Dramatic win for St Ives Town boosts hopes of escaping relegation
- Credit: NEIL METCALFE
St Ives Town snatched victory in a pulsating Southern League Premier Division Central tie to significantly boost their survival hopes.
The 3-2 success at home to Nuneaton Borough means they are now 16th in the table but six points above a potential relegation place and eight ahead of a guaranteed demotion.
The winner came two minutes into stoppage time at Westwood Road.
It was set up by Liam Cross who weaved his way into the visitors’ box from the right until he was impeded by a clumsy challenge from Jaden Charles.
The referee though had spotted the loose ball running to Victor Aiyelabola and with advantage being played he flashed it into the roof of the net for his second and the three points.
Ives had taken the lead on nine minutes when Ethan Johnston found the narrowest of angles to fire under the body of Nuneaton keeper Tony Breedon.
But by the time they scored again, it was the visitors who were in front with goals from Charlie Dowd and Scott McManus, meaning Aiyelabola's first goal on 72 minutes was an equaliser.
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But while the forward's goals were obviously hugely vital, the man of the match prize went to on-loan Oxford United keeper Eddie Brearey who made great save after great save to keep Ives in the contest, including a wonderful double save to deny both Luke Benbow and Ahmed Obeng just after the hour.
Ives next play on Tuesday away to Hednesford Town.
St Neots Town's improved form continued with a fine 1-1 draw away to play-off chasing AFC Dunstable in the Southern League Division One Central.
The point made it one defeat in the last five and it was a well-deserved reward for a display in a stiff breeze that more than matched their loftier hosts.
AFC had taken the lead with a first-half penalty, hotshot BJ Christie converting for his 24th of the season after a handball.
That was on 36 minutes but Saints were level before the break, Joe Rider pouncing for his 14th of the campaign after a Lee Watkins effort had bounced back off a post.
They still needed a brave save by Luke Chadwick at the feet of Christie to ensure parity at half-time but it was the defences who dominated in the second period to ensure one point each.
The closest St Neots came to snatching a winner came in stoppage time with substitute Felipe McConnell beating two defenders after cutting in from the left but hitting his shot into the side netting.
Eynesbury Rovers were without a game but Godmanchester Rovers did play in United Counties League Premier Division South, suffering a 3-0 loss at Rugby Town.
Huntingdon Town meanwhile drew 0-0 at home to Whittlesey Athletic on Friday night in the Eastern Counties League First Division North.