St Ives Town Ladies vs King’s Lynn Town Ladies

St Ives Town Ladies 1st team went into their final fixture of the season against Kings Lynn already confirmed as ERWFL Div. 1 Champions, but with an unbeaten record they wanted to keep. Unfortunately for them, Kings Lynn had other ideas!

The visitors started fast and had Ives under pressure straight from the first whistle, and after pinning Saints into their own half for the first 5 minutes, they took an early lead with a terrific strike that left keeper Sophie Marjoram with no chance. Marjoram, standing in for injured regular shot stopper Kira Markwell, had a busy debut as Ives uncharacteristically struggled defensively. Kings Lynn doubled their lead again shortly afterwards as a defensive mix up allowed the ball to find the net. Already St Ives were under real threat of losing their unbeaten record with just 10 minutes on the clock. The pressure continued as Saints sat too deep and invited more pressure from Kings Lynn, and with them struggling to get any meaningful attacks of their own, they continued to be forced to defend for long spells. The excellent visitors pressure and quick passing yielded another goal just before 30 minutes leaving Ives with a mountain to climb, and needing a goal to get them back into the game. Just before half time, with Ives finally pressing higher up the pitch, they won a corner from which Georgia Stancome steered in an excellent finish to give Ives some hope. A terrific first half from Kings Lynn who had managed to do what no other team had done to the Saints this season, even higher ranked sides in the cup competitions, and had them up against it with 45 minutes to go.

St Ives came out flying for the second half, as expected, and pressured Kings Lynn right from the kick off, but again they were quickly undone by a long ball over the top that wasn’t anticipated by the Ives defence and again Kings Lynn restored their 3 goal cushion. To Ives credit, they didn’t react in a way that said they was beaten. In fact, they dug in and threw more players forward in search of another goal. hey had the chance they needed when Stancombe was fouled by the recovering defender after rounding the keeper, but the referee deemed a goal kick to be the decision, much to the surprise of all those watching. The goal Ives were looking for finally came when Hannah Seymour-Shove was upended in the box, and Georgia Stancome scored the resulting penalty. As the ball was retrieved for the resulting centre, Stancombe was thrown to the ground by a Kings Lynn player, and as the referee turned around he sent off both players for what he saw as fighting, despite Stancombe not being the aggressor. Kings Lynn also escaped another red card as the Lynn number 22 followed in to hit Stancombe while she was on the ground, but this was missed by the referee. In the confusion, the referee restarted the game from a Kings Lynn goal kick, from which the visitors went directly up the other end and scored. Bravely upon recognising the error the referee did not allow the goal to stand and returned the ball to the centre spot for kick off from the penalty scored. Ives continued to pile on the pressure, and reduced the arrears to a single goal when Katie Stancome received a through ball and beat the keeper with a fine finish to set up a dramatic last few minutes. Ives tried to get the ball forward in search of the goal that would preserve their unbeaten record for the season, but to their credit Kings Lynn slowed the game down and saw out the win.

Despite the result, St Ives can be very proud of their season and celebrated becoming ERWFL Div 1 champions at the first attempt when they received the trophy at the conclusion of the match. Manager Darren Marjoram said “We came into this season knowing we needed to improve a lot from last season in order to be competitive and challenge at the top end. The players have responded to every challenge set, and have worked tirelessly to improve physically and technically all season. That has been backed up by lots of work behind the scenes to ensure we prepared well for every game, and left no stone unturned. Now we look forward to the player trials coming up in June as we strengthen again for next season, with both our ladies teams gaining promotion.”

Trials for St Ives Town Ladies are being held every Friday evening through June, and interested players 16+ can book their place by emailing Darren on Darren.marjoram@ntlworld.com

Report by Darren Marjoram. Photos by Gary Reed Photography.

Wisbech St Mary U18’s vs St Ives Town U18

Wisbech St Mary U18 v St Ives Town U18   

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  30-04-19

A much changed Ives side shipped four goals away from home the second game in succession but this time thanks to a very coolly taken winner deep in stoppage time from Mihayl Mitkov they managed to snatch all three points from a gallant home side. But make no mistake this last gasp winner really papered over a few cracks in a very Jekyl and Hyde performance as they came close to losing a game they were in control of at the break and should have put to bed early in the second half. But missed chances allowed the home side to come back from a two goal deficit to set up the rousing finale. 

Zac Hope had the beating of his marker from very early in this game and should have put Ives in front in only the fourth minute as he sprinted past George Napier to get on the end of a through ball but he powered his first time foot across the face of goal from just inside the box.

Having ruled the first ten minutes of the game the visitors then presented their hosts with the opening goal. Aaron Buckley delivered a low cross from the right that skipper Jordan Locke allowed to roll under his foot on the edge of the box. Ethan Goodale pounced on the loose ball and rifled it home past a startled Kai Bradley from fifteen yards.

The Saints could have doubled their advantage two minutes later as Leon Quinsee struggled to clear a low cross from the right and was robbed by Pawel Kalvzny just outside the box. He broke into the box but rather snatched at his shot and fired wide from a good position.

Skipper Locke then made recompense for his early error by lashing home an equalising goal in 16th minute. A free kick was half cleared to Ethan Rudd who played an excellent one two with Adam Kelly before threading the ball in to Locke on the edge of the box who finished clinically despite vain appeals for offside from the hosts defence.

Ives continued to get on top with the hosts resorting to strong arm tactics to stop them on occasions. Both centre backs Napier and Charlie Wait picked up yellow cards in quick succession for chopping down Hope and Tom Wakley respectively. Hope came within millimetres of putting Ives in front in 27th minute as he lost his marker to get across in front of keeper Ashley Clarke and just needed to get a touch on Seb Darnell’s wicked in-swinging cross from the left. But he missed it and Clarke did very well diving to his left to keep the ball out.

