Saturday, 16 November 2019 20:39
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL Berkhamsted        3          St Neots Town        1            Twelve minutes from time with St Neots bossing the game and looking odds on to steal a goal to level the contest against their table topping hosts, an outrageous decision by Referee Grzegoorz Konasiewicz saw influential St Neots midfielder Jonny Butler pick up a totally undeserved second yellow card to reduce the visitors to ten men.   Butler won the ball in a 50/50 challenge that left the Berkhamsted player prone on the pitch and the Referee allowed play to continued for several seconds before stopping the game to get assistance for the home player.   Then to the amazement of all he issued Butler with his second caution – even though he had not awarded a free kick for the challenge.   Asked about his decision after the match the official replied, ‘I think I reacted too slowly’.  That forced a quick St Neots reshuffle and in time added for stoppages leading Berkhamsted scorer Lewis Toomey broke clear to plunder a second goal for himself and a third for his side to give the final score line an almost unrepresentative picture of the contest.   The home side started the day as league leaders not having lost any of their twelve league matches this season but St Neots’ second half performance was described by a home official as ‘our toughest test so far this season’.   No reward then for St Neots but it should do the team confidence no harm as they go into next weekend’s crucial test against bottom of the table Wantage Town at the Premier Plus Stadium.   There were two changes in the starting line-up for St Neots with Ben Bradley back to replace suspended skipper Lee Watkins, and recent signing Ben Stokes replaced Sam Gomarsall who was on the bench. Both sides got off to a speedy start with home danger man Lewis Toomey lobbing narrowly wide with St Neots keeper James Philp stranded after just twenty seconds, and a minute later Prince Mutswunguma spotted home keeper Xavier Leon off his line but sent his lengthy effort over the bar.   Toomey was then impeded by a defender on the edge of the penalty area, but Jon Lacey sent his free kick high over the bar.   However, Berkhamsted then struck an early significant blow when after eight minutes a Lacy cross saw Lewis Toomey time his run to the near post perfectly as he flicked the ball past Philp.   St Neots responded with Ben Bradley bringing a good save from the home keeper, but the home side were showing just why they are promotion favourites with some clinical attacking play as Alex Taylor had a net bound shot deflected for a corner.   The match was competitive with Joe Sutton finding his way into the Referee’s notebook, before another lengthy effort by Aaron Smith tested the keeper.   Nine minutes before half time the home side stamped their first half superiority on the game as Jon Lacey got on the end of a Joshua Chamberlain cross to extend his sides’ lead.   Both Philp and Sam Goode blocked further home side efforts, but two minutes before half time an Alan Musoke cross picked out Prince Mutswunguma and his acrobatic overhead kick put St Neots back in the match at 2-1. After the break St Neots bossed the contest although they failed to capitalise on superior possession because they lack a significant finish.   It was 24 minutes into the second half before Berkhamsted had a shot at the St Neots goal, and then Philp kept his side in the contest with a brilliant save to deny Lacey’s searching chip.   St Neots’ substitute Jake Kerins, on for Stokes, made an early impact having a shot cleared off the line by Ryan Kinnane, and as the second half reached a critical stage the dismissal of Butler had its effect.   After a six minutes delay whilst home skipper Ben Spaul received extensive treatment the match had lost much of its intensity, further slowed down by more substitutions.   With three minutes of normal time remaining, Toomey was denied a second goal when he went clear but failed to finish, but he only had to wait four more minutes before he was again at the near post to take advantage of some hesitancy to convert a Chamberlain cross to dash St Neots’ hopes.   Mutswunguma almost had the final word with an effort deep into added time that he sent wide of the far post.   St Neots Town: Philp, Boxer, Smith, Butler, Shaw, Goode, Sutton, Bradley, Musoke, Stokes, Mutswunguma Subs:  Kerins (for Stokes 60 mins), Foster (for Bradley 84 mins), Gomarsall (for Musoke 84 mins) and Abbott Cards:  Butler (RED – 2 x Y – 39 & 78 mins), Sutton (Y – 31 mins) Goals:  Mutswunguma (42 mins)   Berkhamsted:  Leon, Taylor, Cooper, Amu, Kinnane, Farrelly, Summerfield, Spaul, Toomey, Lacey, Chamberlain Subs:  Hercules (for Summerfield 60 mins), Witham (for Amu 72 mins), Sexton (for Spaul 84 mins), Murphy and Stobbs. Cards:  none Goals:  Toomey 2 (8 & 90+1 mins), Lacey (36 mins)   Referee:  Grzegoorz Konasiewicz (Oxford) Attendance:       206   John Walker  
Saturday, 09 November 2019 23:07
