Saints off to Kent - but Goddy are going nowhere

ST Ives Town will travel to Kent on January 21 to face either VCD Athletic or Tunbridge Wells after they beat Peacehaven & Telscombe in the third round proper of the FA Vase on Saturday.

But Godmanchester Rovers will be ‘concentrating on the league’ that day after bowing out of the competition when they were beaten 3-1 at United Counties Premier side Newport Pagnell Town.

VCD – originally Vickers, Crayford & Dartford Athletic – play their football in the Premier Division of the Kent League, as do Tunbridge Wells. The two teams will face each other for the second time in four days when they replay their tie at Tunbridge’s Culverden Stadium on Tuesday evening.

Their first attempt – in Crayford – finished 3-3 after extra time, but there was a more dramatic ending to St Ives’ tie in Sussex: just as managers Jez Hall and Warren Everdell were preparing for another 30 minutes themselves, Stuart Cobb killed off Peacehaven with more than a little help from one of their own.

Tracking back in the 94th minute, unlucky midfielder Aaron Gunn connected with Cobb’s killer cross and forced the ball past his own goalkeeper Jake Buss to send the Saints through to the last 32.

The result was more than Ives deserved – but it was a harsh way to lose for the home side who put up one hell of a fight for more than an hour and a half of this game on the south coast, 140 miles away from Westwood Road.

After their three-hour journey, St Ives started well but chances for Cobb and Lee Ellsion went begging before Peacehaven took the lead in the 18th minute.

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Ryan Bradley’s goal was definitely against the run of play, but after that Ives struggled to cope with the wind and the slope, with striker Conor Washington becoming increasingly isolated up front and Niall Conway-Owen the busier of the two goalkeepers.

It was a different story in the second half, though – playing down the hill the Saints piled on the pressure until Junior McDougald’s glancing header, from an inswinging Jamie Alsop corner, was adjudged to have crossed the line before Buss got his body behind the ball. There was little complaint about assistant Hilary Achegenui’s call from the home side as the striker and his teammates celebrated the equaliser.

From then on, it was all St Ives. Even before McDougald’s goal, they had squandered some major chances; Ellison had a shot blocked before a free kick from just eight yards out – after a debatable back pass decision – rattled the bar from the right boot of Will Fordham.

But as joint manager Everdell pointed out, maybe the real turning point was Conroy-Owen’s fantastic save while it was still 1-0. The Saints goalkeeper was quick to react to a close-range shot and Everdell said: “It was a brilliant stop – and it was 1-0 at the time, had that chance gone in we might have been in trouble; 2-0 would have been tough to come back from.”

As it was, St Ives survived that chance, and an Ashley Rees header which narrowly missed the target, before getting their 67th minute leveller.

“It was relentless but we weren’t even sure if the first goal was going to come, let alone the second,” said Hall. “We had chance after chance but we kept going and got a goal from a dead ball.”

Further Alsop corners caused Peacehaven problems and Cobb, who was linking up well with Jordan Lambert down the right hand side, looped a headed chance over the bar. Fordham was also high with a header, while Washington dragged his best opportunity of the game well wide.

As the clock passed the 90-minute mark, Hall and Everdell were preparing to make their extra time changes. “We were gearing up for another 30 minutes,” said Hall. “Scott Everdell and Grant Robbins were going to come on – but then we snatched it in the last minute of time added on.”

“It was a great cross from Cobby, the defender had nowhere else to go: Ozie Foster said he was behind him to tap it in.

Meanwhile, Godmanchester went out of the competition despite going 1-0 up.

James Hall gave them a fourth-minute lead straight from a corner but Rovers were unable to make the most of further first-half chances and Newport got their equaliser on the half-hour mark.

After the hosts had made it 2-0 in the 50th minute, Goddy’s John Turner had two good chances to get his side back in the game, but drew a blank and Town’s third goal came with 10 minutes remaining.

Jon Hall hit the crossbar late on – but joint manager David Hurst conceded his side had been second best after the final whistle. “We didn’t play as well as we could have done with the ball,” he said.