One goal was enough to launch St Ives Town to within a point of top spot last night.

Andrew Phillips' solitary strike earned Saints a hard-fought 1-0 success against Bedford Town on a freezing night of Southern League Division One (Central) football at ProEdge Westwood Road.

Phillips made the vital breakthrough with 20 minutes to go while a fine defensive effort secured a third successive victory and a rise into second spot in the standings.

Manager Ricky Marheineke said: “It is always a tough game against Bedford who have a lot of strength in their side.

“But we managed to put in another really professional performance to pick up the three points and keep our good run going.

“Sometimes it can be too easy to get carried away coming off the back of a big win like we had against Arlesey last Saturday.

“I sensed there was a bit of frustration from the lads at half-time, but they have to remember that 6-0 games are very few and far between.

“Thisone was always going to be considerably tighter and fortunately we were able to get the goal that mattered thanks to a great move and a great finish.

“The boys were then really solid defensively, just as they have been so many times this season, to keep a clean sheet.

“It's an important result to take us up a couple of places in the league.”

Marheineke confirmed the departure of midfielder Peter Clark following his side's victory.

Clark has agreed a return to hometown club St Neots Town.

There was a fine glimpse into the future for Godmanchester Rovers as they reached the semi-finals of the Thurlow Nunn League Challenge Cup last night.

Boss Matt Clements featured seven of the club's teenage prospects in his squad for a 3-1 success at lower-level Downham Town in a quarter-final tie.

And two of the young talents – Jake Bennett and Chris Hartley – hit their first goals at first-team level to help Rovers advance.

Senior player Austen Diaper had earlier broken the deadlock.