NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Two more wins should see St Neots Town safe, says manager Matt Clements
- Credit: Archant
Matt Clements believes St Neots Town need to win two of their final five matches of the season to secure Southern League Premier Division survival.
Saints have been dragged back to within five points of the drop-zone after delivering performances from opposite ends of the spectrum in their two most recent matches.
Clements’ men produced a terrific display to win 2-1 at King’s Lynn last Tuesday thanks to a brace of Jevani Brown goals. They collected victory in Norfolk despite having only 10 men for 75 minutes following the early dismissal of striker James Tricks.
But Saints followed up that fine showing with a feeble effort in a 2-0 loss at fellow strugglers Hayes & Yeading last Friday when two goals in the final 10 minutes of the first half settled the contest.
Clements described the two showings as being like ‘chalk and cheese’ and expects a reaction in a crucial home game tomorrow when Stratford Town are the visitors to the Premier Plus Stadium, 3pm.
Clements said: “As far as discipline, work-rate and tactical awareness go, I don’t think I’ve seen a better performance in my 20-plus years in football than that we produced at King’s Lynn.
“Proud didn’t even come close to describing my thoughts after picking up a huge result, but it was followed by one of the most frustrating games I’ve ever been involved in.
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“We just didn’t turn up at Hayes & Yeading from one to 11. It was one of those nights where we probably would have lost the game with 13 players on the pitch.
“The lads all know a performance like that is not what I expect from them. It was lacklustre and people didn’t take enough responsibility.
“Now it is all about responding in the right way against Stratford. We’ve bounced back well after a couple of other horrible results, and we need to do it again.
“We can’t afford to have two bad days in a row otherwise all the good work of recent weeks will be undone.
“We’re five points clear of the relegation zone with five games to go and I think we’ll need two more wins to seal our safety.
“Hopefully we can get them as quickly as possible, and three points on Saturday would be a massive step back in the right direction.
“The job is to stay up – whether it is on goal difference or by a dozen points. It’s all about keeping this club in this division.
“The whole package at St Neots Town needs to be at Step 3 level at the very least.”
Striker James Tricks begins a three-match suspension after being sent off at King’s Lynn for a deliberate elbow.
His place in the squad will go to latest recruit Lewis Wilson, who has arrived on loan from AFC Rushden & Diamonds for the remainder of the season. Clements may also hand a recall to French winger Nassim L’Ghoul, who has been playing for the club’s reserve side in recent weeks.
Another wideman, Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson, has left the club after completing a three-month loan spell.