St Neots prepare for top of the table clash

ST Neots Town chairman Mike Kearns insists this Saturday’s Southern League Division One Central crunch match against Slough Town is a big one – but no bigger than when the Saints played and beat King’s Lynn in the United Counties League last season.

Last year St Neots and the Linnets were fighting it out for the top spot of the UCL Premier Division – and it is the same story this season, but one level above, with Slough now pushing the Saints all the way rather than King’s Lynn.

“The King’s Lynn game was just as important as this one so it’s not the biggest game we have played since I have been here,” said the club’s chairman and owner, “but it’s certainly a big one.

“We’re confident that we’ll do well against them – but win, lose or draw it makes no difference – we’re still very much on target.”

Slough Town beat Barton Rovers 3-0 on Tuesday night and the Berkshire side are now on the same number of points but still one place beneath the Saints on goal difference ahead of Saturday’s game at The Hunts Post Community Stadium.

But Kearns is happy with the way the Dennis Greene’s team has performed over the last month, despite their slight slip on Saturday when they went to Leighton Town and only drew 1-1. Defender Chris Hope scored the Saints equaliser in that game.

“Dennis set a target to win nine points from the last four games and we achieved 10,” said Kearns.

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“Our first priority was to get into the play offs, our second was to finish second so that we have home advantage in the play-offs – our third was to win the division.

“We have more or less achieved our first priority.”

Slough were knocked off the top of the Division One Central table for the first time in four months by St Neots two weeks ago – but won at home to Northwood 1-0 last weekend with former Brentford and Sheffield Wednesday striker Lloyd Owusu – who is back at the club he started his career with in 1997 – scoring the only goal. Tuesday night’s win at Barton means St Neots now have a game in hand.

“They have to come here to beat us,” said Kearns. “Dennis picked Slough out as the main threat at the start of the season and they have proved to be our main contenders.

“Slough are a big club from a big town. They have experience of the Conference.

“We are the new boys, so we must be happy with what we have achieved so far.”

Slough’s manager Steve Bateman added Owusu on loan from Conference side Hayes & Yeading recently – and has also signed experienced 33-year-old striker Ben Abbey, as well as Jerome Anderson from Hitchin Town.

But it is striker’s Sean Sonner and Danny Burnell who will be the major threat on Saturday. The Slough striker have scored 32 goals between them this season and Burnell scored twice and Sonner once on Tuesday.

Mind you, the three St neots strikers - Stefan Moore, Shane Tolley and Ben Mackey - have scored 56 goals between them.