Monday, 17 April 2017 19:58
Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN       2         DUNSTABLE TOWN      0       St Neots secured their place at Step Three in the National League system next season with this workmanlike victory over visitors Dunstable Town.   A goal in each half was enough against a side that offered little in terms of attacking play and had the woodwork not saved the visitors twice, the victory would have been even more convincing.   Dunstable had little to play for with their berth at this level assured but St Neots knew that three points would be sufficient regardless of results elsewhere.   They now go into their final league match at St Ives with lodgers Cambridge City who must win to stay up and that would be dependent on the results of Kings Langley (away at relegated Cirencester) and Dorchester (away at Stratford).   St Neots had paved the way for their survival with that unexpected but deserved victory over League champions Chippenham forty-eight hours earlier so this result just rounded off a significant finish to the season with this being only their third clean sheet in the league this season.   Manager Matt Clements was able to name an unchanged starting line up with James Tricks returning from suspension on the substitutes bench. The visitors began well as St Neots struggled to find an early rhythm.   In the first twenty minutes, all St Neots had to offer was a Jevani Brown volley that sailed harmlessly over the crossbar but Dunstable might have scored through Claudio Diaz who sent a free kick in a dangerous position wide of target and then Bradley Hewitt won a corner in the air but put his effort over the crossbar.   Gradually St Neots seemed to shed their nerves with Brown leading the way picking up a Declan Rogers cross to shoot just over.   Then Rogers hit a 30 yards’ free kick past the keeper only to see the ball rebound from a post and Brown followed up to force a full length save by Jack Smith.   Now St Neots were well in control and skipper Micky Hyem saw a volley blocked and Lewis Wilson saw a volley rebound from the woodwork.   The important breakthrough came on 34 minutes when a teasing Rogers free kick was won in the air by Lee Clarke who powered home a header for only his second goal of the season.   Dunstable replied with a rather untidy attack that saw Tom Wood clear off the line but St Neots fully deserved their slender half time advantage. As in the first half Dunstable made a determined start after the break.   Alex Archer who had been largely untested in the first 45 minutes did well two minutes after half time to paw away a cross from Diaz with players lined up at the far post and then from a Harry Bean cross, Josh Oynisan won the ball in the air but headed over.   St Neots then began to regain their control with Tom Knowles on for the limping Rogers after 59 minutes and he was straight into the action picking out Lewis Wilson whose cross was put over the bar by Fernando Bell-Toxtle.  Archer did have to save at full stretch from substitute Adam Moussi and the hard-working Bell-Toxtle had another opening which he directed into the side netting.  St Neots then saw out the final ten minutes in relative comfort with Brown being brought down in the area by the goalkeeper with six minutes left.   The goalkeeper deservedly picked up a caution at Brown tucked away the penalty – his nineteenth goal in twenty matches – to clinch the points and St Neots survival.   St Neots:  Archer, Norman, Butler, Clarke, Wood, Parr, Rogers, Bell-Toxtle, Wilson, Hyem, Brown Subs:   Knowles (for Rogers 59 mins), Tricks (for Wilson 65 mins), Partridge (for Bell-Toxtle 86 minutes), Williams and Dean. Cards:  Hyem (Y – 22)   Goals:  Clarke (34 mins), Brown – pen (84 mins)   Dunstable:  Smith, Reynolds, Bean, Longe-King, Hewitt, Pepera, Verney, Diaz, Oyinsan, Green (J), Olukanmi   Subs:  Moussa (for Verney 63 mins), Odofin (for Diaz 65 mins), Esso (for Olukanmi (81 mins), Green (D) and Fontonelle.   Cards:  Smith (Y – 84), Oyinsan (Y – 88), Reynolds (Y – 45+3)   Goals: none Attendance: 307   Referee: Tom Donnelan (Leighton Buzzard)   John Walker
Sunday, 16 April 2017 09:05
