NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Striker exit is not a serious worry for St Neots Town

Nabil Shariff has left St Neots Town. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES

Nabil Shariff has left St Neots Town. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES - Credit: Archant

St Neots Town player-coach David Bridges insists the departure of striker Nabil Shariff is not a major cause for concern.

The frontman did not return for pre-season training with Saints and has now joined Southern League Premier Division Central rivals Stratford Town for next season.

Shariff scored 14 goals in the second half of last term after arriving at Saints at the beginning of December following a brief spell with National League North outfit Alfreton.

He helped the club earn their second-best finish at Step 3 level - 12th - and lift the Hunts Senior Cup.

“It’s no secret that we would have liked to have kept Nabil,” said Bridges. “We offered him a good deal but he has chosen to go elsewhere.

“Nabil did really well for us, but him leaving is not too much of a worry as we’re blessed with some good attacking players already and hope to bring another one in.”

Saints have been on the receiving end of heavy scorelines in their opening two summer friendlies in recent days.

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They were thumped 7-1 by Cambridge United at the Premier Plus Stadium last Saturday before going down 5-1 to another League Two club, MK Dons, last night (Monday).

The tough tests are set to continue in the coming days as League One side Peterborough arrive this Saturday ahead of a Tuesday visit from Stevenage.

Bridges added: “The scorelines against Cambridge and MK Dons don’t tell the story of the games.

“Both clubs brought full first-team squads and we competed well until making a lot of changes during the second half of both games and they ripped the heart out of us in all honesty.

“But that’s something we have to do in pre-season for two reasons – to ensure we don’t ask too much of the players who have already signed and also to have a look at others who are training with us.

“We knew we would be doing a lot of work without the ball when playing Football League teams and we can expect more of the same against Posh and Stevenage.”

New signing James Peters scored the Saints goal against Cambridge to reduce their arrears to 2-1 at half-time.

Dylan Williams saw a penalty saved by goalkeeper Finlay Iron, who spent the final part of last season on loan with Saints, in the second period.

Dion Sembie-Ferris was the man to find the net against MK Dons.