Totternhoe’s title hopes suffer a blow with late defeat

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SSML Division Two: St Neots Reserves 1 Totternhoe 0

Totternhoe’s title aspirations took a massive blow on Saturday as they fell to a first defeat in nine games at promotion chasing St Neots Town Reserves.

The first half was a tight affair, although chances fell to Dan Lambeth, Andy Cleere and Aiden Murray but the visitors were unable to break the deadlock.

In the second period, the impressive Nassim L’Ghoul came close for the Saints on 60 minutes when his effort flew just wide.

Totternhoe had a golden opportunity to take the lead on 75 minutes as Cleere was fouled inside the box.

Lambeth stepped up but his effort was superbly saved by debutant Alex Vitrue.

However the Saints keeper was adjudged to have stepped off his line to early resulting in a retake, which had the identical result, as the keeper denied Lambeth’s powerful drive once more.

Substitute Jonny Clarke then missed an open goal as Totts were made to pay deep into injury time.

L’Ghoul’s powerful 20-yard drive was parried by James Bromhall, only for Jake Smith to tap home the rebound from close range and win it for Saints.

Manager Chris Robson said: “Football can be a cruel game as to lose like we did was a real sucker punch.

“I felt we played well in patches but not enough over the 90 minute period. We did enough to win the game and created enough chances to win two or three matches.

“I can’t complain about our attacking players as they have been superb for me this season. We have scored 73 league goals so far, so for me as frustrating as it is, they are entitled to an off day.

“When the game looks like it will be a frustrating draw the real sucker punch is the last kick off the game when we concede a very poor goal.

“We were caught in possession in a stupid area, then we failed to close down the shot, and then failed to react to the rebound.

“ Three mistakes lead to the winning goal which is very frustrating.

“It is a blow to our title chances, but there is still 33 points to play for and we need to react next week and try to put together another winning run.

“We are still in a great position for this club, punching well above our weight considering the resources the other top sides have.

“Today’s defeat isn’t ideal, but we will keep going until the end and see where we end up.”

The defeat leaves Totternhoe still top of the table by one point, however second placed Thame Rangers have three games in hand.

Totts: Bromhall, J.Rimmer, O’Connor, Horgan (Loasby), Doggett, Murchie (Folland), Golding, Murray (Clarke), Cleere, McCormick, Lambeth.