Town face tough Vase replay trip
FA Vase Third Round St Ives Town 1 Romford 1 (AET) STUBBORN resistance from 10-man Romford left St Ives facing a trip to Essex on Saturday if they are to further their bid to reach Wembley. Romford shaded the first half but Town emerged after the break
FA Vase Third Round
St Ives Town 1
STUBBORN resistance from 10-man Romford left St Ives facing a trip to Essex on Saturday if they are to further their bid to reach Wembley.
Romford shaded the first half but Town emerged after the break with renewed purpose and took the lead through a fine Jamie Blackwell effort on 70 minutes.
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Picking up the ball in midfield, Blackwell advanced towards goal before firing in a low 25-yard drive off the base of the post.
However, the bumper crowd at Westwood Road were silenced just two minutes later when Danny Rafis scrambled an equaliser for Romford from a disputed free-kick.
Home supporters claimed Will Fordham had been fouled at least once but the referee awarded the free-kick to the visitors.
An increasingly ill-tempered game saw Romford go down to 10 men on 85 minutes when their captain Ricky Makin was dismissed for kicking the ball away.
Graeme Thackray missed a gilt-edged chance for the home side in extra time, blasting over from 12 yards with just the goalkeeper to beat.
However, it was not all one-way traffic and Town goalkeeper Rob Mackney was fortunate to see a free-kick come back off the post and roll along the line after he fumbled the initial effort.
Town joint-manager Jez Hall said: "We probably didn't deserve to win the game in the end, but to go ahead and then not take advantage against 10 men was frustrating."
St Ives will be without Dan Pilsworth and Liam Kennett for Saturday's trip to Romford, but Hall insisted his side can progress.
"Now we know what we are up against we should be able to combat their threat better by changing the team around a bit," he said.
St Ives have already won away from home three times in the competition so far and travel to Essex on Saturday for the replay. If victorious, they will face Western League side Bitton AFC at home on January 19, in another crunch fixture.
Hall added: "We believe that if we can get past Romford we will be favourites to go through against Bitton so this is a fantastic chance for us to progress to the last 16.