League Allocations

The FA have today published provisional league allocations for the 2024/25 season.

In the PitchingIN Southern League Premier Division Central, St Ives Town will be joined by a mix of clubs who have been promoted or relegated into a division which will consist of 22 teams.

At the end of last season, Long Eaton United, Berkhamsted and Hitchin Town were relegated whilst Nuneaton Borough resigned from the league midway through the campaign. Gaining promotion were Needham Market and Leamington. As part of the provisional allocations, Mickleover have moved laterally to the Northern Premier League.

This means that there are seven teams replacing them for the 2024/25 season. Relegated from the National League North to Southern League Premier Division Central are Banbury United who join Bishop’s Stortford who were also relegated from the same division. Making an immediate return to the division are Bedford Town who were promoted via the play-offs. Also joining the division courtesy of promotion are Biggleswade Town, Harborough Town, Lowestoft Town and Spalding United.

The full provisional line-up is:

AFC Sudbury
AFC Telford United
Alvechurch
Banbury United
Barwell
Bedford Town
Biggleswade Town
Bishop’s Stortford
Bromsgrove Sporting
Coalville Town
Halesowen Town
Harborough Town
Kettering Town
Leiston
Lowestoft Town
Redditch United
Royston Town
Spalding United
St Ives Town
Stamford
Stourbridge
Stratford Town

Season tickets now on sale

Season tickets to watch St Ives Town for the 2024/25 campaign are now on sale, with prices remaining the lowest in the league. Those prices are:

Adults: £130.00
Concessions (over 65): £110.00
Students: £60.00
Child (under 16): £35.00

Season tickets are valid for entry to all first team games excluding cup matches. Full terms and conditions can be found on the application form. As an incentive, all season ticket holders will be entitled to a 10% discount on purchases in the Ives online club shop.

Commenting on the prices for the new season, Ives Chairman Paul Reason said “The club feels that this is excellent value and with the prices representing a significant saving, we are hopeful that many of our fans will take the opportunity to purchase a season ticket for what we all hope will be another exciting campaign”.

To purchase your 2024/25 season ticket, download the application form from the link below which has all the details of how you can apply and pay for your ticket.

Golf Day: Seven Wives win Carl Circus Trophy

Golf Day organiser, Vic Moseley reports on the annual fundraiser held at Lakeside Lodge, Pidley.

Friday 10 May saw the annual St Ives Town Golf Day which again was kindly sponsored by Thomas Quinn Chartered Accountants.

Unlike last year, the sun shined brightly and Lakeside Lodge was in very good condition as the teams set out to do battle for the Carl Circus Trophy. The format was Texas Scramble and the competition was keenly contested.

The winners were Seven Wives 2 with a net score of 57.9. Their team consisted of :

Terry Dunbavin
Luke Wakeman
Martin Goodship
Tom Stanlan

Runners up were the winners for the last 2 Years Thomas Quinn with a net score of 59.6. Their team consisted of :-

Tony Wright
Mark Macdonald
Matt Silsby
Ross Sutherland

Nearest the Pin winners were:-

Hole 3 John Coulson
Hole 5 Anton D’Avillar
Hole 16 Ross Sutherland.

My thanks to all the hole sponsors and those who provided prizes for the raffle, to Maureen & Mark for another excellent buffet, to Paul & Michelle for filling in at short notice and handling the bar superbly and Phil Moore for running the raffle.

A special mention to the maestro with the microphone, our very own Andy Dunn who dealt with the presentation ceremony and the auction with his usual aplomb.

Finally it was very pleasing Carol, Maurice, Deniece and other family members were present to see the presentation of the Carl Circus Trophy. Carl is sadly missed but will always be fondly remembered.

Finally a big thank you for everybody who took part on the day. Whilst we do not have the final figures it will be a financial success for the club.

The winners of the 2024 Carl Circus Trophy, Seven Wives

Sponsor the Ives for the new season

St Ives Town Football Club have released details of their sponsorship and advertising opportunities for the 2024/25 season. There are a range of options including:

Matchday Sponsorship
Pitchside Sponsorship
Player/Staff Sponsorship
Kit Sponsorship
Programme Advertising
Digital Marketing Sponsorship

The full range of options is available in our new 2024/24 sponsorship and advertising brochure which is available to download HERE. For more details please contact marktaylor@marktaylormarketing.co.uk

NEW U8’S YOUTH TEAM

As part of St.Ives Towns continued commitment to its Youth development programme, we’re now looking to start a new under 8’s team for the 2024/25 season.

The manager will need to be at least level 1 qualified, with an up to date DBS, Safeguarding and FA 1st Aid, they will also need an assistant that has all the required FA Qualifications.

