St Ives Town must negotiate an FA Cup replay after being held to a goalless stalemate by lower level opposition.

St Ives Town winger Ben Seymour-Shove (left) during their FA Cup deadlock at Saffron Walden. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSONSt Ives Town winger Ben Seymour-Shove (left) during their FA Cup deadlock at Saffron Walden. Picture: LOUISE THOMPSON

The Southern League Premier Division Central side drew 0-0 at Saffron Walden, who play two levels further down the non-league ladder but are unbeaten this season, in a first qualifying round tie yesterday.

Saints were denied victory by two fine saves from Saffron Walden number one Neil O’Sullivan who kept out headers from Tom McGowan and substitute Dylan Wilson in the final quarter-of-an-hour.

And even when O’Sullivan was beaten in stoppage time, a brilliant block by defender home defender Jamie Riley denied Wilson a dramatic winner.

Saints boss Ricky Marheineke said: “It was exactly the tough game we expected.

“The fact we’re at Step 3 and Saffron Walden are at Step 5 is largely irrelevant for a one-off game of football.

“They have a good manager, they have good players, they are very well organised and they are unbeaten this season.

“It would have been silly to under-estimate them and we certainly didn’t do that.

“We played at one hundred miles per hour at times in the first half, but we were much better in the second half and controlled the game.

“But for outstanding saves and a brilliant block on the goal-line we would have won the game, but we’ll do it all again on Tuesday.”

Marheineke handed a debut to goalkeeper Sam Wilson, who has been drafted in from League Two side Mansfield Town for a month. He was relatively untroubled as his spell at Saints began with a clean sheet.

Ollie Snaith completed a three-match suspension yesterday while injured attacking duo Munashe Sundire and George Bailey are also expected to be fit for the replay.