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL St Neots Town        0           Aylesbury United       1 A deflected first half goal condemned St Neots to an undeserved sixth league defeat in as many home starts this season.   Once again, the performance was improved overall, but there was still no reward.    In a defiant second half the home side did everything but score a goal, but they should reflect on the fact that dominance of possession does not automatically produce the quality of chances to break down a determined stubborn defence.   Manager Marc Abbott had senior players back from injury in his squad, but he kept faith with his players to opt for an unchanged starting line-up for only the second time this season.    With Kempston Rovers pulling off a surprise away victory over league leaders Corby Town, the gap between St Neots and the sides above them was extended to five points. St Neots began well and created the first two chances of the match – the first after just 90 seconds when Joe Sutton darted between defenders to be upended on the edge of the penalty area but Prince Mutswunguma sent his free kick tamely over the crossbar.   Then Lee Watkins did well to get to the bye line, but his cross was headed wide of target by Sam Gomarsall.   James Philp then did well at full stretch to parry a shot from David Manu but to St Neots’ relief Jamie Jellis skied his effort over the bar.   However, after 14 minutes another cross by the lively Manu was only cleared as far as Sonny French and from around 25 yards, he sent in a snapshot that deflected off a defender to leave the St Neots custodian flat-footed.   At that point St Neots did not deserved to be behind but it did seem to boost the confidence of the visiting side and they could have capitalised on a free kick just outside the penalty area by Ollie Hogg that was deflected over the bar by the defensive wall.   However, St Neots were soon on the offensive again with Jonny Butler moving forward to fire over the bar, and then Alan Musoke went through the visiting defence but delayed his finish and a defender got back to smother the shot.   Little was seen of the visiting attack apart from a 34th minute effort by Jellis that Philp did well to push away one-handed under pressure from Ken Feyi.   The half ended with St Neots skipper Lee Watkins picking up his fifth yellow card of the campaign for a mistimed tackle meaning a one-match ban at the end of the month. It was a resolute and determined unchanged St Neots line-up that reappeared after the break.   They adopted an attacking approach with Gomersal volleying over the bar when he should perhaps have done better, and then a Lee Watkins free kick only just cleared the crossbar with the visiting keeper looking beaten after Sutton had been brought down in full flight.   Gomarsall then made way, in a straight swap, for Ben Bradley who quickly featured in an attack that broke down on the edge of the penalty area.    Aylesbury seemed to have decided to sit on their narrow advantage pulling off their two most attacking players and filtering back to blunt the St Neots attack.   The match became very polarised with the visitors happy to depend on breakaway attacking moves and in one of these St Neots last defender Stevan Shaw was unjustly yellow carded when his opponent appeared to trip himself up!   With thirteen minutes left and the pressure firmly on the visiting defence Prince Mutswunguma slipped his marker but shot disappointingly across the face of goal, and then in successive attacks Aaron Smith shot wide and a rising shot from Bradley was parried by Jack Hopwood.   St Neots now had four players in attack, but their final pass was not incisive enough and they looked vulnerable to a counterattack, with Philp having to save bravely at the feet of Harry Jones.   Aylesbury tried successfully to ruin the clock down with some legitimate time wasting and they could have snatched a second goal deep into added time when Jellis broke clear and only a back breaking save by Philp at the expense of a corner foiled him.    It was a disappointing outcome, but the improvement must not be overlooked. St Neots: Philp, Boxer, Smith, Butler, Shaw, Goode, Watkins, Gomersal, Musoke, Mutswunguma, Sutton Subs:  Bentley (for Gomersal 54 mins), Foster (for Sutton 66 mins), Kerins (for Boxer 87 mins), Stokes and Badiani. Cards:  Watkins (Y – 43 mins), Shaw (Y – 72 mins) Goals:  none   Aylesbury:  Hopwood, Jones, Bewley, Wood, Jenkins, Riddick, Jellis, Hogg, Feyi, French, Manu. Subs:  Seaton (for Manu 66 mins), Williams (for Feyi 66 mins), Rudd (for French 82 mins) and Deacon. Cards:  Williams (Y – 74 mins), Jones (88 mins), Jellis (90+4 mins) Goals:  Sonny French (14 mins)   Referee:  Luke Scott (Northampton) Attendance:       216   John Walker  
Saturday, 02 November 2019 19:35
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL St Neots Town        1           Daventry Town       2 With fifteen minutes remaining St Neots led 1-0 and were on course for their first home league victory of the season.  However, two goals by the visiting side in three minutes left them and their fans despondent.    Overall it was a much-improved performance on their two previous home defeats but after such a traumatic start to the season points are far more valuable than performance.   It was a contest marred by some inconsistent refereeing, especially in the second half when the official seemed to penalise some very petty offences by the home players whilst ignoring similar ones by the visiting side.   Manager Marc Abbott had been busy in the week prior to the match drafting in four new signings, one of which Jonny Butler, returning to the club from Hertford Town, began the match in place of the injured Jake Kerins and two more of the new faces Ben Stokes and Lewis Foster made substitute appearances.   The other team change saw Sam Gomersal return to the starting line-up in place of the injured Ben Bradley.   For well over an hour St Neots looked solid defensively so the problem of leaking goals almost at will seemed to have been remedied but then in just a short three minutes spell the bad habits reappeared with one of the visiting substitutes going the damage down the left hand side.   However, the side now has two further home matches in four days to try to retain their overall improvement whilst looking for another clean sheet.   St Neots got off to a confident start with Prince Mutswunguma skilfully setting up strike partner Alan Musoke after two minutes, but his close-range effort was smothered by a defender.   