Monday, 28 March 2016 11:11
  Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN    2      FROME TOWN    2         With Histon beaten a win for either side might have gone a long way to ensuring survival at Step Three next season but in the event a draw was a fair result to a hard fought encounter and with five matches left both look likely to have earned a further Premier Division season. St Neots led twice but each time they were pegged back by the in-form fighting Frome side that has now suffered just one league defeat in their last thirteen outings. St Neots were grateful to Remy Gordon who followed up his goal at Frome ten days ago with a brace in this match and he is beginning to have a major influence on the side after missing much of the season recovering from a broken leg. There was just one change in the St Neots starting line-up with fit again George Casey replacing Jamie Anton at right back. The match got off to a great start for St Neots when they went ahead after just four minutes.  Lee Clarke burst into the area and looked to have been brought down but as St Neots appealed for a penalty and Frome appeared to freeze the ball broke loose and Remy Gordon sent the perfectly placed shot beyond Darren Chitty and inside the far post. In the next ten minutes St Neots were twice unlucky not to at least double their lead. After 12 minutes Lee Clarke threaded a pass inside the final defender and Drew Roberts saw his carefully placed shot blocked by the keeper’s legs and two minutes later the same St Neots player sent over a wickedly inswinging corner that beat Chitty but rebounded from the crossbar. Frome gradually began to create chances themselves and after Mitchell Page had miskicked in front of goal they levelled after 20 minutes when the St Neots defence went missing and from a hopeful cross Darren Jefferies was left in space to head home from close range. A mistimed tackle by St Neots skipper Adam Tann on Jon Davies saw both players booked although the Frome player looked fortunate not to suffer more serious punishment for his retaliation. Tom Ward was penalised for a push on the edge of the St Neots area but George Miller’s free kick sailed harmlessly over the bar and then after good work by Mitchell Page a Rob Hobbs shot was deflected wide by Danny Burns. Two minutes before the break Lee Clarke presented Roberts with another chance but his effort beat the keeper’s dive but trickled the wrong side of the far post.  St Neots suffered a 57th minute scare when Alex Archer was penalised for carrying the ball outside his penalty area. He was booked but Dan Cleverley sent his free kick over the bar.   The wind was increasing in strength and playing against the conditions St Neots were struggling to clear their lines but after 63 minutes a sweeping move almost the full length of the field saw the home side regain the lead. Remy Gordon won the ball deep inside his own half picking out Lee Clarke and continuing his forward run to take a return pass and beat the keeper with a clinical finish. This time however, the lead only lasted for four minutes before a Jon Davies cross was won the air by Mitchell Page who headed wide of Archer to level the scores again. St Neots sent on substitutes Jordan Brown and Peter Clark and the last twenty minutes was played end to end with both sides having chances to seal a victory. A surging forward run by Brett Longden set himself up but his shot was deflected wide and then substitute Jordan Brown jinked along the bye line before seeing his narrow angled shot also rebound off a defender for another corner. Frome might have snatched a winner themselves but Archer saved with his feet after Davies broke through and then two efforts from distance were both sent high over the bar as St Neots back peddled. Four minutes from time the unlucky Roberts saw his shot saved a full stretch by Chitty and then substitute Peter Clark saw his shot blocked. So each side took a point and perhaps more importantly deprived their opponents from picking up two more!   St Neots:  Archer, Casey, Longden, Tann, Ward, Burns, Schiavi, Coulson, Clarke (L), Roberts (D), Dawkin Subs:  Brown (for Schiavi 68), Clark (P) (for Coulson 68), Hobbs, Ofosu and Mazeo-Kelly Cards:  Tann (Y – 22), Archer (Y – 57) Goals:  Gordon 2 (4 & 63 mins)   Frome:  Chitty, Miller (K), Teale, Hobbs, Roberts (C), McPhee, Davies, Miller (G), Page, Cleverley, Jefferies Subs:  Regan (for Teale 64), Jackson (for Miller (G) 64), Bryant (for Cleverley 77), Hulbert and Jeffries Cards:  Davies (Y – 22) Goals:  Jefferies (20 mins), Page (67 mins)   Attendance: 262 Referee: Nigel Smith (Bourne)   John Walker          
Sunday, 20 March 2016 13:11
  Southern League Premier Division   KETTERING TOWN        1        ST NEOTS TOWN      1          St Neots returned home from Kettering with a valuable hard earned point at the expense of their play-off hopeful hosts. On a very difficult surface that stifled precise passing St Neots actually led for two minutes just after half time and then rode out a storm in the final ten minutes to deservedly cling onto a point that lifted them eight points clear of the relegation zone. Their injury jinx continued with midfielder Josh Dawkin ruled out for about a month with an ankle injury sustained at Frome but Drew Roberts returned after missing the midweek trip and his eye for goal proved invaluable to his side. Also injured but unused on the bench Peter Clark was an absentee and that meant starting berths in midfield for Charlie Coulson and Dan Schiavi.   