Route to safety becomes clearer for St Ives despite Stourbridge defeat
- Credit: DUNCAN LAMONT
St Ives Town's hopes of avoiding the drop from Southern League Premier Division Central have been boosted despite a heavy defeat.
Ives went down 4-1 at home to mid-table Stourbridge but thanks to a result elsewhere, and the convoluted relegation picture across the four step four divisions, their path to safety became a whole lot clearer and more likely.
With spaces to be filled above them in the pyramid, the decision was made that instead of the bottom three going, only the bottom two would be guaranteed to slip out of the division.
Those teams finishing third in the four divisions would then be ranked on a points-per-game basis with only one of the four teams being relegated.
Kings Langley are currently third from bottom in the Southern League Premier Division South and their 2-1 loss to Swindon Supermarine means their PPG will remain less than St Ives'.
Ives therefore will only go down if they finish in the bottom two and currently have an eight-point buffer, although Biggleswade Town do have games in hand, the first of them tomorrow night (Tuesday).
The game against Stourbridge saw the Glassboys gain revenge for their defeat to Ives back in August on their home turf.
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The visitors though are a much-changed side since then and according to the form table, their results over the last 10 league games would have put them firmly in the play-off positions.
They scored three fabulous goals too, the first of them on 21 minutes arguably the best of the lot.
Lee Vaughan led the swift break before finding Ethan Moran on the edge of the box and his first time clipped shot sailed perfectly over Edward Brearey and nestling inside the far post.
They doubled their lead before half-time, Reece Styche unleashing a screamer that roared into the top corner, and it was 3-0 two minutes after the interval, Darryl Knights curling a free-kick over the five-man wall and beyond Breary's left hand.
Ives did pull a goal back midway through the half, Michael Richens setting substitute Josh Flanagan away and his cross was rolled in by Ethan Johnston.
That briefly raised the hopes of a sensational comeback but while there were chances, Richens at the heart of everything, it was Stourbridge who wrapped things up with a fourth.
A long punt out of defence tempted Brearey from his goal but he misjudged the bounce and it allowed Kieran Cook the relatively simple task of sending the ball into the empty net.
Brearey did make amends to push away a penalty from Styche, awarded after a foul by Andrew Osei-Bonsu on George Forsyth.