Along with all the St Ives Town teams, you will train at the club’s fantastic facility at Quattro-Tech WestWood Road on Thursday’s and will play in the Hunts Mini Soccer league.

If you’re interested to be part of an inclusive club with lots of opportunities of progression, please get in touch with our Youth Development Manager

Paul Everest – sitfcyouthdevelopment@gmail.com to register your interest and get more detailed information.    

Funeral of Martin Carter

The funeral details of lifelong supporter Martin Carter have been announced. It will take place at 11am on 16th May at Cambridge crematorium. Anyone who would like to pay their respects is invited to attend.

Martin was a popular and well known figure at the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road and passed away last Monday evening.

ST IVES BEER FESTIVAL 2024!

Join us for the 2024 St Ives Town FC Beer Festival, there will be 6 casks of local ales and 2 casks of local ciders. There will also be hot food available and the bar as well.

Also on the day, there will be live entertainment as we host England Vets vs Wales Vets in a 2:30 PM kick off on the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road pitch, and for those wanting to catch the FA Cup final, we will also be showing the final live in the clubhouse.

Full details of the day are as follows:

Start: 12:00 PM

England Vets vs Wales Vets: 2:30 PM Kick-off

FA Cup Final: 3:00PM Kick-off

Ives welcome Arsenal legends for charity match

The Quattro-Tech Westwood Road will be the place to be on Sunday 7 July as teams of legends from St Ives Town and Arsenal take part in a charity football match.

The match will be played to raise funds for the Children’s Charity, Sports Connections Foundation (SCF).  The local charity was launched 14 years ago by former professional footballers and Ives players Junior McDougald and Richard Philp with the aim of using sport to transform the lives of children and young people.

McDougald who also hopes to be playing in the Ives legends team said “I would love to see past and present players, fans, and the local community come together to enjoy what promises to be a fun-filled and action-packed day. I am truly grateful to Paul Reason, Neville Nania, St Ives Town FC as well as Arsenal legends Nigel Winterburn and Jimmy Carter for their support in helping to pull together a team to help us raise awareness and much needed funds for such deserving children & young people who we are privileged to support”.

Since the charity was formed it has overseen the development of four main programmes which include Sporting Wishes – Making dreams come true for children and young people living with life-limiting illnesses. The Inspire Through Sport Programme has been created to help develop positive futures and exciting career pathways with a particular focus on those who face challenging circumstances. The Prokick Schools Challenge Initiative that has so far engaged with over 586,000 children and a small ITS International project that uses sport and education to help guide children away from a life of poverty.

Neville Nania manager of the St Ives Legends team has been delighted by the response of former St Ives players who are excited at the prospect of playing a part in the match against a team that will feature not only Arsenal Legends but special guests too. He commented “Everyone is looking forward to it, we will be trying hard to get Conor Washington back to the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road, which was the scene of his prolific goalscoring exploits before embarking on a wonderful professional football career with teams that include Peterborough Utd, QPR and Rotherham Utd as well as featuring on the international stage with Northern Ireland. We look forward to welcoming back lots of familiar old faces and new ones too for what I know will be an enjoyable day and one that we hope will make a big difference to SCF”.

Heading up the Arsenal squad will be SCF ambassador, Nigel Winterburn who played an incredible 584 games for the Gunners, winning 3 League titles, 2 FA Cups, 1 League Cup and a European Cup Winners Cup.

Winterburn said “I am delighted to be coming to St Ives Town in July with a team of Arsenal legends and special guests to support such a worthwhile charity.  As an ambassador of SCF, I am fully aware of the excellent work that they do and the difference they make to children’s lives.  The event will show how football can come together to raise money for such a worthwhile cause”.

As well as the football, there will be appearances by some special guests with events for all the family happening elsewhere around the ground.  Further event information including details of who will be playing for both teams and ticket prices will be announced nearer the time.

Marheineke and Swannell celebrate a decade with the Ives

After the last league game against Alvechurch on Saturday, St Ives Town Football Club made a special presentation to manager Ricky Marheineke and goalkeeping coach, Paul Swannell to mark their 10th anniversary at the club.

Ricky joined the Ives as manager in 2014.  Previously, he was manager of Huntingdon Town and with the support of Paul dragged the club off the bottom of Division One of the United Counties League to the very top of that division in one full season.  In their first season in the Premier Division, the club finished fourth.

Midway through the following season Ricky decided to leave Huntingdon and move to Histon, leaving his assistant Seb Hayes to take control at Jubilee Park but Paul made the move with Ricky to join the Stutes.

