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      
Friday, 27 December 2019 14:53
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL Bedford Town        1            St Neots Town        2        The long-suffering St Neots fans got their perfect Christmas present at Bedford on Boxing day when the reshaped visiting side recorded only their third league victory of the season.   Successive weather postponements had decreed that this was to mark caretaker Manager’s Matt Clements delayed return to the hot seat and he first had to select a side without two of the team’s most consistent performers – skipper Lee Watkins and Jonny Butler – both of whom were unavailable for this trip.   In all there were four team changes with the Boxer brothers restored – Tom having been unavailable for the previous Senior Cup tie, and Panny after his holiday.   Also included in the starting line-up were Prince Mutswunguma and recent re-signing Fernando Bell-Toxtle, replacing departed pair Ben Bradley and Alan Musoke.   This proved to be St Neots first away league victory since August Bank Holiday Monday and the three points lifted them to eleven points above the relegation zone with luckless Wantage losing again after leading 2-0 at Kidlington.   A goal in each half was sufficient to take the points, despite an added time goal for the hosts who had not been helped for a late show of frustration that saw them pick up six yellow cards.   This was a memorable victory for it was the first Boxing Day victory since St Neots attained Southern League status eight seasons ago.   St Neots looked confident from the start with Fernando Bell-Toxtle sparking an early attack which was cleared only as far as Prince Mutswunguma who fired in from the edge of the penalty area for Jamie Head to push away at full stretch.   Bedford replied with the lively Ryan Sellers going past two defender to cross to the far post where a Joe Steele header was well saved by James Philp.   Sam Gomarsall should have done better than finish weakly after good play by Bell-Toxtle and Joe Sutton and after 19 minutes St Neots deservedly forged ahead when a quick break on the left saw the speedy Prince Mutswunguma round the stranded goalkeeper to net from a narrow angle.   Gomarsall made up for his early effort with a shot well gathered by Head and after 26 minutes Bedford suffered a setback when the dangerous Sellers was injured and had to be replaced.   Towards the end of the first half Bedford came into the game and two former St Neots players combined to almost pay them for slack defending as a Ben Ford free kick found its way to Brett Longden whose close-range effort rebounded from a goalpost to be scrambled clear.   Mutswunguma scorned a chance to double the lead nine minutes before the break when he could only send a weak effort into the arms of Head, and the half finished with two cautions for home players for at best careless challenges as St Neots sought to extend their narrow advantage.   Although the second half was more even from the start with possession shared it was still St Neots that looked more likely to score.   Mutswunguma volleyed wide and a Tom Boxer free kick was too high.   In a bid  to increase their pressure Bedford sent on their two remaining permitted substitutes and tried to adopt a more attacking approach to the match.   St Neots took full advantage waiting for the opening which arrived after 66 minutes when a long ball out of defence saw Mutswunguma hugging the right touchline and he went around his marker to cross to the far post where Joe Sutton dived in to get the final close-range touch to double St Neots’ advantage.   In the next attack Sutton was injured and unable to continue, replaced by Adrian O’Hara one of the youth team players populating the substitutes bench.   Prince then had a shot blocked whilst the St Neots defence stood firm in the face of home attacks.   Still looking dangerous on the break St Neots finally saw their defences breached a minute into added time when Thomas Hitchcock took advantage of hesitancy to knock in a Longden free kick for a late consolation goal and in the remaining time two St Neots attacks were broken up earning further bookings for the frustrated home defenders. St Neots: Philp, Shaw, Smith, Boxer (P), Goode, Boxer (T), Sutton, Bell-Toxtle, Foster, Gomarsall, Mutswunguma Subs:  Massaro (for Foster 56 mins), O’Hara (for Sutton 74 mins), Clarke (for Mutswunguma 88 mins), Olive and Joseph Cards:  Boxer (P) (Y – 35 mins), Mutswunguma (Y – 54 mins) Goals:  Mutswunguma (19 mins), Sutton – (66 mins)   Bedford:  Head, Cotter, Sellers, Ford, Steele, Longden, Calcutt, Donnelly, Hitchcock, Tomlinson, Walker Subs:  Hall (for Sellers 26 mins), Harriott (for Donnelly 56 mins), Green (for Cotter 59 mins), Phillips and Coulson. Cards: Hitchcock (Y – 35 mins), Calcutt (Y – 40 mins), Donnelly (Y – 45 mins), Steele (Y – 78 mins), Longden (Y – 45+3 mins), Harriott (Y – 45 + 4 mins) Goals:  Hitchcock (90+1 mins)   Referee:  Stuart Cheek (Rushden) Attendance:       334   John Walker  