Kettering had won the first Premier Division meeting of the two sides at the Premier Plus Stadium earlier in the season and with games in hand of the clubs ahead of them are looking to win their berth back at Step Two via the play-offs at the end of the season but with Tom Ward and Danny Burns supreme at the heart of the St Neots defence they will consider this result the loss of two valuable points.   St Neots looked much the brighter side at the start with Adam Tann winning a Remy Gordon cross but being unable to get enough power in his shot to test home keeper Craig Hill and then a Dan Schiavi shot from outside the penalty area thudded into the keeper’s chest.   St Neots had lined up in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Drew Roberts as the lone striker and it served them well in terms of possession and robbing the home side of midfield superiority. Gordon, beginning to look more comfortable after his lengthy injury lay off sprinted clear of the defence and his cross beat the keeper to be cleared off the line by Brett Solkhon. After 17 minutes, before Kettering had mounted a significant attack, they lost skipper Solkhon to injury but they began to compete and left sided attacking player Will Grocott was proving a problem to the visiting defence turning his marker but seeing his shot blocked after Alex Archer had punched away his cross.   Making his first appearance in central midfield for the visitors, the industrious Charlie Coulson was looking sharp and he collected a Gordon cross but shot over the bar. Perry Cotton then set up striker Rene Howe and he made space for himself before seeing his shot deflected for a corner and the first half ended with the sides looking more evenly matched than they had in the opening twenty minutes. There was an explosive start to the second half with the only two goals in the match coming in the first three minutes. St Neots struck first after 45 seconds as Charlie Coulson threaded a perfectly weighted pass between the two Kettering central defenders and timing his run to perfection Drew Roberts sprinted clear to beat the advancing Hill with a low shot. However, St Neots’ joy was short-lived for two minutes later a Kettering attack broke down for the ball to run loose to Will Grocott who produced a dipping volley to give Alex Archer no chance. That might have prompted more goalmouth action but each defence seemed to tighten up and for fifteen minutes there was little goalmouth action. Then Roberts burst through again and Hill had to race from his area to clear but the ball fell nicely to Coulson who seemed to have an open goal at his mercy but from 45 yards he chipped the ball wide. As the second half progressed Kettering seemed to get stronger and Wilson Carvalho shot wide and Grocott had a shot well blocked by Ward. St Neots sent on Jordan Brown for Schiavi and he was quickly in the action finding Roberts who had his angled shot pushed away at full stretch by Hill. Kettering substitute David Poppa, on loan from Birmingham City, also made a quick impact bringing a one handed save from Archer as he tried to lob the keeper and Brown had St Neots’ final chance sending a shot from outside the area just inches over the bar following a corner. Kettering attempted a grandstand finish but excellent defending by Archer and Ward kept out two late efforts and the point was preserved.   St Neots:  Archer, Anton, Longden, Tann, Ward, Burns, Schiavi, Coulson, Clarke (L), Roberts, Gordon Subs:  Brown (for Schiavi 58), Mazeo-Kelly, Hobbs, Clark (P), and Burton. Cards:  none Goals:  Roberts (46 mins)   Kettering:  Hill, Cotton, Brighton, Solkhon, Mulligan, Pepe-Ngoma, Carvalho, Canavan, Howe, Weir-Daley, Grocott Subs:  Langdon (for Solkhon 17), Poppa (for Weir-Daley 68), Obeng (for Pepe-Ngoma 82), Danquah and Stephens. Cards:  none Goals:  Grocott (48 mins)   Attendance: 561 Referee: Mark Howes (Solihull)   John Walker  
Thursday, 17 March 2016 12:15
  Southern League Premier Division   FROME TOWN        3        ST NEOTS TOWN      2          Unlucky St Neots returned from their long midweek trip to Somerset with nothing despite a spirited second half performance when they retrieved a two goals deficit. The key to Frome’s narrow victory was a late goal scored in each half and it was particularly hard on St Neots whose improvement after half time following a fairly tepid first half showing had merited at least a point. With Drew Roberts reporting injured after the weekend match Andy Davies handed a striker position in the starting line up to local teenager Jordan Brown alongside the experienced Lee Clarke and the youngster’s non-stop hardworking first half performance when he got little or no service fully justified his inclusion. The only other team change saw the return to the side of Remy Gordon making only his ninth start of the season after a frustrating time on the physiotherapy couch and he looks to be capable of being a positive influence on the rest of the season.     The result lifted the home side to within a point of St Neots still with three matches in hand so the battle to avoid relegation is now well and truly drawn with Andy Davies’ side having just seven matches to amass enough points to retain their Step Three status.   