The stay at Histon lasted until May 2014 when the pair decided to make the move to St Ives to take over the fantastic work of Jez Hall and Warren Everdell.  They started their tenure with a solid ninth-place finish in the Southern League Division One Central.  The second season was marked by a significant achievement, leading The Ives to earn promotion courtesy of a play-off victory against AFC Rushden & Diamonds.

This success saw the team advance to step three, where they have since maintained steady progress, highlighted by a 15th place finish in their first season at that level and finishing as runners-up in the League Challenge Cup Final.

The 2017/18 season proved challenging for Ricky and the team, but they rebounded strongly in the 2018/19 season, recording what was until this season the club’s most successful season to date by finishing 13th. This upward trajectory has been sustained and the club has remained in step three since and this season finished with a place in the top 10, the highest ever finish for the club at that level.

Ives Chairman Paul Reason said “With Ricky and Paul being with the club for ten years we felt it was important that we marked this milestone.  Ricky is one of the longest serving managers at this level of football and the loyalty, dedication, and enthusiasm that both him and Paul have demonstrated over the years is second to none and has been pivotal to the club becoming an established step three team”.

To mark their 10 years at the club, the Ives Chairman along with Director Gary Clarke presented Ricky and Paul with a cake and some commemorative signed shirts from the current Ives squad.

The cakes that were presented to Ricky and Paul were kindly made by Annie Posnett from Bellas Bakes. Annie was a former member of the Ives Ladies First Team.

End of season awards

At an awards ceremony last night Dan Barton was named as the first team supporters player of the year. Barton, who has been on a season long loan from Cambridge United, has been an ever present in the Ives team with a number of consistent and excellent performances that made him the fans favourite. Also collecting awards were Jonny Edwards for leading scorer and managers player of the year. Meanwhile, skipper Michael Richens collected the award for Players Player of the Year.

There was also a special award for manager Ricky Marheineke and goalkeeping coach Paul Swannell in recognition of their 10 years at the club.

Left to Right: Dan Barton, Ricky Marheineke, Jonny Edwards and Michael Richens.

Ives secure top 10 finish with last day win

St Ives Town 3 v Alvechurch 2 

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  27-04-2024

Nigel Howlett reports

Ives concluded their best ever season at step three with another hugely entertaining encounter and although all of the goals came in the last twenty minutes this end to end game could easily have seen more than the five that made up the result. With Dan Barton out with injury manager Ricky Marheineke again went with the bold attacking 4-3-3 formation that had entertained us last week at Halesowen.

That formation may have been thrown very early on with Luke Harris picking up an injury that saw him leave the arena midway through the first half to be replaced by fit again Johnny Herd, but the experienced full back slotted perfectly into the centre of the park and very quickly looked at home there whilst also giving Ives an alternative long thrower as well as free kick and corner taker.

The game started in the way that it was going to continue with Jake Hutchings doing very well to help out his fellow centre back Jordan Williams by sliding in to make a brave block of Jaanai Gordon’s fierce seventh minute drive after the Church centre forward had robbed Williams just outside the box and driven in on goal. The resulting corner saw the ball fed back to Nick Clayton-Phillips who unleashed a screamer from the corner of the box that beat the diving Sam Bentley but just scraped over the crossbar.

Ives thought that they had grabbed the lead three minutes later. Skipper Michael Richens unleashed a dipping, swerving, pile driver from 30 yards out that screamed past the despairing dive of Church keeper Ronnie Hollingshead, thudded the crossbar and looped high into the air. Jonny Edwards was first to react nodding home the dropping ball only to have his celebration interrupted by the assistant’s upraised flag.

Unusual to say this season, but Edwards should probably have done better with a 23rd minute chance set up by Myles Cowling. The Ives busy midfielder robbed a dallying Dylan Mitchell deep inside his own half, the ball was fed inside to Amaru Kaunda who in turn fed in Edwards through the right channel. But with only keeper Hollingshead to beat the Ives striker fired his effort wide of the far post.

It took a brilliant flying save from Bentley to maintain the parity in 33rd minute. Dylan Allen-Hadley cut in from the left and let fly an effort from just outside the box that looked destined for the top corner before being diverted over the top by the acrobatic Bentley. The resulting Clayton-Phillips corner led to a scramble in the Ives box that ended with Ethan Patterson stabbing the ball into the side netting from close range.

Ives got the ball in the net for a second time in 37th minute. A brilliant flowing move involving Edwards and Richens ended with the latter picking out Theo Alexandrou with a brilliant cross field ball and the young striker finished well only to become the second player of the game to have his celebration terminated by the assistant’s upraised flag.