At the other end Jack Bowen shot across the face of goal after good work by Adam Creaney, and then Aaron King sent his effort high over the St Neots crossbar.   St Neots continued to look confident, but they looked vulnerable to set pieces and two in three minutes midway through the half were repelled.   Firstly, an effort from the edge of the area from Creaney was watched over his crossbar by James Philp and then a second free kick from a similar position was blocked by the defensive wall.   After 29 minutes home supporters thought their side had won a penalty kick when Mutswunguma was sent sprawling in the box by a defender but the Referee waved play on, and then the same St Neots player wriggled past two defenders but overran the ball, and visiting keeper Justin Cerga saved bravely at his feet.   More chances followed as Lee Watkins sent a free kick over the bar and from a Sam Gomarsall cross, Joe Sutton shot wide.   Mutswunguma was again brought down on the edge of the penalty area but taking the free kick himself, he sent the ball well over the bar.    The first half ended with Adam Confue squandering probably the visitors’ best first half chance as he headed a Fitzgerald cross wide. The second half began as the first with St Neots taking the game to their visitors and they were rewarded just four minutes after the restart when Sam Gomarsall picked up a clearance from a Daventry corner to run half the length of the field before finding Prince Mutswunguma unmarked on the left and he cut in to beat the keeper with a low shot for his sixth goal of the season.   Jonny Butler, settling in confidently to the side, then intercepted a wayward pass but could only fire wide, and Joe Sutton set up Musoke, but he was robbed by a defender.   The visitors then made a significant team change introducing Taylor Orosz for Creaney and it was to be his incisive play on the left flank that was to prove the match-winning difference.   The match then lost much of its fluency with far too many free kicks conceded by both sides and it was now that St Neots players picked up a clutch of yellow cards that seemed to dent their confidence.   With fifteen minutes left that man Orosz rounded his marker to pull the ball back to the feet of Aaron King and he beat Philp’s despairing dive to level the scores.   Daventry’s tails were now up and in their next attack they fashioned the winning goal as another Orosz cross was not cleared and from close range Jack Bowen claimed what proved to be the winning goal.   It did require a good save from Cerga in added time to de Mutswunguma a late equalizer.   St Neots Town: Philp, Boxer, Smith, Butler, Shaw, Goode, Watkins, Gomarsall, Musoke, Mutswunguma, Sutton Subs:  Stokes (for Gomersal 61 mins), Foster (for Butler 83 mins), Olive and Abbott. Cards:  Smith (Y – 21 mins), Prince (Y – 56 mins), Watkins (Y – 62 mins), Sutton (Y – 67 mins), Butler (Y – 79 mins), Shaw(Y – 81 mins) Goals:  Mutswunguma (49 mins)   Daventry Town:  Cerga, Stanbridge,Print, Harris, Barnett, Confue, Fitzgerald, Finch, Bowen, King, Creaney Subs:  Orosz (T) (for Creaney 57 mins), Orosz (J) (for Fitzgerald 67 mins), Wilkinson (for King 90+4 mins), Alexander and Finlay Cards:  Harris (Y – 56 mins}, Confue (Y – 90+3 mins) Goals:  King (75 mins), Bowen (78 mins)   Referee:  Tom Hancock (Newmarket) Attendance:       142   John Walker  
Thursday, 24 October 2019 09:58
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL Biggleswade FC        0            St Neots Town        0          After conceding thirteen goals in two away league matches the previous week, a reshaped St Neots side rolled up their sleeves and produced a resolute and determined performance to deservedly take a point in their second away goalless league performance of the season.   Manager Marc Abbott once again rang the changes as he seeks his best line-up and will regret that his side could not find the goal that would have afforded them a full haul of three points.   League newcomers Biggleswade FC promoted from Step Five at the end of last season have a similar problem in front of goal having only scored nine in ten league outings – the same number as their visitors who have three points less.   The game took a long time to get going with defences dominant with St Neots restoring Stevan Shaw at the back and Lee Watkins and Ben Bradley in midfield,  In addition Prince Mutswunguma was back in the attack with Jake Noble Mikey Davies and Daniel Olusemo making way plus Alfie Connor having returned to Soham Town Rangers after just ten appearances.   Another ten day break now with the next match at the Premier Plus Stadium on November 2nd.   The first half was almost a non-event in terms of goalscoring potential.   The respective defences were tight and well-organized giving nothing away to the opposition, and although the football was neat and end-to-end, there was little of note.   Biggleswade suffered an early setback after 17 minutes when midfielder Matt Richardson was injured and limped off to be replaced by Danny Payne.   St Neots seemed to be growing in confidence and around the half hour Joe Sutton was crudely upended on the edge of the penalty area, but the free kick was fired tamely into the defensive wall.   In the next attack Sutton fired narrowly over the bar and the home side replied quickly with the lively Kieran Barnes going free but Sam Goode got back to clear.   The main threat from the home side came down either flank where Barnes seemed able to get around his marker and just before the break Prince Mutswunguma wriggled his way past two defenders to be fouled, but the Referee played the advantage rule and the St Neots player went on to shoot wide.   