NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Boss Matt Clements proud of St Neots Town’s performance in defeat against play-off chasers
PUBLISHED: 14:17 25 February 2018 | UPDATED: 14:17 25 February 2018
St Neots Town manager Matt Clements was upbeat in defeat for the second successive match.
Saints gave an excellent account of themselves when being pipped by a solitary goal at Southern League Premier Division title favourites Hereford in midweek.
And it was again a similar story for much of a 2-1 reverse at play-off chasers Slough yesterday which featured the quickest goal to be scored against Saints at this level.
Goalkeeper Finlay Iron was picking the ball out of his net after just 25 seconds after being beaten by recent Slough signing Perry Coles and they were fortunate not to fall further behind when Chris Flood crashed a 12th minute volley against a post.
Saints saw a goal disallowed five minutes before the break when a Johnny Herd corner looped into the net, but referee James Simpson spotted a push on Slough goalkeeper Jack Turner.
But two legal goals quickly followed in an action-packed conclusion to the first half. Coles doubled Slough’s advantage in the 44th minute only for Saints to hit back almost immediately as Nabil Shariff headed in another Herd corner.
And the opening spell of the second half was just as exciting. Saints saw strong penalty appeals ignored after a Slough defender appeared to handle at a corner and seconds later they needed the post to come to their rescue to deny James Dobson a third goal for the hosts.
That was one of few clear scoring chances in the second period as Iron kept out a free header from Flood before Saints were denied a leveller when Dion Sembie-Ferris saw a goalbound effort blocked.
Shariff also fired over with a late opportunity as Saints emerged defeated but far from disgraced.
Clements admitted: “Apart from a slow start and a shaky opening 15 to 20 minutes, we showed what we’re about.
“Getting the goal back before half-time gave us the platform to dominate the second half and it’s just a shame we couldn’t take one of the chances we created to get a draw.
“We’ve had a run of five games in which we’ve faced some of the best teams in the league. We’ve managed to beat two of them and take the other three to the wire.
“The lads know I back them and I’m sure they will finish the season strongly.”
Saints remain 11th in the Premier Division.