NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: Patched-up St Ives Town held by basement boys despite hat-trick from stike ace

Ben Seymour-Shove hit one of the St Ives Town goals as they drew with Leiston. Picture: DUNCAN LAMON

Ben Seymour-Shove hit one of the St Ives Town goals as they drew with Leiston. Picture: DUNCAN LAMONT - Credit: Archant

St Ives Town manager Ricky Marheineke was left with mixed emotions following a midweek thriller.

Saints were held to a 4-4 draw at rock-bottom Leiston in the Southern League Premier Division Central after conceding in the dying seconds of a match in which strike ace Matt Foy hit a hat-trick.

Marheineke's depleted side had earlier found themselves 2-0 down in the first half before recovering to hold the lead twice only to then see it snatched away.

Dylan Wilson headed over when presented with a golden chance to put Saints ahead early on but two Louie Bloom goals than put lowly Leiston, who had only gained one point all season previously, on top.

Saints reduced their arrears before the break as Foy pounced for the first of his three goals after a Jarvis Wilson shot was blocked on the line.

A terrific save denied Aaron Phillips a leveller in the opening minute of the second period, but Saints didn't have to wait long to restore parity as Foy curled in a fine finish.

Leiston were then reduced to 10 men when James Gaffer was dismissed for collecting two cautions in the space of four minutes and Saints made their numerical advantage count when hitting the front just after the hour as Seymour-Shove converted a Phillips cross at the second attempt.

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The lead was wiped out with 15 minutes to go by Josh Cheetham but quickly restored again as Foy completed his treble when heading in a super Ben Jackson cross.

But they were stung deep into stoppage time when failing to deal with a long delivery into their box and allowing Noel Aitkens to drag the basement hosts level.

"So many factors were against us on Tuesday - not least of all the fact we had nine first-team players unavailable," said Marheineke.

"For most of our lads who did play it was a three-and-a-half hour journey just to get to Leiston which is certainly not ideal. Nor is the fact that several of them didn't make it to the ground until 20 minutes before kick-off.

"Taking that into account it's probably no surprise we found ourselves behind in the first half and at 2-0 down we would have gladly accepted a point.

"But, after seeing the lads show such great character to twice get themselves ahead, it's hugely frustrating to concede from the last kick of the game.

"No team that scores four goals in an away match should end up with anything less than three points, but we only have ourselves to blame for the manner in which we conceded.

"Three of the Leiston goals were scored from set pieces and that has been a huge Achilles heel for us this season and it has got to stop even though we are missing some of our most physically imposing players at the moment.

"It's also not the first time we've allowed points to slip away by letting in late goals which suggests our game management also needs to improve."

Marheineke included former Saints favourite Declan Rogers in his side at Leiston, but that was merely a one-off appearance with the attacking talent playing regularly at Step 4 for Wisbech Town.

There will be two new faces in the Saints squad that goes to Alvechurch this Saturday, though, with Marheineke drafting in Connor Furlong and George Boland this week.

Furlong is an attacking midfielder who spent last term at Bedford Town but it is yet to play this season. Fellow midfielder Boland arrives from Step 4 club Kempston Rovers.

Marheineke added: "It's an opportunity for both lads to come in and show us what they can do at a time when the squad is so depleted.

"Midfield is an area where we have been hit particularly hard and we have at least three of our key players in that part of the pitch out for several weeks."

Goalkeeper Martin Conway has left the club with Saints choosing to extend the loan deal of Cambridge United prospect Fin Iron, who has impressed immensely in the last month.