In the first minute Brown made his mark when he only just failed to reach a through ball from Lee Clarke forcing home keeper Darren Chitty to dive at his feet. At the other end Frome were starting strongly and a looping cross from Jon Davies eluded all in the penalty area to be cleared off the line by Tom Ward. After 18 minutes an angled shot from the right by Brown was confidently collected by the tumbling Chitty but from that point on the home side dominated the first half. Alex Archer in the St Neots goal made two excellent stops in a 20th minute Frome attack and then Darren Jefferies saw his deflected shot gathered by the keeper. In an off the ball flare up both Brett Longden and Rob Hobbs collected yellow cards – the St Neots player for the fourteenth time this season – before Kris Miller and Jefferies both sent Frome efforts just wide of the target. Rob Hobbs who seemed to be involved in every Frome attacking move then off balance skied a volley over the bar from close range and it looked as though St Neots would survive that torrid first half. Then just thirty seconds prior to the break Hobbs rose at the far post to head in a Jefferies cross to give Frome the lead they had deserved.   Just four minutes after the restart things got even more difficult for the visitors. Longden conceded a free kick on the right touchline and Davies accurate delivery was won in the air by Mitchell Page to double the Frome advantage. St Neots responded with a substitution sending on Dan Schiavi for Jordan Brown to vary their attacking options and after 62 minutes just four minutes after the change a Remy Gordon dipping shot was touched over the bar at full stretch by Chitty and from the resultant Gordon corner Tom Ward rose above the defence to head home his fourth goal of the season to put St Neots back in contention.     Frome looked stunned by this setback and seven minutes later the visitors were really back in the match with a vengeance as Gordon collected a Jamie Anton cross to curl a delightful shot around the keeper from 25 yards to level the scores. For a spell both sides looked happy to consolidate with the best chance of a winning goal falling to St Neots when Peter Clark stabbed his shot just wide of the far post after Tom Ward had headed on a lengthy Longden throw. The sickening blow came six minutes from time against the run of play when from a Davies corner was forced in at the far post by home skipper Sam Teale.   St Neots:  Archer, Anton, Longden, Tann, Ward, Burns, Dawkin, Clark (P) Clarke (L), Brown, Gordon   Subs:  Schiavi (for Brown 58), Mazeo-Kelly (for Dawkin 82), Coulson and Jeckells.   Cards:  Longden (Y - 29)   Goals:  Ward (62 mins), Gordon (69 mins)       Frome:  Chitty, Miller, Teale, Hobbs, McPhee, Mapstone, Davies, Bryant, Page, Cleverley, Jefferies   Subs:  Jackson (for Bryant 79)   Cards:  Hobbs (Y – 29)   Goals:  Hobbs (44 mins), Page (49 mins), Teale (84 mins)       Attendance: 123   Referee: James Durkin (Weymouth)       John Walker  
Saturday, 12 March 2016 21:05
  Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN     0         SLOUGH TOWN      0         The real drama in this scoreless draw came after 25 minutes when the ball did finish up in the back of the net. Lee Barney got the ball past the goalkeeper for the visitors after a Ryan Hope shot came back of the crossbar and as Slough celebrated Referee Joshua Few was persuaded by a posse of St Neots players to consult his Assistant as a result of which he awarded St Neots a free kick for a fractional offside.    That resulted in St Neots deservedly taking what could be a vital point with none of the sides in the drop zone winning on the day. Now, with two matches in ten days against Frome, who are now just four points behind them and a trip to in-form Kettering the period up to Easter will be an anxious time for Andy Davies’ side.   The Manager made just two changes to his starting line-up for this match restoring Brett Longden in defence after suspension and preferring Dan Schiavi to Charlie Coulson on the right of midfield. However, there was also a 35 minutes’ substitute appearance for Remy Gordon and he showed that as he approaches match fitness he could be a key member of the squad in the remaining eight league matches. The match got off to a brisk start with Warren Harris charging down a delayed clearance by Alex Archer and his cross set up Lee Barney who mis-kicked wide and then at the other end Drew Roberts was played clear by Peter Clark but crowded out when a shooting chance beckoned. Archer then had to go down smartly at the foot of a post to gather a free kick by Jhai Dhillon and Warren Harris lobbed over the bar when well placed. As the match settled Slough were employing a policy of lobbing the ball over a retreating St Neots defence for their front players to exploit their pace and Tom Ward and Danny Burns produced some very timely tackles and clearances to thwart their efforts.   The ‘disallowed goal’ incident led to the overall tempo of the match dropping and towards the end of the first half much of the play seemed to get marooned in midfield with the only significant attempt on goal being a lengthy free kick by Sean Fraser comfortably gathered by Archer. The second half was a stark contrast with St Neots coming quickly out of the blocks to enjoy a twenty minutes’ purple patch where they should have taken the lead. Visiting keeper Mark Scott did well to gather a well-placed header by Roberts and then the same St Neots player sent in a snap shot from a reverse Josh Dawkin pass that tested the keeper’s reflexes.   Dhillon was then booked for arresting Dan Schiavi in full flight towards goal and the introduction of Gordon for Schiavi helped to maintain St Neots’ domination.   