NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: St Neots chief calls for backing in big FA Cup clash

St Neots Town manager Matt Clements. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES

St Neots Town manager Matt Clements. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES - Credit: Archant

Manager Matt Clements has urged the people of St Neots to be part of the club’s big FA Cup occasion this Saturday.

St Neots Town supporters celebrate a goal earlier this season. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES

St Neots Town supporters celebrate a goal earlier this season. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES - Credit: Archant

Saints entertain fellow Southern League Premier Division Central side Coalville Town in a third qualifying round tie at the Premier Plus Stadium, 3pm.

It is the first time they have reached this stage of the famous competition for 40 years and Clements is hoping an army of fans will roar his team to further success.

“Hopefully the people of St Neots and the surrounding area will turn out in force,” said Clements.

“Don’t just look out for the result, don’t just read about the game afterwards, come along and be part of it.

“It’s the club’s biggest home game for many years and while I can’t promise we’ll win it, I do guarantee that everyone who comes through the gate on Saturday will be entertained.

“We got through one round with 10 men and then we snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the last round.

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“It seems that excitement is pretty much guaranteed when we play in the FA Cup. I guess that’s the magic this competition can bring. It’s an amazing competition and footballers always remember their FA Cup runs.

“What happened in the last round against Romulus won’t be forgotten for a long time, but we can now create more memories and be part of something that goes down in club history.”

However, Clements accepts his men will kick-off as underdogs. They sit 16th in the Premier Division Central while Coalville are flying high in second place.

But he insists Saints’ focus will be on their own performance rather than the threats posed by their Leicestershire visitors.

Clements added: “Coalville are one of the best - if not the best - sides in our league on current form.

“We won’t focus too much on them. The key thing is ensuring we get our gameplan and performance right and play with the sort of passion that is required in a game of this size.

“If it all comes together on the day, we’ve got a great chance of progressing.

“As long as we walk off the pitch on Saturday knowing we couldn’t have done any more, we’ll be happy regardless of the result.

“We have to leave everything out there and don’t come back into the dressing room at 5pm on Saturday with any regrets.

“A team from Step 3, somewhere in the country, will almost certainly get to the first round proper. It happens every season. Could it be us?”

Saints lost 3-2 to March Town the last time they reached this stage of the FA Cup in 1978.

Clements’ side saw a five-match unbeaten run come to an end on Tuesday night when beaten 3-1 at Lowestoft in a Southern League Challenge Cup second round tie. Luke Knight hit their consolation goal on his return from suspension.