Bedford Town 2 St Ives Town 3
Man of the match: Jared Cunniff (St Ives Town)
Two down but not beaten by the Eagles!
by Simon Clark
The Saints impressively clawed their way back from being two goals down against their Premier Division opposition in tonight’s debut in the Red Insure Cup with a superb performance where there were chances galore for both sides.
It looked to be ‘one of these nights’ in the first 20 minutes for the Saints when Avi Vieira’s drilled centre found Jared Cunniff with space to convert on just 9 minutes but the ball fell the wrong side of him to be able to convert. On 17 minutes, a Stuart Cobb corner met the head of Will Fordham at the far post but his downward header went wide of Dan Green’s near post. Dan Newman’s pile driver of a strike, on 18 minutes, was met with a fine save from Green as the Saints pressed to get that all important first goal.
True to the script, it was on 25 minutes when Lorenzo Ferrari slipped through the Saints defence, rounding the advancing Nick Bennion, and calmly placing the ball into the unguarded net to out the home side in the lead. On the half hour mark, Dubi Ogbonna almost pulled things level but saw his effort sail over Green’s crossbar. Andrew Phillips, for Bedford Town, brought the best out of Bennion moments later when his low effort was well saved. On 35 minutes, Andrew Phillips’ patience and hard work paid off when he found himself with acres of space inside the penalty area to finish off a Jeremy Nash centre doubling the Eagles advantage.
In a game of football many people say that it is great to pull a goal back just before the break and for Jared Cunniff and the Saints this saying could not have been more true. On 41 minutes, the returning Lee Ellison heard the shout from Cunniff on the left hand side who gathered the ball, moved it to his right hand side and curled into the top corner to keep the Saints hopes alive.
After the break, with 52 minutes ‘already gone’, and with the Saints making influential changes in midfield, Vieira was felled inside the penalty area and Referee; Rob Smith pointed to the spot. Vieira picked himself up and equalised for the Saints to put the game back into anyone hands.
In a second half of chances, Dan Green was at hand to equal both Dubi Ogbonna’s effort on 55 minutes and Tom Meechan’s close range drive on 65 minutes. The Saints were well and truly back in charge of this match, much to the disappointment of the Eagles bench and management team. With ten minutes to play, Vieira wriggled his way through the Bedford defence only to find Green still in top form. One minute later, Will Fordham found himself unmarked at the back post to slot home the winning goal to see the Saints through to the Second Round of this League Cup competition.
Substitute Jon Stead, Max Roberts and Tom Meechan had further chances after some ‘desperado’ defending in the dying minutes to deservedly put the game to bed but again found Green with safe hands to deny a 2-6 scoreline.
Saints Co-Manager; Jez Hall, spoke to the website immediately after the match and said:
“Tonight was an outstanding team performance and all 14 of the lads were superb. We created numerous chances and their keeper had a blinder. Coming from two goals down against a Premier Division side shows the quality and team spirit we have here”
St Ives Town: Bennion, S Cobb, Lambert, Newman, Fordham, Dean (Roberts 50), Ellison (Meechan 64), Vieira, D Cobb, Ogbonna (Stead 75), Cunniff. Subs not used: W Everdell, Alsop.
Referee: Rob Smith