Saturday, 01 April 2017 18:39
  Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN       1         STRATFORD TOWN       1         With three of the sides below St Neots losing on the day this point could prove valuable but St Neots left the pitch feeling that this draw was more like a defeat.   For more than an hour after taking the lead they dominated much of the match but visitors Stratford coming into the match on the back of two good victories refused to give up and they snatched a point with a good goal thanks to an inspired substitution to maintain their unbeaten record against St Neots in four meetings.   St Neots have only themselves to blame for not taking all three points for they looked likely winners the first 45 minutes but chances went begging and this encouraged Stratford to plug away despite their somewhat feeble efforts in attack.   The point probably assures Stratford of Step Three status next season and their best-ever finish at this level.   St Neots had to make an enforced team change with centre forward James Tricks beginning his three matches suspension but his replacement Lewis Wilson returning to the club after an absence of three years distinguished himself with St Neots all important goal and led the line with enthusiasm and flair.   Now with just four matches remaining St Neots need at least one victory which should be enough to see them retain their status. On a beautiful spring afternoon, the match began dramatically as from St Neots’ kick off they were almost ahead inside less than ten seconds when Shane Hill shot from the half way line, a perfectly directed effort under the bar and the surprised visiting keeper Niall Cooper had to stretch to tip the ball over for a corner.   That seemed to set the tone as St Neots settled and they were deservedly ahead after 17 minutes when skipper Micky Hyem and Jevani Brown combined to free Lewis Wilson on the right and he wriggled past the last defender to score with a low shot from a narrow angle.   After half an hour, the score should have been doubled when once again Brown was the provider setting up Declan Rogers who looked off balance and his header sailed over the bar from just six yards.   Brown twice tested Cooper and had an acrobatic overhead shot blocked whilst Stratford’s only serious effort on goal by Edwin Ahenkora was comfortably saved by Alex Archer.   The St Neots defence looked secure and the first half looked very comfortable with Stratford rarely getting a sight of goal. The pattern continued for a while after the break with Rogers robbing his marker to shoot narrowly wide and Wilson just failing to reach a Brown cross.   Stratford had resorted to shooting from distance and both Ahenkora and William Grocott saw off target efforts fly over the crossbar.   Up for a Brown corner Taylor Parr sent a header just wide but with 66 minutes on the clock the visiting Manager decided there had to be a change of tactics and he sent on substitute Jamie Spencer a former Birmingham City Academy member to boost his attack - this proving to be a pivotal decision.   St Neots had to spend more time defending and they lost some of their impetus as Spencer saw his first effort on goal blocked by Tom Wood.   As the second half progressed Stratford grew in confidence with St Neots looking bent on preserving their slender advantage.   Then with ten minutes left Wood appeared to misjudge a headed clearance and the ball bounced kindly for Spencer whose finish was clinical to level the scores.   St Neots realized their lost opportunity and responded in the final minutes sending on two attacking substitutes but the home defence stood firm until the second minute of added time when substitute Tom Knowles latched on to a Brown through pass and brought a fine point blank save from Cooper who had left his line to narrow the angle.   St Neots now face two of the top five sides in their next two matches as they look to make up for this missed opportunity.   St Neots:  Archer, Partridge, Herd, Clarke, Wood, Parr, Rogers, Hill, Wilson, Hyem, Brown Subs:   Knowles (for Rogers 75 mins), Bell-Toxtle (for Hill 83 mins), L’Ghoul (for Wilson 86 mins), Partridge and Butler Cards:  none Goals:  Wilson (17 mins)   Stratford:  Cooper, Fry, Hancocks, Fitzharris,Thomas, Clark, Forsyth, Grocott, Taylor, Ahenkorah, Marsden Subs:  Tulloch (for Fitzharris 60 mins), Spencer (for Ahenkorah 66 mins), Delfounosos (for Marsden 83 mins), Francis and Stephens. Cards:  Taylor (Y – 88) Goals: Spencer (80 mins)   Attendance: 253 Referee: Stephen Bates (St Albans)    John Walker  
Sunday, 26 March 2017 08:46
  Southern League Premier Division     (played at Beaconsfield on Friday evening)   HAYES AND YEADING     2        ST NEOTS TOWN        0      St Neots returned home on Friday evening disappointed – not only with the result but also with their collective performance against their struggling opponents.      They had wasted a golden opportunity to further their ambition of remaining at Step Three in the National League system next season for their hosts began the match nine points below them, deep in relegation trouble.   Now Hayes will feel they have a lifeline whilst St Neots must maximize their points gathering in their final five matches with two of their opponents vying for automatic promotion or a play-off place.  Although St Neots lined up unchanged they were only a pale imitation of the side that had fought tooth and nail to bring three points home from Kings Lynn three days earlier lacking in ideas and conviction and never really testing the home goalkeeper throughout the match.   In fact, the only real chance they created was when leading scorer Jevani Brown found the outside of a goalpost from a narrow angle.   They now have an extra day’s rest before hosting Stratford Town next Saturday in a ‘must win’ contest.   