ST NEOTS TOWN 0 NEWPORT PAGNELL TOWN 3
St Neots Town’s spectacular unbeaten start to their league season came crashing to an end on Bank Holiday Monday as a well organised visiting side put them to the sword. Newport Pagnell Town moved above them in the league table with a well-managed victory in front of a bumper crowd of 483. It was a salutary lesson for manager Cameron Mawer and his squad as the deliberately organised tactics of the visitors paid off leaving St Neots with plenty to mull over post-match.
Pagnell set out to defend in numbers in the first half and did not manage a significant shot on target until they opened the scoring against the run of play in first half injury time. However, their approach was very different after the break when they took the game to their hosts scoring again after just nine minutes and rounding off the victory with a breakaway goal ten minutes from time. St Neots, with James Hatch and Josh Brown both injured two days before at Lutterworth, brought in Malaki Black and Tom Rowley. Dom Lawless started in place of Lorrell Smith and with Skipper Kyle Lincoln back after injury, Tommy Reynolds started on the bench.
After a cagey start by both sides St Neots began to dominate first half possession but failed to turn their openings into goals. Dammy Nickels joined their attack but saw his effort blocked and Harvey Williams went around the outside of the visiting defence but could only find the side netting. After 19 minutes playing against his former club striker Dom Lawless carved out a chance but shot wide and then a dangerous Williams cross was punched away under pressure by visiting keeper Lewis Patching. A Williams volley was then deflected as St Neots failed to make their pressure tell. and then as the match moved into first half added time the visitors produced the sucker punch as Jack Bowen was allowed time and space to put Pagnell in front.
Whether that goal was the catalyst or not, the visitors came out after the break in a very positive frame of mind creating two good chances in the first six minutes. James Goff, so long a spectator, had to save full length from a Kieran Barnes free kick and then left in space with time, Joel Nkeita volleyed wide of goal. However, the second half pressure brought its reward after 54 minutes when an incisive break through the St Neots defence left Dan Walker free at the far post to double the visitors’ lead. St Neots looked shell shocked and introduced speedy substitute Israel Ajana in a bid to pep up their attack, but they lacked a finish in front of goal. Williams fired over the bar, whilst at the other end Goff had to be alert, to keep out a shot from Christian Small. St Neots threw players forward in a bid to retrieve some reward but left gaping holes in defence fully exploited ten minutes from time when Dan Walker was once again left time and space to add his second goal and leave St Neots well beaten.
Cameron Mawer’s side must now re-group quickly to next host pre-season promotion favourites Daventry Town, whom they accompanied in relegation at the end of last season.
Today’s Saints Supporters’ Man of Match – kindly sponsored by The Greystones Public House, Sawtry, was awarded to skipper KYLE LINCOLN
St Neots: Goff, Nickels, Black, Dummett, George, Lincoln, Johnson, Muyembe, Lawless, Rowley, Williams
Subs: Smith (L) (for Lawless 52 mins), Ajana (for Rowley 58 mins), Reynolds, Romeo and Smith(E).