FA CUP: Rousing comeback earns St Neots Town a replay, but historic tie ends in defeat for St Ives Town

Nabil Shariff hit a last-gasp leveller to keep St Neots Town in the FA Cup. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES

Nabil Shariff hit a last-gasp leveller to keep St Neots Town in the FA Cup. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES - Credit: Archant

St Neots Town were involved in more heart-stopping FA Cup drama today - but a historic occasion for St Ives Town ended in defeat.

Nabil Shariff headed in a last-gasp leveller as St Neots battled back to draw 2-2 with Coalville in a thrilling third qualifying round tie at the Premier Plus Stadium.

Matt Clements’ men were staring an elimination after falling 2-0 down to their fellow Southern League Premier Division Central side, whose second goal arrived after they were reduced to 10 men early in the second half.

But Saints, who triumphed in the first qualifying round despite being reduced to 10 men for an hour, and then came back from the dead with an incredible comeback in the second qualifying round, weren’t about to bow out with a whimper after reaching this stage for the first time in 40 years.

Instead they struck twice in the final few minutes. A fine Tom Wood strike launched a fightback that was completed when Shariff pounced in the dying seconds to set up a replay on Tuesday and ensure Saints will feature in the fourth qualifying round draw to be made on Monday lunchtime.

There was no FA Cup fairytale for St Ives Town in their first-ever outing at this stage as Ricky Marheineke’s side were beaten 3-0 at National League North side York City.

Saints fell behind to a Jake Wright goal after nine minutes – a breakthrough which arrived seconds after defender Jarvis Wilson headed a fine opportunity over at the other end.

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Two further York goals – both scored by Adam Burrow - in the early part of the second half sealed Saints’ fate.

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