Saints suffer a spot of bother in final defeat
- Credit: Archant
St Neots Town saw their promotion dreams dashed by a controversial penalty call.
The Saints were beaten 1-0 at Truro City in their Southern League Premier Division Play-Off Final yesterday.
And the Bank Holiday showcase in Cornwall, which attracted a crowd of 1,450, was settled in hotly-disputed fashion midway through the second half.
Referee Adam Penwell pointed to the spot following a tangle between St Neots defender Adam Tann and home striker Isaac Vassell.
Veteran goalkeeper Paul Bastock, who had saved a penalty in their semi-final success at Poole six days earlier, could not repeat his heroics as Shane White sent him the wrong way.
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Goal-line clearances from Sam Harty and Brett Longden spared Saints from falling behind in the opening quarter-of-an-hour.
St Neots were also thwarted by last-ditch actions of a defender early in the second half as half-time arrival Ebey Marango – introduced for Matt Spring – saw an effort kept out.
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Saints enjoyed their best spell around the hour mark as a Drew Roberts shot was spilled before Lee Clarke guided a Lewis Hilliard cross narrowly wide.
But the controversial penalty decision handed Truro the initiative and Saints were unable to come up with a response.
They did succeed in putting the ball in the Truro net, but it led to a caution rather than a goal as Clarke was reprimanded for using his hand to steer in a Hilliard delivery.
Emotions ran high in the closing stages with Saints boss David Batch being dismissed from the dugout following a frank exchange of views with referee Penwell.
It meant a season featuring plenty of highs finished on the painful low of missing out on promotion.
St Neots: Paul Bastock, Adam Tann, Brett Longden, Mat Mitchel-King, Ryan Frater, Tom Ward, Sam Harty, Matt Spring (sub Ebey Marango, sub Lorenzo Ferrari), Lee Clarke, Drew Roberts, Lewis Hilliard. Unused subs: Josh Bickerstaff, Luis Vieira, Dean Greygoose.