There was a nervy start to the contest with neither side creating a real opening in the first quarter of an hour but then the visitors launched a promising attack when Brown won the ball well to pick out James Tricks on the left and his perceptive pull back found Declan Rogers on the edge of the area in space but his hurried finish saw the ball sail harmlessly wide.   Five minutes later a long throw from Jonny Herd was knocked down to the same St Neots player but once again his disappointing finish sailed high and wide.   After 26 minutes, goalkeeper Alex Archer showed poor judgement picking up a back pass to concede a free kick in the area.   Fortunately, it was at a wide angle and the entire St Neots team in a wall near the goal line managed to block the resulting fierce free kick.   However, the lack of threat from the visiting team seemed to give confidence to Hayes and they went ahead ten minutes before the break but the goal should have been prevented.  Archer came off his line to try to retrieve a free kick but was clearly overstretched and his punch landed at the feet of Connor Toomey who hit it through the packed penalty area and into the net.   St Neots were their own worst enemy failing to look after the ball when they had possession and they had to rely on shots from distance with Shane Hill putting one effort over the bar and a second, wide.   The defining moment came in the final moment of the first half when a corner from Josh Chamberlain was not cleared and home skipper Tom Broadbent smashed the loose ball past Archer who seemed to be out of position and glued to the spot.   With their priceless two goals’ cushion in place after the interval Hayes settled down happy to look after their advantage.   St Neots had found it difficult to break down their defence in the first half but with added players behind the ball the task became more difficult.   With just six minutes gone Lee Clarke won the ball to send Brown away on the left but he had too little space to work with and his shot from the narrow angle clipped the outside of a post and was cleared.   Another long throw from Herd saw the home defence struggling but Clarke’s effort was wide and then Herd himself forged forward but his effort was also wide.   In that first hour St Neots had had more shots on goal than their hosts but home keeper Danny Boness had enjoyed a quiet evening.   Both sides introduced substitutes in a bid to further their cause and Bradley Fortnum-Tomlinson making his final appearance of his loan period added pace and invention on the left flank but St Neots seldom threatened.   On the break, Hayes were looking good and only a last-ditch tackle by Taylor Parr robbed substitute Mitchell Weiss after he had left his marker for dead.   Herd headed wide and the home keeper saved at the feet of Fortnum-Tomlinson but St Neots attempts to salvage something always looked doomed to failure       St Neots:  Archer, Norman, Herd, Clarke, Wood, Parr, Rogers, Hill, Tricks, Hyem, Brown (J) Subs:   Fortnam-Tomlinson (for Rogers 67 mins), Knowles (for Tricks 67 mins), Bell-Toxtle (for Clarke 79 mins), Butler and Partridge. Cards:  Norman (Y – 87) Goals:  none   Hayes & Yeading:  Boness, Brown (C), Chamberlain,Adebiyi, Broadbent, Smith, Toomey, Kabba, Rose, Hutton, Donnellan Subs:  Jones (for Toomey 64 mins), Weiss (for Rose 66 mins), Whittingham (for Hutton 85 mins), Locke and Kearney Cards:  Rose (Y – 58), Adebiyi (Y – 62), Donnellan (Y – 83) Goals: Toomey (35 mins), Broadbent (45 mins)   Attendance: 177 Referee: Paul Johnson (Lightwater)   John Walker 
Wednesday, 22 March 2017 17:24
  Southern League Premier Division   KINGS LYNN TOWN       1       ST NEOTS TOWN        2            A magnificent backs-to-the wall performance by ten man St Neots against their old foes at Kings Lynn earned them a priceless victory that could well propel them towards Premier Division survival.  Now eight points above the relegation zone with just six matches left their future is very much in their own hands.  It was a contest stained by early controversy as visiting striker James Tricks was issued with a straight red card after just fifteen minutes for the illegal use of an elbow on Ryan Fryatt.   Just two minutes earlier the same pair had clashed with Tricks going down as a result of a similar offence that saw the Lynn man go unpunished.   St Neots then had to play out the final 75 minutes plus added time with just ten men and they rose superbly to the challenge to record their best away league performance of the season.   Central to their victory was two more goals – now sixteen for the season in fifteen starts – for the irrepressible Jevani Brown, but he would be the first to admit credit for the entire team in the extraordinary circumstances.   Following the teams’ disappointing weekend performance at Cirencester, Manager Matt Clements made two team changes bringing in Harry Norman at full back and Shane Hill in midfield and leaving Jacob Partridge and Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson on the bench.   Kings Lynn came into the match after three successive league victories but they found the St Neots defence in commanding form and seldom seriously tested St Neots keeper Alex Archer.   St Neots got the perfect start when they took the lead after just seven minutes.  Shane Hill lobbed a forward pass over the retreating Lynn defence and home keeper Alex Street found himself a yard outside his penalty area and was forced to try to head away the bouncing ball.   His mistimed attempt saw the ball skim off his head to present Jevani Brown with a simple finish.   That was followed by the dismissal and Manager Clements quickly reshaped his side into a 4-4-1 defensive formation leaving the hardworking Brown to take on the entire Lynn defence.   For a time, Lynn dominated possession and set up a wave of attacks that fortunately for the visitors bore little threat.   