FOR the second time this season, St Ives Town are one match away from winning 10 games on the trot.

The last time the Saints were this close to double figures, they were denied by King's Lynn Town, who beat them 5-1 at The Walks at the start of November.

This time around, they will go to Yaxley for a Boxing Day derby game against a team struggling near the foot of the United Counties Premier Division table.

However, managers Jez Hall and Warren Everdell look set to be missing three key players that day: their captain Lee Ellison, Ozie Foster and Scott Fielding are all injured and unlikely to recover in time.

The trio were all out for Saturday's 4-2 home win against Daventry United, too – as was Jordan Lambert, who was away. But Hall sung the praises of their replacements: Scott Everdell and Dan Newman, and especially youngsters Tom Spark and Max Roberts, the current captain of the under-18s.

“Tom and Max played really well,” said the joint manager, “and they might have to do the same again against Yaxley.

“We know Yaxley will give us a tough game – but going there I think we have more of a chance of getting that 10th win out of 10 than we did when we went to King's Lynn.”

The current nine out of nine run is made up of five United Counties and four cup victories; two in the FA Vase against Long Eaton United and Peacehaven & Telscombe, one against Wellingborough Town 2004 in the UCL Cup, and the other against Yaxley in the Hunts Senior Cup.

Hall continued: “I think Yaxley were a bit light that day and we had a full-strength side out – so it won't be quite as easy as it was when we beat them 4-0.

“I'm expecting it to be a bit harder than that.”

Against Daventry, 19-year-old striker Conor Washington was again in excellent form, scoring one goal and creating two more. But it was experienced defender Will Fordham who opened their account in the first half with a powerful header from a corner.

Just before half time, Daventry equalised from the penalty spot after Saints goalkeeper Niall Conroy-Owen had brought down one of their players in the box.

And then, early in the second half, Washington finished off a superb move before being hauled down himself for Junior McDougald to score from the spot.

Another penalty followed, with Daventry making it 3-2, before Washington set up Stuart Cobb to secure the points.