St Neots clinging on to the top spot
“IT’S not our divine right to win this league – we are trying our hardest to do it, but it’s not our divine right.” That was the message that St Neots Town chairman Mike Kearns was keen to convey to the club’s fans after watching the Saints lose 2-1 to Biggleswade Town on Easter Monday.
Having entered the Easter weekend with a three-point lead at the top of the Southern League Division One Central table, the Saints were clinging on to the top spot at 5.30pm on Monday after drawing at bottom-of-the-table Marlow on Saturday and then failing to beat play-off contenders Biggleswade at The Hunts Post Community Stadium on Monday afternoon.
“Be disappointed but don’t be upset,” said the chairman. “We have three games to go and if we get nine points we will win this division.
“And even if we don’t get there, we will still have achieved more than we could have hoped for. You have to put this into some kind of perspective.
“I want the title as much as Dennis, the players and the fans do, but we have reached two objectives – we’re second, at least, and in the play-offs.”
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St Neots have scored more than 100 goals this season, so they remained top on goal difference despite Slough winning their game against Bedfont Town and drawing at Beaconsfield on Monday.
“It seems like we don’t want to win it and Slough don’t want to win it,” continued Kearns. “Whichever team gets its act together will win this league. I will back us any day of the week to do that.”
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Dennis Greene, the manager, added: “It’s about holding your nerve. Obviously Slough are feeling the pressure, too, because they have drawn two of their last three games while we have drawn two and lost one. We are both feeling the pressure.
“The supporters of both teams are probably getting nervous. Whoever holds their nerves the best will get over that line first.”
Greene admitted had a good chat with his players on Monday after the Biggleswade game: what he called an ‘airing out’ session. “We had a 15 to 20 minute chat,” he said. “We set our stall out regarding what we are going to do over the next 10 days in training – and what we are looking to achieve on the pitch. We had an airing out.
“Everyone will be better off for that. No tempers’ flared, there were no tea cups kicked around the dressing room, it was just a case of letting everybody know what this means to everyone. All the players are on it!”
On Saturday the Saints are away at Fleet Town in Hampshire while Slough are also away, at Bedworth Town.
n Match report and Dennis Green’s call to arms, page 62.