TEN-MAN St Ives Town recorded an impressive 2-2 draw from a tricky away fixture at Raunds Town. Saints joint manager Jez Hall blasted the referee who sent off Ives Lloyd Howard for handball just before half-time, enabling Raunds to level the scores from
TEN-MAN St Ives Town recorded an impressive 2-2 draw from a tricky away fixture at Raunds Town.
Saints joint manager Jez Hall blasted the referee who sent off Ives' Lloyd Howard for handball just before half-time, enabling Raunds to level the scores from the spot after Graeme Thackray had given the visitors the lead on 26 minutes.
Hall said: "The decision to send Howard off was very harsh - the ball struck his arm but there wasn't much he could do about it.
"If it hadn't been for that we could well have gone on to win, but these things happen in football and the lads performed very well when down to ten men."
Saints were kicking against the wind in the first half, but despite this they managed to control most of the play. Just after the halfway point in the first period, good work from captain Will Fordham and Dom Carminati set up Thackray, who beat two defenders before slotting home.
Then came the controversy as Raunds forced a corner just before the break and the ball was driven against Howard's arm as he guarded the post. Richard Tanner stepped up to slot the penalty home and send the sides in level.
Saints might have been expected to fold after the interval but the ten men battled hard to keep Raunds at bay until a moment of magic put the home side ahead.
Raunds forward Tanner scored his second with a bullet header from a whipped in cross on 67 minutes and it looked as if Town would go home empty-handed.
That was until the 86th minute when more good work from Fordham set up Thackray for the equaliser and his second of the game.
Saints could even have won the match in the final seconds as they struck a post but they had to settle for a point.
A frustrated Hall continued: "With a bit more luck we could have had all three points but we're happy with one considering we were down to ten men for so long.
"Jason King looked impressive on his debut and Will Fordham did a captain's job as ever, so overall we can take a lot from the game."
Saints also took on Blackstones at Westwood Road last night (Tuesday) and face a trip to March Town in the Extra Preliminary Round of the FA Cup at the weekend.
St Ives have not won in the FA Cup for more than 50 years thanks to a defeat at St Margaretsbury in last season's competition and playing at too low a level before that.
The winners will receive £500 prize money and could potentially meet Ryman Premier Division side Boreham Wood in the Preliminary Round proper.
Hall said: "It's a huge game and one the lads are all looking forward to. We normally play March in pre-season friendlies so we know them quite well.
"The possibility of a trip to Boreham Wood is a real motivator for us - as if the FA Cup wasn't enough!