St Neots Town dumped out of FA Cup after toothless performance at Bedford Town

St Neots Town exited the FA Cup with a 3-0 defeat at Bedford Town

St Neots Town exited the FA Cup with a 3-0 defeat at Bedford Town. - Credit: NEIL METCALFE

St Neots’ FA Cup adventure ended at the first hurdle after defeat away to Bedford Town in the preliminary round.

The 3-0 loss means Town are still without a win so far this season but although there was genuine effort and commitment, it was insufficient against their expensively assembled neighbours.

Saints competed well but their finishing lacked confidence and penetration with the home keeper seldom tested.

There was no change either when the hosts' Charley Sanders was sent off early in the second half, Bedford adding a third goal 15 minutes later, and the visitors ended with 10-men too as substitute Joe Sutton earned an early bath seven minutes from time.

All three of the home side's goals came from headed efforts at set-pieces, something that will give St Neots’ manager Pete Gill food for thought as he constructs his defence for future matches.

In theory St Neots’ defence should have been boosted by the return of central defender Charlie Johnson with Aaron Smith moved to his more familiar full-back slot.

Also included in the starting line-up for the first time were striker Lawrence Hammond who received little service and Erin Amu in midfield in place of Callum Anderson.

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After an even opening, Bedford stung Saints with two goals before the 20-minutes mark.

Louis Chadwick pushed a Connor Tomlinson effort out for a corner but Sanders met Lewis Miccio’s delivery with a towering header to put Bedford in front.

And they doubled the lead from a teasing Danny Setchell free kick, former Peterborough United Striker Rene Howe getting in front of his marker to glance the ball past the helpless Chadwick.

St Neots needed to defend for other periods of the half but they rallied late on, skipper Lee Watkins making his 50th appearance in a St Neots shirt had a shot blocked while Nehemiah Richard-Noel tested home keeper Alex Street.

The second period started in dramatic fashion and gave Saints hope of a comeback following Sanders' poor tackle on Ben Heal.

It switched possession to the visitors but still the chances fell to the hosts and despite their numerical disadvantage, they hit St Neots on the break forcing them to concede a corner from which Zac Brown head home Setchell’s cross.

Rider's dismissal after an incident with the home fans simply capped a miserable afternoon's work.