceding a goal, for more than a year, earned three valuable points to take St Neots within one point of visitors Didcot as their gradual climb up the table continues, and will have boosted confidence as the newly assembled line-up progresses.   It was a hard fought but well-deserved victory with single goal from skipper Tom Boxer – his first for the club – enough to separate the sides.   Didcot proved to be hard-working and resilient opponents with their two tall central defenders Luke Carnell and Joe Green snuffing out the most promising St Neots attacks, but St Neots had their own excellent defenders in the two Tom’s – Boxer and Dickens as well as dependable shot stopper Fin Iron in goal. St Neots still have some weak points to work on with too many promising openings falling due to a poor final ball, and once again they made a very slow start to the match, taking far too long to find their rhythm. However, the second half improvement was impressive, and the narrow one goal advantage always looked likely to deliver the victory.   For the first time since September there were no changes to the starting line-up, and just one on the bench with Lee Watkins reinstated after suspension. The first 45 minutes were uninspiring and pallid with neither sides producing much to warm their followers on a cold afternoon.   There was a general lack of intensity in the play with St Neots guilty of some careless passing when they were in possession.   An early typical snapshot from distance by Lewis Simper sailed agonisingly the wrong side of a post but Didcot were creating their own openings with Cameron McNeill heading tamely wide from a Humphries free kick and Jack Dark firing high over the bar after neat work by George Reid.   Visiting keeper Leigh Bedwell did well to parry a rising shot from Panny Boxer and he then claimed an Aaron Smith free kick amidst a crowd of players.   Jonny Butler needlessly picked up a caution pulling back an opponent and the first half looked to be a stalemate until the clock ticked over into the 45th minute.   Then a cross from the right was only cleared as far as home skipper Tom Boxer and he hit a low shot through the crowded penalty area to put his side ahead and claim his first goal for the club. Thankfully, the second half proved far more entertaining and competitive.   It began with the substitution of Butler by former skipper Lee Watkins, who beefed up the midfield attacking options for the home side, and as a result St Neots began to manage the game in a more confident manner.   Just past the hour, Joe Sutton after a quiet first half, cut inside past two defenders and saw his rising shot pass across the face of goal, and then Tom Boxer broke up a Didcot attack to forge forward to set up Simper whose shot was well saved by Bedwell.   The keeper then had to be brave to leave his line to claim the ball at the feet of Watkins, but Didcot too had their moments with Finley Iron twice in action in the same attack, pushing away a Reid corner before saving a firm Luke Carnell header.   Sixteen minutes from time St Neots Manager Barry Corr withdrew hardworking striker Joe Neal who had received next to no service from his side, replacing him with Prince Mutswunguma who was only caught inches offside as he went clear from a Simper through pass.   Iron made a very significant save to deny Reid, who had been the pick of the visiting players, but play switched quickly to the other end where Simper brought the save of the match from Bedwell.   Simper then limped off to be replaced by Lewis Foster and St Neots thought they should have had a late penalty when Mutswunguma was upended but the Referee waved play on.   SAINTS SUPPORTERS' MAN OF THE MATCH - TOMMY BOXER (pictured right)   St Neots Town: Iron, Shaw, Smith, Butler, Dickens, Boxer (T), Gomarsall, Boxer (P), Neal, Simper, Sutton Subs:  Watkins (for Butler 46 mins), Mutswunguma (for Neal 74 mins), Foster (for Simper 81 mins), Joseph and Goode. Cards:  Butler  (Y – 32 mins), Simper (Y – 45+2 mins), Shaw (Y – 53 mins) Goals:  Boxer (T) (45 mins)   Didcot Town:  Bedwell, Gilmore, McNeill, Hayden, Carnell, Green, Humphries, Talboys, Stanley, Dark, Reid Subs:  Heapy and Murphy. Cards: Green (Y – 61 mins) Goals:  none   Referee:  Tom Danaher (Hitchin) Attendance:       205   John Walker  
Wednesday, 22 January 2020 20:41
