Wednesday, 21 December 2016 09:31
    Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN       0         ST IVES TOWN        4       Sad St Neots finished up managerless, goalless and clueless as well as comprehensively beaten by neighbors St Ives.   Managerless because of the resignation of Andy Davies that gave Assistant Manager Lee Clarke and Coach Dan Gleeson just 24 hours to prepare for this important match; goalless for the second successive game – the first time that has happened for almost two years; and clueless as to how to cope with a visiting side brimming full with confidence and ideas.    St Ives, now seven games without defeat ran up a 3-0 lead by half time and then having added a fourth early in the second half they were able to coast to victory almost without breaking further sweat.   Forced into a late team change when Taylor Parr reported in sick the home side had to draft Gleeson into defence with Tom Wood returning for James Goode.   St Ives completed a predictable league double to move into the top half of the league table now a massive eleven points ahead of their hosts.   St Neots will take their time to appoint a new permanent boss but he faces a difficult task to reinstate some confidence and belief into the side before trying to lift them out of the relegation zone with less than half the season left. Both sides started cautiously with Nassim L’Ghoul seeing a shot tipped over the bar by Tim Trebes but the visitors almost got an early breakthrough when a shot from Jack Bradshaw following a corner was blocked on the goal line.   It was quickly apparent that St Ives were the more confident side with some slick movement and passing leaving St Neots chasing shadows.   The first goal duly arrived after 18 minutes when a Jack Higgs free kick sailed over the defence for Jack Bradshaw to win unchallenged at the far post.   His header beat Alex Archer but rebounded off the crossbar and Liam McDevitt pounced to hammed a low shot into the net.   Three minutes later a clumsy Jonnie Hall challenge presented the visitors with a free kick just outside the box but Bradshaw’s effort was too high.  Then after 28 minutes St Ives doubled their lead when from a Ben Seymour-Shove cross Danny Kelly got in front of his marker to glance a header across Archer and inside the far post.   St Ives deserved their lead because they were making the most of their possession with St Neots very wasteful with their passing and general ball control.   When they did create attacking moves St Neots’ finishing was poor with Peter Clark shooting wide after good work by Declan Rogers and Sam Mulready heading wide from a Rogers corner,   Five minutes before the break the goal of the match effectively ended the contest as Ben Seymour-Shove cut in from the right to unleash a perfectly placed shot from 30 yards that went in off the far post. St Neots have developed an unfortunate habit of conceding an early second half goal and this match was no exception for after 50 minutes a misplaced clearance by Hall only found former St Neots placer Josh Dawkin and skipped past the last defender to finish well.   St Ives seemed to relax after their fourth goal and St Neots began to create more chances.   Mulready headed over the bar, Charlie Day was well off target and Tom Wood brought a good save from Trebes but the visitors defence looked impregnable with Liam McDevitt and Lee Chaffey in commanding form giving St Neots no time to settle on the ball.   Trebes did have to save well from Rogers after66 minutes at the expense of a corner but St Neots ability to take advantage of set pieces was not as apparent as they had been in recent matches.   St Ives substitute Morgan Penfold missed a glorious chance to extend the lead from a Dubi Ogbonna cross but most of the goalmouth action was at the opposite end.  Trebes produced the save of the match to keep out a Rogers volley, Mulready saw his shot blocked and substitute Andre Williams also tested the visiting goalkeeper.   In a rare breakaway attack a Jack Higgs shot rebounded from the crossbar and St Neots were denied a late consolation goal as Trebes pounded on an overhead effort by Mulready.   St Neots:  Archer, Wood, Jonny Hall, Hyem, Ward, Gleeson, Rogers, Clark, L’Ghoul, Mulready, Day Subs:   Williams (for Gleeson 60 mins), Coldicott-Stevens (for Hall 75 mins), Buddle and Clement-McNee Cards:  none Goals:  none   St Ives:  Trebes, Bradshaw, Jarrold, Chaffey, McDevitt, Higgs, Dawkin, McGowan, Kelly, Ogbonna, Seymour-Shove Subs:  Penfold (for Kelly 67 mins), Cunniff (for Dawkin 75 mins), Coulson (for Seymour-Shove 82 mins), O’Malley and Moyes. Cards:  none Goals:  McDevitt (18), Kelly (28), Seymour-Shove (40) Dawkin (50)   Attendance: 357 Referee: Christopher Francis (Ely)   John Walker  
Sunday, 18 December 2016 15:16
