NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: St Neots Town can’t find a way to break down 10 men in disappointing defeat

St Neots Town manager Marc Abbott (left) saw his team lose to Kidlington. Picture: DAVID R. W. RICHA

St Neots Town manager Marc Abbott (left) saw his team lose to Kidlington. Picture: DAVID R. W. RICHARDSON/RICH IN VIDEO 2019 - Credit: Archant

Manager Marc Abbott was left to reflect on a missed opportunity after St Neots Town suffered defeat last Saturday.

Saints were beaten 1-0 at fellow strugglers Kidlington in a Southern League Division One Central clash.

Abbott's men failed to make the most of a numerical advantage after their Oxfordshire hosts were reduced to 10 men due to the dismissal of captain, Lewis Coyle, following a flare-up late in the first half.

The contest was settled by a Kidlington goal on the half-hour when a Declan Benjamin shot through a crowd of players left Saints keeper James Philp unmoved and unsighted.

Abbott said: "The scoreline was a true reflection of the game.

"We found it very hard to break through the Kidlington defence and create clear chances.

"They sat really deep after going down to 10 men and allowed us to have a lot of the ball, but we didn't really do enough until the last 15 minutes.

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"We then had a real go at them, but they defended for their lives and we never really looked like scoring in all truth."

Philp made two smart saves early on before Saints fell behind, but they had their most threatening spell in the moments after conceding.

Sam Goode's looping header was kept out well by Kidlington keeper Christian Lawrence before Joe Sutton saw a volley deflected over the bar.

Sutton was also involved in the major flashpoint that led to Coyle being red-carded. He was one of three players also cautioned in the aftermath.

But Saints rarely threatened to claw themselves level until the closing stages after defender Tommy Boxer was sent forward to supplement the attack.

They saw a number of efforts blocked by a resolute Kidlington defence but couldn't create a clear chance to earn a share of the spoils.

Saints now face two daunting fixtures as they head to third-placed Halesowen Town this Saturday, 3pm, before hosting table-toppers Corby Town on December 14.

Those two clashes sandwich a re-arranged Hunts Senior Cup quarter-final tie against FA Vase heroes Eynesbury Rovers on Tuesday (December 10).

Abbott added: "We want to put in a good account of ourselves in every game, regardless of the league position of the teams we're facing.

"There is definitely a little bit less pressure and expectation on us, so it's a case of ensuring we are brave, that we get the basics right and make ourselves hard to beat."