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL St Neots Town        3         Coleshill Town       0         St Neots took full advantage of their match in hand over Kempston Rovers as they clambered above them to the relative safety of 18th position with this impressive victory over visiting Coleshill Town.   It was the first ever meeting of the two sides and the victory lifted St Neots out of the bottom two for the first time since 11th September.   It was new Manager Barry Corr’s first league points and with three further consecutive home matches to follow, he will be looking for his side to capitalise on this confidence boost to move further away from the relegation zone.   Ironically the St Neots man-of-the-match was goalkeeper Finlay Iron who made a string of inspired saves, but this should not detract from what was a competent and well-deserved victory.    Coleshill arrived at St Neots in ninth place in the table and were looking to push on towards the play-off places but on the night, they were well beaten by a side gradually beginning to find an exciting rhythm in their play.   Corr opted for just one change to his previous line-up, with Jonny Butler recalled and Prince Mutswunguma rested after his trial with Watford the previous day.   Apart from Iron’s stellar display there were also excellent personal performances from Joe Neal whose two well-taken penalty goals opened his account at St Neots and Lewis Simper in midfield who was behind most of St Neots attacking moves. The visitors made the better start taking the game to St Neots and shading early possession, but they threatened little with St Neots speedy on the break.   A low cross by Joe Sutton deflected off a defender requiring visiting keeper Paul Hathaway to make a smart save and Panny Boxer then had a net bound effort deflected for a corner.   After 23 minutes Tommy Boxer joined the home attack to have his searching cross cleared off the line by Shay Palmer but the ball was only returned to the St Neots defender and his second cross was forced in at the far post by fellow defender Thomas Dickens – his debut goal for St Neots.   Less than two minutes later in their next attack, St Neots doubled their lead as Lewis Simper was pulled down in the penalty area and Joe Neal confidently smashed the ball into the net from the spot for a 2-0 lead.   Lewis Rankin was proving the main threat to the St Neots defence, and from one of his inswinging corners, a Matthew Jackson header was well saved by Iron.   Rankin then was played clear of the defence, but the keeper held his nerve to block his shot when a goal looked inevitable.   At the other end a Joe Sutton corner was deflected wide and the first half ended with Joseph Smith being played clear wide on the right, but his finish was high and off target. Coleshill began the second half in defiant mode sending on an additional striker, but this left a gap in defence that was quickly exploited just four minutes after the restart when the speedy Neal was cruelly upended as he went around Jackson.   The visiting player was booked, and Joe Neal got to his feet to confidently net his second penalty of the match.   After 65 minutes with Coleshill trying hard to get back into the match their hearts were broken when Iron produced the save of the match to deny Jordan Francis who was clear and should have scored, but this did not really deter the visitors and Iron had to produce a back breaking save to turn a Rankin free kick over the bar.   St Neots almost got a fourth goal when a 25 yards shot from Lewis Simper left the keeper motionless but rebounded from the crossbar and then substitute Prince Mutswunguma saw his shot cleared off the line from an Aaron Smith corner.   The high momentum of play never really ceased, and the one sour moment came seven minutes from time when visiting full back Shay Palmer was sent off after aiming a kick - off the ball at Joe Neal.   Reduced to ten men for the final few minutes Coleshill never gave up and still managed to test Iron in the closing minutes, but this was a match in which the youngster was determined to keep a clean sheet. Saints Supporters' Man Of The Match - FINLEY IRON Video highlights can be found here: https://youtu.be/ypVN12h4q6E   St Neots Town: Iron, Shaw, Smith, Butler, Dickens, Boxer (T), Gomersal, Boxer (P), Neal, Simper, Sutton Subs:  Mutswunguma (for Shaw 67 mins), Goode (for Boxer (P) 74 mins), Clarke (for Neal 88 mins), Joseph and Foster. Cards:  Butler  (Y – 34 mins) Goals:  Neal 2 – both pens – (25 & 49 mins), Dickens (23 mins)   Coleshill Town:  Hathaway, Palmer, Webb, Jackson, Sinclair, Smith, Francis, Halsall, Molesworth, Rankin, Fitzharris Subs:  Panzo-Antonio (for Webb 46 mins), Mannion (for Francis 67 mins), Clarke (J) (for Rankin (85 mins) and Williams. Cards: Palmer (RED – 83 mins), Jackson (Y – 49 mins) Goals:  none   Referee:  Thomas Hancock (Newmarket) Attendance:       106   John Walker
Saturday, 18 January 2020 20:53