The game opened up after the break.   The first test of either keeper came from Lawrie Marsh, but James Philp saved well, and then at the other end, from a Lee Watkins cross, Ben Bradley fired wide.   Tom Coles headed wide and St Neots main threat was coming from long throws by Aaron Smith that kept the home defence under pressure.  Philp then needed two attempts to keep out a rising shot from Marsh, but he did well to keep out a spectacular overhead kick by Coles.   St Neots looked dangerous on the break but generally lacked a finish although Mutswunguma did fire in a lengthy effort that Tyler Josephs was glad to see clear his crossbar.   Ryan Inskip squandered the best chance of the match after 71 minutes sending a volley high over the bar from six yards and then St Neots substitute Sam Gomersal saw his effort deflected over the bar by a defender.   A flurry of late substitutions saw the intensity of the contest drop and before the final whistle there were signs that both sides were content to see the points shared.   For St Neots it was the conclusion of a run of six successive league defeats and will have boosted their confidence ahead of three of their next four league matches on home soil.   St Neots Town: Philp, Kerins, Smith, Boxer, Goode, Shaw, Watkins, Bradley, Musoke, Mutswunguma, Sutton   Subs:  Gomersal (for Bradley 54 mins) Olusemo (for Mutswunguma 78 mins), Noble (for Watkins 89 mins). Cards:  Sutton (Y – 37 mins), Gomarsall (Y – 90+3 mins) Goals:  none   Biggleswade FC:  Josephs, Simpson, Oswick, Richardson. Newton, George, Barnes, Coles, Cookman, Marsh, Inskip Subs:  Payne (for Richardson 17 mins), Moriarty (for Cookman 67 mins), Fisher (for Barnes 86 mins), Kelly and Joy. Cards:  Cookman (Y – 37 mins), Payne (Y – 64 mins), Oswick (Y – 86 mins) Goals:  none   Referee:  Alan Cresswell (Milton Keynes) Attendance:       144   John Walker  
Sunday, 20 October 2019 07:37
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL  Thame United        6            St Neots Town        0        “How can a side dominate the opening 30 minutes of a match and go on to lose 6-0?”   That was the unanswered question circulating amongst the visiting side after their latest drubbing.  It is sufficient to say that the visitors fell apart after conceding the first goal, but the fact is that once behind they never really looked like getting back into the match.   If you drill deeper into the match details, it is apparent that very poor defending was a major contributory factor but coupled with this a lack of confidence and determination to make amends for mistakes hangs heavily in the answer.   Overall it was a better performance than the midweek defeat at Welwyn, but Manager Marc Abbott and his staff must conjure up some swift improvement in performances after just a single victory in nine league outings.   Up until last weekend the side had conceded just two goals in three away fixtures but a further thirteen in four days on their travels has further dented their poor overall record.  In a bid to freshen up his team and in a surprise move, Abbott left skipper Lee Watkins and former skipper Ben Bradley on the substitutes bench bringing in Alfie Connor and Joe Sutton in a revised line-up with Jake Noble handed the key centre half role.   Their cause was not helped when Alfie Connor became the third player this season to be sent off, after picking up two yellow cards in less than a minute for some very injudicious tackling.   It left his side with ten men for the final twelve minutes during which period they conceded a sixth goal. The start was quite impressive.   St Neots carved out three early chances against what looked to be a hesitant home defence.   Alfie Connor sent a free kick the wrong side of the far post, Joe Sutton was also just off target with a snapshot from distance, and Daniel Olusemo shot over the bar – all in the first quarter of an hour.   Thame replied when from a Morgan Green cross, Thomas Ashworth stabbed the ball wide at the far post after 22 minutes and two minutes later Green was back defending at a corner to clear a Sutton cross off the goal line.    The Thame breakthrough came then, slightly against the general run of play after 32 minutes, when Jack Tutton moved inside Jake Noble to curl a shot around retreating goalkeeper James Philp.   Panny Boxer was felled by a lunging tackle earning Ben Sturgess the first caution of the match, and then two minutes before half time, Green crossed to the far post where Daniel West headed back across goal and when goalkeeper and defender failed to clear Tom Ashworth forced the ball in from close range.   There was still time for Boxer to pick up the first St Neots yellow card for a late tackle. Philp produced a good save upon the resumption getting down to parry a shot from Gregory Hackett and on a counter-attack Sutton was just wide with his effort.   However, St Neots hopes of a quick comeback were dashed just five minutes after the restart when from a Hackett cross Ryan Blake rose high above the St Neots defence to head past Philp to make it 3-0 with all the goals down to shoddy defending.   At that point with 54 minutes gone, Marc Abbott decided to ‘go for broke’ sending on all three permitted substitutes.   Before the reshaped side had time to settle a fierce free kick was only parried to the feet of James Essex and he completed a simple finish after 56 minutes.   For a ten minutes spell St Neots looked revived with substitutes Ben Bradley and Lee Watkins driving them forward from midfield, but apart from off-target efforts from Jake Kerins and Jake Noble they failed to bother the home goal.   The fifth Thame goal after 65 minutes came from a Jordan Balogun cross to the far post where Gary Hackett rose to head home off the underside of the crossbar.  