St Neots paid the price for failing to turn their dominance into goals when making a losing start to the new Southern League Premier Division season.
Matt Clements’ first full campaign in the Saints hotseat began with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of newly-promoted Farnborough at the Premier Plus Stadium.
The Town boss was left with plenty of positives – not least of all his side’s ability to carve out a catalogue of goalscoring opportunities.
But the failure of a team now without their two leading goalscorers of last term – Jevani Brown and Declan Rogers both moved on in the summer, up to Football League in the case of the former and a short trip across town to Eynesbury Rovers for the latter – to take any of them was a source of concern.
Visitors Farnborough did succeed in making the match-winning breakthrough after 17 minutes when Nic Ciardini fired past goalkeeper Michael Emery – one of seven debutants in the Saints starting line-up – from 20 yards after Matt Bunyan inadvertently, but effectively, missed his kick.
Clements admitted: “We dominated the first half when we created good chances but lacked the killer instinct to put them away.
“There were more opportunities in the second half as well, but we fell into bad habits as we got frustrated the longer the game went on.
“Creating chances is always a positive, but it is disappointing not to be able to put the ball in the back of the net.”
Matt Foy saw an early effort cleared off the line before Saints fell behind and only a fortunate save from visiting goalkeeper Liam Stone denied Dylan Williams a leveller.
Stone then kept out Foy with a smart stop, Williams saw another effort blocked and Micky Hyem skied his finish after the excellent Taylor Parr knocked down a free kick.
It was a similar story in the early part of the second half as Saints frequently unlocked the Farnborough defence on to fail to apply a finishing touch.
Striker Danny Watson saw one effort blocked and then steered another wide when he should have at least worked Stone.
Parr saw a header from a Williams corner headed behind before Williams himself fired over as Saints drew a blank.
An eighth debutant – Kyran Wiltshire – was introduced as a substitute during the second half of a match that two more signings, defender Liam McDevitt and midfielder Luke Knight, missed due to injury.
Saints rarely impress on the opening day of a campaign so this result shouldn’t be cause for undue concern. They’ve only kicked off one of their six Premier Division seasons with three points.
They have a quick opportunity to open their account for 2017/18 when travelling to Hitchin tonight (Monday).