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL AFC Dunstable       1          St Neots Town        0         A penalty goal early in the second half, converted by former Saint Nathan Frater was sufficient to give the host side all three points in a closely fought match – the first away game in change for new St Neots boss Barry Corr.    It was Dunstable’s first win in ten matches although they have drawn three in that sequence, and for St Neots it was disappointment again after competing well but failing to find the back of the net.   Records show that it was the fifth time in their last seven league defeats that the margin of defeat has been just a single goal.   Delight then for the home club and particularly for striker Nathan Frater who has scored in both matches against his former club this season, and frustration for St Neots who were hoping to move out of the bottom two in the league table for the first time since 7th September last year, with a win, with Kempston’s match at Welwyn waterlogged.   Manager Corr made four changes to his first travelling line up, bringing in loanees Lewis Simper and Joe Neal from his ‘other’ club Cambridge United, and restoring back to the side the Boxer brothers Tom (after his one match ban) and Panny.   Giving way were Sam Goode, Jonny Butler and Jacob Joseph (all on the bench) and Joe Massaro. The sides looked evenly matched early in the match on a very heavy pitch that had required a late inspection before it was declared fit for play.   It was competitive with three cautions issued by the Referee in the opening half hour, but there was little significant goalmouth action.   Tyler Fry had the first real chance for the home side after 12 minutes but his finish weak and easily covered by Finlay Iron.   The keeper then had to be on his toes 11 minutes later when the lively Nick Elliot went around a defender to send in a low angled shot that was well saved.   St Neots was sharing possession fairly evenly, but they never seemed to get players forward enough to seriously test the home defence and new striker Joe Neal was clearly lacking support.   Prince Mutswunguma threatened briefly but lacked the finish required to test the Dunstable back line and St Neots’ general approach was far too predictable.   The closest St Neots got to testing Dan Green in the home goal came ten minutes before the break when a three man move split the home defence to free Neal and he finished well putting the ball in the net, before being flagged offside. Dunstable began the second half with a flourish and St Neots was quickly penned back in their own half of the field.   They paid the price for their dalliance when just seven minutes after the restart, Aaron Smith clumsily brought down Fry as he was heading away from goal and the Referee awarded a penalty kick that was efficiently despatched by Nathan Frater to give his side the lead.  That setback seemed to jerk St Neots into some positive reaction and after a powerful downward Ryan Frater header from a Newman Carney corner had been luckily deflected wide, St Neots began to look more confident.   Mutswunguma twice closed in on goal but both his efforts were wide of the target and then a Panny Boxer cross was well gathered by Green under pressure from two attacking St Neots players.   Dunstable seemed content to preserve their narrow advantage pulling players back behind the ball to defend as a Lewis Simper shot was deflected with the home keeper out of position.   Simper then honed-in on goal to be brought down earning the home player a caution, but St Neots wasted most of their possession by employing too many long ball attacking moves that were snuffed out by the tall home defenders.    St Neots tried to raise the tempo in the last ten minutes and following a corner a Sam Gomarsall volley from outside the area was pushed away at full stretch by Green and the same visiting player then sent another effort narrowly over the crossbar.   The home side were employing every timewasting tactic in the book as they clung on to their narrow lead as the six added minutes indicated, and during that additional period Green preserved his sides’ three points haul as he pushed a Joe Sutton volley over the crossbar.   St Neots now have four consecutive home matches and harvesting points from these is now a gathering priority. Saints' Supporters' Man of the Match - TOM DICKENS   St Neots: Iron, Shaw, Smith, Boxer (P), Dickens, Boxer (T), Gomersal, Simper, Neal, Sutton, Mutswunguma Subs:  Foster (for Boxer (P) 89 mins), Goode, Butler, Joseph and Clarke. Cards:  Shaw  (Y – 31 mins) Goals:  none Dunstable:  Green, Powell, Silford, Frater (R), Carney, Tavernier, Fry, Ajayi, Christie, Elliot, Frater (N) Subs:  Burnett (for Fry 70 mins), Crawley (for Powell 77 mins), Abraham, Rhiney and Igbanoi. Cards: Frater (N) (Y – 17 mins), Elliot (Y – 27 mins), Ajayi (Y – 70 mins), Frater (R) (Y – 90 mins) Goals:  Frater (N) – pen  (52 mins)   Referee:  Stuart Smith (Watford)   Attendance:       94 John Walker        