  Southern League Premier Division MERTHYR TOWN       3         ST NEOTS TOWN      0     ‘They were the best side we have played this season’ commented a senior St Neots player after the match and that seemed a very appropriate comment after the visitors had suffered one of their most comprehensive Southern League defeats ever.   Outplayed for much of the ninety minutes, St Neots – and in particular man of the match goalkeeper Alex Archer – did well to restrict their hosts to three goals whilst at the other end of the pitch only the occasional set piece brought the home keeper into action.    Short of ideas and confidence the reshaped visiting side were probably relieved to hear the final whistle as Archer pulled off another good save to deny leading home scorer Kayne McLaggon a second goal.   The St Neots line up saw the return to action of former skipper Tom Ward after a ten-match absence through injury and suspension and he was paired at the heart of the defence with recent signing James Goode because neither Tom Wood or Chevron McLean were available for the lengthy trip to South Wales.   James Hall and Rogan McGeorge are still injured so it  was a threadbare squad and few selection options for Manager Andy Davies.   The main shortcoming on the day was in midfield where Peter Clark and skipper Micky Hyem were well below their best so the front pair got little service and the back four seemed under constant pressure.  On the smart 3G surface St Neots began well enough repelling early attacks by the home side with Archer in early action to smother a close-range effort by Ian Traylor.  St Neots first attempt on goal was an opportunistic and audacious 45 yards’ lob from Declan Rogers who spotted home keeper Oliver Davies off his line after neat work by Nassim L’Ghoul, but the ball sailed just wide of its target.   In another St Neots sortie Peter Clark shot over the bar but most of the action was in the opposite direction with Archer turning a rising McLaggon shot for a corner and then the same player shot across the face of goal.   From a Scott Barrow cross the unmarked Ryan Prosser headed over the bar but after 32 minutes Archer distinguished himself with a staggering double save to deny both Prosser and Keyon Reffell after the St Neots defence had been breached.   Eight minutes before the break the overdue inevitable occurred as Merthyr went ahead as Ian Traylor weaved past three defenders cutting in from the left to beat Archer with a well-placed low shot.   From the restart it should have been a second goal as Traylor picked out the unmarked Prosser ten yards from goal but he headed tamely wide to St Neots’ relief. Any hopes of a St Neots recovery were dashed within four minutes of the restart when St Neots failed to clear a corner and allowed Reffell to retrieve the ball and cross from the right for McLaggon to net through the packed penalty area.   St Neots sent on substitute Josh Coldicott-Stevens for his league debut for the out-of-sorts Nassim L’Ghoul and St Neots showed some defiance as Taylor Parr won a Rogers’ corner but could only head into the arms of the keeper.   Archer then twisted in the air to push a net bound deflected shot from Ashley Evans over for a corner but the Merthyr attacks kept coming and eight minutes from time the unfortunate Archer had to retrieve the ball from his net for the third time when despite getting his hand to a shot from substitute Eliot Richards the ball deflected in off the crossbar.   St Neots created two late set piece opportunities for a consolation goal but Tom Ward headed wide from a Rogers’ corner and then from a second Taylor Parr once again won the ball in the air but Davies saved.   St Neots:  Archer, Parr, Jonny Hall, Hyem, Ward, Goode, L’Ghoul, Clark (P), Rogers, Mulready, Day Subs:   Coldicott-Stevens, (for L’Ghoul 51 mins), Gleeson, Maynard and Clarke (L). Cards:  none Goals:  none       Merthyr:  Davies (O), Davies (A), Barrow, Evans, McDonald, Tancock, Prosser, White, McLaggon, Reffell, Traylor Subs:  Jenkins (for Prosser 70 mins),Richards (for Barrow 77 mins), Watkins (for Traylor 77 mins), Jones and Garner Cards:  none Goals:  Traylor (37), McLaggon (49), Richards (82)   Attendance: 484 Referee: Ollie Williams (Kidderminster)   John Walker  
Wednesday, 14 December 2016 16:40
  League Challenge Trophy Round Two AYLESBURY       3         ST NEOTS TOWN      2   There must have been some relief that this tie was completed at the fourth time of asking but feeble St Neots bowed out of the League Challenge Trophy with a display that was probably their worst of the season against lower graded opposition.   With only one win in their last nine games their form is now almost a carbon copy of that at this time last season that led to the departure of then Manager David Batch.   The side seems to be devoid of confidence and ideas and their lack of composure when in possession is an alarming feature that has become apparent in recent games.   Injury and unavailability once again restricted selection options but this should not be seen as an excuse for effort and performance.   Leading scorer James Hall who had limped off in the previous match was out injured and two further regulars – recently signed Charlie Day and Miles Smith subject of a recent transfer approach were unavailable for selection.   Into the starting line-up came Chevron McLean, Nassim L’Ghoul and a less than fully fit Dan Gleeson but significantly there was a complete lack of experience on the substitutes bench with none of the players having yet appeared for the side.   Aylesbury took close to whole first half to get going but then displayed a desire and team spirit that St Neots would do well to adopt. After a slow start with St Neots totally dominating possession they made the first significant breakthrough on ten minutes when Jonny Hall pushed forward in an unfamiliar wide midfield role provided the cross from which skipper Micky Hyem crashed home his first goal of the season.   