St Neots Town and St Ives Town battle to pre-season draw but neither side left truly happy

St Ives Town goalkeeper Paul White is shown a red card in the game at St Neots

St Ives Town goalkeeper Paul White is shown a red card in the game at St Neots. - Credit: DAVID R W RICHARDSON/WWW.RICHINVIDEO.CO.UK

The workout was warranted and needed but the pre-season friendly between St Neots Town and St Ives Town left both managers lamenting aspects of the contest.

It finished 2-2, Arel Amu putting St Neots ahead with a first-half free-kick but that was cancelled out early in the second half by Ben Toseland.

Arel Amu hits a free-kick into the net to give St Neots Town the lead

Arel Amu hits a free-kick into the net to give St Neots Town the lead. - Credit: DAVID R W RICHARDSON/WWW.RICHINVIDEO.CO.UK

The home side re-took the lead 14 minutes from time, a thunderous snap-shot from Joe Rider, but again Ives replied, a thumping shot from new-signing Michael Richens flying over the head of Louis Chadwick.

But all four goals came after Ives keeper Paul White had been sent-off for a deliberate handball and that after the visitors had lost three players to injury inside the opening 20 minutes.

It was the last thing Ives boss Ricky Marheineke wanted. 

Michael Richens in action for St Ives Town

Michael Richens thumps a shot in from distance as St Ives Town earned a draw at St Neots in pre-season. - Credit: DAVID R W RICHARDSON/WWW.RICHINVIDEO.CO.UK

"It’s been a strange 24 hours," he reflected. "We had one lad test positive for COVID so that cleaned out four others as we wait on the tests for them. 

"That was five short and Luke Fairlamb is away on holiday and the captain, Robbie Parker is injured, Michael Harding is injured, Eniola [Agemoh-Davies] is due to go to Wycombe on Monday for a week’s trial so we didn’t want to play him. 

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"[Friday] night we were down to 11 players and we didn’t want to call the game off as we still felt we needed to get some minutes into a few of the others. 

St Neots Town's pre-season game with St Ives Town ended in a heavy shower

St Neots Town's pre-season game with St Ives Town ended in a heavy shower. - Credit: DAVID R W RICHARDSON/WWW.RICHINVIDEO.CO.UK

"And then we got three injuries. Fortunately it looks like Brett [Solkhon] is not too serious, his calf tightened up but felt he couldn’t continue. 

"Dylan Williams was the same with his quad and they may only be a week but Nathan Hicks is a lot more serious. 

"We think he has torn his hamstring and we could be looking at a couple of months. 

"It’s come at a bad time but the lads who went on the pitch were excellent."

St Neots Town boss Peter Gill chats with St Ives counterpart Ricky Marheineke

St Neots Town boss Peter Gill chats with St Ives counterpart Ricky Marheineke. - Credit: DAVID R W RICHARDSON/WWW.RICHINVIDEO.CO.UK

St Neots manager Peter Gill meanwhile felt the performance from his young side was someway short of the marker they have set themselves.

He said: "We’re really disappointed with our performance and disappointed with a lot of things. 

"The game felt really flat and then there was the whole hoo-ha about the red card and should they go down to 10 or could they keep 11 on. 

"But we never really got near the levels of performance we saw against Soham where we looked a good team. 

Joe Rider celebrates his goal for St Neots Town

Joe Rider celebrates his goal for St Neots Town. - Credit: DAVID R W RICHARDSON/WWW.RICHINVIDEO.CO.UK

"There was a bit of naivety from a young team. St Ives worked hard when they were down to 10 and sat in and were experienced and dogged and we didn’t use the ball well enough. 

"It was a kick up the backside as it were but we have to be better and use the ball better because that will get punished by a team with 11."

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