Hope had another opportunity to put Ives in front in 31st minute as he again got clear of the lumbering Saints back line to get on the end of Wakley’s flick on from Bradley’s long clearance. The speedy winger beat Clarke to the ball but the spreading keeper did just enough to force him to hurry his shot and he fired over the top.

Three minutes later Ives did finally get their noses in front as Wakley timed his run to perfection to get onto a Louis Bald through ball. Keeper Clarke came way off his line at pace and was completely beaten as Wakley touched the ball past him. The big striker was driven wide but had presence of mind to wait for Hope to arrive in the centre to roll his square pass into the empty net.

Two minutes before the break Kelly made it 3-1 as he picked up a ball from Mitkov and drove straight at the heart of the Saints defence which opened up for him expecting a pass but he just kept going and slid the ball past the exposed Clarke from the edge of the box.

Now two goals in front and well in control Ives just needed to do the simple things well but Saints made four changes at the break and shuffled players around to try and shore up their rocky back line and it seemed to work as the hosts battled their way back into the contest. Goodale went close with a free kick that deflected off Ives wall before substitute Willis Wright cut the arrears with a well struck low drive from 25 yards that beat Bradley low to his left in 50th minute.

Only ninety seconds later a Mitkov corner from the right caused panic in Saints defence. The loose ball falling inside the six yard box to the feet of substitute Teddy Lee but he snatched at the chance and pulled his shot wide of the post. Hope will probably tell us that the goal which restored Ives two goal advantage five minutes later was always an intended lob over the keeper but to me it looked like a miss hit cross which certainly beat the struggling Clarke and went in off the inside of the far post.

Back to two goals in front and back in control but Ives just could not kill off their battling opponents. Losing Jordan Locke to injury and blooding three new youngsters to Thurlow Nunn football made things a little more difficult for the visitors. Goodale set the nerves jangling a little by reducing the arrears again with ten minutes left. The Saints skipper pounced on a loose ball just outside the box and beat Bradley low to his left with a well struck right foot drive. 

The jangling nerves got louder five minutes later when the hosts levelled things up. A long Clarke punt down the centre was not dealt with by Ives back line and the ball fell to Wright who slammed it home emphatically from just inside the box to set up a pulsating finish as both sides went for the winner.

Ives had first go as a Hope corner from the left was met perfectly on the volley by Jamie Stork at the near post but Clarke was equal to the effort and made a brilliant reaction save to keep it out. It took a brave block from debutant Ben Shirley to prevent Wright clinching it for the Saints at the other end in 89th minute as a cross from the right managed to get clean through to arrive at the substitute’s feet just inside the box. He took a touch before belting it just giving Shirley time to slide across and block the shot. 

There were four minutes added by the excellent referee Peter Howard and it was in the last of those that Ives grabbed the winner. Lee battled his way into the heart of the hosts defence and was only half stopped on the edge of the box the ball bounced up and Napier inexplicably tried an extravagant back heeled clearance. He did not make clean contact and the ball ran loose to Mitkov who stayed cool as a cucumber to clip it past the advancing Clarke and into the net to spark wild celebrations amongst the Ives players.

Ending the season with a win is always good although this one was a roller coaster ride it certainly kept the supporters entertained throughout but a few more simple victories next season would be good please.

Final Score  :  Wisbech St Mary U18  4  St Ives Town U18  5   

Goals : Locke 16, Hope 34 & 56, Kelly 43, Mitkov 90+4

St Ives team : Bradley, Quinsee (Hayden 72), Darnell, Rudd, Locke (capt) (Shirley 56), Pillin, Hope, Bald (Burnham 77), Wakley (Stork 39), Kelly (Lee 51), Mitkov

Other substitutions roll on roll off : none 

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : approx. 35

Report by Nigel Howlett.

St Ives Town Ladies vs Newmarket Town Ladies

St Ives Town Ladies hosted old adversaries Newmarket Town at Westwood Road on Sunday knowing that a point or better would guarantee them the ERWFL Div 1 title in their first season at this level. And although they left it late, it was Saints who won the game and claimed the 3 points, along with the league title.

As was to be expected, Newmarket came out of the blocks fast in their attempt to secure a top 3 finish and the game started at a frenetic pace, with both teams pressing well and giving little time for either side to settle into a passing rhythm. Newmarket had the better opportunities early on to break the Ives back line and keeper Kira Markwell was quick off her line to stop the deadlock being broken on a couple of occasions. Newmarket also threatened from corners, but again Markwell was brave to collect the ball amongst players with minimal fuss. Ives chances were often thwarted by the flag being raised for offside, but they had the best opportunity of the half when they finally broke through the Newmarket defensive line, and a pull back from the right touchline found Hannah Seymour-Shove 3 yards out, but leaning back her shot rose quickly and cleared the crossbar. So the score remained 0-0 at half with opportunities at a premium for both teams.

Second half the Ives started more positively, and the introduction of Ruth Fox raised the tempo as passing moves started to flow a bit more. Katie Stancombe was also making life difficult for the Newmarket full backs as Saints began to apply a bit of pressure. Newmarket keeper Dominika Szary was in excellent form, and her high start position made sure any loose passes behind the visitors defence were quickly dealt with. But as always, Ives kept on working hard and trying to create opportunities. And with the clock ticking towards full time, Emily Smith became the hero on 87 minutes when she expertly controlled a bouncing through ball before smashing her shot past Szary for the goal that sealed the title. Cue the wild celebrations from the Ives players, coaches and supporters that took a full minute to stop and the game restarted from the resulting kick off! And even more celebrations when the final whistle sounded a few minutes later! St Ives Ladies are now Champions of the Eastern Region Women’s League Div. 1 in their first season at this level, and completes 3 promotions in 4 years. But with how well the team are performing at this level, nobody would rule out more success in the near future.