The visitors tried to push on against poor opponents and home keeper Kyle Forster saved well from Sam Mulready and Peter Clark but they should have capitalized to a greater extent with Aylesbury barely getting within shooting distance of the St Neots goal.   After 23 minutes the home side did stage a breakaway attack forcing Alex Archer to leave his line and smother at the feet of Ty Deacon but as the forward tumbled Aylesbury appealed for a penalty but this only resulted in the forward being yellow carded for simulation.   Too many promising St Neots openings were halted by the offside flag although Declan Rogers tested the keeper with a free kick and Mulready went clear only to be denied by the tightness of his angle.   A rare Aylesbury opportunity saw Josh Bamford shoot wide but against the run of play the home side levelled after 44 minutes when Archer blocked at the feet of Bamford only for the ball to rebound to Ty Deacon who scored from close range.   However, with in sixty second St Neots had regained the lead when a long clearance was collected by Declan Rogers who accelerated past his marker to net from 25 yards with a confident finish. Just eight minutes after the break before St Neots could build on their slender advantage they were pulled back level again as Dan McAteer floated in a free kick and Ben Stevens got in front of his marker to head home at the near post – and worse was to follow because four minutes later the home side took advantage of some sloppy marking allowing Josh Bamford to claim Aylesbury’s third goal after 57 minutes.   With half an hour remaining there should have been ample time for St Neots to regroup and recover but there was little sign of this.  Nassim L’Ghoul twice sent in crosses to provide the chances but a Rogers shot was deflected for a corner and Mulready shot tamely straight at Forster.   Two shots were scrambled off the line and a late St Neots rally saw a Rogers free kick saved and a Clark effort pass just the wrong side of the far post.   Finally, Aylesbury could have increased the embarrassment as the unmarked Deacon found himself clear on goal but Archer saved at full stretch.   Improvement is required for St Neots – but quickly.   St Neots:  Archer, Wood, McLean, Hyem, Gleeson, Parr, Clark (P), L’Ghoul, Mulready, Rogers, Jonny Hall Subs:  Buddle, Maynard and Clement-McNee (none used) Cards:  none Goals:  Hyem (10), Rogers (45)   Aylesbury:  Forster, Fitzgerald, Emsden, Stevens, Jenkins (J),McAteer, Baigent, Tomlin, Bamford, O’Brien, Deacon Subs:  Carty (for O’Brien 59 mins), Gordon (for Stevens 67 mins), Rusbridger (for McAteer 78 mins), West and Jenkins (A). Cards:  Deacon (Y – 33) Goals:  Deacon (44), Stevens (53), Bamford (57)   Attendance: 50 Referee: Michael Smith (West Drayton)   John Walker  
Sunday, 11 December 2016 14:13
  Southern League Premier Division STRATFORD TOWN       5         ST NEOTS TOWN      2        Some games and performances are best forgotten and this trip to Stratford readily falls in both categories.  For the first 70 minutes St Neots were outplayed almost to the extent of being overrun at times and even an improvement in the final twenty minutes will have failed to eradicate what was one of the team’s most inept performances this season - and it was all meant to be so different.   With players’ back from suspension Manager Andy Davies had almost a full squad to choose from except for Rogan McGeorge whose compounded injury problems have forced him to take a rest.   With striker Sam Mulready back in the side there was an expectation that memories of the 5-1 home reversal seven days earlier could be forgotten and facing the Warwickshire side just one point better off than themselves St Neots knew a victory would lift them out of the relegation spot they have occupied for much of the past three months.   All those hopes took a nasty knock after just four minutes when they conceded the first of five goals and then were completely eradicated in the following eight minutes when they shipped a further two goals.   It was the third consecutive game that the side had found itself behind within four minutes of the first whistle and the main objective now must be to compete more effectively and confidently from the start of the match.   With a tough trip to Wales and an unpredictable derby home match with St Ives their only league commitments before Christmas St Neots now face the prospect of a 2017 relegation dog fight.  After Daniel Summerfield had tested Alex Archer with the first shot of the match after two minutes the keeper’s next action was to retrieve the ball from his net two minutes later when from a Will Grocott cross tall defender Liam Francis rose his above the St Neots defence to open the scoring.   St Neots hardly time to draw breath before four minutes had elapsed and they were 2-0 behind as Mike Taylor got in front of his marker to volley home a cross by Kieran Westwood.   Then after 12 minutes Grocott curled in a free kick that was handled in the packed penalty area by Taylor Parr.   He was booked and Edwin Ahenkorah stroked home from the penalty spot.   In a brief show of defiance James Hall set up Declan Rogers for a shot saved at full length by home keeper Niall Cooper and that was only time in the first half that a St Neots goal looked likely.   