NON-LEAGUE: No quick fix and no positives - just that familiar losing feeling in new boss Matt Clements’ first game in charge of St Neots Town
- Credit: Archant
There was no grand entrance for new St Neots Town manager Matt Clements today.
The club’s seventh boss in the past six years saw his newly-inherited side go down to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of Weymouth at the Premier Plus Stadium.
And, after a game which went exactly as the formbook suggested it would, there doesn’t appear to be a quick fix either in Saints’ battle for Southern League Premier Division survival.
Their performance was that of a team without a win in their 11 previous matches and without a goal in the four most recent of those outings.
Meanwhile visitors Weymouth lived up to their reputation of being a slick footballing side who really ought to be considerably further up the standings.
Those aforementioned ingredients added up to a recipe for a one-sided match which ended in a comfortable away victory.
The raised flag of an assistant referee cut short a couple of menacing early attacking raids from Weymouth, but there was nothing to rescue Saints in the 17th minute when they allowed Jordan Copp to head home unchallenged at the back post after giving Aaron Rodriguez similar sort of luxury when crossing.
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Only a magnificent save from Alex Archer, a fortunate deflection into the arms of the Saints’ goalkeeper’s body and a wayward header from skipper Stephane Zubar prevented the visitors from increasing their advantage before the break.
The contents of Clements’ first half-time team-talk as Saints boss will obviously remain within the four walls of the home dressing room, but it’s safe to assume that conceding within 90 seconds of the restart was not part of his plan.
However, that’s exactly what happened as Weymouth made their first attack of the second period a clinical one.
Copp delivered from the left and striker Conor Jevon – who had initially been set to be a Terras substitute until being promoted into the starting XI following an injury in the warm-up – cushioned a classy finish past Archer.
And if that effort didn’t put the result beyond doubt, a third Weymouth goal with 12 minutes to go certainly did.
Dean Evans was granted the freedom of the penalty area to head in a cross from dangerous substitute Charlie Davis.
And Evans then turned provider for another replacement, Stuart Fleetwood to dart round Archer and fire into the empty net in stoppage time as salt was applied to Saints’ gaping wounds.
At the other end, there was next to nothing in terms of noteworthy action.
Unusally, much of their play was direct and lacking in creativity. The wisdom of such an approach has to be questioned not only due to the fact they started with just one striker (Jevani Brown), but also because of the presence of giant former professional Zubar at the heat of the Weymouth defence.
It took goal-shy Saints 70 minutes to manage an effort on goal, but even then Declan Rogers’ wild hit from 20 yards was barely worthy of a mention.
Jevani Brown also thumped a long-range effort over the bar on an afternoon when Weymouth goalkeeper Tom McHale’s toughest test was dealing with an expected back-pass from Calvin Brooks.
Saints remain in the relegation zone and with their win-less run extended to 12 matches.
They have now leaked 37 goals since last tasting victory in early November and their goal drought has increased to seven-and-a-half hours.
Clements told the Hunts Post last week that keeping the club up was not ‘Mission Impossible’. This might have been the sort of display that could necessitate a change of opinion.