St Neots boss Matt Clements saw his side veer from arguably their best performance of the season to one of their worst in the space of four days.

Saints went down to a 2-0 defeat to fellow strugglers Hayes & Yeading on Friday night – a result which dragged them back into the Southern League Premier Division relegation battle.

Victory at Beaconsfield (the temporary base of their opponents) would all but have sealed Saints' survival at Step 3 for another season and after a terrific 10-man performance to win at King's Lynn earlier the week, they arrived with high hopes of extending their eight-point cushion over the bottom four.

But the two displays from an unchanged side were 'chalk and cheese' in the words of manager Clements as his men were dragged back to within five points of the trapdoor.

“I've said all along that consistency is the key,” admitted Clements. “But we have gone from a very good performance and result, to a very disappointing one.

“We need a massive reaction from this defeat and ensure we continue to keep our fate in our own hands.”

Saints were beaten by two goals from Hayes & Yeading – a side desperately attempting to claw their way out of the drop-zone - in the final 10 minutes of the first half.

Connor Toomey grabbed the first when punishing a poor punch from goalkeeper Alex Archer, and Josh Chamberlain doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time when a corner was not properly cleared.

Saints rarely looked like mounting a second-half comeback. The only real threat arrived when leading scorer Jevani Brown fired against the outside of a post from a tight angle.

Jonny Herd and Lee Clarke both shot wide in other attacking forays while only a last-ditch tackle from Taylor Parr prevented them from falling further behind as Hayes & Yeading substitute Mitchell Weiss looked set to score.

Saints host Stratford this Saturday.