James Hall not fully fit after a midweek knock lasted just 26 minutes before limping off to be replaced by Nassim L’Ghoul but the focus was on Stratford setting up wave after wave of attacking moves against the mesmerized St Neots defence.   Francis should have had a second goal heading well wide from a Grocott corner and then James Fry played Taylor clear on the left and he shot across the face of goal with only Archer to beat.   A fourth goal was always on the cards and it came two minutes before the break when Edwin Ahenkorah popped up on the right to go past two defenders to register an impressive solo goal. St Neots really needed a positive start to the second half but their efforts were dashed within two minutes when Edwin Ahenkorah joyfully completed his hat trick with clever footwork and a positive finish.   St Neots’ response was to send on substitute Dan Gleeson and move Tom Wood into midfield for Peter Clark who had failed to impress.   Miles Smith then saved further embarrassment as he cleared off the line from Simeon Tulloch and a Francis volley from a Grocott corner was also blocked.   With twenty minutes left the pattern of the match changed as St Neots seemed to find another gear.  Sam Mulready had a header saved at full stretch by the goalkeeper and with 16 minutes left a delightful chip by L’Ghoul set up Declan Rogers for his eleventh goal of the season.   St Neots grew in confidence and finished well with a Nassim L’Ghoul goal two minutes into added time.   It was too little far too late........   St Neots:  Archer, Smith, Jonny Hall, Hyem, Wood, Parr, Day, Clark (P), James Hall, Mulready, Rogers Subs:   L’Ghoul (for James Hall 26 mins), Gleeson (for Clark 47 mins), Nurettin, McLean and Colicott-Stevens. Cards:  Parr (Y – 12), Clark (Y-31), L’Ghoul (Y – 90) Goals:  Rogers (74), L’Ghoul (90+2)   Stratford:  Cooper, Summerfield, Westwood, Fry, Francis, Clark (G), Tulloch, Grocott, Taylor, Stephens, AhenKorah Subs:  Marsden (for Clark 64 mins), Evans (for Ahenkorah 69 mins), Parker (for Taylor 78 mins), Kalenda and Brathwaite. Cards:  Evans (Y – 77) Goals:  Ahenkorah 3 (12, 43 and 47), Francis (4), Taylor (8)   Attendance: 144 Referee: James Oldham (Derby) John Walker  
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 10:01
  Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN      1         CIRENCESTER TOWN      1        After the horror show on Saturday St Neots produced a considerably improved performance against Cirencester but failed to convert their superior possession into goals.  With man of the match Tom Wood and Miles Smith both back in a bolstered defence after completing their suspensions it was Andre Williams and the unavailable Chevron McLean that gave way resulting in a more confident and rounded approach against a side just one point and one place ahead of them although St Neots still have three matches in hand.   Each had won on the others’ ground last season with Cirencester stealing all three points from their last visit with a late second half goal.   This time St Neots never looked likely to lose with the visitors restricted to breakaway attacks as St Neots created three reasonable chances to each one for the visitors.   Some of the chances should have been converted but the visitors goal led a charmed life with several chances either cleared off the line or blocked.   However, with St Neots not having won a home league match since 15th October they must put a winning sequence in place if they are not to get too far adrift from safety. The visitors arrived very late after motorway hold-ups and so the start was delayed around 15 minutes.   Clearly Cirencester were not affected by their hasty preparation and found themselves in front after just three minutes – the second successive time that St Neots have shipped an early goal.    This time it was a clear goalkeeping mis-judgement as Alex Archer trying to gather a cross-cum shot from the left at his near post could only push the ball up in the air for it to land in the net at the far post via the inside of a post.   To their credit, St Neots were not unduly derailed by this setback and they hit back with the lively Declan Rogers forcing a full length save from Rajaan Gill after some unselfish player by his strike partner James Hall.  Cirencester broke for Dan Demkiv to get behind the St Neots defence but Archer saved with his feet and it was St Neots who were in the ascendancy and after 17 minutes’ defender Jonny Hall sent in a long cross from the left that was converted by brother James who had got in front of his marker.   Rogan McGeorge then linked with Rogers to see his shot blocked and after clever play by Peter Clark, Rogers brought a fine save from Gill.   The keeper then made a full-length fingertip save from the same St Neots player and at that stage a second home goal looked inevitable.   However, the visitors held out until the break looking happy to hear the half time whistle. Upon the re-start, Clark was brought down in full flight towards goal earning a booking for the visiting defender and Cirencester then introduced a couple of substitutes to freshen up their side.   St Neots plugged away without really testing Gill and they could not be faulted for effort but they were predictable in their attacking play and the Cirencester defence seemed able to cope.   