WITH 80 minutes gone and the game still 0-0 at Shepshed Dynamo on Saturday afternoon, St Ives Town managers Jez Hall and Warren Everdell turned to the injured David Cobb and asked him to go out there and have a go.

And, within 30 seconds of coming off the bench – the winger had received the ball with a first touch – and found the top corner of the net from 30 yards with a second. Cue pandemonium.

St Ives knew that Spalding United, their rivals for second place, were winning at Peterborough Northern Star – so they had to win at Shepshed to secure promotion. It was Last Chance Saloon time. Cobb, said Hall, was very much the last throw of the dice.

“It was an exhausting afternoon,” Hall told The Hunts Post. “They played with five at the back and were really solid and it was really hard going. We just couldn’t break through.

“David had been injured and had missed the last two games but we just decided he would be our last throw of the dice.

“He has had a thigh problems – he could run but couldn’t strike the ball, or so we thought until he struck that one from 40-odd yards. It was a brilliant goal.

“He took one touch, struck it, and the goalkeeper just watched it fly into the top corner.

“After that, Cobb couldn’t move again. He just wandered around the middle of the pitch.”

It had been a tough couple of weeks for the Saints, who should have wrapped up second placed and promotion sooner, but a brilliant win against champions Holbeach United, who had not applied for promotion, was counter-balanced by home defeats to Newport Pagnell Town and Huntingdon Town.

But Spalding, too, had stumbled into the final week of the season, unable to take advantage of the Saints’ set-backs, and a 1-0 win over Yaxley (goal courtesy of Aaron Last) meant it all came down to the final day with St Ives on 87 points at Shepshed and Spalding on 86 at PNS.

“It was always going to be tough picking up six points from those two games but we knew what we had to do. We kept two clean sheets and that was important – and we even lost central defender Will Fordham after eight minutes at Shepshed.”

Right back Jordan Lambert went into the middle at that point and Scott Everdell came on at right back.

In the centre of midfield, Lee Ellison and Jimmy Dean were ‘half-cooked’ as hall put it, but were excellent as they probed and prodded. But there were hearts in mouth when Shepshed hit a post midway through the second half. It was nervy stuff.

It was in the 80th minute that Cobb replaced left back Jamie Alsop as the management duo threw caution to the wind. Thirty second later Cobb was being mobbed by his team-mates and the job was all but done. St Ives, of course, held out for the three points...

Amazingly, St Ives now meet Spalding this afternoon at PNS in the final of the UCL League Cup.

More to follow in this week’s Hunts Post.

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