Connor’s dismissal followed before substitute Marcus Mealing became the sixth home player to put his name on the scoresheet as he converted a late penalty kick awarded for a goal line handball offence. St Neots: Philp, Kerins, Smith, Connor, Noble, Goode, Sutton, Boxer, Musoke, Alusemo, Davies   Subs:  Watkins (for Sutton 54 mins), Mutswunguma (for Boxer 54 mins), Bradley (for Olusemo 54 mins), Shaw and Gomersal. Cards:  Connor (RED – 2 x Y – 77 & 78 mins), Boxer (Y – 45+1 mins), Watkins (Y – 90 mins) Goals:  none   Thame:  Hill, Balogun, Green, Essex, Jewell, Ashworth, Hackett, Tutton, Sturgess, West, Blake Subs:  Harris (for Tutton 60 mins), Goss (for West 64 mins), Mealing (for Hackett 73 mins), Mapley and Lynn. Cards:  Sturgess (Y – 36 mins), Blake (Y – 73 mins) Goals:  Tutton (32 mins), Ashworth (43 mins), Blake (50 mins), Essex (56 mins), Hackett (65 mins), Mealing (80 mins)   Referee:  Mark West (Northampton) Attendance:       147   John Walker
Saturday, 05 October 2019 18:11
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL St Neots Town        0        Barton Rovers       2   With almost a full squad to choose from St Neots will be disappointed with a fourth straight home defeat.   But for an inspired performance by home keeper James Philp the reversal would have been heavier.    After the break with his side chasing the game, Barton set up several good counter attacking moves that could have led to further goals, but the keeper was alert and agile and fully deserved his second half clean sheet.   However, there are still defensive concerns for Manager Marc Abbott because with Stevan Shaw back from suspension and injury, he was able to name his first choice back four, but his side have now conceded 17 goals in four home games and this is a major problem that must be arrested.  Barton came into the game on the back of an impressive 4-0 away victory at Hullbridge in the FA Trophy and they were probably the best visiting side of the season, but the bottom line was yet another defeat.   With Coleshill picking up points this week St Neots are beginning to look more isolated just one point above the wrong end of the league table. Barton made a very impressive start with a series of quick-fire, neat attacking moves to test the home defence.   In their first attack Tony Williams directed a free header over the bar and Jemale McKenzie-Lowe then had a net bound shot blocked by a defender.   St Neots meantime made little progress in attack and after 12minutes they fell behind when a defender appeared to miss a free kick by Jerome Jibodi and behind him Jemale McKenzie-Lowe stabbed the ball past the surprised Philp.   The slick passing visitors continued to dominate the attacking play with Victor Osobu setting up Nathan Tshikuna but Philp saved comfortably.   St Neots did break out just past the half hour for Sam Goode to win a Lee Watkins corner, but his looping header rebounded from the crossbar with visiting keeper Kyle Forster beaten and in the same attack Prince Mutswunguma shot wide when he should at least have tested the keeper.   The second Barton goal six minutes before the break left St Neots chasing the game but it never should have been allowed!   From an Osobu cross Dean Dummett headed past the keeper but had clearly shoved his marker in the back – something not spotted by the match officials.   In the three minutes before half time Prince Mutswunguma had two clear shooting chances for the hosts but he put one wide and aimed the second too close to the keeper.   It was again the visitors who made the better start on the resumption.   Philp distinguished himself with a fine early save from Dummett and both Garry Jones and McKenzie-Lowe were off target with their efforts after neat attacking moves.  However, St Neots were now striving to rustle up a recovery and Ben Bradley sent a free kick over the bar and substitute Joe Sutton on for Sam Gomersal made an early impact scything through the defence to be brought down but again the free kick was squandered.    Bradley then set up Sam Bennett, but he lost control as he was about to shoot, and the chance went begging.   At the other end Philp made two excellent saves to deny Williams and McKenzie-Lowe and St Neots tried to benefit from this but from a Sutton free kick Goode volleyed over the bar.   The last few minutes saw Mutswunguma again in attacking action firstly bringing a good save from Forster and then off-balance after beating two defenders, shooting high over the bar.   Another disappointing home defeat but signs of some improvement to build on with the side without a match for the next ten days due to their untimely FA Trophy exit. St Neots: Philp, Kerins, Smith, Boxer, Shaw, Goode, Gomarsall, Watkins, Bennett, Bradley, Mutswunguma   Subs:  Sutton (for Gomersall 71 mins), N’Kala (for Bradley 71 mins), Connor, Noble and Rhiney. Cards:  none Goals:  none   Barton:  Forster, Jibodu, Jones, Dummett, Sonuga, McKenzie-Lowe, Osobu, Gibson, Thomas, Tshikuna, Williams Subs:  Olaniran (for Thomas 80 mins), Weekes (for Osobu 84 mins), Griffith (for Jibodu 90 mins), Gittins and Lukulay, Cards:  Thomas (Y – 8 mins), Jones (Y – 63 mins), Gibson (Y – 73 mins) Goals:  Jemale McKenzie-Lowe (12 mins), Dean Dummett (39 mins)   Referee:  Jeffrey Aldous (Bedford) Attendance:       229   John Walker  
Wednesday, 02 October 2019 15:24