The home side were then hit when former St Neots skipper Tom Ward limped off with a pulled muscle so they too were forced to reorganize.   Towards the end of the first half St Neots set up several threatening attacks that should have seen them score more goals.   Brown went past three defenders to set up Hill but a bad bounce of the ball saw him fire wide and then Lee Clarke won the ball well to find Brown wide on the left but his attempted chip seemed to stop on the goal line and was retrieved by the keeper.   Gradually frustration seemed to hit the home side after the break as they failed to penetrate the St Neots defence.  Kegan Everington had their best early second half chance but he saw his shot charged down by Tom Wood.   St Neots sent on Fernando Bell-Toxtle for Declan Rogers and he added a pacey dimension to the St Neots counter attacking that saw the side dangerous with Lynn becoming more committed to attacking.   After 74 minutes Jacek Zielonka dwelt on the ball and was robbed by Micky Hyem who made for goal sidestepping the advancing goalkeeper before setting up Jevani Brown for a tap-in finish and two minutes later it could have been game over when Bell-Toxtle broke free of the defence only to be illegally blocked by the advancing Street.   Both players required treatment after which the keeper looked very fortunate only to be shown a yellow card.  With nine minutes left Michael Clunan forced Alex Archer into a finger-tip save – the only time he was seriously extended – as Lynn poured forward and two minutes later they were rewarded when from a Clunan cross Jacek Zielonka drove home a low shot for what was to be Lynn’s consolation goal.  The triumphant visiting side celebrated with their fans at the final whistle what might prove to be a very significant victory.       St Neots:  Archer, Norman, Herd, Clarke, Wood, Parr, Rogers, Hill, Tricks, Hyem, Brown   Subs:   Bell-Toxtle (for Rogers 63 mins), Butler (for Clarke 87 mins), Fortnam-Tomlinson, Partridge and Knowles.   Cards:  Tricks (RED - 15), Brown (Y – 80)   Goals:  Jevani Brown 2 (7 & 74 mins)       Kings Lynn:  Street, Fryatt, Yong, Gaughran, Ward (T), Everington, Clunan, Zielonka, Hilliard, McQuaid, Warburton   Subs:  McWilliams (for Fryatt 15 mins), Ward (C) (for Ward (T) 31 mins), Edge (for Gaughran 45 mins), Lennon and Pearson   Cards:  Street (Y – 76)   Goal: Zielonka (83 mins)     Attendance: 429   Referee: Nigel Smith (Bourne)       John Walker  
Sunday, 19 March 2017 12:48
  Southern League Premier Division   CIRENCESTER TOWN       2        ST NEOTS TOWN        1            St Neots squandered an excellent opportunity to cement their survival at Step Three next season as they served up a below par performance at Cirencester.   Starting the day seven points behind the Saints, the home side knew this was a six-pointer they could ill-afford to lose and in the final analysis they were the better side on the day and deserved their reward.   St Neots never got to grips either with the blustery conditions or the long ball tactics of their opponents and they tried unsuccessfully to beat them at their own game.   Ironically all the sides below St Neots in the table (except Cirencester) were beaten on the day so that was both good news and bad at 5.00pm.   Manager Matt Clements was confused by his sides’ performance particularly in the second half.   ‘We had talked about our shortcomings at half time’ he said ‘and our players were told to slow the pace and play more from midfield to get behind their defenders but they just went out and repeated their first half shortcomings.’   Cirencester without a win in their last six games were there to be beaten but St Neots were nowhere near as effective as they had been in their previous match when they had drawn with Slough Town.   There were two changes in the starting line-up with Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson and Declan Rogers restored to the line up in the place of Tom Knowles and Fernando Bell-Toxtle both of whom were on the bench.   From the start both asides looked incapable of harnessing the weather conditions to their style of play.   There was a total lack of purpose and control in the first quarter of an hour but then the home side created an excellent chance from a Ben Brown free kick that played Kerry Morgan behind the St Neots defence but Alex Archer stuck out a leg at his near post to divert the ball for a corner.   After 23 minutes in their first real attack St Neots went ahead when Lee Clarke broke up an attack and lofted the ball goalwards.   It was not cleared and from just outside the area Jevani Brown maintained his rich run of goal scoring form with a well-placed shot from just outside the penalty area.   The lead lasted just four minutes and then from a deep cross by Dan Demkiv, Alan Griffin slipped his marker to head past Archer.   Archer then did well to turn a snap shot from James Mortimer-Jones over his cross bar with Cirencester looking well in control.   Ten minutes before the break the home deservedly took the lead when from a Morgan corner Elliott Dunton blasted home through a packed penalty area.   The half ended with an early substitution as Tom Knowles replaced the limping Fortnum-Tomlinson.   St Neots needed that different approach upon the restart but it never materialized.  No sooner than Cirencester had kicked off they had created another good opening with Demkiv getting behind the St Neots defence to test Archer from a narrow angle but once again the keepers’ feet saved the day.   The hard-working Griffin was testing the St Neots defence with his physical presence and arial power but he glanced a good chance wide after impressive work by Mortimer-Jones.   St Neots introduced substitute Shane Hill after injury for Clarke to try to vary their approach but Cirencester continued to dominate the attacking play and Archer had to parry a close-range effort by Aidan Bennett.   