NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Drama at Dunstable as St Neots Town snatch first 2018 victory
PUBLISHED: 18:33 28 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:38 29 January 2018
St Neots Town collected a first success of 2018 yesterday – thanks to the final kick of the game!
Matt Clements’ men came from behind to triumph 3-2 at Southern League Premier Division strugglers Dunstable Town in a contest settled by a last-gasp Kyran Wiltshire goal.
The Saints substitute pounced from point-blank range to provide the last touch to what looked to be an already goalbound blast from Lewis Irwin.
“It was a victory we needed and deserved,” said manager Clements. “We were very good for 70 minutes of the game, but we had a 20-minute period early in the second half where we went missing.
“Dunstable scored both of their goals in that time, deservedly equalising and taking the lead. But we showed lots of character to get ourselves back level quickly and then win the game at the end.
“Our back seven – goalkeeper, back four and two central midfielders – were the reason we came out of the game with three points. They were all very good.”
A run of five matches without victory – and a surprise Dunstable success against promotion-chasers Weymouth in midweek – made this match a potential banana-skin for Saints.
But they needed only a quarter-of-an-hour to hit the front when leading scorer Dylan Williams coolly converted from the penalty spot after being pulled back by defender Gideon Okito.
Williams fired another opportunity over the bar before the same player and Irwin both saw efforts blocked as Saints controlled much of the opening period.
Debutant goalkeeper Jake Jessup was called upon to make his first save of note in stoppage time when tipping an Arel Amu free-kick over his crossbar.
Jessup was drafted in on a dual registration deal from Chelmsford City with regular number one Mikey Emery left out for what Clements described as ‘footballing reasons’, although the Saints official website later revealed he has departed the club.
New arrival Jessup was beaten three minutes into the second half when Ryan Young struck with a fierce shot and Saints then found themselves trailing to their second-bottom hosts just after the hour when Daniel Trif slammed in a shot after a Young cross was not defended effectively.
But Clements’ side were only in arrears for three minutes as defender Taylor Parr tidily steered a shot into the far corner following a goalmouth scramble.
And they dramatically pinched all three points in the dying seconds as Wiltshire helped in Irwin’s volley from a difficult angle after the Dunstable defence failed to deal with a Johnny Herd cross.
Fellow locals St Ives Town were out of action as their home clash against Royston Town was postponed.