St Ives Town leave it late again but shoot-out success books historic place in next round of FA Trophy
- Credit: Archant
St Ives Town needed another late, late show before eventually booking their place in the first round of the FA Trophy with victory over Stafford Rangers.
On Tuesday in the league it was a 92nd-minute winner that beat Leiston and while Dylan Williams’ penalty was in contrast relative early, coming after 89 minutes, it was enough to finish the 90 minutes at 1-1 and force a shoot-out.
And four emphatic penalties from the hosts secured a 4-1 win and progression to the next stage for the first time in their history.
With injuries still keeping Marc Richards and Nabil Shariff out of the squad Ives went into the game without a recognised centre-forward and began with the same 11 that had finished so powerfully on Tuesday evening.
Stafford had arrived at Westwood Road bottom of the Northern Premier League Premier Division having sacked their manager during the week but started looking to impress any new future boss.
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And they took the lead in this spell, Joe Cuff sent clear by Callum Coyle in the 13th minute and calmly scoring beyond the exposed Martin Conway.
But Ives reacted well to falling behind and only a decisive final ball prevented them from getting to half-time on level terms.
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Stafford keeper Lewis King made a big save to deny Williams while Michael Gyasi, the match winner against Leiston, fired wide.
Conway did have to make one good stop to prevent Stafford from doubling their lead, saving from John Welsh, and the visitors opened the second half as brightly as the first, Aaron Cole hitting the side netting as he got on the end of Cieron Keane’s corner.
Ives again began to perk up as the half went on and should have drawn level in the 61st minute, skipper Brett Solkhon getting on the end of a long Conway free-kick and directed his header into the path of Ben Seymour-Shove.
The keeper stood tall though to block the shot.
The same player thought he had put St Ives ahead less than sixty seconds later but he was given offside before putting the ball into the net.
But those incidents simply served to build the pressure. Ed Hottor hit a scissors kick into the arms of King while Gyasi too could not get the better of the keeper.
Striker Michael Harding came on for a debut with 16 minutes to go and almost made an instant impact, spinning on the edge of the box to fire in a low right footer that King did excellently to keep out low to his right.
But finally the Ives pressure paid dividends and after Sam Coulson needlessly dived in on Seymour-Shove just inches inside the box, Williams kept his composure and sent the keeper the wrong way.
More penalties followed soon after. Nathan Hicks, Solkhon and Williams all beat King comprehensively while at the other end only Cuff could score, Mitchell Candlin’s effort brilliantly saved low to his left by Conway and Coulson firing well over the top.
That left substitute Ben Toseland to clinch the win and he did not disappoint, beating King just as emphatically as his predecessors.
St Ives Town: Conway, Bateman, Ballinger (Toseland 83), Gyasi, Jackson, Solkhon, Seymour-Shove, Howell, D.Williams, Hottor (Harding 74), Hicks
Subs (not used): Lincoln, Clifton, Mitkov.
Goal: Williams (pen) 89
Stafford Rangers: King, M.Williams (Kenton 41), Keane, Coulson, Forrest, Welsh, Cole (J.Williams 82), Harvey, Candlin, Coyle (Sebbeh-Njie 83), Cuff.
Goal: Cuff 13
Booked: Cuff 52, Kenton 56
HT: St Ives Town 0 Stafford Rangers 1
Referee: Alistair Wilson (Boston)