NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Toothless St Neots Town must be more ruthless after a third consecutive Southern League Premier Division loss

Taylor Parr was denied by a fine save in St Neots Town's defeat at Basingstoke. Picture: CLAIRE HOWE

Taylor Parr was denied by a fine save in St Neots Town's defeat at Basingstoke. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES - Credit: Archant

St Neots Town slipped into the bottom half of the Southern League Premier Division after suffering a third successive defeat yesterday.

Matt Clements’ side were beaten 1-0 at Basingstoke. The only goal was scored two minutes before half-time – and courtesy of the hosts’ first noteworthy attempt – as Sam Smart fired past unsighted Saints number one Finlay Iron.

Saints’ best chance had arrived early on when Taylor Parr saw an acrobatic volley kept out by an equally classy save from Basingstoke goalkeeper Colm McAdden.

Captain Luke Knight, Nabil Shariff and Tom Wood were also denied before Saints found themselves trailing and that Basingstoke breakthrough appeared to knock the wind out of their sails.

They posed little threat in a second half in which Stefan Broccoli was closest to an equaliser. He skied one opportunity before forcing McAdden to keep out another effort.

Smart fluffed the best chance to double Basingstoke’s advantage, but his solitary strike proved enough to settle the contest.

Clements said: “The players worked hard, but for all our possession we were flat in front of goal. We were a million miles away from having the ruthlessness required.

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“These are points dropped and any player who thinks their job is already done will be in for a rude awakening.”

Clements had little room for tactical manoeuvre with Jack Bradshaw, Harry O’Malley, Scott Sinclair and Lewis Irwin all out injured and Kyran Wiltshire completing a suspension.

Jonny Butler and Dan Buddle were the only substitutes named after being recalled from loan spells at Step 4 side Peterborough Sports and Soham Town Rangers respectively. Neither man was used.

St Ives were left frustrated by a second home postponement in five days as their clash against Stratford fell victim to a waterlogged ProEdge Westwood Road pitch. A fixture against Royston last Tuesday suffered the same fate.