NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Big Ben strikes in the nick of time as St Ives Town snatch success against the basement boys
- Credit: Archant
Ben Jackson won’t forget his home St Ives Town debut in a hurry.
The recent defensive recruit hit a last-gasp winner as Saints snatched victory against rock-bottom Bedworth in the Southern League Premier Division Central last Saturday.
Jackson’s stoppage-time strike earned a 2-1 success as Ricky Marheineke’s side extended their unbeaten run to four games courtesy of a comeback in the closing quarter-of-an-hour of a dramatic clash which featured three dismissals.
“Ben hadn’t played all season until joining us,” said Marheineke. “But he has got up to speed very quickly and acquitted himself very well.
“Everyone could see how much that winning goal meant to him and it was a great way to cap his home debut.”
It didn’t look like being a happy ending for Saints as they trailed the basement boys, who are without a league win all season, for almost an hour.
Bedworth skipper Luke Rowe hit the only goal of the opening period after 17 minutes as the combination of fine saves, the woodwork and some errant finishing frustrated the hosts.
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Both sides were also a man down by the time the interval arrived with Saints ace Ollie Snaith and Bedworth man Ricardo Dudley both dismissed following a scuffle with followed a poor initial challenge from the visiting player.
Bedworth’s lead was eventually wiped out in the 75th minute when Robbie Parker’s full-stretch cross went in off defender Barry Fitzharris to bring Saints level.
That was the cue for all-out-attack as both teams chased victory and it was Saints who were left celebrating after late drama.
Bedworth had goalkeeper Adam Harrison dismissed for handling outside his box with defender Brad Maslen-Jones donning the gloves, but his first task was to pick the ball out of the net as a Parker free kick was put away by Jackson.
Marheineke added: “We knew being at home to the bottom team would be the polar opposite to playing away to the leaders the previous weekend.
“I selected the same team that won at Kettering as I felt every player deserved to stay in the side.
“We could easily have been a couple of goals up before we found ourselves behind, but we were still very positive at half-time.
“We expected Bedworth to get deeper as the game wore on and felt that would lead to opportunities coming our way. That’s exactly what happened as we got the goals and three points in the end.”
Saints are without a fixture this Saturday due to intended opponents Barwell still being involved in the FA Trophy.
Marheineke’s men are next in action on Wednesday (December 19) when they travel to lowly Hitchin.