Report by Darren Marjoram. Photos by Gary Reed Photography.

Coalville Town vs St Ives Town

Coalville Town v St Ives Town

Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division Central 27-04-19

An excellent tactical performance ensured that Ives concluded their season in style with a hard earned single goal win on the road at Coalville. The result was all the more impressive as they became the first team all season to prevent the Ravens registering a goal at the Mander Cruickshank Solicitors Stadium. The three points also saw them match their best ever thirteenth place finish at step 3.

Things did not start as well for the visitors as Owen Wallis broke down in the warm up to prompt a change of formation and tactics with Jake Newman replaced him in the starting eleven to become a loan striker with the versatile Tom Wood fitting into what became a back four rather than plan A’s back five.

Newman was the first person to have an opportunity in thirteenth minute as Dean Freeman was deceived by the strong wind blowing from corner flag to corner flag. The big centre back allowed the ball to bounce over his head on the half way line to let Newman away. Keeper Matt Coton came to meet him and did well as he spread his body to block the well struck shot at close range when it eventually came from the edge of the box.

Playing with the wind predominantly at their backs Ives were enjoying a lot of possession and went close again four minutes later as Ollie Snaith teed up Mark Coulson who hung up a cross into the centre where George Bailey got in front of his marker to win the header but steered it just wide from ten yards.

Released from his fill in full back role Munashe Sundire was enjoying a more forward role and he broke through centre only ninety seconds later feeding the ball to Ben Seymour-Shove cutting in from the right Coton parried his fierce right foot strike back into play and was perhaps fortunate as Sundire volleyed the loose ball over the top.

The previously free scoring Ravens had offered very little going forward but created their first opportunity in 28th minute as Andrew Wright delivered a free kick from the right that flashed across the face of goal Scott McManus arrived at the back post but made a poor contact and only succeeded in knocking the ball back across goal allowing in to be cleared to safety.

Having failed to go in front the hosts almost immediately found themselves one down as Seymour-Shove finished well with a crisp right foot shot from the right hand corner of the box that beat the despairing dive of Coton low to his right and nestled in the bottom corner of the net. The chance had been created by Sundire who knocked on a flick into the box from Newman into the path of the flying Ives winger.

Ives continued on top without creating any further clear cut chances before the break. The only noteworthy effort on goal in the remaining fifteen minutes of the first period came in the only added minute when Mc Manus and Tom McGlinchy worked a short corner routine that ended with the former delivering a cross to the back post where Kieren Fenton rose above the crowd to head straight into the hands of Conway.

The second half started with Ives now playing into the still strong breeze that was rattling the floodlight pylons and whistling around the grandstands. In spite of the elements it was Ives who carved out the first chance as Newman knocked down a long Parker free kick to tee up Bailey who fired over from the edge of the box.

Having failed to take all of their chances in the first period Ives were perhaps a little lucky to retain their lead in 50th minute as they were almost caught out at their own attacking free kick. The ball was cleared down the centre and Kairo Mitchell timed his run to perfection to get clear. He drew Conway to him before cleverly clipping his effort over the exposed keeper he then had to look on in horror as the ball rebounded from the post straight back into the hands of the fast recovering Conway. 

Although the Ravens were enjoying the majority of possession Ives were still looking dangerous on the break and twice went close to doubling their advantage. In 62nd minute Snaith got away down the left and picked out Seymour-Shove at the back of the box with his low cross but McManus managed to close him down quickly and block his effort out for a corner. Keeper Coton was a fortunate man eight minutes later as he got things completely wrong calling for a low cross into the box by Seymour-Shove only to then completely miss the bouncing ball and be mightily relieved as it just evaded Snaith and finished inches the wrong side of the far post.

With time running down on their impressive home scoring record it was no surprise that the Ravens mounted a period of sustained pressure on the Ives goal. In 76th minute a McGlinchey corner from the left fell into a crowded box Fenton lashed at the loose ball but his goal bound effort was deflected wide off the body of Jarvis Wilson. 

Conway was helping his defence by coming to claim some of the hanging crosses being delivered into the box which was no mean feat given the gusty conditions. When he was unable to come and claim his centre back pairing of Wilson and Wood ensured that the hosts won very few of those balls into the box. The one opportunity that they did get came in 82nd minute when substitute Tom Burgin rose highest to get on the end of a McManus cross from the left but he failed to hit the target from ten yards.

Conway had to make one crucial save to preserve Ives lead seven minutes from time when Wright seized an opportunity to run at the heart of Ives defence before slipping a ball to Tim Berridge who took a touch before unleashing a powerful drive from 25 yards that swerved and dipped on it’s way towards goal but Conway was equal to it leaping high to his right to palm the ball over the crossbar.

That save seemed to take the wind out of the hosts sails and Ives were quite effective in retaining possession to run down time and they should have sewn the game up in the first minute of added time when substitute Andrew Osei-Bonsu drew in the defenders before cleverly threading a ball into the path of Seymour-Shove as the young winger cut in from the left. With keeper Coton at his mercy Seymour-Shove’s touch for once let him down and a heavy first touch allowed the keeper to slide in and claim the ball off his toe.

There was only one more moment of worry for Ives supporters before the celebrations could begin and it came sixty seconds later as Wood was spotted pulling back Wright in a central position 25 yards from Ives goal. Wright lined up the free kick and went for power but the visitor’s five man wall did its job and the ball rebounded away of Osei-Bonsu to allow Ives to claim their ninth win on the road and conclude a very successful season. 

