The wonderful journey continues as St Ives Town come through semi-final shoot-out to set up massive Bank Holiday Monday promotion showdown
- Credit: Archant
St Ives Town are one game away from promotion to the Southern League Premier Division.
Ricky Marheineke’s magnificent men came through a high-pressure penalty shoot-out to snatch Division One (Central) play-off semi-final success at Surrey side Egham tonight.
They were twice behind in normal time before prevailing 4-2 from the spot to set up a mouth-watering Bank Holiday Monday promotion showdown against AFC Rushden & Diamonds.
And fourth-placed Saints will have home advantage at ProEdge Westwood Road (3pm) for the biggest fixture in their history against a Diamonds side who finished one place and one point behind them in the regular-season standings.
Marheineke said: “I could not be more proud of my players. They delivered again and they deserve the chance to win promotion
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“I’m sure it will be a wonderful occasion on Monday. Ourselves and Diamonds are the two best supported teams in the league and I expect there to be a huge crowd.
“We know we can match any team in this division when at our best and we need to ensure we produce one more big performance.”
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Saints fell behind in the eighth minute at Egham, but levelled courtesy of an own goal just before the half-hour.
Striker Danny Watson was unable to convert a couple of excellent opportunities early in the second half before Saints briefly trailed again during a quick exchange of goals.
Wideman Ben Seymour-Shove provided a 54th minute equaliser only a couple of minutes after they had gone behind.
There were no further additions to the scoreline as the contest had to settled from the penalty spot, with goalkeeper Tim Trebes starring for Saints by saving the first and fourth Egham efforts.
Luis Vieira saw his effort kept out for Saints, but Jack Higgs, Phil Draycott, Charlie De’Ath and Watson found the net to send them through
Boss Marheineke added: “Ourselves and Egham are the two teams with the best defensive records in the league, but it was a really open game between two sides going for it.
“There were lots of chances at both ends and the draw was about right after 120 minutes.
“We all know that a penalty shoot-out is a lottery and fortunately we were able to come through it.”
Diamonds triumphed 2-1 at second-placed Royston in the other semi-final clash tonight.