Saints hoping for good cup run after weekend draw drama

Ryan Frater gets up for a header. He would later take over in goal and save a late penalty. Picture

Ryan Frater gets up for a header. He would later take over in goal and save a late penalty. Picture: CLAIRE HOWES - Credit: Archant

St Neots joint-manager Gary King hopes to go from an unfortunate football first last weekend to recreate happy FA Cup memories on Saturday.

His side had to play the final four minutes of stoppage time at Biggleswade Town with only eight players remaining.

Sub Dave Deeney limped off after 80 minutes when the other two subs had already been used. Then Josh Bickerstaff was sent off for two yellows before goal-keeper Nathan Abbey saw red when he was penalised for violent conduct while trying to throw the ball upfield as a Town player approached to block.

Ryan Frater went in goal to save the resulting penalty – and make two more saves – to ensure Saints held on for a 2-2 draw. Frater had earlier put Saints ahead and Drew Roberts added a second in the 47th minute.

All that can be put behind them with the visit of Dereham Town in the first qualifying round of the FA Cup on Saturday. It’s a competition that King has had success in recently. Two years ago he and joint-manager Zema Abbey guided Arlesey to the first round and a tie at

Coventry City. The year before they reached the same stage, losing out to a strong Salisbury City.

Reflecting on Saturday’s draw, King said: “We possibly made our substitu-tions earlier than normal. Josh’s first yellow was right, no arguments with that, but the second one I think their player caused a problem and then made out that something happened that didn’t.

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“For the other one, Nathan caught the ball, he tried to throw it to start an attack and their player blocked him. I thought the referee was going to give something to us. I was quite frankly amazed.”

King ran the rule over Cup opponents Dereham when they played St Ives last week. “They are a typical Ryman side.

We expect a tough game but I’m hoping it’s the start of a good run.

“A cup run can give everybody a lift, the players and the supporters. There are no guarantees in the Cup, but we will prepare ourselves properly and hope to get the right result.”