Wednesday, 11 December 2019 18:57
HUNTINGDONSHIRE FA SENIOR CUP QUARTER FINAL   St Neots Town        3        Eynesbury Rovers     3 (Eynesbury won 4-1 on penalties)             Three old boys came back to haunt St Neots as they were despatched out of the Hunts Senior Cup at the quarter final stage by neighbours Eynesbury Rovers.   Hero of the hour was goalkeeper Jamie Greygoose (2014/15) – brother of the St Neots Assistant Manager – who saved the first two penalty kicks in the shootout, Jordan Brown (2018/19) who scored Rovers’ second goal to put them in initial second half control, and Rukky Djemoah (U18 side 2013/14) who slotted home the deciding fourth Rovers penalty, also in the shootout.   St Neots must justifiably thought they had turned the game around coming from 3-1 down with 18 minutes remaining to earn the sudden death decider but their inability to beat the visiting keeper from the spot proved to be their downfall.   Rovers were delighted to avenge the defeat in their last Senior Cup visit to the Premier Plus Stadium when they had been thrashed 6-1 in the Senior Cup Final of 2017/18.   St Neots had to make two changes to the side that had lost at Halesowen because Tom Boxer and Joe Massaro were ineligible so back into the side came Aaron Smith with Sam Gomarsall slotting into the defence in an unfamiliar full back role. There was also a senior debut as a second half substitute for Reif Clarke, the leading scorer in the Saints U18 side. The first half was largely a scrappy contest with neither side able to dominate play.   Rovers unsettled the St Neots defence with their long ball tactics and their threat at set pieces when the home defence failed to show aerial superiority and an inability to clear their lines, whilst the home side showed some neat approach work but little finish.   After a quarter an hour of not very threatening play Eynesbury won five corners in as many minutes and from the fifth, they took the lead.   With St Neots failing to clear Steve Gentle forced the ball home from close range in a goalmouth scramble after 21 minutes, but their advantage lasted just seven minutes before a scruffy goal at the other end brought parity as St Neots skipper Lee Watkins forced home a cross from the  left.   Eynesbury arguably then had the better of the final fifteen minutes of the half with Gentle finding the net again but penalised for a push, Daniels linking well with his attack for Jordan Brown to squander a good chance and Williams setting up Gentle for a close range effort that James Philp saved well. The second half seemed to be very tightly fought until Eynesbury scored twice in as many minutes around the hour.   Looking suspiciously offside Jordan Brown outstripped the St Neots defence to finish confidently to reinstate Rovers’ advantage and before St Neots had time to recover Stevan Shaw upended Brown to concede a penalty, confidently dispatched by Ashley Fuller.   At 3-1 down St Neots needed to review their approach so they took off a defender and introduced Reif Clarke up from and Ben Stokes as an additional attacking midfielder and their rethink quickly paid dividends.  After 72 minutes Joe Sutton wove his way past two defenders to be brought down by a third and from the resultant penalty award Alan Musoke reduced the arrears.   Rovers seemed to opt to sit on their single goal advantage soaking up pressure from the home side but with eight minutes left St Neots introduced Prince Mutswunguma as their final substitute and with his first significant involvement he crossed the ball into the heart of the Rovers defence and the ball went in off a defender to send the match into the penalties decider. Greygoose saved the first two St Neots kicks from Musoke and skipper Watkins – St Neots two scorers in the ninety minutes – and although Ben Bradley netted their third attempt successful conversions by Gentle, Jamie Cole, Fuller and Djemoah put Eynesbury in the Semi-Final. St Neots: Philp, Gomersal, Smith, Butler, Shaw, Goode, Watkins, Bradley,  Musoke, Foster, Sutton Subs:  Stokes (for Foster 66 mins), Clarke (for Shaw 67 mins), Mutswunguma (for Sutton 82 mins), Badiani and Hudson Cards:  Butler (Y – 9 mins) Goals:  Watkins (28 mins), Musoke – pen (72 mins), OG (86 mins) Penalty: Bradley   Eynesbury:  Greygoose, Clark, Fuller, Daniels, Duckett (J), Utteridge, Lewis, Duckett (R), Gentle, Brown, Williams Subs:  Djemoah (for Williams 53 mins), Cole (for Daniels 62 mins), Sinclair, Jarrold and Duckett (M). Goals:  Gentle (21 mins), Brown (60 mins), Fuller – pen (62 mins) Penalties: Gentle, Cole, Fuller and Djemoah.   Referee:  Ashley List (Papworth) Attendance:       114   John Walker  
Sunday, 08 December 2019 04:36
