NON-LEAGUE: St Ives Town defeat the Diamonds, St Neots lose at home, Eynesbury beat their neighbours
- Credit: Archant
The last time St Ives Town faced AFC Rushden & Diamonds, it was the biggest occasion in their history.
That clash in the Southern League Division One (Central) play-off final attracted more than 1,500 people to ProEdge Westwood Road in May, 2016 and led to Saints winning promotion to Step 3 of the non-league system for the first time.
The two teams met again today in the considerably calmer waters of a pre-season friendly at Diamonds’ new Hayden Road base - but the outcome (and the weather) was the same.
Goals from summer signing Jimmy Hartley and Peter Clark were enough to earn a 2-1 victory for Saints.
Hartley struck on the half-hour mark and Clark doubled the advantage midway through the second period before Diamonds halved the advantage.
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The Saints team featured three trialists - goalkeeper Conor Barton, and defenders Lewis Ferrell and David Femiola.
St Neots Town suffered a third defeat in five summer outings when going down to a 3-1 home reverse at the hands of fellow Step 3 side Harlow Town.
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Defender Liam McDevitt struck for the second successive friendly when equalising on the stroke of half-time, but the visitors added two further goals in the second period.
Eynesbury continued their preparations for the new United Counties League Premier Division season with a 4-2 success at Cambs League neighbours Eaton Socon last night.
Summer signing Steve Gentle struck twice with Craig Smith and Tom Coles also on target for Rovers, while Dean Parratt provided the hosts’ goals from the penalty spot.
Both of those teams were back in action today as Eynesbury went down 3-0 at UCL Division One outfit Blackstones in Stamford, while Eaton Socon were then beaten 5-1 by Bedford Town, of Southern League Division One East. Lee Bassett was the local side’s scorer.
Godmanchester Rovers remain unbeaten this summer after sharing eight goals with lower-level Brampton today while Huntingdon Town were beaten 2-1 by a Whittlesey Athletic side who play a couple of levels lower.
Results: AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1, St Ives Tn 2 (Hartley, Clark); St Neots Tn 1 (McDevitt), Harlow Tn 3; Godmanchester Rovers 4 (Furness, Spark, Knight-Percival, og), Brampton 4 (Turner 2, Gearing, Conway); Great Paxton 3 (Crowe 2, Leicester), Eaton Socon A 2; Huntingdon Tn 1 (Jamie Waterworth); Somersham Tn 4 (Shorter, Beardsley, Ives, Knighton), Alconbury 1.