For the record their defensive record of only conceding 43 goals in 42 games was only bettered by the top three, they had the sixth best away record overall in the Division only bettered by the top two, Coalville, Rushall and Royston. On the negative side their tally of only 36 goals scored was only worsened by the meagre returns of the three relegated clubs. But lets end by flashing up a few highlights of an enjoyable season number one has to be the 3-0 success at eventual champions Kettering, number two even though it was a defeat is the record breaking FA Cup 3rd Qualifying Round visit to once mighty York City, Number three was breaking the Royston bogey with an excellent 2-1 August Bank Holiday win at Garden Walk which really announced our presence as a team that any side in the Division would underestimate at their peril. Let us hope for plenty more of the same next season.   

Final Score : Coalville Town  0  St Ives Town  1    

Goals :  Seymour-Shove 29

Team : Conway, Ward, Coulson, Wood, Newman (De’ath 86), Jarvis Wilson, Seymour-Shove, Parker (capt), Bailey (Osei-Bonsu 67), Sundire, Snaith (Baker 80)

Unused subs :  Dylan Wilson, Wallis

Supporters man of the match : Tom Wood

Attendance : 165

Report by Nigel Howlett  Photos by Louise Thompson

Godmanchester Rovers U18’s vs St Ives Town U18

Godmanchester Rovers U18 v St Ives Town U18   

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  24-04-19

After a fairly tepid first half in which Rovers were allowed to grab an early lead eventually cancelled out by a Harry Sargent penalty in added time at the end of the first period this game exploded into life in the second half as four more goals went in unfortunately three of them at the Ives end.

The opening goal on eight minutes was well taken by Harvey Gargulio but Ives defenders must take the blame as Mitchell Pillin allowed Fraser Kerr’s clip down the centre to drift over his head and no one had tracked the run of Gargulio allowing him to stoop and head past the exposed Shay Griffiths from ten yards. This goal came only seconds after Ives had a let off when Griffiths just managed to beat Gargulio to an almost identical chip through.

Falling behind in such a soft fashion seemed to knock the visitors and it took them a long time to get into the game and manage to create anything meaningful in attack although this was not helped by Sargent and his strike colleagues failing to work out Rovers very high defensive line and repeated getting caught offside.

It was not until eight minutes before the break that they created a decent opportunity in the Rovers box. Sargent battled his way down the left and delivered a low cross into that Tom Wakley looked favourite to get on the end of only to be bundled down by Jack Butler. It looked like a cast iron penalty but referee Paul Gale waved away the appeals and ended up booking Sargent for his protestations.

The apparent injustice seemed to spark Ives who piled on the pressure for the next few minutes. In 43rd minute the tricky Adam Laker fed a ball into the run of Sargent cutting in from the left, the big striker miss hit his shot but keeper Finn Cooper spilled it to gift the visitors a corner. The kick was fed back to George Cawte who delivered a ball to the back post that Wakely was attacking with venom only to have it flick off the head of Pillin just in front of him and go wide.

The final action of the half saw Ives awarded a spot kick in almost identical circumstances to the one which had been turned down a few minutes earlier. Cawte chased a high bouncing ball into the box and managed to take it off Butler and Bailey Baker only to be pulled back by Baker just as he was about to shoot. This time referee Gale pointed to the spot and Sargent stepped up to lash home the penalty low to Cooper’s right.

Ives made one change at the break replacing Ethan Rudd with Seb Darnell but more importantly they also had a change of formation going for a very positive looking 4-2-4 with Wakley joining Sargent in the centre and Mihayl Mitkov and Laker playing wide on left and right respectively. This almost had an instant reward as straight from the kick off Laker got on the end of a Cawte clip over the top. Unfortunately he failed to hit the target from a narrow angle.

It was now all Ives with Rovers defence at sixes and sevens. Two minutes later Laker found space on the right to cut inside and try his luck This time he hit the target but his left footed effort was straight at Cooper who held on well. The pressure continued to mount and only sixty seconds later Sargent put the visitors in front. He was given space fully 30 yards from goal and looked up before chipping the ball over the out of position Cooper and into the net off the far post.

Ives should have killed the game in the next ten minutes as they continued to rule the roost and created but could not take a series of chances. In 53rd minute Mitkov struck an excellent 30 yard free kick the dipped over the wall beat Cooper but rattled his left hand post and rebounded to safety.

Only one minute late Mitkov slid a pass through the left channel to put Sargent in but he struck his left foot effort to close to Cooper who made a good save to his left. In 56th minute Ewan Young rose unchallenged to get on the end of a Cawte free kick but steered his header from ten yards wide of the post. Jamie Stork came on to replace Sargent on the hour and he looked like he had set up Laker to double Ives lead with a clever back heel on the edge of the box. But the speedy Ives winger had gone just to soon and his celebrations were cut short by an assistant’s raised flag.

On such fine margins games are won and lost as instead of finding themselves 3-1 in front Ives found themselves pegged back to 2-2 only seconds later. A flowing Rovers move through the centre split apart the visitors back line the move finished as Jaden Rogers played in Gargulio for his second and he finished with aplomb slamming the ball into the top corner of the net from the edge of the box.

A strange incident occurred in 75th minute as Ives were awarded an indirect free kick inside the Rovers box for ungentlemanly conduct by Baker as the centre half went onto the deck to roll the ball back to his keeper with his head. Baker picked up a yellow card for the offence but he escaped further punishment as the ball was rolled back to Sargent but his stinging drive deflected off the massed ranks in the Rovers goal and went wide. Young again found space to get on the end of the resulting corner but again failed to hit the target with his header.

