The big Hunts derby ends with convincing win for St Ives Town at Huntingdon Town
- Credit: Archant
ST Ives are sitting comfortably in the driving seat for promotion following their Easter Monday demolition of Huntingdon Town and striker Dom Lawless’ two hat tricks in two successive games.
Lawless, who joined the club from Newport Pagnell Town in January to end joint managers Jez Hall and Warren Everdell’s search to find a replacement for Conor Washington, scored three times in the Saints’ 8-3 win over Blackstones on Saturday, and then repeated that feat when St Ives took revenge at Jubilee Park for the two cup defeats inflicted on them by Huntington there earlier this season with a 5-0 win on Monday.
St Ives are now nine points clear of third-placed Spalding United, who have two games in hand but who lost 3-1 to leaders Holbeach United today, but the Lincolnshire club haven’t applied for promotion, leaving second place good enough for qualification to the Southern or Northern League for the Saints, possibly…*
“The players were all up for it and we changed a few things and played narrower in midfield and we really bossed it,” said Hall. “Dom Lawless is always going to score goals and he’s a great addition to us.
“It was a nice clean sheet for us as well against a dangerous team going forward.”
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The two previous meetings, in the FA Cup [3-2 to Huntingdon] and in the Hunts Senior Cup [5-1 to Huntingdon], set the tone for what was always going a passionate game and hopes were high within the Huntingdon camp that they could throw a obstacle into the path of St Ives’ promotion push. But two early goals from Lawless, who was partnered up front by David Cobb because Karl Gibbs is injured, set-up a convincing win for the Saints at a cold and blustery Jubilee Park.
Lawless’ first came when Huntingdon failed to clear the ball and the striker was on hand to tap it home; his second was from a one-on-one with goalkeeper Dave Beeny who was preferred to Spaniard Enol Ordonez following mistakes during Huntingdon’s 6-1 home defeat to Holbeach on Saturday.
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A Jon Stead volley on 26 minutes put St Ives 3-0 up before a lovely lob of Beeny by Lawless meant Huntingdon were more or less dead and buried just before the break.
Had Stuart Eason put away an early chance things might have been different but the Huntingdon striker blasted over from a Jamie Graham cross a minute before St Ives’ opener – and the home side never really looked that dangerous again.
Beeny even tipped an excellent Lee Ellison free-kick over the top of the bar before Lawless completed his hat-trick.
A Declan Rogers free-kick, which was deflected high and tipped over the bar by Saints’ goalkeeper Nick Bennion was the closest Huntingdon came after Eason’s chance.
In the second half, the home side stopped the rot and played some good football – but the damage was already done and Lawless added insult to injury when he found Stead at the back post with a great cross for a left-footed volley across goal for 5-0.
“I think Huntingdon played well but we just didn’t allow them to do what they did before,” said Hall.
“They won the midfield in the first two games and that allowed them to express themselves and give the forwards much more of the ball – but this time we won the midfield and then were always on top in the game.”
Huntingdon manager cut a disappointed figure when he talked to The Hunts Post afterwards. “Credit to St Ives, they wanted it more than us,” he said. “They used the ball much better than us and had an attacking threat which caused us all sorts of problems.”
Marheineke’s team will now put Easter behind them and will finish higher in the pyramid than they have ever in their history.
*Because there are only 12 places in Step 4 available from the 14 Step 5 leagues, there is the slim possibility that St Ives could be overlooked for promotion – meaning no club is promoted from the United Counties League Premier Division to the Southern or Northern League.
Last season, King’s Lynn Town came second in the UCL but went up because Long Buckby, who were top, couldn’t be promoted.
Only St Ives, Spalding and Quorn have applied for promotion from the UCL this season. St Ives passed their ‘ground grading’ this weekend.