From a Gordon free kick Lee Clarke got above the visiting defence to bring another save from Scott but Slough eager to exploit St Neots all out attacking approach broke well for Scott Harris to head over the bar from an inswinging corner. Still in action at the other end, Scott saved at full length from Gordon and saw a shot from Peter Clark that had beaten him pass just the wrong side of the far post. But that was as good as it got for St Neots with the final twenty minutes a rather nervy affair for both sides who clearly did not want to concede a goal. Roberts had a low shot blocked and Archer kept his goal intact with a reflex save from Warren Harris. Despite the slowing down of the tempo as the ninety minutes approached both sides could have snatched a late winner with Scott diving at the feet of Gordon to smother and Warren Harris twice guilty of failing to capitalize on chances in the final three minutes.   The result was probably fair with neither side deserving to lose and the point probably more important to St Neots with Slough looking well clear of a threat of relegation. St Neots:  Archer, Anton, Longden, Tann, Ward, Burns, Schiavi, Clark (P), Clarke (L), Roberts, Dawkin Subs:  Gordon (for Schiavi 55), Brown (for Dawkin 72), Coulson, Heywood and Jeckells. Cards:  Dawkin (Y – 53) Goals:  none Slough:  Scott, Fraser, Dhillon, Hollis, Hicks, Hope, Putman, Webb, Barney, Harris (S), Harris (W) Subs:  Parsons (for Webb (28), Gokmen (for Barney 72), Rumbold, Koita, and Raju. Cards:  Dhillon (Y – 51), Hicks (Y – 53) Goals:  none   Attendance: 266 Referee: Joshua Few (Histon)   John Walker          
Sunday, 06 March 2016 11:47
  Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN       1         PAULTON ROVERS        0         Lee Clarke returning to the side after missing the last six matches through injury claimed an important late goal – only his fifth league goal this season – to give St Neots a vital three points against relegation haunted Paulton. The victory completed St Neots’ first league double of the season and should boost their confidence in their remaining nine matches.  Paulton still seven points from safety were looking for only a second away win of the season and they played their part in a closely competitive match and created chances but seldom tested home keeper Alex Archer.     St Neots once again shuffled their pack welcoming back Lee Clarke for the injured George Casey and included loanee centre half Danny Burns along with Ben Burton and Charlie Coulson with Jordan Brown and Dan Schiavi starting on the bench and teenage full back Jordan Heywood rested.     Despite the stormy weather the sides produced some attractive, if cautious football with the three points at stake vital to the ambitions of both teams to feature at Step Three next season.   The early skirmishes were end to end but produced few clear chances although Drew Roberts was looking sharp up from for St Neots seeing visiting keeper Ben John save a low shot before a second effort rebounded from a goalpost to be cleared. Leon Jeanne was lively for the visitors on the left flank and he twice tested Alex Archer from distance. After 20 minutes Alex Grimshaw dallied on a clearance and was robbed by Roberts who was thwarted when John dived bravely at his feet. A free kick by Steve Williams cleared all the home defenders and bounced dangerously in front of the surprised Archer but he managed to claw the ball away for a corner. Josh Dawkin then set up Roberts with a delightful square pass but John produced the save of the match to deny the home striker.     With Lee Clarke partnering Roberts up front St Neots looked a far better balanced side but they almost gifted Paulton a goal when Archer raced from his lined to clear but miskicked and it was left to a good interception by Tom Ward to save the day and the two sides went to half time with everything still to play for.   If St Neots had just shaded the first half the visitors had the better of possession and play upon the restart. Kelvin Douglas sent a dangerous free kick across the face of goal and a rare mistake by Tom Ward freed Mario Mateus who was slow to capitalize and Ward got back with a well-timed tackle. Archer had to be alert to save a well-placed shot by Jeanne and in a bid to pep up their approach St Neots introduced substitutes Remy Gordon who had been missing with injury since Christmas and teenager Jordan Brown. Both had an effect on St Neots attacking efforts with Gordon’s first shot on target deflected narrowly over the crossbar. Peter Clark had a shot deflected after neat footwork by Lee Clarke and Tom Ward just failed to reach a Gordon cross at the far post. Then with ten minutes left St Neots went on the offensive creating three chances in as many minutes. From a Gordon corner skipper Adam Tann had a header cleared off the line by Josh Ford and then Peter Clark burst through and held his head in disbelief as the keeper going the wrong way blocked his shot with his feet.   The keeper then was beaten again when a defender blocked a header from debut boy Danny Burns from a Roberts corner and St Neots supporters were beginning to think that the ball would just not go into their opponents’ net. However, with just less than four minutes remaining Peter Clark sent Jordan Brown down the right and he outpaced his marker to cross to the far post for Lee Clarke to convert from close range. It was no less than St Neots deserved and with Histon losing at Poole the gap between Iain Parr’s side and the club immediately above the drop zone widened to six points.   St Neots:  Archer, Anton, Burton, Tann, Ward, Burns, Coulson, Clark (P), Clarke (L), Roberts, Dawkin   Subs:  Gordon (for Coulson 62), Brown (for Dawkin 74), Schiavi (for Roberts 84), Muya and Jeckells.   Cards:  Dawkin (Y – 43), Clarke (Y – 85)   Goals:  Clarke (86 mins)       Paulton:  John, Williams, Douglas, Grimshaw, Ford, Mateus, Jeanne, Mullings, Mawford, Ricketts, Felix   Subs:  Brown (for Douglas 65), Wheatley (for Mateus 69), Read, Chandler and Allward.   Cards:  Felix (Y – 90+3)   Goals:  none   Attendance: 260   Referee: Adrian Sannerude (Lowestoft)       John Walker          
