NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: FA Cup glory for St Ives Town; dramatic leveller earns replay for St Neots Town; league wins for both sets of Rovers but Town slip up
- Credit: Archant
St Ives Town celebrated a first win of the season yesterday – and doubled their goal tally in the process!
Ricky Marheineke's men made FA Cup progress with a 2-1 victory against Berkhamsted in a first qualifying round tie at Westwood Road.
It was a potential banana skin for Southern League Premier Division Central strugglers Saints against the early Division One Central pacesetters, but one they successfully avoided slipping on.
Ben Seymour-Shove was a pivotal figure as he was denied an opener by the underside of the bar, delivered the corner from which Charlie De'Ath did head Saints into the lead and then hit the winner himself from the penalty spot just before the hour.
Saints were reliant on two smart early saves from keeper Martin Conway to prevent them from falling behind before the woodwork thwarted Seymour-Shove.
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He then laid on De'Ath's powerful header from a twice-taken corner, but Saints' advantage lasted only eight minutes as they conceded a sloppy leveller.
But the crucial moment arrived 12 minutes into the second half when Tom Wood was pulled back in the box and Seymour-Shove made no mistake from the spot. The club's regular penalty-taker, captain Robbie Parker, was suspended.
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Saints were robbed of a spectacular third goal in the dying seconds when referee Dan Woolley blew the final whistle before a mighty clearance from keeper Conway could reach the empty Berkhamsted net, but they had done enough to advance.
St Neots Town will also feature in the second qualifying round draw tomorrow (Monday) after they forced a replay in dramatic fashion.
Teenage talent Jacob Joseph hit a last-gasp equaliser as Marc Abbott's side battled to a 2-2 draw against higher-level Biggleswade Town at the Premier Plus Stadium.
Saints went ahead when Sam Goode glanced in a Sam Bennett cross three minutes before the break, but the visitors turned the game with two quickfire goals early in the second period.
And that's the way it stayed until substitute Joseph swept in a Jake Kerins cross in the 90th minute as Saints clawed their way level.
Those two sides will now do battle again on Wednesday night.
Eynesbury Rovers continued their terrific start to life in the Spartan South Midlands League.
Mark Ducket's table-toppers beat Baldock Town 2-0 in a Premier Division clash at Hall Road.
Steve Gentle opened the scoring midway through the first half before a debut goal from new signing James Peters sealed victory in the second period.
Godmanchester Rovers reeled off a fourth consecutive Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division triumph yesterday.
Micky Hyem and James Hall provided the second-half goals as they won 2-0 at Brantham Athletic.
But Huntingdon Town slipped to defeat in a high-scoring United Counties League clash. Jimmy Brattan's men went down 4-3 at Wellingborough side Whitworth despite a brace from captain Corey Kingston and an Adam Richardson effort.