Sucker punch as turbulent St Neots lose at home

FOUR new signings, Dan Jacob’s contract termination, a 1-0 home loss with a missed penalty, stubborn woodwork and a heartbreaking sucker punch, the return of Dan Jacob – oh, and the possibility of Lee Hendrie heading to the Hunts Post Community Stadium some time soon.

Well that was some week!

“Our season is going very well,” wrote the St Neots chairman Mike Kearns in Saturday’s programme. “We are on course to achieve our target for this season which is promotion.”

And then the Saints seemingly three easy points away…

To be fair, Kearns and his manager Dennis Greene both know that luck, as much as hard work, dedication and skill will play a big part in this season’s Southern League Division One Central campaign. And there wasn’t much of that against AFC Hayes.

The Saints went down to a late winner from striker Matt Woods, who kept his nerve to beat Michael Duggan in the 92nd minute of the game that St Neots has practically bossed.

Lewis Webb had a chance early on to give the Saints a deserved lead but his penalty kick was saved by Hayes goalkeeper Simon Grant.

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Stefan Moore had been brought down and the referee had only booked the culprit when he had looked to be the last man. New winger Pearson Mwanyongo was brought down next – clearly inside the box – but the Nathan Kennedy waved away the protests and the game played on.

Mwanyongo was impressive. Standing-in for Jacob on the right wing, but often switching with the excellent Lewis Hilliard for a stint on the left, the slightly-built 21 year old former Thurnby Nirvana player was quick and tricky, just as he had been against the Saints in the FA Cup, which convinced Greene to sign him.

He turned up late having got lost on the way from Leicestershire, but proved a threat to the Hayes defence from the off and instantly endeared himself to the home fans.

Moore had a decent game too but twice he shot early when one-on-one with the goalkeeper, letting Clarke get enough on the ball to stop it – and he struck both a post and the crossbar, the later a wonderful shot which deserved to go in.

In the end, after Hayes had spent the last ten minutes wasting as much time as possible to hold on to their point, they broke away on the counter attack and Woods guaranteed all three.

Meanwhile, Mike Kearns is keeping an eye on the Lee Hendrie situation, despite manager Dennis Greene saying he might not need the former Aston Villa starlet with his squad already packed full of midfield options.

Hendrie, who has been playing in Indonesia, was a target nine months ago explained Kerans, before he moved abroad. Now he is back in the country and as mates with Stefan Moore, there have been talks.

“He was going to sign a deal with Wrexham,” said Kearns, “but their manager Dean Saunders left last week and the deal fell through.”

So it seems Moore was asked to “have a word” – to see if there was any chance the 34 year old might be tempted by a spell at the Hunts Post Community Stadium.

Kearns said: “We are keeping an eye on the situation. But players have got to want to play for us.”