Sunday, 28 February 2016 15:48
  Southern League Premier Division   DORCHESTER TOWN       1         ST NEOTS TOWN       0                  The dividing line between success and failure is very narrow and in football it is often one goal. That was the case when St Neots returned from their long trip to Dorset without any reward because a point from this match with no fewer than four players making their debut for the side would have been considered successful. Three of the loan players from Stevenage were unavailable for this trip and Brett Longden was serving the first of his two match suspension so into the side were drafted Alex Archer a goalkeeper signed from Witham Town, Dan Schiavi who has just returned from playing in the USA, Jordan Brown a locally based youngster on work experience from Cambridge United and Jordan Heywood a product of the Club’s U18 side. All performed well on their first outing in club colors with goalkeeper Archer making several outstanding saves. However, the Dorset hosts desperate to win their place back in the National League in their second season at this level stole all three points with the only goal of the match to move to within four points of the promotion play-off zone leaving St Neots 19th in the table – their lowest position this season but still nine points clear of the relegation places. Archer was soon in action for his new club diving bravely at the feet of the onrushing Toby Holmes after just two minutes. Meantime St Neots began tentatively struggling to find any real rhythm and after 18 minutes the keeper once again had to race from his line to pick the ball off the feet of Ben Watson played clear by home player/manager Mark Jermyn. Jordan Brown showed some nice touches on the right for St Neots and Dan Schiavi was busy in midfield but with the visitors operating with Drew Roberts playing a lone role up front the home defence was rarely threatened. At the other end lengthy throws from Chris Dillon were constantly testing the St Neots back four and after 32 minutes Dorchester could have been in front when Franklyn Clarke robbed the hesitant Jordan Heywood to set up Toby Holmes but Archer again came to the rescue with two close range stops as the ball bounced around in the St Neots penalty area. As half time approached St Neots grew in confidence and created a couple of chances with Peter Clark firing into the side netting after neat work by skipper Adam Tann making his 50th appearance for the club and then Josh Dawkin forcing home keeper Shane Murphy into his first real save of the match. Ninety seconds after the restart the visitors were awarded a free kick just ten yards from goal when Murphy handled a back pass but Drew Roberts’ effort was charged down by the entire home side. However, the visitors were showing more belief in themselves and Roberts’ shot just wide from a Tann pass and a Dawkin effort beat both the home keeper and the far post.  At the other end Luke Holmes went clear but the perfectly placed Archer deflected the shot with his legs and from the resultant corner by Clarke, Nathan Walker won the ball in the air but directed his effort over the bar. The game had now opened up and after 63 minutes a superb attacking move by the home side split the St Neots defence with the ball moved swiftly from Sayers via Watson whose cross presented Brad Tarbuck with the simplest tap in finish at the far post. St Neots responded sending on Charlie Coulson for the tiring Brown and later Dipo Akinyemi for Schiavi to adopt a more attacking formation. They created a couple of good chances but Roberts off balance shot over the bar and Dawkin fired narrowly wide. With ten minutes left Dorchester had settled to protect their slender margin employing time wasting tactics and that almost cost them dear when following good work by Peter Clark the ball broke for Drew Roberts but his finish was too high.  With all the sides below St Neots picking up points on the day the focus must now be on collecting sufficient points to protect their Step Three status.   St Neots:  Archer, Casey, Heywood, Tann, Ward, Anton, Brown, Schiavi, Clark (P), Roberts, Dawkin Subs:  Coulson (for Brown 65), Akinyemi (for Schiavi 78), Hobbs (for Dawkin 84), Mazeo-Kelly and Jeckells. Cards:  Dawkin (Y – 79) Goals:  none   Dorchester:  Murphy, Hanger, Smeeton, Jermyn, Walker, Dillon, Clarke, Holmes (L), Holmes (T), Watson, Tarbuck Subs:  Sayers (for Hanger 27), Ayunga (for Holmes (B) 86), Brookes (for Watson 90+1), Proffitt and Walker-Harris Cards:  Jermyn (Y – 74) Goals:  Tarbuck (63 mins)   Attendance: 360 Referee: Alexander Fisher (Portsmouth)   John Walker          
Saturday, 20 February 2016 20:12
  Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN       1         REDDITCH UNITED       3         For the second time in successive games St Neots scored first against promotion chasing visitors but after 90 minutes Redditch had proved themselves the better side and worthy of all three points. The victory carried the Worcestershire side closer to the top of the table – now within three points of leaders Poole and looking capable of a genuine challenge for the automatic promotion place. St Neots maintained their improvement since the departure of Manager David Batch but created too little seriously to test the visiting defence. They are missing the finishing of Tom Meechan now departed for Football League football at Newport County and their luck in front of goal continues to desert them with Drew Roberts seeing a header rebound from the crossbar. Matt Smyth was back in defence in a reshuffled team with recent signing Charlie Coulson starting on the bench and fit again goalkeeper Ben Jackson coming in to replace Andy Wilton. Three of the sides below St Neots picked up points on the day so a return to winning ways must now be the priority for Andy Davies’ charges. St Neots began the brighter and might have had a goal as early as the second minute when Dipo Akinyemi cleverly nicked the ball past his marker to advance on goal but his narrow angled finish was kept out of the net one handed by the retreating goalkeeper. Drew Roberts then drove a shot wide whilst at the other end Redditch were adopting a shoot on sight approach with Ashley Sammons twice shooting over the bar from distance and George Carline seeing his effort pass the wrong side of a post. Tom Ward then did well to clear off the line from Carline following an Osborne corner and after 22 minutes St Neots were in front.   Matt Smyth broke up a Redditch attack and the ball found its way to Josh Dawkin whose cross was headed in by Adam Tann for his first league goal of the campaign. Five minutes later visiting keeper Jose Viega had to leave his line smartly to save at the feet of Akinyemi after a neat three-man approach but Redditch were gradually beginning to get on top and after 29 minutes a shot across the face of goal by Jamie Osborne just eluded Jackson’s dive and deflected in off the inside of the far post. Four minutes later Redditch were ahead as Jackson made a fine save, getting down to parry a James Mutton header from a Sammons corner but the ball fell kindly for Jordan Cullinane and he drove it into the net through a forest of legs in the six yards’ box leaving Jackson unsighted.   St Neots tried hard to reply but Dawkin had a shot blocked after good work by Peter Clark and the half ended with Shearer wasting a golden chance for the visitors firing over the bar when left unmarked from a Luke Shearer cross. As in the first half St Neots restarted brightly with Akinyemi setting up Clark whose shot was too high. However, Redditch were soon back in control skillfully slowing play down to frustrate the home side but still creating goal scoring chances with Thompson having one shot deflected for a corner and a second well saved by Jackson. Using his pace, substitute Jazz Luckie, on for the limping Shearer, then created an opening but Jackson left his line to drive him wide of goal.   After 65 minutes St Neots decided on a change in tactics and Drew Roberts was pushed up to lead the attack in place of Akinyemi with Charlie Coulson on in midfield and Peter Clark pushed more forward just behind Roberts. Clark fed Dawkin on a run forward but his shot was blocked and Roberts was denied as his effort rebounded from the woodwork.   Redditch always looked dangerous at set pieces and from an Osborne corner Coulson cleared off the line and the visitors sent on two fresh pairs of legs up front to test the St Neots defence. These tactics brought the clinching goal seven minutes from time when two of the substitutes combined with Molyneux crossing from the left for Luckie to tap in at the far post for 3-1 to kill off St Neots’ hopes of a share of the points.   St Neots:  Jackson, Anton, Longden, Tann, Ward, Smyth, Casey, Clark (P), Roberts, Akinyemi, Dawkin Subs:  Coulson (for Akinyemi 65), Hobbs, Ofosu, Heywood and Jeckells. Cards:  Longden (Y – 31) Goals:  Tann (22 mins)   Redditch:  Viega, Cullinane, Flanagan, Loveridge, Mutton, Richards, Thompson, Osborne, Shearer, Sammons, Carline Subs:  Luckie (for Shearer 46), Molyneux (for Sammons (67), Johnson (for Thompson 81), Young and Bridgewater. Cards:  none Goals:  Osborne (29 mins), Cullinane (33 mins), Luckie (83 mins)   Attendance: 226 Referee: Nick Cooper (Thetford)   John Walker          
Wednesday, 17 February 2016 09:57
  Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN       1         HITCHIN TOWN       2         Hitchin recorded a fourth consecutive league victory to cement their place in the play offs at the expense of a very disappointing St Neots. Having said that the main shortcoming of the home side was their inability to create goal scoring opportunities on the back of a hard-working and fully committed performance in midfield and defence. Hitchin are amongst the leading group in the table on merit and it was to St Neots credit that they held their visitors to just two goals but the lack of goal scoring has to be the principle concern now and this match underlined the priority of replacing the departing Tom Meechan. Although Drew Roberts is back he has not struck up an understanding with Dipo Akinyemi and the visiting goalkeeper had very little to do throughout the entire ninety minutes. There was a new signing on view for the home side with Charlie Coulson from Ilkeston FC pitched in on the right of midfield with George Casey moving to full back. Also back in defence was Jamie Anton for Matt Smyth. There was a sensational start to the match when in the first real action after just 44 seconds Josh Dawkin was fouled as he went into the penalty area and a spot kick was awarded.  Some discussion ensued about who would take the kick but Drew Roberts stepped up to beat Charlie Horlock and open the scoring with his first home goal since 18th April last year.  