NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: St Neots Town and St Ives Town see Southern League Premier Division victories snatched away by late goals
PUBLISHED: 14:04 09 April 2017 | UPDATED: 14:04 09 April 2017
Survival is still in the balance for St Neots Town after they were victims of a smash and grab yesterday.
Saints saw a deserved victory, which would almost certainly have sealed their Southern League Premier Division safety, turn into a defeat, which was difficult for manager Matt Clements to fathom, when going down 3-2 to Merthyr at the Premier Plus Stadium.
A terrific success against play-off chasing opposition looked to be on the cards until the Welsh visitors struck twice in the space of five minutes late on to snatch all three points.
It means Saints are still sweating over avoiding relegation. They are four points above the drop-zone with three matches to go.
Clements said: “The lads did almost everything I asked of them. The work-rate and attitude allowed us to dominate the game, but the only thing that cost us was not putting away three or four really good opportunities.
“Not a single person who watched the game could possibly argue that we didn’t deserve at least one point – and quite possibly all three.
“But you don’t always get what you deserve in football and this result proves that.
“We have to keep fighting and I’m confident that we’ll stay up if we can replicate this level of performance in our remaining games.”
A Taylor Parr own goal handed Merthyr the advantage after just 90 seconds, but parity was restored after a quarter-of-an-hour thanks to a birthday leveller from Declan Rogers.
Only the combination of a super save and the crossbar Micky Hyem another goal before player-coach Lee Clarke did succeed in putting Saints ahead just after the half-hour.
And they held onto that advantage until the closing stages when Jarrad Wright’s 83rd minute equaliser was followed by an Ian Traylor match-winner five minutes later.
St Ives Town boss Ricky Marheineke could have been reading from the same script as Clements yesterday.
Marheineke also saw his side surrender a home advantage as the concession of a pair of late goals led to them beaten 2-1 by Weymouth at ProEdge Westwood Road.
St Ives were ahead for much of the contest thanks to a 10th league goal of the season from Ben Seymour-Shove in the 12th minute.
But things went pear-shaped late on as a brace from former League One defender Stephane Zubar, which sandwiched the dismissal of Jack Bradshaw for collecting a second caution, handed Weymouth an unlikely victory.
Marheineke said: “I thought we were excellent for 75 minutes and that makes it all the more disappointing to lose.
“We created enough clear-cut chances to win two or three games of football and we ultimately paid the price for failing to take them.
“A lapse of concentration gifted Weymouth a leveller, the red card then gave them the impetus and they were able to nick a winner.
“We just didn’t manage the game well enough when down to 10 men and we’ve got nothing to show for a performance that should have brought us three points.”