FESTIVE FOOTBALL: St Ives Town bid to end a fabulous year on a high; St Neots land loan duo; derby draw in the United Counties League
- Credit: Archant
St Ives Town are chasing a second successive derby triumph to complete the perfect final chapter to their 2016 fairytale.
Saints entertain their tenants Cambridge City at ProEdge Westwood Road on Boxing Day, 1pm - and they’ll go into Southern League Premier Division battle on a high.
A midweek destruction of St Neots Town lifted Ricky Marheineke’s men into the top half of the standings for the first time following promotion last season.
But boss Marheineke has stressed the need for a complete performance if they are to continue a seven-match unbeaten streak in league football against an improving City outfit.
He said: “It has been a memorable year for the club and the aim is to end it with another good result.
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“First and foremost it was a fantastic achievement to win the Division One (Central) play-offs to earn promotion - and secondly we have done very well to establish ourselves at Step 3 in our first-ever season at this level.
“It hasn’t always been a bed of roses. We’ve had some difficult times and some poor results, but they have made the squad stronger and tighter than ever.
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“Our recent run has been very pleasing and it would be great to pick up another derby win to finish the year in the right way.
“That will be far from easy though as Cambridge City have big strides since they appointed Robbie Nightingale as manager recently.
“He’s an old team-mate of mine and a very good bloke. It’s no surprise to me he has sparked an upturn in their results and I can guarantee everyone it will be a tough test on Boxing Day.”
It’s been a considerably more difficult year for St Neots Town, who go into their final match of 2016 in the Southern League Premier Division relegation zone.
Saints host Biggleswade Town at the Premier Plus Stadium on Boxing Day (1pm) as they bid to snap a run of nine matches without victory in all competitions.
Interim bossess Lee Clarke and Dan Gleeson have boosted their squad by snapping up two teenage loan recruits from League Two club Leyton Orient.
Sam Alderson is a defender, who can also play in midfield, while Rian McLean is an attacking midfielder.
Eynesbury are also in action on Boxing Day. They entertain Newport Pagnell in a United Counties League Premier Division clash, also 1pm.
Rovers boss Mark Ducket will seek an immediate response from his second-placed side after they were held to a 1-1 draw at bottom team Huntingdon last night (Friday).
The teams traded early goals with top-scorer Craig Smith’s opener for Eynesbury quickly cancelled out by Thembelani Nkala - a player who left them earlier in the season.
Huntingdon, who remain six points adrift at the foot of the standings, don’t play again until Tuesday, when they go to Yaxley (7.45pm).
Godmanchester Rovers play earlier on Tuesday. They host Ely City in the Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division at 3pm.