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.firstname.lastname@example.org
Report by Darren Marjoram. Photos by Gary Reed Photography.