Ives defence were caught out again in 78th minute as Rovers went back in front. A long Butler ball down the centre was allowed to bounce a fatal mistake on such a hard, bumpy surface. Jayk Mullee darted between defenders and was onto it in a flash slamming home past the exposed Griffiths from the edge of the box.

To their credit Ives tried desperately to get back on terms Sargent had a powerful drive pushed away by Cooper in 84th minute. The same player managed to get to the bye line three minutes later and was unlucky to see his driven cross deflected away from team mates in the centre by the knee of defender. The resulting Karl Frans long throw fell to Pillin inside the box but his low shot lacked the power to beat Cooper.

The Ives frustrations were really showing and Sargent personified this as he foolishly earned himself a second yellow card of the evening for needlessly kicking out at Baker. The final seconds of the game are something Griffiths will want to forget quickly as he managed to get a back pass tangled up in his feet and found himself robbed by Rhys Humphreys who gleefully rolled the ball into the empty net to give Rovers the local bragging rights for this season.

It has not been a good 2019 so far for the Ives as they go into their final game of the season at Wisbech St Mary next week on a six game losing streak something they will surely be looking to put right against one of the divisions strugglers.   

Final Score  :  Godmanchester Rovers U18  4  St Ives Town U18  2   

Goals : Sargent 45+1 (pen) & 49

St Ives team : Griffiths, Frans, Mitkov (O’Donovan 59), Purse, Young, Pillin, Wakley, Rudd (Darnell 45), Sargent (Stork 59), Cawte, Laker

Other substitutions roll on roll off : Rudd for Cawte 68, Sargent for Laker 72, Mitkov for Wakley 82 

Unused Subs : Mobbs

Attendance  : approx. 40

Report by Nigel Howlett 

St Ives Town vs St Neots Town

St Ives Town v St Neots Town

Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division Central   22-04-19

A bumper Bank Holiday crowd and the sun shining, the visitors are already relegated local rivals St Neots who with their present financial problems are fielding what looks like a youth team. On paper it looked like Ives simply had to do the simple things right to finish off their very successful season at home with a comfortable victory. But games are never played on paper the Saints kids showed they still have an appetite for the battle in spite of knowing their fate is sealed after their heavy defeat from King’s Lynn only 48 hours earlier. Not only did they make things difficult for the Ives throughout they came within millimetres of claiming a very unlikely win.

It all started very positively for Ives and in only the second minute a long Mark Coulson throw was flicked on by Tom Wood, Ollie Snaith tried his best to direct his effort on target but the ball was just behind him and his acrobatic effort flew just wide.

Probably Ives best chance of the afternoon went the way of Morgan Penfold only four minutes later. Robbie Parker won the ball deep inside Saints territory and picked him out on the right hand corner of the box. The young winger cut inside Leon Fulianty and the goal opened up for him but rather than put his left foot through it he went for a curving cross come shot to the far post with the outside of his right foot and the ball curled harmlessly wide.

Already under the cosh the visitors received a further blow as their skipper and most experienced player Matt Miles was forced to limp off with an injury after only eight minutes. He was replaced by another youngster in 18 year old Joe Rider. This forced a reshuffle in the Saints line up but this did not seem to greatly inconvenience them. 

The host continued to enjoy the majority of the possession but they were struggling to find a way through the resilient massed ranks of the Saints who quickly got men behind the ball as soon as they lost possession. It took until 22nd minute before another chance came along and again it was Ives on the attack. Munashe Sundire and Wood combined well on the right to get Penfold to the bye line. His cross flew through the six yard box just evading Snaith arriving at pace. Ex Ives man Joe Hood was covering by the back post and just managed to smuggle the ball behind for a corner.

On this very hot day the referee had agreed to drinks breaks midway through each half and Ives were almost caught cold only seconds after the re-start as the failed to deal with a bouncing ball down the centre of the park. Dan Trendall made his presence felt and the ball eventually dropped to Jacob Joseph twenty yards from goal. The young winger struck his right footed effort well forcing home keeper Martin Conway into an excellent save low to his left.

Andrew Osei-Bonsu was proving a handful for the Saints defenders and his persistence created a real opportunity for Ives six minutes before half time. He chased down a long bouncing ball out of defence by Coulson and got between centre half Ryan Hughes and keeper James Philip forcing the Saints custodian to handle the ball outside the box. Parker rolled the free kick sideways to Osei-Bonsu who struck an excellent dipping effort over the four man wall and past the static Philip only to be denied by the crossbar as the ball struck it and bounced away.

Osei-Bonsu caused further problems for Saints back line three minutes later as he robbed Stevan Shaw deep inside his own half and fed the ball out to Ben Seymour-Shove wide on the left. The Ives striker continued his run and had the ball laid back to him. His teasing cross was met well beyond the back post by Wood whose header into the centre was just to high for a stretching Snaith who could only direct his header over the top from eight yards.

The hosts were forced into a change at half time as Peterborough loanee Penfold was forced out of the game with what looked like a hamstring injury. He was replaced by George Bailey who took up a position on the left with Seymour-Shove moving across to the right. The second half picked up in similar vain to the first with the hosts knocking the ball around well in front of the massed ranks of their opponents but unable to find a route through. Half chances came and went. The first of these in 52nd minute saw Snaith combine with Bailey before getting to the bye line on the left. His low cross bobbled on the way towards Wood making it difficult for the Ives midfielder who failed to make clean contact the ball bobbling wide.

As Ives began to throw more men forward in search of that all important opening goal they became a little more vulnerable to the counter attack and the visitors twice created half chances in a ten minute spell just after the hour. In 61st minute Rider showed his strength as he picked up a loose ball inside Ives territory and drove at the defence his shot when it eventually came from 20 yards deflected off Owen Wallis for a corner. Rider was involved again eight minutes later as fellow substitute Joe Sutton managed to get on the end of his flick just outside the left edge of the box where he was bundled over by the covering Coulson to give the Saints a free kick in a dangerous position. But Sutton wasted the opportunity as he failed to get the ball past the two man Ives wall.