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL  Halesowen Town        2        St Neots Town        0           In midweek Bedford Town, close neighbours of St Neots Town, travelled to Halesowen and were beaten 6-0 by the in-form home side.   That should have been an indication of the task facing the visitors in this match.   With eight straight victories in all matches prior to this meeting Halesowen with three matches in hand, are now just five points adrift of league leaders Corby Town who are the visitors to the Premier Plus Stadium next Saturday.   In the event St Neots were beaten by a hotly disputed penalty and a goal four minutes in added first half time after the match referee had indicated he was adding two minutes!   So, 2-0 at the break Marc Abbott’s team returned to give an excellent account of themselves in the second half as they matched their opponents and came close several times to reducing the arrears.   The Manager made two enforced changes bringing in Joe Massaro for his debut and Lewis Foster, for the unavailable Aaron Smith And Sam Gomersal.  For much of the game the side operated a defensive pattern yet still created chances against a home side that brags the tightest defensive record in the Division.   However, credit must be given to goalkeeper James Philp who made a handful of outstanding saves when he was exposed by the free scoring home attack. St Neots took the match to their hosts from the start and after four minutes Tommy Boxer powered forward beating two players and unleashed the first effort of the match that flew over the bar.  The home side replied with Robbie Bunn left unmarked in front of goal bringing affine reaction save from James Philp.   Bunn then saw a second effort fly wide, but the hosts were beginning to dominate and after twelve minutes they took the lead when they were awarded a controversial penalty.  Sam Goode’s tackle on Simeon Coburne looked harmless enough but to St Neots’ distress Referee Stephen Oakley pointed to the penalty spot and leading scorer Montel Gibson made no mistake to claim the lead for his side.   Most of the attacking by Halesowen was coming down their left flank and Philp had to save at the feet of Gibson after good work by Joshua Hawker.   After 20 minutes Reece Hewitt seemed to have a good claim for a second penalty, but his appeals were ignored to St Neots’ relief.   Gibson sent a cheeky lob narrowly over the bar when he spotted the keeper a yard off his line, and a free kick by Bunn was then pushed onto the bar by Philp.   As the half reached 45 minutes the St Neots custodian was fortunate when he rushed from his line to be passed by Coburne but the home player shot into the side netting.   Then four minutes into time added Jordan Piggott fired in from the edge of the area following a corner and although skipper Lee Watkins produced a spectacular header to clear the ball, an eagled eyed Assistant Referee flagged that the ball was just over the line so Halesowen went to the break with a two goals advantage. Neither side made any half time changes but there was a change in the pattern of play with St Neots looking more comfortable in defence and ambitious in attack.  Lewis Foster making only his second start for St Neots saw a net-bound shot pushed for a corner, and Alan Musoke was robbed after weaving his way towards goal.   At the other end Coburne netted but was ruled offside and Philp produced the save of the match to deny Hewitt who had been put clear on goal by Bunn.   St Neots almost pulled a goal back on the hour when Tommy Boxer rose above the home defence at a Watkins corner, but his header rebounded from the crossbar.   A careless clearance by a visiting defender gifted Coburne a clear chance but once again Philp came to his sides’ rescue.   In the next St Neots attack Parsons cleared off the line from Massaro and the only other real chance St Neots had to reduce the arrears was a free kick some 25 yards from goal that substitute Prince Mutswunguma wasted with a weak finish directly at the home keeper.   Halesowen next week go to Bradford Park Avenue in search of an extended run in the First Round Proper of the FA Trophy.   St Neots: Philp, Shaw, Sutton, Butler, Boxer (T), Goode, Watkins, Massaro, Musoke, Bradley, Foster Subs:  Mutswunguma (for Sutton 79 mins), Badiani (for Musoke 64 mins), Stokes, Harrison and Abbott Cards:  Shaw (Y – 27 mins), Butler (Y – 76 mins) Goals:  none   Halesowen:  Bunn (B), Ashmore, Bowen, Piggott, McCone, Parsons, Hawker, Bunn (R), Gibson, Coburne, Hewitt Subs:  Molyneux (for Gibson 68 mins), Yates (for Ashmore 74 mins), Wright (for Hewitt 85 mins), Sammons and Manning. Goals:  Gibson – pen – (12 mins), Piggott (45+4 mins)   Referee:  Stephen Oakley (Evesham) Attendance:       560   John Walker  
Sunday, 01 December 2019 15:32
