St Neots Town         1          Stamford         3     

The moral of this encounter between two sides with seventeen places separating them in the league table: you rarely give away two goals and come back to win. This was, arguably, St Neots best performance at home this season but it was always going to be tough against a side that by 4-45 pm were top of the league table with former leaders Halesowen beaten at Coleshill Town. After gifting their visitors with two first half goals, St Neots kept plugging away and pulled a goal back but a stunning third goal for Stamford thirteen minutes from time sealed the outcome.   It was again a much-changed line up that started for the Saints. Aaron Smith and Mamadou Jobe were both serving one-match bans and Declan Nche and Manny Osei were rested. With Toib Adeyemi reinstated to the defence alongside new signing Steve Sylvester, striker Brandon Njoku returned for his first start since the opening day of the season and Charlie Lewis was also back after missing nine of the last ten match through injury.

It was a stunning start to the match as both sides were immediately on the offensive and St Neots created three excellent chances in the opening ten minutes. Trey Charles fired narrowly over the bar from a narrow angle, Brandon Njoku shot narrowly wide and then the same player set up Charles again only for his effort to be blocked by a defender. Meantime Stamford won two corners that were cleared and after a quarter of an hour Jake Duffy fired wide after being played clear by Harry Vince. The end-to-end action continued with Charles skilfully curling a shot around the defence to force a full-length parry by visiting keeper Ben Heath who then had to dive bravely at the feet of the same St Neots player to keep his goal intact. Then after 26 minutes a long throw by Connor Bartle eluded all the players in the six yards box and home keeper Jamie Greygoose had the misfortune to fumble the ball into his own net. The keeper atoned for his error with an acrobatic diving save to deny Ollie Brown-Hill and then at the other end Joe Rider had a shot blocked and Charles again tested Heath and the first half ended with the visiting keeper saving well from Njoku.

After 57 minutes St Neots gifted their visitors a second goal with no apparent danger threatening. A lengthy free kick by Joe Burgess went over a cluster of players the near post and beat Greygoose’s desperate dive to creep inside the far post and double Stamford’s lead. St Neots redoubled their efforts and took the game to their visitors who now seemed happy to sit on their advantage. In a reshuffled side with Declan Nche on for Lewis and Boxer back in defence, St Neots pressed forward and were quickly rewarded after 63 minutes when the lively TREY CHARLES claimed his eleventh league goal of the season in just sixteen starts to put his side back in contention. With thirteen minutes left just after Charles had tested Heath again, Stamford sealed their victory with the goal of the match. Following a corner only partially cleared, Connor Bartle hit a stunning drive through the packed area to give Greygoose no chance and his side all three points to take them to the top of the table. For St Neots it was another home defeat but a much-improved performance suggesting that improvement in results is not far away.

Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of the Match – Brandon Njoku

St Neots Town: Greygoose, Tarpey, Lewis, Anderson, Sylvester, Adeyemi, Abbott, Boxer, Charles, Rider, Njoku,

Subs:  Nche (for Lewis 46 mins), Barnett (for Rider 68 mins), Osei (for Abbott 77 mins) and Osei.

Cards:  Anderson (Y – 54mins), Njoku (Y – 61 mins)

Goals:  Charles (63 mins)

Stamford:  Heath, Currie, Bartle, Vince, Wright, Blunden, Burgess, Duffy (Joe), Duffy (Jake), Margetts, Brown-Hill

Subs: Bennett (for Brown-Hill 60 mins), Armstrong (for Vince 69 mins), Challinor (for Burgess 77 mins), Blair and Frew.

Cards: Blunden (Y – 89 mins)

Goals: OG. (26 mins), Burgess (57 mins), Bartle (77 mins)

Attendance: 302

Referee: Minesh Gupta (Leicester)

John Walker