The clock continued to tick down and the frustration for the home players and supporters continued to grow and things became a little tetchy in the middle, Snaith picked up a needless booking for chopping down Sutton in the centre circle. He was quickly followed into referee Alex Rayment’s notebook by Sutton as the Saints man returned the compliment. The official did well as he ensured that he kept up a dialog with the players rather than resort to a flush of cards.

As the game entered the last fifteen minutes manager Ricky Marheineke decided to throw on Jake Newman as a strike partner for Osei-Bonsu but still Ives struggled to find a way through. Parker had a snap shot from 25 yards that skimmed harmlessly wide of Philip’s right hand upright. Newman similarly tried his luck first time from a little bit closer after Osei-Bonsu had flicked on a long Conway punt but the Ives substitute faired even worse than his skipper as the effort flew high and wide.

Then with seven minutes to go and Ives throwing everyone forward Saints thought that they had grabbed the winner. Bradley picked up a clearance in the centre circle and threaded a pass into the feet of Trendall as he broke through the right channel Conway came sprinting off his line to meet him and the centre forward did everything right clipping the ball past the exposed keeper. It was on its way into the net but as all Ives supporters held their breath and Saints fans started to celebrate Wallis never gave up and somehow he managed to complete a remarkable goal line clearance as he caught up with the ball on the goal line and hooked it out. It looked like Rider might stab home the loose ball but Conway was alert enough to recover and claim it off the foot of the Saints striker to complete a remarkable let off for the hosts.

Play quickly swung back to the other end as Ives continued to try and batter a way through but in spite of all their effort they remained unable to test Philip. The only noteworthy effort in the final minutes came two minutes into added time when A Coulson throw was knocked down to Bailey inside the box but with his back to goal. He teed up Parker but the Ives skipper’s low drive was blocked by a covering defender to ensure that Saints got what they deserved for their battling performance a very hard earned point. The effort level alone will bring them points in step four, but a little more quality will probably required to lift them back up into the Southern League Premier Division. Ives remain on target to match their best ever finish in step three of thirteenth but with Barwell and Banbury breathing down their necks they may well need to get something at Coalville next week to retain it.  

Final Score :  St Ives Town 0  St Neots Town 0   

Goals :  none

Team : Conway, Sundire, Coulson, Wood, Wallis, Jarvis Wilson, Penfold (Bailey 45), Parker (capt), Osei-Bonsu, Snaith (Baker 86), Seymour-Shove (Newman 76)

Unused subs : Ward, Griffiths

Supporters man of the match : Andrew Osei-Bonsu

Attendance : 351

Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson.

St Ives Town Ladies vs Bowers & Pitsea Ladies

St Ives Town Ladies took on second placed Bowers & Pitsea knowing a win would leave them in the verge of securing their second league title in two years, and despite some nerves they secured a 2-0 victory to extend their lead at the top of the table.

Bowers knew they needed to win the game to stand any realistic chance of winning the title, and started fast as they piled forwards. Ives has to weather the storm a bit in the first 20 minutes, but as had been the case all season the outstanding defensive unit of goalkeeper Kira Markwell, and the back 4 of Sasha Smith, Emily Stephenson, Ellie Brown and Mollie Flack gave everything to preserve the clean sheet. Bowers had one outstanding chance in that period, but failed to hit the target. As the game began to flow, Saints began to grow into the game, and had some half chances and several offsides when opportunities arose to get forwards. The Bowers keeper also made 2 smart stops to leave the score at 0-0 at half time.

Second half saw Ives start much better as they began to combine and create more opportunities, with Tierney Coulson working tirelessly up front with Katie and Georgia Stancombe causing problems for the visitors in the wide areas. The deadlock was finally broken when Katie Stancombe ran on to a through ball and was fouled in the box to give the Saints a penalty. Hannah Seymour-Shove stepped up and coolly slotted the penalty past the keeper for a 1-0 lead on 62 minutes. Ives has the lead, but still continued to pour forwards and just 3 minutes later they made it 2-0 when a pinpoint Katie Stancombe corner found Ruth Fox running in to power home a header and spark a mass celebrations around her! Bowers now knew the situation was desperate and threw more players forward in an attempt to reduce the arrears, but time and time again the terrific back 5, plus Anna Hicks, kept Bowers at bay and preserved the clean sheet for the remaining 30 minutes without any major scares to complete an amazing victory. The win leaves Ives 6 points clear of Bowers who have 2 games left. The Saints have 3 games left, starting with Newmarket visiting Westwood Road on Sunday, and so need one more point to mathematically secure the title.

Report by Darren Marjoram.

Needham Market vs St Ives Town

Needham Market v St Ives Town

Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division Central 20-04-19

Ives seven game unbeaten away run dating back to January came to a juddering halt at Bloomfields as the hosts took their chances to claim all three points in this mid table end of season clash. However the score line rather flattered the hosts as Ives created as many chances as their hosts but whilst they were unable to finish the Marketmen took advantage of an unusually poor second half defensive performance from the Ives to condemn them to a heavy defeat.

All this came after the visitors had the perfect start a fourth minute Ben Seymour-Shove corner was only half cleared to Robbie Parker his clip back into the box was flicked on by Tom Wood and fell perfectly for Jake Newman who picked his spot low past the exposed Jake Jessup’s left hand from by the penalty spot.