Southern League Premier Division      CHIPPENHAM TOWN       1        ST NEOTS TOWN        2    The Biggleswade victory over Leamington on Good Friday had handed Chippenham the Southern League Premier Division Championship and a place in the National League South next season and so St Neots were supposed to play the supporting role as the home side and their huge crowd celebrated their first ever place at Step Two in the football pyramid.   However, the visitors had issues of their own with their place in the Premier Division next season still at stake and so they produced a gargantuan display to return home from Wiltshire labelled as party-poopers.   So, with three of the four teams below then all winning over the weekend St Neots remain four points above the drop with just two matches remaining.   It was an all-round team performance with goal ace Jevani Brown again producing the goals to take his personal tally to eighteen in just nineteen matches but each player put in a valuable shift on the day to earn the three priceless points against a side unbeaten in their last twenty-three matches.  The one team change saw Jonny Butler come in at full back for the unavailable Jonny Herd. The St Neots players formed a guard of honor to welcome their hosts onto the pitch at the start of the match but that is where the hospitality finished.   Lining up in an attacking 4-3-3 formation St Neots took the game to the Bluebirds from the start and had much the better of the first half.   After Alex Archer had to save at the feet of David Pratt in the first attack of the game St Neots settled quickly to their game plan and reward came early after just ten minutes when Taylor Parr headed a long clearance from goalkeeper Darren Chitty back over the heads of the defence and with a burst of speed Jevani Brown won the ball to lob over the advancing goalkeeper.   St Neots then took over as Lee Clarke did his best to find his way onto the score sheet heading wide before bringing a good save from Chitty with a clever lob, and then rifling a low shot through the defence just the wrong side of a post.  The only real threat from Chippenham came from set pieces with Jamie Andrews testing Archer from a free kick and Will Richards heading over from a corner by Matt Smith.  Just past the half hour Chitty had to dive full length to push away a well-directed effort by Brown and Lewis Wilson shot wide.   The half ended with Archer saving comfortably from Matt Smith and St Neots went to the break well deserving of their advantage. Within 35 seconds of the restart there was high drama as Jevani Brown was brought down by Chitty in the penalty area and after receiving lengthy treatment the keeper looked very lucky only to receive a yellow card but Brown calmly slotted home the resultant spot kick to double St Neots’ lead.   Chippenham were then clearly a side on a mission as they threw on two attacking substitutes and clearly went for goal.   Now St Neots defence was tested but with Tom Wood and Taylor Parr in superb ariel control St Neots weathered the storm for around 25 vital minutes.   On the break, St Neots almost scored again when Brown was played clear by Wilson but Chitty saved with his legs.   Matt Smith headed over the bar after Archer had misjudged a cross and after 71 minutes the Bluebirds were back in the game when after a further spell of pressure and three successive corners Alex Ferguson was perfectly placed to crash home after a great run by Pratt.   Less than a minute later Pratt again eluded defenders to go clear but Archer left his line to block at his feet.   Declan Rogers had a shot blocked at the other end and Chitty made up for his earlier error by producing a full length save from Wilson.   In the last five minutes plus no less than eight minutes added time St Neots began to look more comfortable and created two late chances with Clarke having his shot blocked and Brown setting up Hyem whose shot was pushed away by Chitty.  And then the celebrations for both sides began - St Neots for their victory – Chippenham for their title. St Neots:  Archer, Norman, Butler, Clarke, Wood, Parr, Rogers, Bell-Toxtle, Wilson, Hyem, Brown Subs:   Partridge (for Rogers 83 mins), Knowles, Williams and Dean. Cards:  Hyem (Y – 81) Goals:  Brown 2 (10 & 46 mins – pen)   Chippenham:  Chitty, Bowman, Felix, Baggridge, Tindle, Richards, Ferguson, Smith, Pratt, Andrews, Guthrie Subs:  Jones (for Felix 55 mins), Horgan (for Baggridge 55 mins), Pook (for Bowman 73 mins), Beeden and Allen Cards:  Chitty (Y – 46) Goal: Ferguson (71 mins) Attendance: 1146 Referee: Stephen Oakey (Cheltenham)     John Walker
Sunday, 09 April 2017 15:17
  Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN       2         MERTHYR TOWN       3         St Neots suffered their tenth home defeat of the season as they were searching for points to ensure their survival at Step Three.   However, it should have been a totally different outcome after they had led 2-1 with just eight minutes remaining.   Clearly Merthyr, looking to preserve their play-off bid, did not know when they were beaten and they broke home hearts with two goals in six minutes at the death.    Manager Matt Clements admitted to being ‘gutted’ by the result and agreed that had his side taken a reasonable percentage of the chances they created all three points were there for the taking.  There was just a single team change with Fernando Bell-Toxtle coming in for Shane Hill who reported sick on the day and he performed extremely well adding pace and determination to St Neots’ midfield.  There was also a birthday goal for Declan Rogers who last league goal was scored on 19th December.   Now a trip to likely League champions Chippenham Town next Saturday is looking a very tall order.   St Neots began in generous mode gifting their visitors with a second minute opener when Taylor Parr stretching to reach an Ian Traylor cross only succeeded in turning the ball past his own goalkeeper.   To their credit, St Neots refused to be fazed by this setback and they set about retrieving the damage in some fashion.   It took just 14 minutes for them to be back on terms as Jevani Brown spotted Fernando Toxtle’s late run into the area and picked him out for him to find Declan Rogers who finished well.   Merthyr looked stunned and were relieved when Jarred Wright cleared a Taylor Parr header off the goal line with his goalkeeper well beaten.   Skipper Micky Hyem then looped in a narrow-angled shot which Oliver Davies stretched to tip on to the bar whilst at the other end two long range efforts by Corey Jenkins were both off target.   The Referee then missed a clear handball in the Merthyr penalty area to St Neots dismay but the home side kept up their pressure and were rewarded after 33 minutes when Lee Clarke met a lengthy Jonny Herd throw to head past Davies for his first goal of the season.   St Neots were now well in control with Lewis Wilson bringing a save from Davies and Jevani Brown just failing to reach a long Herd cross.   St Neots’ half time instructions were clearly ‘more of the same’ but they failed to find the rhythm that had made them so dominant prior to the break.  However, they still created chances with Rogers sending a snap shot just the wrong side of a post, and Jevani Brown being cynically brought down by the keeper when he looked like adding to the lead.   To the surprise of most, the Referee only brandished a yellow card at the lucky custodian and the free kick was cleared.  After an hour Merthyr decided they needed to regenerate their attack sending on all three permitted substitutes and adopting a positive attacking approach.   To some extent this paid off as St Neots were forced back on the defensive and St Neots only real chance of increasing their lead fell to Rogers whose volley was brilliantly turned away by Davies at full stretch.   With just eight minutes remaining Merthyr won two successive corners and from the second floated in by Scott Barrow, defender Jarred Wright got the vital touch from close range to level the scores.   Now the initiative was firmly with the visiting side and they set up further late attacks with both Keyon Reffell and substitute Kyle Copp bringing saves from Alex Archer.   However, with two minutes left Merthyr poached the winning goal as a long throw by Barrow was only cleared as far as Ian Traylor on the edge of the penalty area and he fired a low shot through a crowd of players for the winning goal.     St Neots:  Archer, Norman, Herd, Clarke, Wood, Parr, Rogers, Bell-Toxtle, Wilson, Hyem, Brown   Subs:   Knowles (for Wilson 86 mins), Partridge Williams and Butler   Cards:  Parr (Y – 72)   Goals:  Rogers (14 mins), Clarke (33 mins)       Merthyr:  Davies (O), Davies (A), Barrow, Evans, Wright, Tancock, Jenkins, Richards, Prosser, Reffells, Traylor   Subs:  Patton (for Prosser 60 mins), Copp (for Jenkins 60 mins), Bull (for Tancock 60 mins), Harris and Bowen   Cards:  Davies (O) (Y – 59)   Goals: Taylor Parr OG (2 minutes), Jarred Wright (82 mins), Ian Traylor (88 mins)     Attendance: 187   Referee: Paul Forrester (Luton)       John Walker  
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
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