This was only his ninth start of the current season as he works his way back to somewhere near full fitness.   Hitchin were taken aback by this turn of events and too some time to settle with their only goal attempt in the first 25 minutes a narrow angled shot by Brett Donnelly blocked by Andy Wilton. Peter Clark set up Dipo Akinyemi with a through ball but he overran it and Horlock saved at his feet but gradually the visitors found their rhythm with the lively Jonny McNamara shooting over the bar before bringing a good saved from Wilton.  On the half hour a Lucas Kirkpatrick cross found the head of Brett Donnelly but his effort was too high and as St Neots were penned back late in the first half Hitchin created several chances. The best of these fell to Kieran Barnes from a Kirkpatrick corner but he placed his free header high over the bar. Hitchin’s most threatening moves all seemed to involve McNamara who was giving his marker Brett Longden a torrid time and the St Neots full back picked up a yellow card five minutes before the break. The first fifteen minutes of the second half saw Hitchin camping in the St Neots half of the field and peppering the St Neots goal. Again the best chance fell to Brett Donnelly who headed tamely over the bar and both Barnes and McNamara failed to convert chances after neat approach work. St Neots reacted well under siege with Jamie Anton and Tom Ward doing well under pressure but after 58 minutes Hitchin levelled with a rather fortune goal when a Kane Smith cross beat all those in the six yards’ box and crept in at the far post with Wilton seeming to misjudge the flight of the ball.   This gave the visitors confidence and they continued to dominate and after 72 minutes the pressure paid off as Jonny McNamara bundled the ball in from close range. From that point on Hitchin played with great composure slowing the game down and passing the ball around in midfield with the protection of their slender lead clearly their priority. St Neots huffed and puffed but never really threatened even though they went to three at the back and pushed Tom Ward up as an additional attacker. Even the late introduction of two teenagers failed to fire St Neots and they can have no real complaints – beaten by a side looking capable to go on to claim a play-off place and maybe even promotion at the end of the season. St Neots:  Wilton, Casey, Longden, Tann, Ward, Anton, Coulson, Clark (P), Roberts, Akinyemi, Dawkin Subs:  Ofosu (for Coulson 77), Hobbs (for Akinyemi 89), Nurettin, Rudman and Jeckells. Cards:  Longden (Y – 40) Goals:  Roberts – pen (2 mins)   Hitchin:  Horlock, Smith, Walster, Ann, Webb, Rolfe, McNamara, Donnelly (C), Donnelly (B), Barnes, Kirkpatrick Subs:  Spence (for Barnes 71), Palmiero (for Donnelly (C) 90), Pearson, Wright and Johnson. Cards:  none Goals:  Smith (58 mins), McNamara (72 mins)   Attendance: 298 Referee: David Avent (Northampton)       John Walker          
Sunday, 14 February 2016 12:12
  Southern League Premier Division   HISTON       0       ST NEOTS TOWN       0            Neither side really wanted to surrender two points in this tightly fought derby match but in the end a draw was a fair result given that St Neots dominated the first half and Histon looked slightly better after the break.   So, St Neots stayed six points ahead of their hosts with two games in hand but with two of the four sides in the relegation zone picking up points neither can afford to relax. St Neots have thirteen matches to play but still need a minimum of six or seven points to guarantee likely survival and the real bonus was the clean sheet – their first since November 3rd.   With four key players still injured St Neots were without Tom Meechan and Jamie Anton in addition for this match but there was a first ever senior start for Junior Moya – another product of the Club’s youth system. In the second half Erhan Nurettin, another of the U18 players in the squad also made a debut substitute appearance along with Dan Hobbs and Claudio Ofosu so all are gradually gaining valuable experience at the higher level. As early as the second minute St Neots looked to be denied a certain penalty when Brett Longden burst into the penalty area to be upended but the Referee waved play on. Operating a 4-4-2 formation St Neots showed early initiative as Josh Dawkin brought a good save from home keeper Denzel Gerrar and joining the attack again Longden fired over the bar. After 20 minutes the home keeper then had to dive bravely at the feet of Dawkin who had weaved his way past two defenders and then a Roberts cross fed Dawkin whose effort was deflected by a defender. It was 25 minutes before Histon had their first real chance created by what could have been an expensive error. Under no real pressure, Tom Ward sliced a clearance to the feet of the unmarked Joe Carden and his shot across Andy Wilton rebounded from the inside of the far post to be scrambled clear.   