McGeorge looked to be struggling so Manager Andy Davies sent on Dan Gleeson pushing Tom Wood into midfield.   St Neots created a couple of late chances in the final ten minutes but Taylor Parr’s low shot was blocked on the line and after clever interplay with Charlie Day, Jonny Hall went clear but saw his shot deflected for a corner.   The visitors’ last attack gave home supporters an anxious moment but Taylor Parr produced an important saving tackle as both sides saved face with appoint apiece.     Match Photos available to view here - Courtesy of Claire Howes       St Neots:  Archer, Smith, Jonny Hall, Hyem, Wood, Parr, Clark, McGeorge, James Hall, Rogers, Day Subs:   Gleeson (for McGeorge 72 mins), Nurettin, Eldridge, Clement-McNee and Coldicott-Stevens. Cards:  none Goals:  James Hall (17)   Cirencester:  Gill, Diaz-Bentez, Scheving, Challis, Brown, Liddiard, Mortimer-Jones, Connolly, Griffin, Demkiv, Hancox Subs:  Spalding (for Challis 63 mins), Bennett (for Hancox 70 mins), Lloyd, James and Youngsam. Cards:  Brown (Y – 48) Goals:  Liddiard (3)   Attendance: 97 Referee: Wayne Porter (Bourne)    John Walker  
Saturday, 03 December 2016 19:49
  Southern League Premier Division   ST NEOTS TOWN      1         HAYES AND YEADING UNITED      5        This result equaled St Neots worst defeat this season and it came in a relegation scrap that they could hardly afford to lose.   They had five players suspended and the team had not played for two weeks after four consecutive postponed matches and it took just 45 seconds for these setbacks to surface when the visitors claimed their first goal thanks to a perfectly placed low shot by Ryan Hope in the first attacking move of the match.     Three of St Neots suspended players are regular members of their defence and the patched up back four struggled throughout against a lively visiting attack.   The side featured four changes from their previous match away at Frome with Jonny Hall and Rogan McGeorge returning after suspension and a debut for midweek signing Charlie Day from Cambridge City.   Youngster Andre Williams making hisfirst start after just two brief substitute appearances completed the line-up with several players slotted in away from their normal positions.   Making their first visit to Town after their relegation from the National League last season, Hayes and Yeading still with a match in hand thoroughly merited their victory as they moved within a point of St Neots in the relegation zone. The match had hardly started before St Neots goalkeeper Alex Archer was picking the ball out of his net having been beaten from 20 yards by a perfectly placed low shot by Ryan Hope after an innocuous looking square pass from Mitchell Weiss.   St Neots looked shell shocked but recovered for Taylor Parr to flick a Declan Rogers free kick across goal and beyond the far post.   A clever chip by Peter Clark then created panic in the visiting defence requiring keeper Danny Boness to produce two brave saves at the feet of James Hall and Rogers as the ball bobbed around the six yards’ box.   However, that brief show of defiance did not last and Archer had to produce a good save to deny the onrushing forwards when Cole Brown beat his marker to cross.   Full back Martin Mahlondo then joined his attack to swap passes with Terence Carter and go clear and his net bound shot was diverted for a corner by Archers’ legs as the keeper appeared to be diving the wrong way.   The visitors were now well on top looking dangerous every time they went forward and after 33 minutes Carter chased a ball that the defence though had gone out of play but he acrobatically returned it to the six yards’ box where Josh Hutchinson was left with a simple tap-in finish.  A minute before the break it was 3-0 when a through ball by Brown split the defence and Hutchinson bore down on goal and as Archer dived at his feet to smother the ball bounced off the keeper onto the striker and into the net for his second goal. St Neots needed a positive early reply after the break if they were to have any hope of reward from the match but within five minutes Brown had the ball in the net – disallowed by an offside flag to St Neots’ relief.   In a bid to bolster the frail looking defence St Neots introduced former Cambridge City player/manager Dan Gleeson signed in the week and he marked his arrival with a header from a corner that flew wide.   Then in four minutes just before the hour mark Hayes and Yeading sealed the result with two further goals.   After 56 minutes a through ball by Manny Adebowale freed Mitchell Weiss who netted and four minutes later Hutchinson became the first visiting player this season to record a hat trick when he beat Archer from fifteen yards.   St Neots continued to try but apart from a Taylor Parr header from a Williams cross that rebounded from the bar they created little.   They did however finish with a consolation goal when substitute Colin Mugoya upended Charlie Day in the penalty area and James Hall scored from the penalty spot.   It was scant reward and left St Neots ruing a very poor performance – payment for their poor disciplinary record and those missing players.   St Neots:  Archer, Hyem, Jonny Hall, McGeorge, McLean, Parr, Williams, Clark, James Hall, Rogers, Day Subs:   Gleeson (for McGeorge 52 mins), Nurettin (for Williams 84 mins), Maynard, Buddle and Coldicott-Stevens. Cards:  none Goals:  James Hall - pen (73)   HandY:  Boness, Evans, Mahlondo, Toomey, Adebowale, Broadbent, Brown, Hope, Weiss, Hutchinson, Carter Subs:  Mugoya (for Evans 567 mins), Kearney (for Hutchinson 70 mins), Everitt (for Carter 77 mins), Taylor and Benton.  Cards:  none Goals:  Hutchinson 3 (33, 44 & 60 mins), Hope (45 secs), Weiss (56 mins)   Attendance: 265  Referee: Wayne Cartmel (Luton)   John Walker  
