Joint-manager Jez Hall happy with squad progress at St Ives Town

St Ives Town 1

Scarborough Athletic 2

ST IVES TOWN got their pre-season campaign up and running at the weekend with a narrow 2-1 defeat by Northern Counties East League outfit Scarborough Athletic at Westwood Road.

The home side took the lead on 28 minutes when Scott Fielding played in Conor Washington to score, but second half goals from Ryan Blott and Ant Lynam handed the visitors victory.

But Saints joint-boss Jez Hall wasn't too disappointed, saying: "There were a lot of positives to come out of it and it was by no means a disappointing result.

"I must admit I feared the worst for us beforehand - what with the players we had unavailable for the fixture, as well as the fact we only had one recognised defensive player available.

"Scarborough are a good, well-organised outfit and had already got a few games under their belt before the weekend, where as this was our first match.

"It was great to get that first game under our belts. The result matters very little really, but I particularly thought our goalkeeper Niall Conroy-Owen was exceptional."

Conroy-Owen, along with versatile defender Matt Bannister, have committed to St Ives ahead of the new UCL Premier Division campaign.

On the pair, Hall said: "Niall is a great young keeper, who just got better and better last season and is definitely a prospect for our future.

"Banni [Bannister] is another great signing for us and we all know that he is a decent player, who plays well in any position we play him in."

Meanwhile, Hall also confirmed that the club have signed striker James Hall from Ridgeons League First Division neighbours Godmanchester Town and secured the services of full-back Scott Everdell - son of Ives joint-boss Warren - from Histon.

Departing Westwood Road are full-back JP Duncliffe, who has joined Spalding, while striker Dan Matson has also left for Boston Town.

Hall said: "The squad is coming together nicely now.

"We'll be looking to carry a squad of around 16 next season and we'll be able to bring in some promising players from the U18s to boost numbers where necessary.

"Pre-season is often a tricky time, with rumours flying around everywhere about who is signing and who has gone.

"But I think it is important to focus on getting the squad right so we can prepare properly ahead of the start of the season.

"There are 10 players signed on so far with further signings to be made over the coming days.

"Come next Wednesday (July 27) and the home friendly against Cambridge United, we'll have a better idea of where we are squad wise."

Saints are scheduled the host Cambridge University Press tonight (Tuesday).