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL   Kidlington       1           St Neots Town        0            For the second consecutive match St Neots found themselves playing for more than half the game against ten men, but on this occasion, they failed to take advantage and returned home pointless from Kidlington.   Once again, the failure of Marc Abbott’s side to score goals cost them dear because they easily outnumbered their hosts with chances as they dominated possession, especially after the break, but some determined defending and a helping of good fortune kept the home goal intact.   However, the result laid bare the problem facing Marc Abbott and his coaching team.   In the final third of the field there was a lack of finishing to the extent that the home keeper never had a serious save to make after his side were reduced to ten man.   St Neots employed a 4-1-4-1 formation, but this system only works to satisfaction if the wide men in midfield support the front runner.   Last week in their victory over Wantage they did – at Kidlington they did not.   As a result, striker Alan Musoke was left with the task of getting the better of two and three defenders at a time with very little or no support.  Excluding last weeks’ five goals romp at the expense of the bottom side St Neots have now scored just five goals in their last ten outings – figures that speak for themselves.  There were three changes in the starting line-up – two of them enforced.   With leading scorer Prince Mutswunguma out injured and Panny Boxer unavailable into their places came Ben Bradley and Jonny Butler – the latter after suspension, whilst Sam Gomarsall was preferred to Lewis Foster who was on the bench.   The opening phase was competitive but even with both side creating openings.   A Ben Bradley shot was deflected, Marvin Martin volleyed over from close range and James Philp had to save at the feet of Leam Howards.    The keeper also saved well from Lewis Coyle whilst Bradley saw a second effort deflected for a corner after neat work by Alan Musoke.   The goal when it arrived was fortunate for Kidlington because St Neots had failed to clear following a corner and from the edge of the area Declan Benjamin hit a low shot through a crowd of players past the unsighted Philp.   As St Neots hit back Sam Goode had a looping header from a Lee Watkins free kick well saved by Christian Lawrence, and then Joe Sutton saw his fierce volley deflected over the crossbar.  The first half flashpoint came five minutes before the break when Sutton clashed with home skipper Lewis Coyle and with the Referee seeming slow to act players from both sides piled in to ‘assist’ and after the melee was calmed Coyle was sent off, with Sutton and visiting skipper Lee Watkins both issued with yellow cards along with Marvin Martin from Kidlington.   The half then fizzled out with the break coming as a relief to both Managers as they sought to reinstate discipline.   For obvious reasons the home side lined up defensively upon the restart seeking first to retain their narrow advantage.   Apart from a Bradley free kick that failed to trouble the home keeper, St Neots made little use of their numeric advantage, but on the break, Kidlington looked dangerous and the St Neots defence had to be careful not to be dragged too far forward.   The twice St Neots did look dangerous was from lengthy throws from Aaron Smith but when the home defence failed to clear the finishing touch was always missing.   With twenty minutes remaining St Neots made a positive move varying their tactics to try to utilise their extra man, taking off defensive midfielder Jonny Butler and pushing Lewis Foster on as an additional attacker.   His one effort flew wide and then as a final throw of the dice St Neots went three in defence pushing Tom Boxer forward to supplement the attack in the last ten minutes.   In that final period several shots from St Neots were blocked by the resolute and packed Kidlington defence who were clearly delighted to hold out for their second consecutive League victory lifting then well clear of the relegation zone.   St Neots Town: Philp, Shaw, Smith, Butler, Goode, Boxer (T), Watkins, Gomarsall, Musoke, Bradley, Sutton   Subs:  Foster (for Butler 69 mins), Stokes (for Gomersal 64 mins), Massaro, Badiani and Abbott. Cards:  Sutton (Y – 40 mins), Watkins (Y – 40 mins), Smith (Y – 54 mins), Butler (Y – 60 mins), Foster (Y – 89 mins) Goals:  none   Kidlington:  Lawrence, Blackstock, Castle,Martin, West, Ricketts,Coyle, Benjamin, Odhiambo (A), Howards, Smith  Subs:  Odhiambo (E) (for Smith 49 mins), Willoughby (for Ricketts 77 mins), Peart (for Odhiambo (A) 81 mins), Franklin and Williams. Cards:  Coyle (RED – 40 mins), Martin (Y – 40 mins), Franklin (Y – 45 mins), Odhiambo (A) (Y – 72 mins) Goals:  Benjamin (29 mins)   Referee:  Matthew Fletcher (Hemel Hempstead) Attendance:       53   John Walker  
Saturday, 23 November 2019 22:39