Saturday, 11 January 2020 20:22
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL St Neots Town        1         Bedworth United       2               Sadly, for recently appointed St Neots Manager Barry Corr, his reign did not start well, as he watched his reshaped side beaten at home by the odd goal in three.   Having said that, the home produced overall a better performance than their previous at Yaxley, but goals win games and despite having the better share of play in both halves, St Neots were left without anything to show for themselves except disappointment.    Bedworth were reduced to ten men 25 minutes from time when Cal Templeton picked up a second yellow card with a desperately late tackle to break up a very promising St Neots attack, and that set the scene for the remainder of the match as the visitors pulled off their strikers who had contributed both goals, packed their defence and wasted as much time as possible, picking up four late cautions to their cost.   With both former St Neots’ skippers this season, Tam Boxer and Lee Watkins both suspended, the Manager made four team changes leaving out goalkeeper James Philp, Panny Boxer and the departing Fernando Bell-Toxtle and bringing in Cambridge United loanees Finley Iron and Thomas Dickens and recalling Jacob Joseph and Joe Massaro.   With other loan players set to join the squad, there is bound to be further changes as St Neots seek to move away from the wrong end of the league table.    The match was preceded by a minutes’ silence in memory of Club record scorer Francis Brand who had passed away earlier in the week. St Neots began really brightly and dominated play for the opening 25 minutes.   Faster to the ball and able to push the visitors back in defence they created openings as Jacob Joseph’s telling cross found Sam Gomersall and only a brave block by Elliot Parrott prevented an early goal.   Joe Massaro then shot disappointingly over the bar after a good build up and then an off-balance Joseph screwed his shot wide.   However, after 17 minutes St Neots were deservedly ahead as Prince Mutswunguma ghosted into the area to head home Aaron Smith’s searching cross, claiming his eighth league goal of the campaign.    Prince then had a second effort cleared off the line by a defender, but St Neots were failing to find an end product to their possession, and the visitors grew in confidence.   Then after 28 minutes the home side failed to pick up Luke Keen who cut inside his marker to cross for Mitchell Piggon to send a low shot through a crowd of players past the unsighted goalkeeper – their first significant shot on target!    Confidence seemed to drain from the St Neots players who were now having to concentrate on defence as Bedworth looked rejuvenated.   It was then little surprise when the visitors scored a second goal three minutes before half time when Iron seemed to hesitate as tried to close down Luke Keen who was clear of the defence, but the visiting forward skilfully netted with an angled finish.   Early in the second half St Neots introduced Panny Boxer to replace Joe Massaro to try to rediscover their early sparkle, and then the home side seemed to be handed a lifeline with the dismissal of Templeton but the variation in tactics by the visitors proved to be significant.   Now with their superiority in numbers, St Neots should have taken full advantage, but they lacked the guile and imagination to test the packed visiting defence.   A Prince effort was scraped off the line and the visitors seemed intent on stopping at nothing to preserve their narrow advantage.  Following a corner Sam Goode shot wide and St Neots best effort was when Stevan Shaw powered forward to take a return pass to breach the visiting defence, only for a defender to clear off the line with his goalkeeper beaten.   St Neots just failed to make their extra player pay and although they never stopped trying, the home defence seldom looked threatened.    Their final effort was a free kick within striking distance of goal, but Aaron Smith wasted the chance with an off-target finish.   No doubt Mr Corr will seek to improve both the confidence and finishing of his new charges.   SAINTS SUPPORTERS' MAN OF THE MATCH - STEVAN SHAW   St Neots: Iron, Shaw, Smith, Butler, Goode, Dickens, Joseph, Massaro, Gomersal, Sutton, Mutswunguma Subs:  Boxer (P) (for Massaro 55 mins), Foster (for Joseph 84 mins), Badiani, Clarke and O’Hara. Cards:  Boxer (P)  (Y – 77 mins) Goals:  Mutswunguma (17 mins)   Bedworth:  Crane, Dudley, Rowe, Parrott, Templeton, Preston, Truslove, Mulders, Piggon, Keen, Blythe Subs:  Troke (for Piggon 68 mins), King (for Keen 79 mins), Harrison, Blackmore and Punter. Cards: Templeton (RED – 2xY – 55 & 66 mins), Rowe (Y – 68 mins) Mulders (Y – 76 mins), Troke (Y- 87 mins) + Assistant Manager Lenton (Y – 68 mins) Goals:  Piggon (28 mins), Keen (42 mins(   Referee:  Sean Gregory (Peterborough) Attendance:       205   John Walker  
