NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Lew beauty! Strike ace Irwin at the double as St Neots Town claim super success against Southern League Premier Division form team
PUBLISHED: 18:26 04 February 2018 | UPDATED: 07:01 05 February 2018
Delighted boss Matt Clements toasted one of the finest results of his St Neots Town reign yesterday – and it followed hot on the heels of the worst.
Saints produced a terrific display to blow away Southern League Premier Division promotion-chasers Chesham at the Premier Plus Stadium.
A Lewis Irwin brace following a Johnny Herd penalty earned a 3-1 success for Clements’ men, who were humiliated 6-1 by Frome in their previous home outing a fortnight earlier.
But their latest appearance on their own turf will be remembered for all the right reasons as a Chesham side who arrived boasting a run of six successive victories, were sent packing in style.
Clements said: “We produced a great team performance from start to finish. We defended with energy, always looked dangerous when attacking and were impressive in front of goal.
“I’m very pleased with the way the players have responded after a tough spell which included that defeat against Frome.
“The result against Chesham is one of our best – dare I say the best – of the season.”
The damage was done by Saints in the opening period. Herd stepped up to open the scoring from the spot in the 12th minute after a Dion Sembie-Ferris cross was handled.
Sembie-Ferris was also the architect of the hosts’ second goal on the half-hour as his slick back-heel released Irwin to coolly finish.
And the same player extended the lead six minutes before the break with a fierce shit that Chesham goalkeeper Harry Isted’s fingertips could not keep out.
Saints’ saw their lead cut two minutes into the second period when defender Liam McDevitt inadvertently directed a Lewis Toomey cross into his own net, but that was not the cue for a collapse.
In fact only a pair of fine goal-line clearances prevented Stefan Broccoli and McDevitt from claiming further goals in an emphatic victory.
Clements handed a debut to a new goalkeeper for the second successive Saturday. Cambridge United teenager Finn Iron was an impressive figure between the sticks with Jake Jessup, who had made his debut at Dunstable the previous weekend, required by National League South side Chelmsford.
“Finn looked mature beyond his 17 years,” added Clements. “I must place on record my thanks to Cambridge United for allowing him to play for us. They certainly have a gem on their hands.
“I’ll be speaking to both Cambridge and Chelmsford to see where we stand for our coming games.”
St Neots return to action on Tuesday night when making the short trip to St Ives Town for a Hunts Senior Cup semi-final, 7.45pm.
The two sides battled out a 1-1 draw in a Southern League Premier Division clash last month. Nabil Shariff hit a late leveller for a Saints side who played much of the contest with 10 men following the first-half dismissal of full-back Herd.