The lead was however only short lived as The Marketmen equalised in simple fashion only six minutes later. A Russell Short free kick from half way was won on the left edge of the box by Adam Mills his header back into the mix was only headed down by an under pressure Jarvis Wilson and Mills peeled around to pounce on the loose ball and slam home a right footed drive low to Martin Conway’s right.

Mills was giving stand in right back Munashe Sundire a tough time and he caught the Ives defender in possession in 18th minute. Robbing the full back he strode forward before unleashing a powerful drive from 25 yards which was fortunately straight at Conway who held on well. Conway was in action again in 23rd minute plunging to his left to palm a powerful Joseph Marsden drive around the post. The Marketmen’s winger had been allowed space to cut in from the right before firing off his powerful strike.

Most of the remainder of the first half was fairly even with both sides looking to attack at every opportunity and although both defences were stretched on occasions Kieran Morphew for the hosts and Owen Wallis for the visitors both ensured that their respective back lines remained intact.

Ives then created two good opportunities in less than sixty seconds to put themselves in the driving seat before the break. In 40th minute a Seymour-Shove free kick from the left caused problems for the home defence. A poor defensive header from Morphew fell to Wilson on the edge of the box. He chested the ball down but was quickly closed down by Short who blocked his well struck shot a point-blank range. Within seconds the ball was fed back into the feet of Newman on the edge of the box. He in turn laid the ball into the run of Parker who curled a cross to the back post where Ty Ward had ghosted in unmarked but the Ives midfielder was always stretching and steered his close range header over the top.

The game seemed to open up at the start of the second half with both sides looking to get in front. It took an excellent recovery tackle to prevent substitute Decarry Sheriff giving the hosts the lead in 51st minute after he had been played through the left channel by Short.

Ives were not so fortunate two minutes later when a poor ball from Sundire was picked up on half way by Callum Sturgess. He exchanged passes with Mills before hanging up a cross to the back post where Gareth Heath found a clear path between defenders to power home a header giving Conway no chance from eight yards.

Ives fought hard to get back to try and get on terms, keeper Jessup almost presented them with an equaliser as he spilled a right wing Seymour-Shove corner on the hour. The ball fell to Wood who had two goes at stabbing the ball home both blocked by defenders before the ball was finally scrambled clear. Seymour-Shove went close himself two minutes later as he ran onto a perfectly weighted clip over the top by Ward. He looked like he would beat Jessup to the ball but in the end both players missed the bouncing ball and it took the covering Morphew to hack it clear as it rolled towards goal.

Having twice gone close to getting back on terms the visitors found themselves two behind in the simplest fashion in 66th minute. A deep Heath free kick from the left found Marsden in space beyond the far post. He rolled the ball first time into the six yard box where Mills got between defenders to stab the ball home from close range.

The visitors still looked to get forward at every opportunity to try and find a route back into the game. Their next opportunity came from yet another teasing Seymour-Shove corner. Wood won the ball beyond the far post and headed it back into the mix. A poor defensive header fell to Parker who cleverly fed the ball back out to Seymour-Shove it took a brave block from Morphew to prevent Newman forcing the ball home at the near post.

Whilst Ives continued to look dangerous going forward they continued to look unusually vulnerable every time the Marketmen broke. Mills came close to claiming his hat trick fifteen minutes from time. Sturgess and Heath combined well down the left the move ending with the latter feeding the ball through to the host’s wide man who lifted the ball over the exposed Conway but also over the crossbar from twelve yards.

Conway pulled off an excellent save to deny Sheriff and keep the host’s lead to only two goals in 79th minute. The substitute’s opportunity had arisen when Ives struggled to clear a Marsden cross into the box from the right the ball eventually falling to Sheriff’s whose low left foot shot was only just kept out at full stretch by Conway. Heath was following up but was prevented from prodding the loose ball home by an assistant’s upraised flag.

The final nail in Ives coffin arrived as Mills completed his hat trick nine minutes from time. Dan Morphew was given time to deliver a cross from the right that skimmed off Sundire’s head and fell invitingly for Mills on the left. The winger gleefully accepted the gift and steered the ball over Conway and into the net before wheeling away knowing he would be getting a match ball for his mantlepiece a few minutes later.

To their credit Ives continued to go in search of another consolation goal substitute George Bailey showed that he was still willing as he chased down a long ball into the left corner in 86th minute. He pulled the ball back to Seymour-Shove who unselfishly fed the ball into the run of Wood on the edge of the box. Unfortunately the battling midfielder was undone by a bobble off the otherwise excellent surface and fired his shot over the top.

The final effort of the afternoon also went the way of Ives as the industrious Parker found space in the centre of the park before striding forward and firing in a rising effort from 25 yards that failed to trouble Jessup as it flew past the post to end a sad afternoon for the visitor’s.

With the results going against them today St Neots come to Westwood Road on Monday with only pride to play for. We will hope for a positive reaction from Ives after this game to ensure that we give our big local rivals a suitable send off on their way down to step four. 

Final Score : Needham Market  4  St Ives Town 1    

Goals :  Newman 4

Team : Conway, Sundire, Coulson, Wood, Wallis, Jarvis Wilson, Penfold (Snaith 84), Parker (capt), Newman (Bailey 84), Ward (Osei-Bonsu 76), Seymour-Shove 

Unused subs :Griffiths

Supporters man of the match : Ben Seymour-Shove

Attendance : 337

Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson.

Kings Lynn Town U18’s vs St Ives Town U18

King’s Lynn Town U18 v St Ives Town U18   

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  15-04-19

A very young Ives side learnt a harsh lesson at title challengers King’s Lynn. With little to play for now manager Lloyd Groves is looking to the future and budding more of next seasons side but that was something of a gamble against the Linnets who had to win this game to keep their title hopes alive.

