Losing to Bedworth United would have been unthinkable, says St Neots Town boss

FAIR PLAY: Lewis Hilliard admits his shot took a deflection off a defender's shoulder - but it's 2-1

FAIR PLAY: Lewis Hilliard admits his shot took a deflection off a defender's shoulder - but it's 2-1 against Bedworth. Picture: Andy Wilson - Credit: Archant

“IT would have been unthinkable to lose that game today,” said St Neots Town manager Iain Parr, after the Saints’ 3-2 defeat of Bedworth United at The Cozy Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Having not won a Premier Division game since their win over Bideford on November 10, the Southern League side had picked up just two points from a possible 24, but two goals from Lewis Hilliard and another from Ben Mackey secured Parr’s vital win ahead of their big match against leaders Hemel Hempstead Town this Saturday.

“I said that to the lads before kick-off, today was just about getting the points,” said Parr, whose league record as manager of the club stands at 10 wins, 10 defeats and three draws.

“We don’t deserve to be higher or lower, we have been good and poor and now we are in the middle. Now we need to start grinding out results. We have a style of football that we want to play and we showed that at times – but maybe not as much as in recent games.

“With 25 minutes to go, it was never going to be ‘total football’, we were leaving ourselves open in the wide areas so we changed it around.”

The long ball game might not be pretty, but it can be effective. If the team plays that well against Hemel on Saturday, there’s no reason why they can’t cause a bit of an upset. St Neots have been as high as second this season, but are currently 11th, one place above where they were after losing to Cambridge City on New Year’s Day. The difference between that performance and the one against Bedworth was palpable.

Injuries and suspensions have certainly played their part and there is no pressure on Parr. The chairman, Mike Kearns, is more than happy with the current situation. His goal is to turn the club into a home for fresh local talent. If the Saints avoid the drop this season, he will consider it a job well done.

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“The only points I want on the board are enough points to avoid relegation,” said Kearns.

“If we improve on that, then fine – but that’s all we are looking for. Iain and his coaches’ remit is to bring in players through the youth teams.

“It’s very hard to run a team and try to win every week while you are grooming players for the next two or three seasons.”

Parr continued: “I’m doing both jobs, setting up the kids’ side of things and that can be a bit of a release because I enjoy it – but that’s the long-term ambition.

“In five years time hopefully we will have three lads in the squad who have come through that and they will have the ethos and philosophy of what we want to do.

“But it’s really a juggling act because it takes a lot of time.”