EVEN the best teams in the world have to scrape a 1-0 win occasionally – and against Raunds Town on Saturday Huntingdon Town did exactly that after a succession of eye-catching scorelines in recent weeks.

A glance at the United Counties League Division One table says Ricky Marheineke's side beat a team sitting just two places from the bottom - but at the end of the season, when the style and substance of each and every point won is forgotten, these three might well be the difference between promotion and bitter disappointment.

When it came, Declan Rogers' 64th minute goal was more than deserved; at points during a largely dull first half, Huntingdon had dominated but failed to capitalise and make the most of their chances..

There was even a sign of relief from Marheineke after the game. "Yes, a definite sigh of relief," he confirmed. "This is the first time this season that a close game has actually gone our way.

"You're not going to score five, six or seven goals every week and in the close games it's important that you find a way to win."

It was windy at Jubilee Park and in the first half neither side really got going. Ondre Odain had a fierce shot blocked and hit a post, while Dave Beeny was forced to make at least one decent save - but that was about it.

In the second half Dan Drane, Dan Moyes and Joe Jordan all caused the visitors problems before Jamie Blackwell had a header brilliantly touched wide by the Raunds goalkeeper. And it was the impressive Blackwell who found goalscorer Rogers with a sublime and inch-perfect low cross to set up the forward for his left-footed strike.

"The goal was absolutely outstanding," said Marheineke. "A 20-yard run to skin two players and then that great cross ball for Declan to put it in at the back post."

There were further Huntingdon chances after that, but they went begging. "If our decision making had been better I think we could have probably scored a second goal and killed the game off," said the manager.

"I've criticised certain players over recent weeks for making silly mistakes, especially defensively, but I take my hat off to our two centre halves today, I thought they were absolutely brilliant and deserve a lot of credit for keeping a clean sheet."

A clean sheet, of course, which was just as important as the goal.