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 13:48
  Southern League Premier Division   KETTERING TOWN       2        ST NEOTS TOWN       2         For only the second time this season St Neots named an unchanged starting line-up and went very close to recording what would have been their second away victory of the season.  They deservedly led 2-0 at the break after a confident first half performance but with two changes made in their attack Kettering roared back and it was an injury to skipper Tom Ward after 50 minutes that proved crucial to the result.   He picked up a first half knock but took to the field after the break but lasted only five minutes before being replaced by Tom Wood.  He fitted in well but the lack of Ward’s aerial power was exploited by the home side as they pounded the St Neots defence.   The home substitutions were also to prove significant with one of their subs scoring their first goal and the other setting up the equalizer.   The point took St Neots further away from the foot of the table but with Cirencester winning at Cinderford, St Neots dropped a place to 22nd in the table.   The overall performance should have been good enough to boost confidence before Saturday’s visit to the Premier Plus Stadium of second in the table Leamington – one of the promotion favorites.   This was the third meeting of the two teams in just five weeks with each having won at St Neots – the home team in the League Cup and the visitors in the league. The swirling wind was a factor in the early rather uneventful stages of the match with both sides struggling to master the difficult conditions.   The home side adopted an attacking formation with three in attack but St Neots were threatening on the break with Jonny Hall firing wide and brother James seeing a low finish comfortably gathered by Dean Snedker.  At the other end Alex Archer saved well from James Brighton and Spencer Weir-Daley got the ball in the net but was ruled offside.   The break-through came after 21 minutes when Tom Spark lifted a long ball over the defence to find James Hall wide left and he went past the final defender to send a curling shot over the keeper and under the bar at the far post.  Now St Neots seemed to grow in confidence and Micky Hyem had a shot deflected for a corner and an audacious chip by Jonny Hall was saved by the back peddling Snedker.   Kettering created little in reply although Weir-Daley who had scored a hat trick in the win at St Neots flashed a shot inches wide of a post.  A minute before the break St Neots doubled their lead to the delight of the travelling fans when a Declan Rogers free kick was won firmly in the air by Taylor Parr and his knock down was smashed into the net by Sam Mulready to record his fourth goal in as many games. The introduction of substitutes Aaron O’Connor and Liam Canavan after half time clearly indicated Kettering’s intention to strike back.   James Hall did register the first goal attempt of the second half but his effort was too high just prior to the St Neots enforced substitution.   Then for a spell the home side dominated.   Rene Howe headed over the bar from a Brighton corner and after 58 minutes the home side were back in the match as Aaron O’Connor’s pace was too much for the retreating St Neots defence and he beat Archer with a low finish.   Two minutes later the same player was played clear by Canavan but Archer showed great anticipation to block with his legs.   A freak deflection off Peter Clark forced Snedker into a fine save pushing the ball over for a corner and then Archer again was the saviour of his side with a one-handed save to deny Weir-Daley.  However, fifteen minutes from time Jonny Hall mistimed a through ball from Canavan allowing Wilson Carvalho a clear run at goal and he levelled the scores.   In the closing stages Hyem had a volley saved and both Carvalho and O’Connor fired over the bar with Kettering’s final chances.    St Neots:  Archer, Smith, Jonny Hall, Hyem, Ward (T), Parr, Spark, Clark, James Hall, Mulready, Rogers Subs:  Wood (for Wart (T) 50 mins),McGeorge, Heywood, Williams and Ward (C). Cards:  Jonny Hall (Y – 86) Goals:  James Hall (21), Mulready (44)   Kettering:  Snedker, Bateman, Langdon,Solkhon, Haran, Hornby, Carvalho, Weir-Daley, Howe, Hicks, Brighton Subs:  O’Connor (for Weir-Daley 46 mins), Canavan (for Hicks 46 mins), Westwood (for Bateman 73 mins), Kinniburgh and McAlindon Cards:  none Goals:  O’Connor (58), Carvalho (75) Attendance: 374 Referee: Matthew Smith (Leicester) John Walker  
Sunday, 09 October 2016 11:51