St Neots best spell came late in the game but was too little too late.   A James Tricks shot was pushed for a corner by home keeper Glyn Garner and the keeper saved well from Jevani Brown.   They kept going deep into injury time when Brown had a shot blocked and Declan Rogers saw his effort deflected for a corner.   Sadly, it was a performance whilst not lacking in effort seemed to contain very little guile or invention and Manager Clements must instill a greater urgency in the remaining seven league matches.       St Neots:  Archer, Partridge, Herd, Clarke, Wood, Parr, Fortnam-Tomlinson, Rogers, Tricks, Hyem, Brown (Jevani)   Subs:   Knowles (for Fortnam-Tomlinson 42 mins), Hill (for Clarke 59 mins), Bell-Toxtle (for Tricks 87 mins), Butler and Norman.   Cards:  Tricks (Y – 51)   Goal:  Jevani Brown (23 mins)       Cirencester:  Garner, Brown (Ben), Dunton, Mortimer-Jones, Coupe, Lidiard, Demkiv, Connolly, Griffin (Alan), Bennett, Morgan   Subs:  Spalding (for Demkiv 68 mins), Diaz-Benitez (for Morgan 82 mins), Thompson, Elliott and Griffin (Charlie)   Cards:  Mortimer-Jones (Y – 38)   Goal: Griffin (27 mins), Dunton (35 mins)     Attendance: 91   Referee: Simon Shaw (Bristol)       John Walker  
Wednesday, 15 March 2017 11:42
  Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN       1         SLOUGH TOWN      1         All the drama and tension in this match came in the final three minutes plus a generous addition of added time.   Playing against third in the table Slough Town who were bidding to cement their play-off place, St Neots showed the true grit and determination that Manager Matt Clements has instilled to persevere to earn an 87th minute penalty kick coolly dispatched by the in-form Jevani Brown, his “lucky” thirteenth goal in as many starts for the Club.   That sparked controversy with a Slough player booked for his protests and the visiting Manager’s protests so voluble that he was shown a straight red card.  After a second half dominated by the Saints it seemed that playing out the last few minutes to earn that valuable point was a formality but that was far from the truth.   Slough reacted positively pushing everyone forward in a bid to find a winning goal and in the fifth minute of added time Lee Clarke clipped the heels of a player in the penalty area and Referee Anthony Pope pointed dramatically to the other penalty spot.   As Saints supporters held their breath Slough substitute James Dobson sent his spot kick high over the bar and the point was safe.   The unchanged home team line up thoroughly deserved their point and could have even improved on that had their finishing matched their second half domination but with Cambridge City losing and Hayes and Yeading only picking up a point St Neots stay six points clear of the relegation zone.   The game had got off to a lively start with St Neots back four doing well to contain some pacey attacking notably with the visiting full backs adding width to the visitors’ attack.  An early shot by Chris Flood was deflected over the bar but on the break St Neots saw a Micky Hyem shot deflected wide and Jevani Brown’s first effort flashed across the face of goal.   A fierce shot by Gavin James was deflected into the air and spiraled down to strike a goalpost before being cleared but after 18 minutes the visitors were ahead when with the ball bobbling around in the penalty area Simon Dunn totally mis-hit a low shot that trickled inside the far post for Slough to go in front.  At the other end Jonny Herd beat two defenders to shoot narrowly over the bar and his long throws were causing concern to the visiting defence and from one of those James Tricks was upended but penalty appeals waved away.   Just before the break Slough had a period of pressure winning a free kick from Manny Williams that was saved at the second attempt by Archer.   If Slough had finished well before the break they then had to defend well upon the restart as a determined St Neots came back impressively restricting their visitors to break away attacks.  In one of those Chris Flood outjumped Archer to win a Webb cross but his header was wide of its target.   Tom Knowles was looking lively down either flank and he went around two defenders but fired over the bar and he then set up James Tricks whose shot was blocked by a defender.   Slough tried to slow the pace sending on all three permitted substitutes and despite St Neots domination the visitors still looked threatening on the break and from a narrow angle Flood brought an important save from Archer who pushed his fierce drive over the bar.   As the half progressed St Neots’ momentum was building and Tricks bamboozled the visiting defence to send a low cross in front of goal with Brown just unable to get that vital touch.   Substitute Declan Rogers looked a useful addition to the St Neots attack and it was he who was hauled down by Guy Hollis earning that dramatic penalty goal for Brown.   If St Neots seemed relieved by their equalizer they still had to suffer that lengthy spell of added time but they finished with that point and that was their just desert.       St Neots:  Archer, Partridge, Herd, Clarke, Wood, Parr, Knowles, Bell-Toxtle, Tricks, Hyem, Brown (J) Subs:   Rogers (for Bell-Toxtle 57 mins), Fortnam-Tomlinson (for Knowles 69 mins), Brown (L), Butler and Norman. Cards:  Knowles (Y – 40), Partridge (Y – 43), Wood (Y – 90+4) Goal:  Jevani Brown – pen – (87 mins)   Slough:  Walker-Harris, Fraser, Stonehouse,Hollis, Smart, Togwell, Williams, Dunn, James, Flood, Webb Subs:  Dobson (for Williams 52 mins), Bunting (for James 67 mins), Harris (for Webb 74 mins), Nisbet and Putman. Cards:  Smart (Y – 87) plus Manager Jon Underwood (RED – 87) Goal: Dunn (19 mins)   Attendance: 210 Referee: Anthony Pope (Braintree)   John Walker  
Sunday, 12 March 2017 17:43
  Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN       1         REDDITCH UNITED       0         St Neots second clean sheet in a league match this season (the previous one in August) contributed to a priceless three points from their match with visiting Redditch.   The other major contributory factor was a man-of-the-match performance by defender Taylor Parr returning from a two-match suspension as he produced a master class in defending – especially in the air.   Almost inevitably the solitary match winner came from in form Jevani Brown who took his tally to twelve goals in as many matches.   Now six points clear of the drop zone St Neots future seems to be in their own hands and if they can build on their recent record of four wins in six outings their survival is beginning to look possible.   Parr’s return meant that Jonny Butler was consigned to warming the subs bench and the other team change saw Tom Knowles given his first start in place of Bradley Fortnum-Tomlinson.   Redditch came to the Premier Plus Stadium with a perfect record of four wins in four visits so this result should act as a significant confidence builder for Matt Clements’ side.   The first half was edgy and although St Neots looked well in control with dominant possession they seldom seriously tested the visiting keeper.   In the first twenty minutes James Tricks scuffed a good opening wide after neat work by skipper Micky Hyem, Tom Knowles cut in from the right to see his effort deflected and Taylor Parr tested the keeper with a lengthy free kick that threatened to creep in under the crossbar.   The best first half move came from a quickly taken free kick by Hyem that freed Jevani Brown on the left and his angled low shot was pushed for a corner by Bradley Catlow.  The first Redditch attempt on goal came on the half hour when Jhai Dhillon overlapped but sent his shot into the side netting.   Knowles shot high over the bar after neat work by Lee Clarke and the first half ended with two bookings for visiting players as they tried every measure to hold up St Neots’ attacking intentions.   The second half began as a more open contest.   Charles Morris looked very fortunate to only see yellow when he pulled back Jevani Brown in full flight towards goal but Redditch were looking more positive and Alex Archer had to dive bravely at the feet of Dhillon to smother his close-range shot.   Redditch substitute Dior Angus almost snatched a goal against the run of play with an opportunist snap shot that rattled Archer’s crossbar and St Neots clearly signaled their intent to improve their finishing sending on two attacking substitutes with just over half an hour remaining.   After 63 minutes Jevani Brown was again brought down in full flight earning his opponent another yellow card and from the well struck free kick Bradley Catlow had to go full length to his left to push away Declan Rogers’ low effort.   Substitute Bradley Fortnum-Tomlinson was using his pace to good effect and he went around his marker to shoot into the side netting before the keeper fielded a lengthy effort from Hyem.   Still looking for that elusive winning goal St Neots sent on Luke Brown for the tiring James Tricks and at this point the visitors were defending in numbers clearly happy with a point.   All that changed eight minutes from time when the winning goal arrived as Jevani Brown produced a superb swinging shot from 25 yards that nestled in the net after bisecting post and bar.   Of course, Redditch sought to claw something back and they won three late corners but the St Neots defence held firm and the home side then twice broke away and could have scored another goal but Luke Brown’s shot rebounded from Catlow’s legs as he dived the wrong way and Fortnum-Tomlinson again rounded his marker but saw his shot land on the roof of the net.       St Neots:  Archer, Partridge, Herd, Clarke, Wood, Parr, Knowles, Bell-Toxtle, Tricks, Hyem, Brown (Jevani)   Subs:   Fortnam-Tomlinson (for Bell-Toxtle 59 mins), Rogers (for Knowles 59 mins), Brown (Luke) (for Tricks 84 mins), Butler and Norman.   Cards:  Tricks (Y – 56)   Goal:  Jevani Brown (82 mins)       Redditch:  Catlow, Cullinane-Liburd, Dhillon, Fernandes-Mendes, Brown (Jordan), Courtney, Periera-Da-Viega, Benjamin, Keen, Bailey-Nicholls, Morris   Subs:  Angus (forPeriera-Da-Viega 46 mins), Mitchell (for Bailey-Nicholls 71 mins), Loveridge (for Morris 75 mins), Campbell and Hussain.   Cards:  Fernandes-Mendes (Y – 40), Periera-Da-Viega (Y – 45), Morris (Y – 53), Cullinane-Liburd (Y – 63)   Goal: none   Attendance: 228   Referee: Gareth Viccars (Milton Keynes)       John Walker  
Sunday, 05 March 2017 13:12
Southern League Premier Division   LEAMINGTON      2        ST NEOTS TOWN      0        Now unbeaten in seven matches, second in the table Leamington are staging a determined bid to reignite their season hoping to win the coveted one automatic promotion place back to the National League.   On the day, their greater experience and determination condemned visiting St Neots to defeat but the visitors’ overall performance was not too bad.   The first half was evenly shared with St Neots coming back from a slow start to test the home defence before the break.   However once Leamington had gone ahead with a well created and finished goal early in the second half they settled to dominate the later stages.  The other significant factor was that the home side had a carefully thought out plan to snuff out St Neots danger man Jevani Brown who was double marked for much of the game.   When the two sides had met at St Neots in October the visitors had won by a single goal but interestingly the St Neots line-up that day featured only Alex Archer and Michael Hyem in the starting eleven for this return fixture.   