FA CUP: St Ives Town overcome injury, unavailability and dismissal to live to fight another day
- Credit: Archant
Being held to a draw by lower-level opponents might not normally be seen as a success.
But that exact outcome felt like a victory for St Ives Town yesterday as they overcame a tough set of circumstances to stay in the FA Cup.
Ricky Marheineke's depleted side battled their way to a goalless draw against Canvey Island at Westwood Road to set up a Tuesday replay in Essex for a place in the third qualifying round.
It was a match of little quality and even fewer opportunities which certainly won't live long in the memory. A better set of opponents would surely have put Saints to the sword as their threadbare team - already without seven regulars for a variety of reasons - suffered a further blow with the dismissal of Jarvis Wilson on the stroke of half-time.
The central defender was dismissed for a rash challenge on Canvey Island man Albert Levett only moments after Saints had also lost Ben Seymour-Shove to injury.
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But the expected second-half onslaught from a set of visitors surely sniffing a scalp never arrived. One terrific one-on-one save from debutant goalkeeper Finlay Iron aside, Saints were relatively untroubled and will fancy their chances of making it through at the second attempt in midweek.
"I had to be the happier of the two managers after the game," said Marheineke.
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"Without playing well, with a lot of players missing and with having to play half of the game with 10 men, we got ourselves a replay.
"Those circumstances made it feel like a victory for us and I guess it must have been more like a defeat for them.
"Jarvis found himself getting bullied for a large part of that first half and I think the frustration showed in the tackle he made.
"But he's a young lad who will learn from that and fortunately the other boys got him out of trouble by putting in a really solid and disciplined defensive performance that keeps us in the FA Cup.
"Teams don't get many chances to knock out higher-level opposition and yesterday was Canvey Island's opportunity to do that.
"They couldn't do it and I'm more than confident that we will progress in the replay."
Marheineke handed a debut to Iron following his arrival on a 28-day youth loan from League Two club Cambridge United.
Regular number one Martin Conway is one of the club's injury victims along with defenders Danny Kelly and Charlie De'Ath, and forward George Bailey - although De'Ath was also suspended yesterday.
Recent striking signing Matt Foy was cup-tied while full-back Mark Coulson and frontman Ezra Forde were both unavailable.
Jack Snelus - who battled through sickness to complete the 90 minutes - and Dylan Wilson were both denied by Canvey Island keeper Lamar Johnson during the first half.
At the other end, the hosts were indebted to Ty Ward for a goal-line clearance to keep out a Jason Hallett header before a raised flag cut short the celebrations after George Purcell thought he had put the visitors ahead.
They did soon gain a numerical advantage, though, but couldn't make use of it in the second period when only managing to create one clear chance which Tobi Joseph saw superbly saved by Iron.
Marheineke added: "Fin is a tremendous young goalkeeper and we're delighted to have him on board.
"He's someone we looked at even before Martin picked up an injury and he came up with an excellent save when he was needed in the second half."
The reward for the replay winners is a home tie against Isthmian League Premier Division side Bowers & Pitsea in the next round on October 5.