Saints lose more points on the road

IN HIS exclusive Hunts Post column this week, the St Neots Town manager Dennis Greene talks of his concern over his team’s away form. He is right to be concerned.

The Saints should have returned up the motorway from Bedfont’s little Heathrow ground with all three points on Saturday. Instead, they gifted their opponents a late win after missing several chances and underperforming at a side propping up the Southern League Division One Central table.

Bedfont had not won a game in 11 attempts, and had just parted company with joint-managers Kevin Cooper and Martin Beard.

“We were always expecting it be to a tougher game than the table suggested,” said Greene. “They have just changed their management set-up and that often reinvigerates teams. And they have brought back some of the players who played for Dennis Bainborough at the club before.”

Bainborough was the manager of Bedfont when the team almost reached the play-offs last season – and he has gone back as a mentor to Jon-Barrie Bates and Lol Brimicombe, who have been handed the joint management role on a temporary basis.

In their first game in charge, it was substitute Glenn Garner who scored the only goal just five minutes from time.

“We had eight or nine chances,” said Greene, who – with striker Stefan Moore suspended – started the match with a formation which essentially meant Shane Tolley was flying solo up front.

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It didn’t take long for the manager to change things when it became obvious this wasn’t working: Dan Jacob joined Tolley up front on the half-hour and defender Rene Steer was re-employed in midfield.

St Neots’ sole strike on goal in the half was from Jacob, while Michael Duggan was only really tested twice, making saves from Wayne O’Sullivan and Reis Stanislaus.

Stanislaus had another opportunity to put the home side ahead early in the second half but his weak shot was saved easily by Duggan – and then Lewis Hilliard shot wide and Steer put an effort over the bar.

Having introduced midfielder Neil Mackenzie and forward Chris Manangu, St Neots upped their game after that and Tolley was only denied by the sliding Josepth Ataro, who stopped the ball on the line after the Saints striker had rounded the Bedfont goalkeeper. Jordan Gent also had a header cleared off the line before Jacob went round the keeper again, only for his shot to take a deflection and go wide.

With just five minutes remaining Bedfont broke free on the counter-attack and O’Sullivan’s cross was neatly headed past Duggan by Garner. In the eight minutes of stoppage time Manangu had a chance pushed over by Gary Ross in Bedfont’s goal before Adrian Sear headed over from eight yards.

As Greene says in his column: the Saints will get the chance to put this bottom-of-the-table club jinx behind them when Marlow visit the Hunts Post Community Stadium on Saturday.