Southern League Challenge Cup Yaxley   2      St Neots Town   1 St Neots bowed out of the Southern League Cup against near neighbours Yaxley, but can feel themselves extremely unfortunate as they lost to a final minute winner in an entertaining end to end cup tie.  The one consolation was that the Saints performance was encouraging and provides great optimism that they can soon improve their league position. The game got off to a lively start, with the hosts hitting the woodwork after just four minutes, Waumsley denied after meeting a cross by Duncliffe, before Nolan struck a fierce shot over the bar from 18 yards after an initial effort by Sanders had been blocked.  Saints responded with Watkins testing keeper Butcher from outside the box after his free kick had hit the wall, and then Butcher bravely saved at the feet of Nkala who had been put clear by Bennett after he dispossessed Waumsley.  Saints continued to press for the opening goal with Bennett and Mutswunguma combining to set Bradley clear on the left but his driven cross across the face of goal eluded everyone.  Yaxley created a number of chances themselves, Gothard heading over from a corner and then Cotton forcing a save from Philp with a shot from distance.  As the half drew to a close Saints pressed again and after Butcher had saved an effort from Wilson-Rhiney, BRADLEY opened the scoring on the stroke of half time, scoring from close range after being left unmarked from a Wilson-Rhiney corner. It was a disappointing start to the second half, when Yaxley got back on level terms within one minute of the restart, SANDERS finding the net from the edge of the area, and Yaxley continued to press with Sanders missing two great chances to put the hosts ahead with headed efforts going wide from a cross, and then a corner, from Butterworth and Waulmsley forcing a full length save from Philp.  After a slow start to the second half Saints started to bring themselves back in to contention with Boxer failing to test keeper Butcher after meeting a corner from substitute Connor when well placed, Nkala creating a chance for Bennett whose shot was saved and then Goode heading wide from yet another corner from Connor. In the final minute of normal time Sanders headed wide from a Cotton cross, but in time added on with the game opening up Sanders had an effort cleared off the line by Saints centre back Goode before BUTTERWORTH found the winning goal in the final minute of added time, and yet again Sanders was involved as he created the chance after Butterworth had hit the bar with his initial effort.   Yaxley:  Butcher, Duncliffe, Gothard, Butterworth, Watson, Bettles, Waumsley T, Hook, Sanders, Cotton, Nolan Subs: Williams (for Hook 77), Edge (for Waumsley 81), Chilvers (for Bettles 81), Waumsley S, Furnell Cautions: Hook (41) Saints:   Philp, Kerins, Smith, Wilson-Rhiney, Boxer, Goode, Nkala, Watkins, Bennett, Bradley, Mutswunguma Subs Connor (for Bradley 46), Sutton, Walker, Olive, Abbott Cautions: Watkins (54) Referee:        A Nelson   Roger Walker
Sunday, 29 September 2019 08:06
BuildBase FA Trophy – Extra Preliminary Round Carlton Town       3          St Neots Town        1            With just three minutes of normal time left and St Neots pushing hard for an equalizer that their second half performance had deserved with the potential reward of a replay, the outcome of this match was decided.   The home side broke away for a rare late attack and with St Neots caught short at the back, substitute Mason Rhiney tripped Mommoke Akaunu in the area and home skipper Tom Maddison despatched the spot kick to put St Neots late hopes beyond reach.   At half time trailing by a single goal to nil, St Neots looked lucky to be still in contention because they had been lacklustre and short of ideas in that first 45 minutes.   However, they responded well, and had they shown the newly discovered second half industry and commitment before the break the outcome of the match could have been very different.   Carlton Town are currently leading the BetVictor Northern League (South East Division) with only a single league defeat so far in nine fixtures but they made surprisingly little progress against a visiting side that did not produce a single shot on goal in the first twenty-five minutes.   The visitors made two team changes preferring Panny Boxer to Joe Walker in defence and reinstating Tim N’Kala in midfield for Sam Gomersal who was unavailable, along with the injured Jacob Joseph and Jacob Noble and the suspended Stevan Shaw.   The one positive in defeat was the return to action as a substitute of former team skipper Ben Bradley whose lengthy rehabilitation from injury had seen him last in action on 27th April, and his half hour on the pitch suggested that he will push for a permanent place in the starting line-up. In attacking terms, it was all Carlton in the opening 25 minutes.   At times St Neots struggled to get the ball out of their own half as Aaron Opoku shot straight at James Philp when clear, and the lively Oliver Clark had two shots blocked.   From a Niall Davie cross, Opoku headed tamely over the bar and then Tyler Blake brought a good save from Philp.   St Neots first shot arrived after 26 minutes from Price Mutswunguma but sadly it was too high, but St Neots were beginning to look competitive but lacked significant finish.   Seven minutes before the break, from a set piece Davie free kick Oliver Clark rose unchallenged at the far post to head firmly into the net to open the scoring and although St Neots tried to respond they made little progress. The second half saw a different pattern to the play right from the first whistle.   St Neots adopted a more attacking approach and in the first minute skipper Lee Watkins shot narrowly wide.   However, it was self-destruct time for St Neots just three minutes later when with a repeat of his first half goal Oliver Clark produced another towering header – this time from a Davie corner – and St Neots found themselves chasing the game two goals in arrears.   