Saints lose on the road at Redditch after weekend win

Gavin Hoyte lifts goalscorer Drew Roberts. Picture: Claire Howes

Gavin Hoyte lifts goalscorer Drew Roberts. Picture: Claire Howes - Credit: Archant

St Neots suffered their second Southern League Premier defeat in three games on Monday night, although it wasn’t until the later stages that the result was settled.

It was clear from early on that Redditch were up for the challenge. They worked like beavers and caused problems by using the flanks and their pace up front.

Having said that, Saints started the better and on another night Nathan Frater might have won an early penalty after appearing to be hauled down in the area.

Redditch went ahead against the run of play, but the visitors kept their shape, didn’t panic and skipper Gavin Hoyte had a header cleared off the line, while Frater was denied by a save at the foot of the post following a couple of corners.

At the other end, though, goalkeeper Paul Bastock had to react quickly to dash of his line and clear when an Arthur Lee back pass fell short and he ventured even further from his goal when another long ball left him dangerously exposed. He and his teammates breathed a sigh of relief when a striker went round him, but fired into the side netting.

Frater was denied by a goalline clearance and a Matt Spring snapshot shaved a post on its way wide. Another goalline clearance thwarted the visitors when an excellent Lewis Hilliard cross deflected off a defender.

The longer the game went on, the less likely an equaliser seemed and Redditch doubled their advantage late on after Bastock spilled a low cross.

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Saturday’s match wasn’t pretty by any stretch of the imagination, but St Neots claimed their first win in three and a first clean sheet since September 9.

The result gave Saints their first league double of the season following victory at Edgar Street on the opening day, but they will be mostly hoping Hereford survive a winding up order on December 1. If they don’t, six valuable points will have gone down the pan.

The home side could have been ahead after just three minutes when Matt Nolan rounded the advancing goalkeeper but was crowded.

On 12 minutes, Saints went ahead through Drew Roberts’ 15th goal of the season. He struck from close range after Hereford goalkeeper Luke Williams parried Josh Bickerstaff’s powerful header.

There was no significant improvement after the interval, but Matt Spring did sky one over on the hour, while Williams saved bravely at the feet of Matt Nolan 10 minutes later.

Saints saved their best for the later stages, when Nolan, Roberts and Hilliard were all denied and Frater was denied a penalty.

By then the home side had settled on what they had and pretty much played out time.