Bideford 4 : 4 St Neots Town FC
Bideford 4 : 4
St Neots Town FC
Saturday 08 August, 2015 15:00

Southern League Premier Division


Football is back but St Neots’ first Southern League Premier Division performance of the season promised much but delivered little in the end.

Leading 4-1 with just ten minutes left it was looking like the perfect antidote to their play-off final disappointment last season but almost unbelievably they collapsed to concede three goals in the last ten minutes and return from Devon leaving two valuable league points behind. 

St Neots Management team were said to be ‘seething’ at the teams’ total ineptness at the performance in those last few minutes but some credit must be paid to the home side who clearly have no notion of a lost cause.  

The biggest pity is that the final score line does not give the credit that is deserved to the team and new striker Tom Meechan who announced his arrival two steps up in seniority in the Southern League with a debut hat trick which is a memory he will treasure for the rest of his career.  

St Neots were without last season’s leading scorer Drew Roberts who is awaiting surgery and their first line up of the season included six players not with the club last season.  

Their pre-season preparation had been mixed with injuries and non-availabilities preventing Manager David Batch from assessing the full potential of his rearranged squad but they gelled almost immediately to suggest that he has prepared them well.

They started strongly with Remy Gordon producing a first minute cross that was won in the air by Nathan Frater – his header just grazing the wrong side of the crossbar.  Bideford’s first effort on goal by Billy Tucker eight minutes later flew harmlessly wide and then a long clearance by Danny Gay found Gordon free on the left and his cross saw the lively Tom Meechan win the ball in front of home keeper Kyle Moore only to see his header cleared off the line by a defender.  

However in the next attack Brett Longden threaded a fine pass forward for Meechan to race clear and claim his first Southern League goal to put Sty Neots in control.  

After 16 minutes the advantage was doubled as Jack Wilkinson’s long throw was flicked on by Mat Mitchel-King for Meechan to net with an acrobatic overhead kick and from that point on until the break St Neots were in total command. 

After 17 minutes Gordon outpaced the defence to cross for Ryan Hawkins who was just unable to apply the finishing touch and three minutes later Meechan turned to free Hawkins who drilled the ball into the keeper’s chest.  

As half time approached Gordon looked likely to create defensive panic each time he got the ball and St Neots almost got a third goal when a net bound Hawkins effort was blocked.

The first half ended with the saints totally dominating the game.

Bideford looked more determined after the restart with a free kick and a corner both coming to nothing and then after 47 minutes a long clearance by Mitchel-King was collected by Meechan who turned provider to set up Gordon for the third St Neots goal.    

After 63 minutes St Neots replaced the yellow carded Longden and Frater with Lee Clarke and Bamoussa Cisse and this seemed to hamper the sides’ rhythm. 

Five minutes later Bideford produced a significant break-through when skipper Matt Hockley converted a Tucker cross at the near post to signal his side a faint chance of a comeback.  

St Neots  with ten minutes left  seemed to have clinched victory when Hawkins fed Meechan and he cleverly tricked his way around two static defenders to complete his hat trick and make the score 4-1. 

Within sixty seconds however Tucker bent a shot around his marker to make it 4-2 but even worse was to follow.  

With one minutes left Danny Tapp knocked down a corner for substitute Kevin Squire to fire in through a packed six yards box and with the last kick of the game in time added on a Sean Downing cross was forced in at the far post by Squire for his second goal that earned the host side a most unlikely share of the points.

St Neots will learn from this as most of the days performance was very top notch,what happened at the end was something that the management team will never allow to happen again.

Four goals away from home is excellent at this level of football and the signs are there that this team can score for fun, however a little work has to be done on concentration to see out a game.

St Neots: Gay, Anton, Wilkinson, Tann, Mitchel-King, Hall, Frater, Longden, Meechan, Hawkins, Gordon

Subs: Clarke (for Frater 63), Cisse (for Longden 63), Harty, Hobbs and Mailamcol.

Cards:  Longden (Y – 54)

Goals:  Meechan 3 (12, 16 and 80 mins), Gordon (47 mins)


Bideford: Moore, Sampson, Reed, Downing, Harrison, Tapp, Hockley, Tucker, Charran, Andrews, Milton

Subs:  Squire, Phillips and Johnston

Cards:  none

Goals:  Hockley (70 mins), Tucker (82 mins), Squire 2 (85 and 90+1 mins)

Attendance: 233

Referee: Robert Dabbs

John Walker (with a little help from his friends)