With Taylor Parr serving the final match of his suspension, Manager Matt Clements named an unchanged side. Winning the toss St Neots elected to play with wind advantage but in the early stages that seemed to count against them with many of their attacks breaking down with the ball too far ahead of their strikers.   Leamington did had early chances with Ahmed Obeng setting up Callum Gittings whose shot was blocked by Jonny Butler and then leading home scorer Courtney Baker-Richardson shot wildly off target.   The home side then had to make an early substitution when Joe Magunda was injured and Obeng then squandered a golden opportunity shooting wide after being played clear of the defence.   St Neots began to compete better with Jevani Brown running at the home defence but they lacked finishing until 41st minute when from a Brown free kick, Lee Clarke won the ball in the air only to see his effort deflected just wide by a defender on the goal line.  From the corner the ball again fell to Clarke but he shot over the bar. Although just after the restart Jonny Butler headed narrowly wide from a Brown corner, the St Neots bad habit of leaking an early second half goal once again materialized.   After 51 minutes Leamington built a very slick attack that shredded the St Neots defence.   Quick exchanged passes by Obeng and Gittings saw the latter pick out an overlap by Connor Gudger and his accurate pull back set up Jack Edwards for a free header at the far post and the opening goal.   Five minutes later Alex Archer pulled off a point blank save from Gittings but St Neots then thought on the hour that they should have had a penalty kick when Brown was heavily brought down by a combination of two defenders but the Referee waved play on.  Gittings then saw a shot clip the outside of a post but St Neots were competing well and James Tricks was clearly held back by Gudger earning St Neots a free kick on the edge of the area but the free kick was wasted.  Then after 64 minutes Leamington opted for a second substitution sending on Richard Gregory for Obeng and within twenty seconds of his introduction he had scored his sides’ significant second goal with his first touch.   St Neots almost clawed their way back into the game five minutes later when Brown’s snap shot clipped the cross bar but Leamington clearly felt that protecting their two goals cushion was the priority.   St Neots sent on Luke Brown for Lee Clarke playing two up front but this only lasted a few minutes before Tricks had to limp off injured.   St Neots had the last word when substitute Tom Knowles forced a full length save from home keeper Tony Breeden. St Neots:  Archer, Partridge, Herd, Clarke, Wood, Butler, Fortnam-Tomlinson, Bell-Toxtle, Tricks, Hyem, Brown (J) Subs:   Knowles (for Fortnam-Tomlinson 59 mins), Brown (L) (for Clarke 72 mins), Rogers (for Tricks 78 mins), Norman and Dean. Cards:  Fortnam-Tomlinson (Y – 28), Hyem (Y – 45), Butler (Y – 81)   Goals:  none   Leamington:  Breeden, Taundry, Gudger, Pond, Hood, Magunda, Baker-Richardson, Goddard, Obeng, Edwards, Gittings   Subs:  Mace (for Magunda 24 mins), Gregory (for Obeng 64 minutes), Powell (for Goddard 78 mins), Thompson-Brown and George.   Cards:  Pond (Y – 81)   Goals: Edwards (51 mins), Gregory (64 mins) Attendance: 582 Referee: Robin Cox (Banbury)     John Walker
Tuesday, 28 February 2017 19:34
Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN       5        KINGS LANGLEY       2        Jevani Brown claimed his second hat trick in successive home matches to win a ‘six-pointer’ encounter at a blustery Premier Plus Stadium and help his side complete a double over visiting Kings Langley.   That took his personal tally to eleven goals in just ten matches following his arrival from Stamford in January.   St Neots moved up alongside Kings in the league table with an inferior goal difference and they are now three points above the relegation trapdoor with a game in hand.  With defender Taylor Parr suspended, Manager Matt Clements had to tinker with his defence and he brought in former Stevenage defender Jonny Butler alongside Tom Wood for only his third start.   Elsewhere Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson had recovered from injury to be preferred to Nassim L’Ghoul and Jacob Partridge took over at full back from Harry Norman.   The visitors like St Neots are now embroiled in the relegation dogfight but they showed little fight in a match that St Neots dominated for long periods.  Assistant Manager Lee Clarke was in the starting line-up for the first time this season after his lengthy injury absence and his physical presence in midfield was an important factor in the victory. Appropriately Jevani Brown had the first shot of the match bringing a full-length touch around a post from visiting keeper Xavi Lomas after just three minutes.   With the wind in their favour St Neots took the game to their visitors and after just nine minutes a long throw from Jonny Herd was not cleared and Brown slotted home from ten yards.   Herd’s long throws were to be a feature of the first half although Lomas quickly answered the threat by leaving his line to punch clear.   Gary Connolly clear off the line from Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson with his keeper beaten and he was beaten again after 18 minutes when Brown slotted home from the penalty spot after Lee Clarke had been fouled by Jorell Johnson to make it 2-0.  In a breakaway attack, Kieran Turner lifted the ball over Alex Archer but it bounced on top of the bar and away to safety.   For a second time a goal line clearance denied Fortnam-Tomlinson as St Neots continued to dominate but St Neots were almost caught out by another breakaway when Alex Archer ten yards outside his area bundled Jerry Amoo to the ground and was booked.   However, he made amends pushing the resultant free kick by Michael King for a corner.   