St Neots Town are now within 90 minutes of promotion to the Football Conference.

St Neots Town are now within 90 minutes of promotion to the Football Conference.

Lee Clarke hit the only goal as the Saints triumphed in their Southern League Premier Division play-off semi-final at Poole last night (Tuesday).

Veteran goalkeeper Paul Bastock saved a first-half penalty to keep St Neots level before Clarke struck the vital blow in the second period to secure a play-off final date at Truro City on Bank Holiday Monday (3pm).

The Cornish side beat Hungerford in the other semi-final last night and boast home advantage for the final by virtue of a higher finishing position in the league. They were third, St Neots were fifth.

The Saints were cheered on by an army of around 100 supporters who made the short-notice trip to Poole on Tuesday.

Their backing was invaluable as David Batch's men got the better of a home side who had topped the Premier Division standings by five points at one stage only to miss out on the title to Corby in a winner-takes-all battle on Saturday.

Poole finished the regular season some 15 points clear of the Saints, but there was no such gulf between them on the pitch.

The most significant incident of the opening period was Bastock's spot-kick save from Steve Devlin - a player he had impeded to concede the penalty seconds earlier.

Clarke glanced a header wide when Saints threatened while top-scorer Drew Roberts, operating wide on the right, tested home goalkeeper Nick Hutchings with a long-range volley.

Saints were dealt a blow by the loss of influential midfield man Mat Mitchel-King at half-time after he sustained a seven-inch gash in his shin that required hospital treatment.

Clarke again posed a threat after the break. he headed over from a fine Lewis Hilliard cross and then saw another effort deflected wide, but he eventually made the vital breakthrough with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining.

Tom Ward's long throw was flicked on by captain Ryan Frater and Clarke headed in. Lewis Hilliard was only millimetres away from a spectacular second when seeing an audacious 50-yard shot hit the top of the crossbar, but one goal proved to be enough to move Saints closer to the promised land of the Football Conference.