St Neots have to break down defence which hasn’t conceded in 808 minutes of football to progress in FA Trophy

St Neots Town vs Truro: Matt Spring tries his luck with a free-kick. Picture: Claire Howes.

St Neots Town vs Truro: Matt Spring tries his luck with a free-kick. Picture: Claire Howes. - Credit: Archant

St Neots must break down arguably the meanest defence in English football to make FA Trophy progress.

Gary King’s side entertain Darlington 1883 at the Cozy Stadium on Saturday in a second round qualifying tie.

And they will need to succeed where all others have failed in the past month as Evo-Stik League Division One North table-toppers Darlington have not conceded a goal in a staggering 808 minutes of football.

They have also won 11 successive matches and will pose a stern test despite playing one level lower than St Neots.

Boss King said: “The challenge is there for our players to be the first team to score against Darlington for ages.

“They are on a great run and are clearly no mugs. A team top of the table in a league below often poses more of a threat than a mid-table team from our own division.”

St Neots head into Trophy battle on the back of a Southern Premier Division home defeat.

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King’s men were beaten 2-0 by Truro at the weekend in a game that he felt hinged on an individual mistake.

Jay Davies lost possession to gift the visitors the opportunity from which they hit the front midway through the first half.

Truro added a second in the last minute as St Neots piled forward in search of a leveller.

King added: “We left ourselves with a small hill to climb and we need to cut the mistakes out of our game.

“The way we played in the second half was admirable as Truro parked the bus. It was only the combination of good defending and good luck that kept them in the game.

“We threw everything at them and ended up being hit by a sucker punch which just about summed up our day.

“Had we not gifted them their opening goal, we would have come out of it with a 0-0 at the very least. We wouldn’t have conceded the second because we wouldn’t have been chasing the game in the way we were.”

New signing Tom Ward was an unused substitute against Truro after arriving from Conference South side St Albans City late last week. King says he will make his debut ‘in the near future’.

Long-term injury victim Chris Dillon also returned to the first-team squad after three months out, but he is still some way short of peak fitness.

St Neots return to league action on Tuesday when hosting Cambridge City in a derby clash.