Seven minutes before the break a Fortnam-Tomlinson cross found the head of Micky Hyem who brought a good one handed parry from Lomas but Ferdinand Bell-Toxtle was perfectly placed to rap the ball home for the third goal – his first for St Neots. Kings came out after the interval with a very determined approach and inside two minutes had a stroke of good fortune when they pulled a goal back as a Michael King shot took a wicked deflection to beat Archer who was helplessly diving the wrong way.   The visitors’ recovery never really gathered much momentum despite putting on all three substitutes early in the second half.   Lomas needed two attempts to keep out an effort by James Tricks but the visitors did manage two notable efforts with Archer saving from two of the substitutes in quick succession.   Micky Hyem had a shot saved as St Neots contained the efforts of their visitors and the result always looked assured but there was a sting in the tail with a dramatic finale with three goals arriving in the last four minutes.   Jevani Brown joyfully completed his hat trick from a cross by substitute Tom Knowles as the clock showed 90 minutes completed but another deflected shot this time by Michael King made the score 4-2 three minutes later deep into added time.   It was St Neots who had the last word because from the restart substitute Tom Knowles was again played free on the left and he rounded his marker to fire in a low cross turned into his own net by Gary Connelly.   It was St Neots’ third consecutive home league victory in a fortnight.   St Neots:  Archer, Partridge, Herd, Clarke, Wood, Butler, Fortnam-Tomlinson, Bell-Toxtle, Tricks, Hyem, Brown (J) Subs:   Brown (L) (for Tricks 71 mins), Knowles (for Fortnam-Tomlinson 74 mins), Rogers (for Clarke 88 mins), L’Ghoul and Norman. Cards:  Archer (Y – 24), Clarke (Y – 76)   Goals:  Jevani Brown 3 (9, 18-pen and 90 mins), Bell-Toxtle (38 mins), Gary Connelly (O.G.)(90 + 4 mins)   Kings Langley:  Lomas, Pattison, Balogun, Johnson, Asadu-Adjaye, Connelly, Platt,Plowright, King, Amoo, Turner   Subs:  Cox (for Platt 46 mins), Ward (for Pattison 46 mins), Bush (for Balogun 69 mins), Waldren and Coldicott- Stevens.   Cards:  Balogun (Y – 55), Asadu-Adjaye (Y – 76), Cox (Y – 87)   Goals: King 2 (47 and 90 + 3 mins)   Attendance: 235 Referee: Stephen Bates (St Albans)     John Walker
Sunday, 19 February 2017 15:21
Southern League Premier Division   CINDERFORD TOWN       5         ST NEOTS TOWN       2        St Neots lost to bottom of the table side Cinderford thanks in the main to a 24 minutes’ virtuoso first half hat trick by home striker Karnell Chambers.   The striker who had previously played National League football with Gloucester City tore the St Neots defence apart with his pace and innovative front running and but for a couple of good save by Alex Archer could have increased that personal contribution.   In that disastrous first half, the St Neots defence were woeful.   Vulnerable down both flanks and with the two central defenders trying to cover behind the full backs the St Neots goal looked to be at the mercy of the home team every time they went forward.  After a distinct tactical change at half time the visitors’ performance improved but when you are three goals behind recovery at this level is very difficult.   It was a match, after two consecutive victories, that St Neots could ill-afford to lose and ironically the three points may be of no significance for Cinderford who look doomed to relegation still fourteen points from safety having picked up only seventeen so far this season.   Another blow for St Neots was Taylor Parr picking up his fifth yellow card since December 1st and he now misses the next two matches with no obvious central defender in the squad to replace him.  The starting line-up saw James Tricks preferred up front to Luke Brown and Harry Norman came in at full back for Jacob Partridge who was not fully fit with Nassim L’Ghoul in for the injured Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson. Chambers could have opened his account after 45 seconds when he was left unmarked on the left but to St Neots’ relief he shot wide.  At the other end home stopper Cameron Clarke had to go full length to push away a low shot from Nassim L’Ghoul but after ten minutes the hosts were in front when Sam Hicks went around his full back and when his shot was deflected the ball fell at the feet of Elliot Ford who netted with a low shot.   A minute later in the next attack with the St Neots defence still debating the blame for the first goal Karnell Chambers opened his personal account when he outpaced two defenders and won a chase to the ball on the edge of the area as Archer unsuccessfully tried to beat him to the ball.  And it got worse.  After 15 minutes St Neots found themselves three goals down when Chambers picked up a Hicks long pass from defence to go on and score with a delicate chip as Archer narrowed his shooting angle.   St Neots tried to respond but Fernando Bell-Toxtle shot over the bar after neat work by Micky Hyem and Jevani brown brought a good save from Clarke.  However, after 31 minutes St Neots thought they had a lifeline for after a three man move involving Hyem and James Tricks Jevani Brown curled a delightful shot beyond the keeper to make it 3-1.   Cinderford then reinstated their three goals advantage ten minutes before the break when the irrepressible Chambers completed his hat trick. St Neots Manager sacrificed L’Ghoul after the interval to send on Luke Brown -  a third striker, and reshaped his team into an attacking 4-3-3 formation.   Cinderford cleverly responded pulling their wide players back to soak up the resultant pressure and leaving Chambers up front on his own.   Jevani Brown shot narrowly wide and James Tricks saw one header saved and a second skim the crossbar.   Archer made a lucky save pouncing on a Chambers shot that rebounded from the woodwork and although St Neots were well on top they failed to carve out clear chances.   