NON-LEAGUE: St Neots Town hop above St Ives Town in the Southern League Premier Division survival battle, but both clubs stay in the bottom four
- Credit: Archant
St Neots Town have leapfrogged local rivals St Ives in the battle for Southern League Premier Division survival – but the two top Huntingdonshire sides still find themselves in the relegation zone.
St Neots recorded their second away win of the season on Tuesday night – and only an inferior goal difference now keeps them in the bottom four.
They triumphed 3-2 at newly-promoted Division One (Central) champions Kings Langley as their strikeforce of James Hall and Sam Mulready continued to sizzle.
But the victory came at a cost as right-back Miles Smith (concussion) and skipper Tom Ward (ankle) were both injured while attempting to repel the same Kings Langley attack just before half-time.
Smith was substituted immediately with Tom Wood replacing him while Ward soldiered on until the interval when making way for his younger brother, Charlie.
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The sides were deadlock at that point with Hall’s 11th minute opener, when he punished dithering between a home defender and goalkeeper, being cancelled out on the half-hour.
Hall restored the Saints’ advantage with 17 minutes to go when volleying his seventh goal of the campaign from a seemingly impossible angle, and Mulready then extended it with five minutes remaining when firing his fifth goal in six appearances for the club after Taylor Parr had headed a Declan Rogers corner down into his path.
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Hosts Kings Langley did halve their arrears in the final minute, but Saints comfortably saw the contest out although a late booking for Parr leaves him facing a third suspension of the season.
Boss Andy Davies, whose side sit fourth-bottom, said: “It was a good result, but I’m more pleased with the performance we produced to earn it.
“We played with a good tempo and also showed the sort of work-rate required to be successful at this level.
“Picking up two injuries was a blow, but the two lads who came in both did well and help us pick up an important win.”
Ricky Marheineke was another manager pleased with the display of his team on Tuesday – but he was less thrilled about the result.
His St Ives had to settle for a 1-1 draw with Banbury United at ProEdge Westwood Road despite dominating much of the game.
The visitors hit the front 12 minutes into a fixture delayed due to an electrical failure, but Josh Dawkin levelled with a classy strike just after the half-hour.
Saints went on to control the second period, but Jack Higgs and Dubi Ogbonna saw their best chances kept out by visiting goalkeeper Jack Harding.
Marheineke said: “The fact the Banbury goalkeeper was the man-of-the-match tells you all you need to know about the game.
“I don’t want to be negative even though it is a case of two points dropped. The performance was worthy of a win and we have to take a lot of confidence from it.
“We need to focus on playing well on a consistent basis and the results will come if we do that.”