NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Five-star St Neots Town cotninue their terrific turnaround with New Year’s Day super show
- Credit: Archant
What a difference a few days make . . .
St Neots Town went into the festive season managerless and bordering on rudderless.
They have come out the other side still without a permanent boss but with renewed belief and buoyancy, and in possession of six precious Southern League Division One Central points.
A 5-1 triumph over Kempston Rovers on New Year's Day provided a brilliant start to 2020 and followed a 2-1 success at Bedford Town on Boxing Day when ensured a torrid 2019 ended on a high.
Those two results have earned Saints back-to-back league wins for the first time in a year while yesterday's effort also completed a first double of the campaign.
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Saints won at fellow strugglers Kempston all the way back in August and their emphatic victory in the return clash was not at all flattering.
They had to wait until the half-hour mark to hit the front when Sam Gomersall unleashed an unstoppable blast and it was quickly followed when Joe Sutton headed in a Fernando Bell-Toxtle cross.
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Rookie goalkeeper Jacob Crosby - a member of the club's Under 18 side who was called in with regular number one James Philp unavailable - pulled off a smart save to deny leading Kempston scorer Jake Newman a reply for the visitors on the stroke of half-time.
And Saints all but sealed victory early in the second half when their two previous goalscorers combined as Sutton laid on Gomersall's second of the afternoon.
Prince Mutswunguma then got in on the act with a fourth Saints goal before Newman did succeed in reducing Rovers' arrears.
But that proved to be nothing more than a minor blip as Saints completed the scoring when Sutton struck directly from a corner late on.
And while two victories alone won't arrest the club's sharp decline of the past 12 months, they do provide proof that much better things could lie ahead.
With director of football Matt Clements back in the dugout - albeit it on a temporary basis he insists - they have looked a different beast.
"It was another really positive and confident performance," said Clements.
"We were exciting going forward and could easily have scored another two or three goals.
"I'm really pleased for the players and staff as back-to-back wins will breed comnfidence."
Not even a first victory of the season for rock-bottom Wantage - at the 19th attempt - could dampen the feelgood factor at the Premier Plus Stadium.
Saints' sights are firmly on those above them rather than having to glance over their shoulders at the basement boys over whom they boast an 11-point cushion.
They have another good opportunity to pick up points when making the short trip up the A1 to Yaxley this Saturday, 3pm.