ST Ives Town joint manager Jez Hall said his players ‘messed it up’ when they drew 2-2 at home to Yaxley on Saturday and dropped to third in the United Counties League Premier Division table.

"It was two points dropped," said Hall, who at least was pleased to see new striker Robbie Harris net a goal in his first game for the club after signing from Holbeach United.

"We didn't even get out of second gear the whole game and it wasn't good enough," he continued. "We were inept in the first half - that was about as bad as I can remember us ever playing.

"We didn't win all of our battles - especially in the first half, but at least we got back and got ourselves in front in the second half.

"But then they messed it up again though…."

In goal, Niall Conroy had to stop several early chances for the visitors before Harris linked up well with Karl Gibbs, but his shot was weak and easy for the Yaxley goalkeeper.

David Cobb, who has been in fine form of late, had a chance after that but missed the ball completely as he swiped his left foot at a low cross.

Jimmy Dean had a goal disallowed before St Ives were hit on the break when Luke Hipwell shot past Conroy for 1-0 in the 39th minute.

Early in the second half St Ives should have been awarded a penalty when Hipwell red-carded for a challenge on David Cobb the box. Cobb had stayed on his feet despite the foul and fired off a shot while unbalanced which beat the goalkeeper but came back off the post.

Harris opened his account for the Saints, forcing the ball home in a goalmouth scramble, and then Jon Stead fired them ahead with a cracking drive from outside of the box.

But when Ben Walshe fouled a Yaxley player with three minutes to go, everyone but the referee thought the crime had been committed outside of the St Ives box, and the visitors equalised from the penalty spot.

There was still time for David Cobb to skim the Yaxley crossbar with a good shot and Dan Newman to be shown a second yellow card and therefore a red as well.

"In the second half we got ourselves right back in it and we scored two goals and had several other chances. There were some good saves by their keeper and a good clearance off the line - but we got sloppy with about three minutes to go. The lads are adamant that the foul was about two yards outside the box but the referee somehow found it to be a penalty.

"But it was disappointing that we even let ourselves get into that position really. We should have just seen the game off easily."

The plus point? Harris worked hard and kept trying. On the heavy pitch things didn't always come off, but he was in the right place at the right time when the ball popped out to him for the goal. "He's a good lad and it was nice for him to get off to a good start like that," said Hall.

St Ives: Niall Conroy, Jordan Lambert, Jamie Alsop, Will Fordham, Dan Newman, David Cobb, Ben Walshe, Jimmy Dean, Robbie Harris (Junior McDougald), Karl Gibbs, Jon Stead (Stuart Cobb).