After 68 minutes, there was a welcome return to the side for leading scorer Declan Rogers who had missed three games through injury and then St Neots slender hopes of a late comeback were snuffed out when in rare Cinderford counter attack Josh Nelmes rose above the St Neots defence to head his sides’ fifth goal after 81 minutes.   There was time for Jevani Brown to claim his eighth goal in just nine matches.   He will be hoping his future efforts can be boosted by some defensive clean sheets.   St Neots:  Archer, Norman (H), Herd, Hill, Wood, Parr, L’Ghoul, Bell-Toxtle, Tricks, Hyem, Brown (J) Subs:   Brown (L) (for L’Ghoul 46 mins), Rogers (for Norman 68 mins), Butler (for Hill (84 mins), Partridge and Dean. Cards:  Parr (Y – 73) Goals:  Jevani Brown 2 (31 & 87 mins)     Cinderford:  Clarke, Kelly, Bloom,Nelmes, Clare, Alderdice, Ford, Welch, Norman (C), Chambers, Hicks  Subs:  Harrhy (for Norman 73 mins), Moonie (for Ford (78 mins), Parry (for Chambers 84 mins), McConie and Michael. Cards:  Hicks (Y – 86) Goal: Chambers 3 (11, 15 & 35 mins), Ford (10 mins), Nelmes (81 mins)   Attendance: 187 Referee: Steven Plane (Tewksbury)     John Walker
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 09:26
Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN       4        CHESHAM UNITED       1 St Neots recorded their second home league victory in four days – only the second time they have won two in a row this season – the last time in August last year.  The match also featured only the second hat trick by a St Neots player this season – the previous by James Hall also in August.   This time their treble marksman was Jevani Brown taking his tally to six in eight matches.   It was a well -deserved victory on the back of a slick all round performance and it recorded a revenge result the side having been beaten at Chesham in the first meeting of the two sides just ten days earlier.  Now three points above the relegation trapdoor St Neots must build on this surge of form to climb further away from a fear of the drop.   The starting line-up featured six players brought in by Manager Matt Clements giving an all-round shape and commitment that had been missing prior to Christmas.  For this fixture, there was just one change in the line-up with Jonny Herd preferred at full back after injury, with Harry Norman dropping to the bench. There was a cautious start to the match after Luke Brown and Jevani Brown saw early efforts go begging.   Chesham’s first threat came courtesy of former Saints favorite Drew Roberts who beat Alex Archer with an angled shot that bounced off the inside of a post into the grateful arms of the keeper.   After Tom Wood had been spared embarrassment with a short back pass that Archer remedied with an important block the game sprang to life with three goals in just five minutes.   First blood to St Neots as Jevani Brown burst into the penalty area after 27 minutes to be hauled down by visiting keeper Ashleigh Jones earning the stopper a yellow card and a conceded penalty kick confidently dispatched by Brown.  Sixty seconds later a lack of concentration cost St Neots as Dave Pearce was left in acres of space on the left and he took full advantage squaring to the unmarked Drew Roberts who was delighted to score against his former team mates.   Three minutes later St Neots were back in front as Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson found Jevani Brown wide right and he cut in before curling a delightful shot around Jones and inside the far post.   On the stroke of half time Micky Hyem should have increased the lead when unmarked in the middle.  He cleverly rounded the final defender but over ran the ball and the chance was lost. The same St Neots player could have made amends for that miss just two minutes after the restart but he blazed over the bar after a neat three-man build-up.  Roberts posed the only real threat to the St Neots defence that was superbly marshalled by Taylor Parr.  Chesham made a couple of substitutions but failed to improve their overall game as St Neots began to dominate.   The one chance on the break for the visitors fell to Sam Youngs but he hooked the ball over the bar from ten yards.   The significant breakthrough came after 71 minutes when Jevani Brown cut through the retreating visiting defence evading two or three lunging tackles before clinically placing the ball beyond the reach of the keeper to complete a memorable hat-trick.   That seemed to break Chesham’s resistance who last act of defiance was to send on veteran striker Barry Hayles but he made little impact on a home defence clearly in no mood to demean the fine work of the hat trick hero.  The home side then had an emphatic final word as two of their substitutes combined to fashion a fourth goal five minutes from time.   A ball out of defence found Cambridge United loanee Tom Knowles on the left and he attacked the visitors with pace before crossing for James Tricks to net at the far post – his first goal for St Neots.   A well-deserved three points for St Neots and suitable reward for their hard work and determination.       St Neots:  Archer, Partridge (J), Herd, Hill, Wood, Parr, Fortnam-Tomlinson, Bell-Toxtle, Brown (L), Hyem, Brown (J) Subs:   Tricks (for Brown (L) 56 mins), Knowles (for Brown (J) 79 mins), L/Ghoul (for Partridge (85 mins), Norman and Clarke (L). Cards:  Brown (J) (Y – 39), Fortnam-Tomlinson (Y – 55) Goals:  Brown (J) 3 (27 mins, 32 mins & 71 mins), Tricks (85 mins)   Chesham:  Jones, Longden, Crilley, Purse, Ujah, Martin, Taylor, Youngs, Blake, Roberts, Pearce Subs:  Hutton (for Martin 56 mins), Little (for Crilley 65 mins), Hayles (for Longden 89 mins), Reece and Hamilton-Forbes. Cards:  Jones (Y – 27) Goal: Roberts (28 mins) Attendance: 148 Referee: Robert Evans (Northampton)     John Walker
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