NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL Losing start but ‘loads to work with’ for new St Neots Town chief
- Credit: Archant
There no points but plenty of positives as a new era began at St Neots Town last Saturday.
New boss Barry Corr suffered a losing start to his reign as the Southern League Division One Central strugglers were seen off by Bedworth United.
Saints went down to a 2-1 defeat after initially leading a clash in which all of the goals arrived before half-time.
Corr's men were then unable to make a numerical advantage count after Bedworth had Cal Templeton dismissed with 25 minutes to go.
"I'm obviously disappointed to lose the game," said Corr. "Bedworth weren't outstanding by any means and it could easily have gone either way.
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"It's clear there are good young players at this club. With a bit more detail on the training pitch and a fully fit squad, I'm really positive about it.
"I see loads to work with. Honest to God, I think we'll soon start winning football matches."
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Goalkeeper Finley Iron and defender Tom Dickens were the only two of the four loan arrivals from Cambridge United to feature in the Saints' side. Fellow arrivals Lewis Simper and Joe Neal missed out due to injury and illness.
Saints were also without suspended pair Lee Watkins and Tommy Boxer following dismissals in an A1 derby defeat at Yaxley the previous weekend, while the latter player's brother, Panny, was a late arrival which meant he could only be a substitute. The classy Fernando Bell-Toxtle has also returned to higher-level Ilkeston Town.
Saints were dominant for much of the first half with a strong wind at their backs and deservedly hit the front when leading scorer Prince Mutswunguma rose to head home a sweet cross from Aaron Smith.
Mutswunguma was then denied a second goal from a last-ditch clearance off the line before they were stung by a Bedworth leveller just before the half-hour mark.
Mitchell Piggon fired through a crowd of players as the visitors restored parity with their first on-target effort of the afternoon.
And Bedworth completed the turnaround three minutes before the break when Luke Keen coolly slotted the ball past Iron.
Saints appeared to be handed a lifeline when Bedworth man Templeton was sent off after collecting a second caution for a late challenge on Mutswunguma.
Captain Jonny Butler's shot was blocked following the resulting free kick while Mutswunguma failed to get hold of another decent opportunity.
Bedworth keeper Dan Crane then had to react smartly after Elliott Parrott sliced a Steven Shaw cross towards his own goal, but the visitors held on to pocket the points.
Corr added: "I was a little bit worried going into the game with such a young and quiet group.
"We missed the influence and experience of the two lads - Lee and Tommy - who have captained us this season.
"Panny then had a problem getting to the game so we ended up without him in the starting line-up as well.
"Fernando, who I thought looked a good player, going back to Ilkeston was also a blow."
Saints have four more matches during a busy January - three of them on home turf.
But first up is a trip to AFC Dunstable this Saturday, 3pm, before they host Coleshill in a re-arranged clash on Tuesday, January 21 (7.45pm).