Wednesday, 01 January 2020 20:21
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL St Neots Town        5               Kempston Rovers        1                    For the first time in a year St Neots recorded back to back league victories completing their first league ‘double’ of the season in the process.   The three points elevated them to within two points of their victims’ Kempston Rovers, with two matches in hand, and not even the news that bottom side Wantage had won for the first time this season, dented the ‘feel good’ warmth instilled by the three valuable league points, thanks to the influence of caretaker Manager Matt Clements.   Two first half goals put the host side well in control and they went on to score five times in a match for only the second time since December 2017.    Without regular goalkeeper James Philp unavailable for the first time this season, St Neots called upon U18 keeper Jacob Crosby who will be deservedly able to remember his senior debut with great pride.   He was one of two changes made in the starting line-up, with Johnny Butler returning in place of Lewis Foster.   Joe Sutton and Sam Gomarsall both contributed two goals apiece in what could prove to be a significant springboard towards a much improved second half of the season. St Neots had the first chance with Panny Boxer just unable to reach an early cross in front of goal.   The visitors clearly keen to compete also had an early chance but Stefan Bailey up for a set piece shot over the bar.   The first half took some time to find rhythm with injuries causing unusually lengthy delays and no less than eight minutes added time prior to the break.   Visiting keeper Michael Hudson was lucky not to concede a goal when he mishandled but recovered but he was helpless and 29 minutes when Sam Gomarsall advanced om goal to unleash an unstoppable finish into the corner of the net to put St Neots deservedly ahead.   Nine minutes later the advantage was doubled when the impressive Fernando Bell-Toxtle sped down the left leaving two defenders in his wake, to cross to the near post for Joe Sutton to claim his second goal in successive holiday matches.   Gomarsall then volleyed high over the bar following a corner and St Neots ended the half in control although their young keeper had to produce an impressive added time save to deny Kempston’s leading scorer Jake Newman an unlikely reply. After a tight start to the second half St Neots settled nerves with a well-conceived third goal – the produce of a sweet move, as Sam Gomarsall turned in a Sutton low cross for a 3-0 lead.   St Neots then made their first substitution introducing Lee Watkins for the limping Panny Boxer.   Kempston should have reduced the arrears on the hour when an uncharacteristic lapse in the St Neots defence saw Newman with the goal at his mercy and the home keeper stranded.   Fortunately for St Neots his lob passed the wrong side of the far post, and two minutes later the visitors were made to pay for this slip when Prince Mutswunguma darted into the penalty area to finish a clever move involving Bell-Toxtle and Sutton for a 3-0 lead.   Crosby then distinguished himself with a full length save to deny a Newman free kick, but the visiting player was not to be denied because on 72 minutes he netted from close range to pull back a consolation goal.   However, that did little to deny the inevitable because after 78 minutes St Neots’ four goals advantage was restored when the tenacious Joe Sutton claimed his second goal of the match directly from a corner.   Crosby continued to impress saving bravely at the feet of Sam Johnson and St Neots cruised to victory.   Saints Supporters' Man of the Match - JOE SUTTON   St Neots: Crosby, Shaw, Smith, Butler, Goode, Boxer (T), Gomersal, Bell-Toxtle, Mutswunguma, Boxer (P), Sutton Subs:  Watkins (for Boxer (P) 58 mins), Clarke (for Mutswunguma 65 mins), Massaro (for Bell-Toxtle 83 mins), Foster and O’Hara. Cards:  Boxer (T) (Y – 90+3 mins) Goals:  Gomersall 2 (29 & 55 mins), Sutton 2 (38 & 78 mins),Mutswunguma (62 mins)   Kempston:  Hudson, Stratton, Brennan,Wright, Bailey, Sage,Goodman, Newman, McLeod, Baker  Subs:  Hunt (for Stratton 45 mins), Birch (for Bailey 58 mins), Shortt (for Baker 72 mins), and Hyde. Cards: Birch (Y – 90 mins), Wright (Y – 90+3 mins), Goodman (Y – 90+5 mins) Goals:  Newman (72 mins)   Referee:  Tim Donnellan (Leighton Buzzard) Attendance:       245   John Walker      
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