SOUTHERN LEAGUE DIVISION ONE CENTRAL St Neots Town        5           Wantage Town        0 St Neots recorded their first home league victory since February, over struggling pointless Wantage Town.   They did get some unexpected early assistance when Jared Jones picked up a straight red card after 11 minutes for an ill-judged dangerous challenge, leaving the visitors to play most of the match with ten men.   The star of the show was hard working striker Alan Musoke who scored a memorable hat trick – his first goals for St Neots in his seventh appearance, although debutante defender Tom Boxer and skipper Lee Watkins returning after a one match suspension, pushed him hard for the man-of-the-match tag.   It was the first time St Neots had recorded five goals in a league match since 9th December 2017, and it was the first St Neots league hat trick since Jevani Brown netted three times on 25th February 2017.   The match had been billed as a ‘must win’ for both sides but St Neots fully deserved their victory building on recent improved results against teams well ahead of them in the league table.   With Jonny Butler sitting out a one match suspension, Lee Watkins returned to assume the captains’ armband and new signing Tom Boxer – brother of Panny – produced an impressive debut in defence.   The third change saw Lewis Foster return in place of Ben Stokes who was on the substitutes bench. Wantage began positively despite their poor record and Jack Buchanan forced James Philp into a good save with an early low shot from the edge of the area.   However, the sending off gave St Neots the incentive to push forward to take advantage, and defender Sam Goode joined the attack but saw his shot blocked after neat work by Lee Watkins.   Panny Boxer than beat the keeper from the edge of the box but the ball rebounded off the crossbar to be cleared, but the pressure soon told and after 18 minutes St Neots eased their nerves with the first goal as Lee Watkins weaved a delightful through pass to find Alan Musoke and he measured the perfect chip over the back peddling visiting goalkeeper.   Following a corner Aaron Smith shot just inches wide and St Neots were now using their extra man to full advantage dominating the attacking play.   After 25 minutes the score was almost doubled when a close-range effort by Prince Mutswunguma was acrobatically cleared off the line by Charley Tuttle with his keeper out of position and then Watkins fired over the bar and Musoke had a shot blocked.   Little was seen of the home attack with striker Dylan Broadley left to plough a lone furrow and it was no major surprise when three minutes before the break St Neots increased their lead as Stevan Shaw powered down the right flank and crossed to find Mutswunguma in full flight towards the visiting goal to finish with a flourish. The real test was whether St Neots could maintain the pressure on their visitors and the resumption began with Joe Sutton shooting wide when well placed.   An early second half substitution saw the introduction of substitute Ben Stokes with Mutswunguma withdrawn and Sutton moved to a wider attacking role.   As Wantage tried hard to make an impact on the game Philp was forced to turn a Tuttle free kick around for a corner, and more substitutions by both sides followed.   Russell Lyle in the visiting goal was being kept busy and he bravely dived at the feet of Sutton to retrieve the ball after 67 minutes, but the respite was temporary as a minute later Musoke notched his second goal to make the score 3-0 with a shot that went in off the underside of the crossbar.   Momentarily the visitors looked well beaten as Sutton brought a good save from Lyle, and substitute Stokes saw his effort parried by the overworked custodian.   Sixteen minutes from time Tom Boxer made a rare sortie in attack at a set piece and was brought down to earn St Neots a penalty award.   On a hat trick there seemed little choice who would take the kick as Musoke stepped forward to confidently stroke the ball home for his deserved reward.   There was still time for teenager Adrian O’Hara to make his Southern League debut as a substitute and for Lee Watkins to complete the rout with his first league goal of the season twelve minutes from time. St Neots Town: Philp, Shaw, Smith, Boxer (P), Goode, Boxer (T), Watkins, Sutton, Musoke, Foster, Mutswunguma Subs:  Stokes (for Mutswunguma 51 mins), Gomersal (for Foster 64 mins), O’Hara (for Boxer (P) 74 mins) and Abbott Cards:  Boxer (T) (Y – 52 mins), Smith (Y – 54 mins) Goals:  Musoke (3) (18, 68 & 74 mins- pen), Mutswunguma (42 mins), Watkins (78 mins)   Wantage Town:  Lyle, Webster, Tuttle, Jones, Shakti, Fry, Singh, Rogagui, Broadley, Buchanan, Martei Subs:  Broadbank (for Buchanan 60 mins), McGrory (for Broadley 73 mins), McKeon (for Fry 83 mins) Cards:  Jones (RED – 11 mins), Rogagui (Y – 24 mins) Goals:  none   Referee:  Joe Woolmer (Northampton) Attendance:       186   John Walker  
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  
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