To their credit they responded well with some deft changes to their line up that saw Ben Bradley and Mason Rhiney on for Sam Bennett and Alfie Connor.   They were almost gifted a goal when the hugely under-employed home goalkeeper Jack Steggles fluffed a clearance, but he was relieved when the ball ricocheted off Prince Mutswunguma onto the right hand post and off for a goal kick.   Prince had a shot blocked and Joe Sutton shot wide as St Neots applied pressure on the home defence, but Carlton still looked threatening on the break with Philp doing well to save from Opoku with his legs as he spread himself.   Then, after 71 minutes it was game on as from a Lee Watkins corner, our first in the game, central defender SAM GOODE (pictured right) claimed his third goal of the season scrambling the ball in from close range.   Watkins shot wide and then provided the corner for Panny Boxer to head narrowly over the crossbar and to show St Neots’ dominance the home side were openly wasting time to preserve their lead.   It was therefore against the run of play when three minutes from time Carlton broke swiftly from defence for substitute Akaunu to tumble in the area from a mistimed Mason Rhiney challenge and the successful Maddison spot kick earned his side their place in the next round. St Neots Town:  Philp, Kerins, Smith, Connor, Goode, Boxer, N’Kala, Watkins, Mutswunguma, Bennett, Sutton Subs:  Bradley (for Bennett 56 mins), Rhiney (for Connor 56 mins), Walker, Abbott and Crosby. Cards:  Kerins (Y – 40 mins), Watkins (Y – 74 mins) Goals:  Goode (71 mins)   Carlton Town:  Steggles, Brown, Fletcher, Ball, Moore, Maddison, Elliot, Clark, Opoku, Blake, Davie Subs:  Thomas (for Blake 66 mins), Akaunu (for Opoku 71 mins), Johal (for Davie 89mins), Robinson and Smithson. Cards:  Maddison (Y – 65 mins) Goals:  Clark 2  (38 & 49 mins), Maddison – pen (87 mins)   Referee:  Dan Woolley (Lincoln) Attendance:       92   John Walker
Saturday, 21 September 2019 20:24
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL   St Neots Town        2           AFC Dunstable       5 For the third time this season St Neots let in five goals in a home league match – and that was after taking the lead in 40 seconds of the start and dominating the second half!   Once again it was a tale of shoddy first half defending that left them chasing the game after the break at 4-1 behind, and although the improvement in the second half was significant, the deficit conceded in the first 45 minutes proved pivotal.   AFC Dunstable came to town as league leaders with only one defeat in their six completed matches and it will be little comfort to St Neots to know that they were able to compete on level terms when they were not conceding sloppy goals.   They must now take away the positives from the performance and improve their defending.   To rub salt into the wounds the first two Dunstable goals came from former St Neots players and two more were set up by another former Saint.   Prior to the match St Neots had the promising news that two of their senior players had recovered from injury to return to the side with Sam Goode and Jake Kerins returning for Panny Boxer and Jake Noble both of whom were on the bench.   St Neots now look forward to their first free midweek of the season so their will have a little time to prepare for the FA Trophy debut this season, next week away in Nottinghamshire. Before all the later arriving spectators were in their seats, St Neots had taken the lead inside the first 40 seconds.   A loose defensive clearance reached Sam Bennett on the left and his early probing cross was forced home from close range by Prince Mutswunguma – his fifth goal of the current campaign.   However, the visitors took less than three minutes to respond as from their second corner of the match defender Ryan Frater (five goals in 79 appearance for St Neots) rose above the defence to head past James Philp and level the scores.   St Neots seemed to be unaffected by this setback as Sam Goode headed narrowly wide from a St Neots corner and then Mutswunguma brought a good low save from visiting keeper Dan Green.   Green then pushed two efforts over the bar from Bennett and Sam Gomersall but gradually the visitors were getting on top and for the final half hour of the first half they were in control.   After 26 minutes they forged into the lead as Nathan Frater joined his brother on the scoresheet cutting in from the right to curl a shot beyond the despairing dive of Philp.   Then in the five minutes before half time the St Neots defence endured a nightmare spell in which they conceded two further goals to effectively put the match beyond recovery.   After 40 minutes the usually reliable Philp spilled a cross from former Saint Martell Powell presenting striker Bernard Christie with a simple tap in finish and four minutes later Referee Daniel Todd wrongly awarded the visitors a free kick when Sam Goode clearly won a tackle on Christie, and from the cross by Powell Luke Abraham got in front of his marker to head past Philp to make it 4-1. To their immense credit St Neots seemed to put the score line behind them after half time and they set about repairing the damage.   Mutswunguma shot wide after good work by Joe Sutton and after 52 minutes Sam Bennett gave them faint hope of a recovery when he collected a short pass from Mutswunguma to move inside and curl a shot into the roof of the net.   Philp kept their hopes alive with a smart save to deny Nathan Frater, but St Neots was making the running as first Gomersall and then Sutton tested the visiting keeper.   However, despite superior possession St Neots lacked inspiration in of goal despite the introduction of substitutes and adopting a more attacking approach.   A Sam Goode header from an Alfie Connor free kick was the closest they came to reduce the arrears but Green once again saved well.   