NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: St Neots Town show their character on a night of firsts
- Credit: Archant
Manager Matt Clements praised the character of his St Neots Town players after they opened their Southern League Premier Division account on a night of firsts.
Saints twice fought back to level in a 2-2 draw at Hitchin Town last night (Monday) as substitute Kyran Wiltshire and striker Danny Watson both hit their first goals for the club.
It was a last-gasp equaliser from the latter which ensured they collected a first point of the new campaign after being frustrated by a disappointing 1-0 home defeat at the hands of newly-promoted Farnborough in their curtain-raiser last Saturday.
“We’d have probably looked at Saturday as being the better opportunity to pick up points – especially as we dominated that game,” said Clements.
“It was more of a smash and grab against a very good Hitchin side, but we kept ourselves in the game and showed great character to come from behind twice.
“Any team that finishes above Hitchin this season will find themselves in the play-offs in my opinion, so picking up a result there is a great effort.
“We still haven’t really clicked and we’re certainly not at full-strength either, so I’m encouraged by what I’ve seen from us so far.
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“There is plenty more to come from us, but making progress will be a gradual process given we effectively have three-quarters of a new team.”
St Neots fell behind at Hitchin on the stroke of half-time, but briefly restored parity when Wiltshire struck after only eight minutes on the pitch.
The former MK Dons youngster slammed in a Micky Hyem cross in the 64th minute only for Hitchin to swiftly hit the front again.
That’s the way it stayed until Watson pounced after Lee Clarke hit the bar during a last-ditch Saints attack when goalkeeper Mike Emery launched a long free-kick into the Hitchin box.
“That will do Danny a world of good,” added Clements. “A striker always wants to get his first goal as soon as possible at a new club.
“For it to happen in that way – and to get mobbed by his team-mates and our fans – was brilliant for him.”
Saints are on the road again this Saturday when they visit Stratford Town.
Defender Liam McDevitt and midfielder Luke Knight could make their debuts after injuries, while full-back Jonny Herd will return to the fold following his honeymoon.