St Neots playing some good close passing football created more chances as Longden shot wide and Muya tested Gerrar with a cross from the bye line. Carden then got behind the St Neots defence to bring a good save from Andy Wilton and the first half ended with George Casey forcing Gerrar to touch his dipping shot over the cross bar. Histon had been playing with a lone striker in the first half and St Neots changed their tactics after the break leaving Drew Roberts alone up front with substitutes Dan Hobbs and Claudio Ofosu in what became a crowded midfield. Both sides played some neat football when in possession but created very few clear chances with Roberts and Josh Oyinsan both looking isolated and lacking sufficient support to test either defence. Former St Neots player Ryan Auger shot narrowly over the bar from distance for Histon and Roberts showed his frustration by picking up a booking for dissent after he had clearly been fouled but not compensated. With fifteen minutes left Histon pressed forward and Oyinsan cleverly held the ball up for Nick Freeman to join him but the finish was poor. Ofosu set up Casey on the overlap but his shot was blocked and then a Freeman corner was punched away under pressure by Wilton. The frantic end to end late search for a winning goal continued and Casey saw his shot tipped over the bar by Gerrar and in the final minute Longdon and Miles Smith clashed off the ball at a late corner and both were booked.   Already facing a two match ban for ten cautions this season this was the St Neots’ full back’s eleventh yellow card since 8th August.   St Neots:  Wilton, Muya, Longden, Tann, Ward, Smyth, Casey, Clark (P), Roberts, Akinyemi, Dawkin  Subs:  Ofosu (for Akinyemi 46), Hobbs (for Muya 46), Nurettin (for Dawkin 82) Rudman and Jeckells. Cards:  Tann (Y – 36), Roberts (Y – 71), Longden (Y – 90) Goals:  none   Histon:  Gerrar, Norman, Sibanda, Bexfield, Smith, Rumens, Carden, McGeorge, Oyinson, Auger, Freeman Subs:  Fulcher, Allen and Ourtilbour (none used). Cards:  Smith (Y – 90) Goals:  none   Attendance: 293 Referee: Michael George (Norwich)   John Walker  
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 16:51
  Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN      3         BIDEFORD AFC      1   Dipo Akinyemi, making only his second appearance in St Neots colors set The Saints on the way to a vital victory over bottom of the league Bideford. With the sides in the relegation zone now picking up points St Neots needed to climb further away from the scrap at the bottom and although they were expected to beat a side that had to make a 500 miles Tuesday evening round trip for this match, the pleasing thing was the manner in which the victory was secured.   St Neots refused to show anxiety when their first half superior possession failed to produce a goal and they bossed the second half despite the visitors showing an improvement once the goals started to come.   Another plus was that recovering Drew Roberts played only his second full match coming through without any problems and now as match fitness returns he could be a key figure in St Neots aim to retain their slot at Step Three. Roberts’ inclusion in the starting line-up for youngster Claudio Ofosu and the return in goal of Andy Wilton for the injured Ben Jackson were the only team changes from the weekend. There was a slow start to the match with Dipo Akinyemi shooting wide from distance at one end and Billy Tucker repeating the feat at the other. However, St Neots soon settled and played some attractive football that just lacked the finishing touch. Around the quarter hour mark, the home side won five successive corners as Bideford struggled to clear their lines and from the fifth Jamie Anton sent a Drew Roberts cross narrowly over the bar.  After eighteen minutes as St Neots continued to dominate both Peter Clark and Tom Meechan both forced excellent saves from visiting goalkeeper Kyle Moore whilst Bideford’s only reply was a 30 yards’ free kick by Stephen Reed that sailed harmlessly over the crossbar. Meechan saw a shot deflected after 32 minutes and from the resultant Roberts’ corner Tom Ward headed against the crossbar.   Meechan, in full flight towards goal, was then brought down by Billy Tucker earning the Bideford player a booking and the goalless first half ended with Ward bringing a useful save from Moore following a Josh Dawkin free kick. Three goals in the first ten minutes of the second half livened up the match. After three minutes Tom Meechan went close with a shot that fizzed across the goal after good work by Josh Dawkin and a minute later St Neots determination was rewarded when Peter Clark fed a perfectly weighted through ball on the right and Dipo Akinyemi sidestepped a rash challenge by onrushing goalkeeper Moore to turn and slot the ball into the empty net from a narrow angle.  Four minutes later Brett Longden won the ball in his own half and went down the left before cutting into the centre to unleash a fierce right footed shot into the roof of the net. Two minutes later St Neots were guilty of losing concentration as they failed to cut out a cross and Kevin Squire turned the ball into the net to halve the deficit.  However, this was only a temporary setback as the home side were soon dictating play again with Clark, Roberts and Longden all close to increasing their lead. The clinching goal came fifteen minutes from time when the under pressure Chris McGrath turned a teasing Dawkin corner into his own net and there was no way back for the travel weary visitors as St Neots easily saw out time.   St Neots:  Wilton, Casey, Longden, Tann, Ward, Anton, Roberts, Clark (P), Meechan, Akinyemi, Dawkin Subs:  Ofosu (for Akinyemi 72), Lewis (D) (for Meechan 87), Hobbs, Muya and Jeckells Cards:  Longden 9 (Y – 71) Goals:  Akinyemi (49 mins), Longden (53 mins), McGrath OG (75 mins)    Bideford:  Moore, Barker, Reed, Chamberlain, McGrath, Odufin, Bye, Tucker, Squire, Wilson, Andrew Subs:  Fyneboy (for Chamberlain 77), Barker (for Wilson 83) and Harrison. Cards:  Tucker (Y – 36) Goals:  Squire (55 mins)   Attendance: 167 Referee: Sam Lewis (Ampthill)   John Walker  
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