But for the heroics of sixteen year old Kai Bradley in the Ives goal the score line in this fixture could have been a lot worse. The hosts went for the jugular straight from the off and Bradley was called upon to make the first of a host of excellent saves in only the second minute. Mitchell Rasberry got to the bye line on the right and his clip to the back post bounced off Karl Frans and fell invitingly for Joseph Taylor ten yards out. Taylor struck his shot well but Bradley was equal to it leaping high to his right to palm the ball over the top. 

Five minutes later Bradley was in action again this time Luke Johnson and Finlay Howe almost caught out Ives with a short corner on the left, the ball was eventually fed back to Johnson looping around and a clever step over by Taylor allowed his driven cross to skim towards the back post but the keeper had read it and made a good save low down to his left.

In these early stages Ives were creating chances on the break and they went close twice in three minutes. Initially a Joe Purse free kick from 25 yards dipped over the Linnets three man wall forcing home keeper Aydin Duran into a diving save low to his right. Three minutes later a powerful Zac Hope run from half way pulled the home defence out of position a clever ball inside to Connor Gibbs kept the move going and his slide rule pass in turn picked out Ben Smith’s well timed run into the box. Smith did everything right clipping the ball past the advancing Duran only to be denied as the ball struck Duran’s left hand post. It bounced back invitingly into the centre of goal but no Ives striker was on hand to force it home.

The game then almost seemed to become an individual duel between Bradley and Taylor which the Ives keeper won comprehensively denying the Linnets speedy front man three times in a ten minute spell. In 15th minute the young keeper was almost caught out as he sprinted from his line but failed to gather an awkward through ball allowing the Linnets striker to gain possession inside the box. It looked like Taylor must score but Bradley did not give it up and managed to recover sufficient ground to block his shot at point blank range. Four minutes later Taylor was put completely clear by a well weighted through ball from Kieron Wingfield again Bradley got his angles right narrowed the angle and blocked the shot when it came. Ives high line continued to get caught out and Bradley was forced to repeat his heroics to again deny Taylor after he had run clear onto a ball over the top in 25th minute.

With time ticking down it looked like Ives may just manage to get to half time level but a 36th minute corner was their undoing. Johnson again took it short giving Rasberry chance to run at the defence Gibbs was deemed to have fouled him 25 yards from goal. Despite it looking like Ives had got everything lined up correctly Johnson managed to find a chink in the armour as he curled and exquisite free kick over the four man defensive wall and just beyond the reach of the diving Bradley into the top corner of the net.

The goal relieved the pressure which had been building on the hosts, but it also meant they relaxed their concentration a little and Ives were within inches of levelling things up right on half time. A corner from the left was won at the back post by Connor Paine his downward header into the mix rebounded off a defender and fell to Gibbs. His shot was blocked and the ball ricocheted to Hope twelve yards out. The Ives wide man miss hit his shot but that almost deceived Duran as the ball rose in the air spinning wickedly dipped over the struggling keeper and rebounded off the crossbar, again luck was not with Ives as it fell to a defender who hacked it clear.

The game was ended as a contest with a quick fire brace from the Linnets inside the first seven minutes of the second half. Both goals were carbon copy corners delivered high to the back post from the right by Johnson. The first in 48th minute was powered home by recently contracted centre half Harry Paul who rose uncontested. The repeat performance in 52nd minute was equally emphatically headed home by his centre back partner Owen Gilbert who rose above the crowd to claim his reward.

There was still plenty of time for Bradley to continue his heroics and this time his adversary became marauding left back Howe. In 56th minute the wing back played a one two on the edge of the box with Sam Lammiman before bursting through only to be bravely denied by the well positioned Bradley. The Ives keeper repeated the feat in 63rd minute as Howe this time exchanged passes with substitute Ben Welch before again going through one on one with the keeper who again did everything right to deny him.

A fourth goal was however looking inevitable and it arrived in simple fashion in 66th minute. Howe was again heavily involved as he wriggled his way past two Ives defenders to get to the bye line before picking out Lammiman arriving at the near post a simple side foot finish completed the evenings scoring.

By this point the game was completely over as a contest and the substitutes were rolling on and off for both sides effectively breaking up the game. There were a few more noteworthy events all around the goal so admirably defended by Bradley. Fifteen minutes from time Rasberry and Johnson combined well down the right with the former delivering a cross to the back post where Frans did well to prevent Welch forcing it home. The loose ball fell to Howe inside the box but he fired wide from a good position.

Five minutes later Bradley was again up to his tricks as Welch put Wingfield clear but the Linnets leading scorer simply became the latest of his colleagues to be denied by the agility and bravery of the Ives stopper this time he went to his left to turn the effort away. The resulting corner was again won in the air by the powerful Paul but his goal bound header was headed off the line by Frans.

The final action of the evening saw Linnets substitute Imja Andrejev squander a good opportunity to increase the hosts lead as a poor clearance fell to him just outside the box, but rather than involve any of his better positioned colleagues he took a touch and then blazed his effort well wide.

To their credit Ives battled to the bitter end but it was Bradley who earned the plaudits in a losing cause. As for the Linnets they have done their bit but their title hopes now rest on Deeping Rangers doing them a favour by denying Peterborough Sports three points in the deciding game on Thursday evening.     

Final Score  :  King’s Lynn Town  U18  4  St Ives Town U18  0  

Goals : none

St Ives team : Bradley, Frans, Darnell (Quinsee 59), Purse, Young, Paine (capt), Hope, Rudd (Bald 47), Stork (Smith 59), Gibbs (Laker 59), O’Donovan (Mitkov 31) 

Other subs used roll on roll off : Gibbs for Hope 84, Darnell for Frans 85, Hope for Purse 90+1

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : approx. 75

Report by Nigel Howlett