Cambridge City U18 v St Ives Town U18
Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division 19-08-19
A roller coaster of an opener saw the young Ives claim all three points on a trip back to their old stomping ground at Jubilee Park which is the present home of the nomadic Cambridge City side. Initially one down from a very well taken Yann Farrer goal the Ives then got themselves into what looked like an unassailable position with a four goal burst in twenty seven minutes either side of the break only to allow the hosts back into the game and goals in 70th and 87th minutes lead to a tense final few minutes but the lads kept their cool and held on well.
Farrer’s opener in seventh minute came at the end of an excellent passing move from the Lilywhites which ended with Jamie Baxter feeding the ball into the feet of Farrer on the edge of the box. The young striker showed his prowess as a single touch saw him turn and shoot low past Kai Bradley’s right hand.
Even prior to the goal Ives danger man Zac Hope had forced a diving save out of City keeper George Whitehall with a stinging drive from 20 yards that the keeper did well to palm away.
Having fallen behind Ives soon started to pile on the pressure in search of an equaliser Tom Wakley forced another good save out of Whitehall in tenth minute. Three minutes later Ives got the ball in the net as Wakley flicked on a Karl Frans long throw and Mihayl Mitkov forced home the loose ball only to be denied by an assistant’s flag.
But Farrer continued to look the danger man at the other end and it took a good save low to his right from Bradley to deny the City striker a second goal from an almost identical position to that from where he had claimed his first in 16th minute.
A long Bradley clearance saw play swing immediately to the other end where the hard working Wakley forced a corner. This proved to be the first of four Ives corners in quick succession as the Lilywhites struggled to keep them at bay. The closest the visitors came to an equaliser was from the third of their four as the ball fell to Ewan Young at the back post and he was a little unlucky to see his well struck effort deflected over the top of the body of keeper Whitehall.
After failing to find a way through the City defence with flowing football Ives found an equaliser from a more direct approach on the half hour. A long Bradley punt down the centre was misjudged by Bradley Gothard allowing Wakley to get away through the left channel. He had the opportunity to look up and pick out Hope arriving at the back of the box and his clip across found the speedy Ives wing man with perfection, Hope did the rest as he side stepped inside his man and lashed in a rising drive from the edge that gave Whitehall no chance.
Having got level the visitors were almost caught out by a City short corner move only four minutes later and had their keeper to thank for retaining parity. Tommy Rigby and Lewis Mair worked the routing which saw the former take the kick and then loop around before unleashing a fierce rising drive from the corner of the box that a full stretch Bradley just managed to tip onto the crossbar and the ball was then scrambled to safety.
City were then caught out themselves as Ives went in front eight minutes before the break. Skipper Frans threaded a ball down the right and Hope set off in hot pursuit, with keeper Whitehall racing off his line intent on hacking the ball clear the City defenders eased off. But the host’s keeper had not allowed for the pace of Hope and the two players got to the ball simultaneously. Hope won the tackle leaving Whitehall sat on the deck as he rolled the ball into the empty net.
But that was far from the end of first half action in this very open end to end encounter. Wakley should have increased Ives lead two minutes later as the City defence again failed to deal with a long ball down the centre leaving the Ives striker clear on goal. He struck his first time effort well but Whitehall pulled off an amazing point blank reaction save to deny him.
Play then swung to the other end where Farrer continued to show his threat. In 42nd minute he powered into the box past two Ives defenders before hammering in a fierce drive that was brilliantly blocked by the spreading Bradley. Right on half time Farrer managed to keep alive a cross from the left that looked like it was going out. His pull back picked out Mair arriving at pace on the edge of the box but Bradley was again equal to the effort leaping to his right to tip the well struck effort over the top.
Farrer picked up an injury in the final move of the first half and did not reappear for the second period being replaced by Finley Wilkinson. Without their talisman City found themselves under the cosh at the start of the second half. A searing run down the right from Hope and a brilliant pull back to the edge of the box picked out Joe Purse and his emphatic first time effort flew into the top corner to double Ives advantage in 52nd minute.
Five minutes later substitute Ben Smith looked like he had killed the game off as he harried Dan Tibbett into a mistake wide on the left and robbed the City full back before turning inside and curling an effort past the diving Whitehall and into the net via the far post.
But City had other ideas and were hugely unlucky not to pull a goal back two minutes later. Young brought down Owen Mullee inside the D presenting a shooting opportunity for Rigby. His free kick was almost perfect as it beat the four man wall and the diving Bradley, but cannoned across the face of goal off the inside of the post. Kai Wales following up pounced on the loose ball but was equally unlucky as his effort rebounded to safety off the crossbar with Bradley beaten.
City continued in the ascendency as Ives rolled on and off their substitutes. Cameron Wolstencroft gave the hosts a glimmer of hope as he seized his chance to crack in a 25 yarder that beat Bradley low to his right and crept in the corner with twenty minutes to go.
Bradley had to be at his best four minutes later as he plunged full length to his right to tip around a low 25 yarder from Mair after a long free kick by Whitehall had been knocked down to the City winger.
With time ticking down the Lilywhites again rued their luck as the woodwork came to the Ives aid once more. This time Mullee was the unlucky striker as he found space to fire off a dipping drive from fully 30 yards that beat the leaping Bradley but clipped the crossbar and went over the top.
Ives had one chance to kill the game off once and for all in 86th minute as a quick break ended with Smith threading the ball into the feet of Mitkov his first time effort beat keeper Whitehall but was cleared off the line by the covering Gothard to keep City’s slim hopes alive.
Play swung straight to the other end where a flowing City move was finished in style by Mair who fired a left footed drive from just inside the box into the bottom left hand corner of Bradley’s net to set up what looked like a very tense finale. But to their credit the young Ives steadied the ship and showed their metal by taking the heat out of the game and frustrating the Lilywhites by moving the ball around and keeping it away from their goal. The final whistle still came as a relief to those of us supporting Ives on the side lines but this one was certainly a ten out of ten for entertainment.
Final Score : Cambridge City U18 3 St Ives Town U18 4
Goals : Hope 30 & 37, Purse 52, Smith 57
St Ives team : Bradley, Frans (capt), Darnell (Smith 52), Purse (McDougald 30), Young, Paine, Hope, Gibbs, Roberts (Stork 44), Wakley (Katz 65), Mitkov (Shirley 65)
Other subs used roll on roll off : Purse for Gibbs 35, Roberts for Stork 65, Gibbs for Purse 70, Mitkov for Hope 78, Wakley for Katz 88, Stork for Roberts 90+3
Unused Subs : none
Attendance : 48