The performance was considerably better, but the outcome was still the same for St Neots Town yesterday.

Dylan Williams celebrates his goal which gave St Neots Town the lead against Stourbridge. Picture: CLAIRE HOWESDylan Williams celebrates his goal which gave St Neots Town the lead against Stourbridge. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES

Matt Clements’ strugglers remain in the Southern League Premier Division Central relegation zone following a 2-1 defeat to second-placed Stourbridge at the Premier Plus Stadium.

A Saints side featuring loan recruits Finlay Iron, Lee Watkins and Andrea Borg, hit the front in the opening half before succumbing to a quick double-salvo from their visitors after the break as they slipped to a third successive league defeat.

“The players gave everything and I’m proud of the performance they produced against one of the best teams in the league,” said Clements.

“I’m also happy with how the new additions slotted in. We are still in the process of trying to make another couple of signings and we also have suspended lads to return as well.

New signing Andrea Borg during his St Neots Town debut against Stourbridge. Picture: CLAIRE HOWESNew signing Andrea Borg during his St Neots Town debut against Stourbridge. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES

“The next challenge is to start turning positive performances like this one into points to get ourselves up the league table.”

Saints were without first-choice central defensive duo Russell Short and Taylor Parr due to one-match bans, but their absence was softened by the displays of the versatile Tom Wood and Dan Olaniran at the heart of a back-line which coped well against a potent Stourbridge attack who are the highest-scorers in the division.

It was Saints who made the breakthrough after a quarter-of-an-hour as Dylan Williams fired home from the edge of the box after a Gary Wharton cross was cleared into his path.

Wharton and Borg both failed to take decent opportunities to extend the advantage while two smart saves from back-again number one Finlay Iron kept Stourbridge at bay.

But the high-flying visitors were a different beast in the second period when they transformed the game with two goals in the space of four minutes.

Luke Benbow levelled following a quickly-taken free-kick just before the hour mark and the turnaround was quickly completed when Paul McCone rose highest to head in a corner.

Iron had made fine saves to deny Benbow and Callum Powell earlier in the second half and he produced another full-length stop to deny the latter player a third Stourbridge goal.

Saints were only a whisker away from a leveller when Olaniran curled a shot against the bar, but they remain a point from safety.