St Ives Town look forward to big FA Vase clash after 125th anniversary game ends goalless

JEZ Hall and Warren Everdell are hoping they can bring in a new striker in time for St Ives Town’s massive FA Vase second round game against Wisbech Town on Saturday.

“It’s no coincidence that we lost to Quorn and only managed a draw today,” said Hall after his side’s 0-0 against Long Buckby in their 125th anniversary game on Saturday.

The Saints had plenty of chances, but as Hall pointed out: “We couldn’t hit a cow’s bottom with a banjo.”

After losing Conor Washington to Newport County, St Ives replaced their star man with Ricky Miller, a striker from Corby. Miller was excellent and scored five times for the club but was tempted away to play with his former boss Graham Drury at Stamford two weeks ago.

Last week the club faced another battle to persuade their now No. 1 striker Karl Gibbs to stay after interest from Spalding United. That was a battle they won, with Gibbs, who has scored 18 times in 19 league and cup games this season, turning down the move and committing himself to the club.

But, if Saturday proved anything, it was that the frontman definitely needs help – not that St Ives didn’t have their fair share of chances.

The Long Buckby goalkeeper Ash Malhotra made a series of excellent saves, but David Cobb, Stuart Cobb, Jon Stead and Gibbs all had chances to find the back of the net – only to fluff them time and time again.

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Junior McDougald came on late and also missed his chance – on what was a very muddy pitch, by the way – as did his fellow substitute Ben Walshe.

“We’re very hopeful of finding someone to come in for the game against Wisbech,” said Hall. “But if not, we will have to have a look at the way we play.

“Our defence is tight and that doesn’t worry me, but Wisbech have three very good forwards in Chris Bacon, Dubi Ogbonna and Deakan Napier – and it will be a tough game.

“It’s a massive game for the second round and one of us will end up going out of the competition really early.”

Last season, with Washington scoring for fun, St Ives reached the quarter finals of the Vase where they lost to Staveley Miners Welfare in Chesterfield.

The club has a particularly proud record in the national competition having reached at least the last 32 for six seasons on the trot. No-one at St Ives will want to break that run.

But, despite his problems up front, Hall is pretty confident. “We have a great record against Eastern Counties teams,” he said. “I think we have won 10 of the 11 times we have played an Eastern Counties League side since Warren and I have been managers.”

St Ives v Long Bucky: Niall Conroy Owen, Jordan Lambert, Dan Newman, Will Fordham, Jamie Alsop, David Cobb, Jimmy Dean, Lee Ellison, Jon Stead (Ben Walshe), Karl Gibbs, Stuart Cobb (Junior McDougald).