  Southern League Premier Division   BASINGSTOKE TOWN      1       ST NEOTS TOWN      0         After two excellent performances and winning results in a Cup match and a friendly it was back to earth with a bump in a league fixture for St Neots.   It was their second single goal away defeat in their last two Saturday league fixtures – both matches which could have been won had they been more positive in front of goal.   The match featured two fairly young and inexperienced sides that looked to be hoping to find some inspiration and on the day the result could have gone either way.   Basingstoke shaded the first half but after the break a more positive and determined visiting side dominated much of the possession and could have returned home with at least a share of the points but it was not to be.   With injuries and suspensions eating in to the squad St Neots paraded Sam Piesse at full back for his Southern League debut and after the break they welcomed back striker James Hall after suspension and gave a first Senior outing from the substitutes bench for Andre Williams currently starring in the U18 side.   But it was all in vain as Basingstoke, relegated from the Conference at the end of last season, stole all three points with a soft first half goal.  ‘We must learn to start from the first whistle not after we have handed the initiative to our opponents’ commented Manager Andy Davies.   There were few early chances at either end but St Neots could have taken the lead after 14 minutes when from a well-judged Ryan Hawkins cross Sam Mulready swiveled to volley goal wards but home keeper Alex Tokarczyk stretched to turn the ball around for a corner.  That proved to be the closest St Neots was to come to a first half goal although nine minutes later Ryan Hawkins looked to be pulled down in the area but the Referee waved play on.  The home side meantime had an effort by Sam Deadfield well saved by Alex Archer and he also did well to be in position to field an effort by substitute Aaron Jarvis after Ashleigh Artwell had gone off injured.   After 34 minutes Basingstoke won one of a string of corners and when the cross from Deadfield was only partly cleared Romone Rose hit a low shot through a crowd of players that caught Alex Archer unsighted as it passed under his desperate dive.  That spurred the home side who finished the first half strongly with Jarvis heading with from a Rose cross when he should have doubled the lead and Deadfield scuffing his shot wide after superb approach play by Nana Owusu.   From the restart with James Hall on in replacement of Sam Mulready St Neots looked a different side.  Hall was immediately in action drifting to the right to set up Hawkins whose low cross was hacked off the line by Joe Gater.  The same St Neots player then went passed two defenders only to see his shot deflect off a defender to land on top of the cross bar with the keeper beaten.   At the other end Gater headed wide from a Richie Whittingham cross but St Neots were dictating the pattern of play with Micky Hyem firing just wide after good work by Peter Clark.  Robert Atkinson then cleared a Hall effort off the line with Tom Spark instrumental in the build-up and in a bid to add to their attacking options St Neots sent on Andre Williams for Hawkins.   Tom Ward headed over from a Declan Rogers corner and the closest to an equalizer arrived courtesy of a Williams low shot blocked on the line by Atkinson.  Towards the final whistle St Neots pounded the home defence which stood firm and there was a late disappointment for St Neots when Miles Smith was helped off injured after a bad tackle by Jarvis that earned the home player a booking.   Now there is a week’s gap to the next match with Tuesday’s scheduled fixture with Chesham postponed because of a delayed League Cup fixture taking precedence.   St Neots:  Archer, Smith, Piesse, Hyem, Ward (T), Wood, Hawkins, Clark, Mulready, Rogers, Spark Subs:  James Hall (for Mulready 46 mins),Williams (for Hawkins 67 mins),McGeorge (for Smith 45+3 mins), Hobbs and Nurettin Cards:  Ward (Y – 57) Goals:  none   Basingstoke:  Tokarczyk, Johnson, Atkinson (R), Owusu, Gater, Ray, Deadfield, Bennett, Rose, Artwell, Whittingham Subs:  Jarvis (for Artwell 33 mins), Atkinson (M) (for Whittingham 72 mins), Hallahan (for Rose 84 mins) and Greene. Cards:  Rose (Y – 31), Jarvis (Y – 88) Goals:  Rose (34)   Attendance: 396 Referee: Neal Templey (Witney)   John Walker          
Thursday, 06 October 2016 16:14
  St Neots Town  6   Kettering Town  0 League Challenge Cup First Round   St Neots put the disappointment of recent league results behind them with a convincing win in the League Cup first round against fellow Premier Division side Kettering  A lively opening 20 minutes saw both keepers in action with Archer palming a Mohamed free kick away to safety and holding an O’Connor volley low to his right, whilst Dean in the Kettering goal had to be alert to save a Mulready shot following a Hall cross from the left.  The visitors also created half chances with a header from Malone missing the target and Wilson wasting a chance created following a good passing move involving Limpitishi and O’Connor. On twenty minutes Mulready broke free from the half way line and only a last ditch challenge from centre half Haran prevented him from testing Dean again but from the resulting corner Hawkins found WARD who flicked the ball home with the outside of his foot.  Saints grew in confidence from that point with Kettering finding Ryan Hawkins in particular difficult to handle.  