Lee Watkins then spurned a golden chance by shooting wide of goal and the final blow came two minutes into added time.   St Neots were caught short pushing too far forward and Bernard Christie collected a long defensive clearance to skilfully lob Philp who was to far out of his goal and complete the 5-2 final score line. St Neots Town:  Philp, Kerins, Smith, Connor, Goode, Walker, Gomersal, Watkins, Mutswunguma, Bennett, Sutton Subs:  N’Kala (for Mutswunguma 68 mins), Boxer (for Gomersall 71 mins), Noble and Rhiney. Cards:  Watkins (Y – 19 mins), Gomersall (Y – 64 mins) Goals:  Prince Mutswunguma (1 min), Sam Bennett (52 mins)   Dunstable:  Green, Baird, Ajayi, Frater (R), Abraham, McNulty, Powell, Tavernier, Christie, Frater (N), Crawley Subs:  Elliott (for McNulty 56 mins), Rhiney (for Crawley 58 mins), Carney (for Powell 82 mins), Fryer and Hall Cards:  Tavernier (Y – 45+2 mins) Goals:  Bernard Christie 2 (40 mins & 90+2 mins), Ryan Frater (3 mins), Nathan Frater (26 mins) & Luke Abraham (44 mins)   Referee:  Daniel Todd (Milton Keynes) Attendance:       148   John Walker
Wednesday, 18 September 2019 14:11
SOUTHERN LEAGUE LEAGUE CUP PRELIMINARY ROUND Kempston Rovers       0            St Neots Town        1          A dramatic injury time winning goal saw St Neots through to the next round of the League Cup in their delayed tie at Kempston.   Against expectation an understrength St Neots side progressed despite having to play with three of their usual back four injured.   By complete coincidence the late winner came from Aaron Smith – the only survivor of that back four.   It was a much-changed St Neots side that took the field but the adaptability of players to perform in other than normal roles has got to be a bonus for Manager Marc Abbott.   With Stevan Shaw and Mason Rhiney already on the injury list they were joined by experienced defenders Sam Goode and Jake Kerins and reshuffling his side with Panny Boxer at full back, the Manager brought in Jake Noble and Sam Gomersall as well as replacing Tim N’Kala with Prince Mutswunguma.   The two sides had met at Kempston three weeks earlier in a league match that had resulted in St Neots only three points haul so far this season. There was a very bright start to the match with both sides playing positive attacking football.   St Neots created three openings in the first five minutes with the reinstated Prince Mutswunguma going clear of the defence  but seeing two early goal bound shots both blocked – first by keeper Carl Knox and then by defender Jordan Wright.   Three minutes later Joe Sutton sprinted past three home players only to see Wright block again.   Kempston replied swiftly winning two corners in succession both pushed away by under pressure visiting goalkeeper James Philp.   The game then settled with the home side having the edge for a period.   Back in defence Mutswunguma gave the ball away and Wright had a low effort well saved by Philp and a free kick in a good position twenty yards from goal was skied over the bar by Finlay Brennan.    The match was developing into a very tight contest with neither side able to break through despite some promising openings and in his unfamiliar full back role Penny Boxer advanced to set up Sam Bennett whose effort was narrowly over the bar.   Sam Gomersal making only his second league start was looking lively in attack and he shot just wide after clever work by Mutswunguma and then he lifted a cross onto the roof of the net with home keeper Knox out of position.   As half time arrived the final effort was also from Gomersal after good unselfish work by Sutton but once again Knox saved well. The second half saw St Neots in control as they grew in confidence.   Gomersal saw an early effort blocked by a defender and Mutswunguma was again tormenting the home defence to set up Sutton whose first effort was blocked by the legs of Knox and his follow-up from a narrow angle flew across the face of goal.   Kempston looked dangerous on the break and from a corner by Brennan a towering header from Robbie Goodman brought the save of the match from Philp.   Sutton was then brought down on the edge of the box, but Alfie Connor’s free kick was off target and wasted.   Jake Noble was booked for a midfield foul after the Referee had played an excellent advantage for the home side that came to nothing but the St Neots player had to leave the field with an injury shortly afterwards with Jacob Joseph replacing him and Gomersal reverting to the vacant defensive position.   Mutswunguma then saw a shot deflected over the bar and in the final twenty minutes St Neots enjoyed the bulk of the attacking play but failed to break down the stubborn home defence.   As the ninety minutes drew to a close both sides sent on substitutes in preparation for the seemingly inevitable penalty shoot-out but two minutes into added time a St Neots attack on the right broke down and the ball ran loose to Aaron Smith whose first ever senior goal earned his side passage through to the next round and a visit to Yaxley. St Neots:  Philp, Boxer, Smith, Connor, Noble, Walker, Gomersal, Watkins, Mutswunguma, Bennett, Sutton Subs:  Joseph (for Noble 67 mins), N’Kala (for Mutswunguma 83 mins), Quigley (for Bennett 90+3 mins), Olive and Bartlett. Cards:  Noble (Y – 63 mins) Goals:  Smith (90+2 mins)   Kempston:  Knox, Goodman, Brennan, Wright, Powell, Sage, Boland, McGrath, Stratton, Dahie, Massaro Subs:  Hunt (for McGrath 46 mins), Beldon (For Dahie 90+3 mins), Shortt, Andrews and Hudson. Cards:  Powell (Y – 48 mins), Massaro (Y – 72 mins) Goals:  none   Referee:  Sean Barry (Northampton) Attendance:       89   John Walker
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