NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Clements calls on his St Neots side to write new chapter as FA Trophy campaign begins

St Neots Town boss Matt Clements (left) with new assistant manager Jack Cassidy (right). Picture: CL

St Neots Town boss Matt Clements (left) with new assistant manager Jack Cassidy (right). Picture: CLAIRE HOWES - Credit: Archant

Manager Matt Clements wants St Neots Town to turn their FA Cup disappointment into FA Trophy success.

Saints came up short last Saturday in their attempt to reach the first round proper of the FA Cup when falling to a 4-0 defeat at higher-level Alfreton Town in the fourth qualifying round.

Clements’ men conceded four times in the space of 22 minutes to see a thrilling cup run brought to an end, but they now turn their attention to another knockout competition when hosting fellow Step 3 side Matlock Town in the first qualifying round of the FA Trophy this Saturday, 3pm.

Clements said: “We’re frustrated with the fact we didn’t do ourselves justice at Alfreton and an absolutely amazing run came to an end with a bit of a whimper, but the FA Cup run has been absolutely fantastic for the club.

“There are so many positives to come out of it. It has created huge excitement and interest, and the support we have received along the way – especially at Alfreton when things didn’t go our way – was unreal.

“The lads deserve so much praise for the journey we had and now we have the opportunity to start another great run in another competition.

“Hopefully all those supporters stay behind us and we can enjoy success in the FA Trophy, but we know we’re in for a tough test against Matlock.

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“Although they are a level lower than Alfreton, they are from the same part of the world and we will expect the same direct and physical approach.”

Saints won £30,000 of prize money during their FA Cup run – along with their share of some excellent attendances - and can pocket another £3,250 if successful in the FA Trophy tie.

Opponents Matlock are 16th in the Northern Premier Division while St Neots are fourth-bottom of the Southern League Premier Division Central.

Saints were beaten 3-0 by table-toppers Kettering and lost 5-0 at Royston Town in their two most recent league outings. They were due to travel to Lowestoft last night, Tuesday, for another Premier Division Central fixture.

Clements has to deal with a number of injury problems. Midfielder Harry O’Malley suffered a knee problem at Alfreton while captain Luke Knight continues to struggle with an ankle injury.

Full-backs Johnny Herd and Matty Miles, and centre-back Russell Short, were all described as ‘walking wounded’ by Clements following the FA Cup exit.