Clark shot over from a Hawkins cross, before Rogers and Clark combined after 27 minutes to put Mulready clear and although Dean did well to save at his feet Mulready reacted first to get to the loose ball and crossed for ROGERS to double the lead.  As Saints continued to press forward Smith met a Rogers corner but his header fell wide and Rogers had a shot across the face of goal before a move involving Spark, Clark and Hawkins created another chance which MULREADY dispatched low to the keepers right.  Kettering created little as the first half came to an end and when they did Archer saved with his feet from Wilson although the assistant referee had flagged for offside and it was Dean who was once again called upon to save from Wood as the half drew to a close. Kettering made two half time substitutions and both were involved early in the half with Carvalho making a strong run in to the box an earning a corner, and Hicks firing wide from long range seconds later.  However, Saints soon responded and Clark twice forced the keeper in to saves in the first ten minutes of the half and Mulready met a Rogers free kick with a flying header that went over the bar. On 67 minutes ROGERS was denied another scoring opportunity by the hand of Haran, and he struck the resultant penalty low to the keepers left for his second goal of the night.  Archer in the Saints goal had little to do as the half was progressing but confidently held a free kick from another Kettering substitute, Brighton, before a fifth Saints goal came from WOOD who latched on to a through ball from Clark that pierced the Kettering defence. In the final fifteen minutes HAWKINS capped a fine individual display with a screamer from 25 yards that flew past Dean in the visitor’s goal, and the keeper then had to tip an effort from Spark wide for a corner and then race of his area to deny Mulready who once again found himself clear of the Kettering defence. St Neots:  Archer, Smith, Hall (Jonny), Hyem, Ward, Wood, Hawkins, Clark, Mulready, Rogers, Spark   subs Hobbs, Nurettin, Heywood, Rudman, Piesse Goals:  Ward (21), Rogers (27 and 67), Mulready (40), Wood (71), Hawkins (78) Cards:  None   Kettering:  Dean, McNeil, Langdon, Haran, Malone, Lee, Mohamed, Limpitishi, Wilson, O’Connor, Bobowicz  Subs Brighton (for Lee 66), Carvalho (for Bobowicz 46), Hicks (for Limpitishi 46), Kinniburgh, Weir-Daley  Goals:  None Cards:  None   Ref D Hanna Attendance 123      
Sunday, 02 October 2016 10:49
     ST NEOTS TOWN       3        EAST THURROCK UNITED      2        With both sides out of the FA Cup and idle a swiftly arranged friendly match proved a real boost for out of sorts St Neots as they hosted and beat East Thurrock United from the National League South.   It was a match played in a very good spirit with lots of attacking play from both sides and St Neots used the occasion to introduce a handful of new players two of which looked very promising.   Sam Mulready signed from Stamford led the attack with energy and was unlucky not to feature on the score sheet and Frenchman Nassim L’Ghoul looked pacey and inventive but will have to await International clearance before making his league debut. Playing a 4-2-4 formation St Neots looked sharp from the start with Micky Hyem firing narrowly wide and L’Ghoul setting up Declan Rogers whose shot was blocked.   The visitors then went ahead after nine minutes when James Walker assisted by some sloppy defending scored from a narrow angle.   Both Mulready and Rogers had shots blocked as St Neots grew in confidence and they levelled after 34 minutes when Peter Clark’s shot took a deflection after clever approach play by L’Ghoul and Rogers.   Six minutes later St Neots deservedly went in front when a delightful flick by Ryan Hawkins took out two defenders and Rogers confidently rounded visiting keeper Lukas Lidakevicius to send his side to half time in pole position.  Both sides introduced a host of substitutes after the break but it made little difference to the pace and competitive nature of the contest.   Just seven minutes after the restart the scores were levelled for the second time when the visitors were awarded a very contentious penalty kick when substitute Joe Gardner was impeded by Jordan Heywood and another substitute Ben Marlow rapped home from the spot.   Again St Neots showed a good attitude to be unfazed by the setback and only three minutes later substitute Tom Spark went past his marker on the left before curling in a sublime chip that went over the keeper and in off the far post.   Hawkins then shot narrowly over the bar and when the second half settled St Neots looked comfortably the better side creating most of the scoring chances.   Mulready twice deserved goals when he had one shot blocked on the line with the visiting keeper on the ground and then shot narrowly wide after more good work by Hawkins.   The nearest the visitors came to a late equalizer saw Alex Archer save at full stretch from James Agis.   It may only have been a friendly but the result and performance will have boosted St Neots’ confidence.   St Neots:  Archer, Smith, a trialist, Hyem, Ward (T), Ward (C), Hawkins, Clark, Mulready, Rogers, L’Ghoul Second Half Subs:   Heywood, Wood, Parr, Spark, Hobbs + two trialists Goals:  Clark (34 mins), Rogers (40 mins), Spark (55 mins).   Referee: Gary Wilson   John Walker      
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