Houghton sets sights on top two

Scott Houghton has thrown down the gauntlet to his St Neots Town players to maintain their place at the top of the United Counties League. Town reached the summit after a convincing 3-0 victory at previously-unbeaten Newport Pagnell. Goals from Barrington

Scott Houghton has thrown down the gauntlet to his St Neots Town players to maintain their place at the top of the United Counties League.

Town reached the summit after a convincing 3-0 victory at previously-unbeaten Newport Pagnell.

Goals from Barrington Belgrave, Ivan Finch and Stuart Beevor saw St Neots go top of the league - and put a smile on the face of former Peterborough United and Spurs man Houghton.

He said: "There is a really good feeling at the club at the moment but we can't let ourselves get carried away with the good start.


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"It is early days and come the end of the season we might find the teams we have played so far are in the bottom four. Having said that, to be in such a position after four games is very pleasing."

St Neots have now won three games away from home and picked up a point against Wootton - scoring an average of three goals per game in the process.

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Belgrave's strike took the former Yeovil Town man's tally to four goals in just two games and Houghton praised his contribution.

"Barrington did well in the first half but ran out of steam in the second half. He isn't quite 100 per cent fit yet but is still looking dangerous."

Houghton also took time out to praise the contribution of Beevor, who scored Town's third goal in a comprehensive win.

Houghton admitted that there is pressure from the board room to deliver promotion, with St Neots due to move into a new multi-million pound stadium in early 2008.

The St Neots chief said: "The chairman has delivered a stadium that will be up to Conference South standards and it is up to me to try and get us up the ladder.

"But the United Counties League is a tough one to get out of - in some ways I think it is tougher than the Southern League."

If St Neots are to gain promotion, it is expected they would need to finish in the top two of the UCL Premier.

The club's new facilities would comfortably meet the requirements of the Southern League Midlands Division - the next step up in the non-league pyramid.

"If you offered me second place at the end of the season now I would snap your hand off," said Houghton. "Promotion is the be-all and end-all and I believe we have got the squad to challenge."

St Neots were expecting to field a team of squad players in last night's (Tuesday's) match at home to Northampton Spencer.

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