Words from Jez Hall and Ricky Marheineke after St Ives Town and Huntingdon Town take another step in the FA Cup

Karl Gibbs opens the scoring for St Ives Town on Saturday. Picture: Louise Thompson.

Karl Gibbs opens the scoring for St Ives Town on Saturday. Picture: Louise Thompson. - Credit: Archant

THREE teams will represent Huntingdonshire in the first round qualifying stage of the FA Cup after St Ives Town and Huntingdon Town both won their preliminary round games at the weekend.

The Saints beat Soham Town Rangers 3-1 at Westwood Road and Huntingdon knocked out Swaffham Town in Norfolk with a 2-0 win. But Godmanchester Rovers went out of the world famous competition when they were beaten 2-0 by Sleaford Town in Lincolnshire. If Goddy had won that game they would have hsoted Huntingdon in the next round; now Huntingdon will go to Sleaford with St Ives welcoming Dereham Town to Westwood Road. St Neots Town also enter the competition at the first round qualifying stage and have a home tie against Wroxham.

“The next one is a big one to win,” said Jez Hall after St Ives Town had coasted past Soham with a double from Dubi Ogbonna to add to Karl Gibbs’ first minute headed opener. “We picked up £1,925 for that win today and we will get another £3,000 if we get through the next round – so the next one is a big one to win,” said the joint manager.

“If you get into second round qualifying the Conference North and South sides come into it and you could get yourself a plum draw – so to win this round and the next one is a definite goal for us.

“I don’t think we have ever gone that far in the FA Cup before – we always go out early so we’re hoping to do better this season.”

Against Soham, who play at the same level as the Saints in Division One North of the Ryman League – the same division as Dereham – St Ives flew out of the blocks with striker Gibbs glancing home a David Cobb cross for their first goal inside a minute.

After that, St Ives never looked in any danger – but Hall thought his team still weren’t playing at their best. “We never really overly got going in the game,” he said. “To get the goal in the first minute set us up and I thought we would go on and put four or five past them but it was frustrating for Warren [Everdell, Hall’s co-manager] and I because we went 2-0 up and just stopped.

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“If we had played with the tempo that we played with in the first three games of the season we would have gone clear.”

Indeed, the Saints were 2-0 in the 17th minute when Ogbonna turned in the Soham box and smashed the ball into the roof of the net. David Cobb and Stuart Cobb both had further chances during the first half with Gibbs trying his luck with overhead kicks either side of half time – both times he missed the target. With 20 minutes to go, Ogbonna almost scored with a fantastic free kick from 25 yards out but the Soham goalkeeper Dan Bircham got a hand high to the top left hand corner of his net to tip the shot over the bar.

Soham pulled a goal back for 2-1 with 10 minutes left when former St Neots Town defender Jordan Gent poked the ball home from close range during a goalmouth scramble, but immediately St Ives went back up the other end and Ogbonna got his second goal of the game and his third for the Saints since joining the club when the ball popped out to him from a panicky defence. His shot was accurate and true.

Hall added: “It was a strange game – the great thing about it is that it’s a cup game and we had one goal and that was to get in to the next round, win the club a couple of grand, and we have succeeded in that. We never really got going but we were too good.”

Ricky Marheineke said he is glad not to be playing Godmanchester Rovers in the next round of becuase Huntingdon have a better chance of beating UCL strugglers Sleaford Town.

Huntingdon booked their place in first round qualifying with an excellent 2-0 win over Swaffham of the Eastern Counties League – but Godmanchester’s defeat at Sleaford put an end to the fans’ dreams of an FA Cup Huntingdonshire derby day.

“It was a professional performance against Swaffham,” the manager said. “It was a difficult fixture – I think they will win their division. We weren’t brilliant but we did enough to win the game and scored at the right times.”

On loan from Histon, Curtis Fulcher scored the first goal with a brilliant 30-yard strike, and Ben Seymour-Shove doubled the lead two minutes after the break with a lovely chip.

“We probably have a better chance of beating Sleaford in the next round,” said Marheineke. “Godmanchester are a very good side and have a strong squad and it would have been a very competitive game.”

The first round qualifying ties will take place on Saturday, September 14.