The game continued in the same vein with both sides going close again in the closing stages of the first half. Richens had a 39th minute shot deflected wide. Jake Hutchings rose highest to win the resulting corner at the back post but could only direct his header wide of the post. The last opportunity before the break fell to the visitors but Clayton-Phillips fired his 25 yard free kick well over the top to take the game into half time goalless.

As has often been the case of late Ives lifted their game at the start of the second period and had Alexandrou got a better first touch to Herd’s 49th minute clip over the top he would have got clear but he gave Hollingshead chance to react and slide in to claim the ball.

But even as Ives looked to build the pressure the visitors were still looking dangerous on the break. Bentley had to be at his best to deny Allen-Hadley again two minutes later as the young wide man again cut in from the left and fired in a powerful low right footed effort that Bentley was forced to push away at full stretch low to his left.

The hosts came with millimetres of going in front in 54th minute when they hit the woodwork for the second time in the game. The chance was created by the brilliance of Alexandrou as he cleverly drew in and then beat Archie Crowther by the corner flag before setting off along the goal line. His pull back picked out Cowling in a little bit of space just inside the box. The young midfielder coolly tried to pick his spot around the covering defenders and he almost got it right but his shot rebounded off the crossbar. Richens pounced on the loose ball but could only fire straight into the hands of a well positioned Hollingshead.

Another Herd corner caused problems for the visitors two minutes later as again Hutchings managed to lose his man to get in a header at the back post but this time his effort was hacked away from just in front of the goal line by Crowther.

Church manager James Fry made his first change in 63rd minute replacing Daniele Reka with Finley Thorndike and that change had an almost instant impact as Thorndike almost scored with his first touch. Fed in by Clayton-Phillips, his shot from just outside the box beat the diving Bentley but clipped the outside of the post. Only seconds later the young substitute had another opportunity. This time teed up by Gordon for a fierce drive that stung the hands of Bentley as the keeper parried it away.

At the other end Ives leading scorer Edwards continued his quest to finish the season with 30 league goals to his name and he twice went close in 67th minute. Initially robbing Josh Dugmore he fired in a low 25 yarder that forced Hollingshead into a diving save low to his right. Then getting on the end of Richens in-swinging corner but steering his near post header over the top.

The goal that had been threaten all afternoon finally arrived with eighteen minutes to go. Keeper Hollingshead decided to come for Herd’s long throw and he managed to get a fist on it over the crowd at the near post. But his punch lacked power and was poorly directed falling at the feet of Richens who slammed it home first time from 15 yards.

Just like buses, having waited so long for one to come along a second followed it almost immediately. Richens was the provider this time as he clipped a ball past a static Patterson to put Edwards through. The big man claimed his 29th of the season as he just beat the on rushing Hollingshead to the ball to poke it past him then calmly rolled it into the empty net.

Now two in front and well in control Richens had a chance to make it three in 75th minute when Patterson clumsily upended Alexandrou inches outside the box in a central position. The skipper tied to repeat his brilliant free kick at Barwell earlier in the month. But this one was a little to close and although he got it over the four man wall he was unable to get it down quickly enough.

Just when it looked like Ives were coasting a little bit of brilliance from Gordon suddenly turned the game on its head. Kartell Dawkins got away down the right and delivered a tempting cross to the near post where Gordon met it perfectly with an acrobatic flying scissor kick that fired the ball past Bentley from twelve yards.

The hosts then needlessly conceded a penalty to level things up with nine minutes to go. Once more the move came down the right with Allen-Hadley trying to run onto Dawkins ball into the box. Even if he had got to it the young winger was going away from goal towards the corner flag but Bentley rashly slid in from behind him to try and claim the ball only to give away the spot kick. Gordon sent Bentley the wrong way to level things up. Now very much game on.

But Ives were not done and an 85th minute corner was half cleared to the edge of the box where Cowling came in at pace to attack the dropping ball only to be taken down clumsily by Clayton-Phillips. Referee Ashley Butler was in the perfect position to see the point of contact and decided that this time it was inside the box. Edwards presented with the opportunity to claim his 30th of the season was calmness personified from the spot sending Hollingshead the wrong way to end Ives season on a high.

So ends the Ives best ever season at step three. First ever top ten finish (ninth), record points haul (58 from 40 games), divisions leading team scorers (87) and leading individual scorer in the division Jonny Edwards (30). All that after one of the worst starts ever with only one win in the first twelve games and only six points on the board at the end of October. From that point on the team has hit play-off form and been the real entertainers of the division.

We can all hope for more of the same next season, enjoy your summer.

Final Score:  St Ives Town   3  Alvechurch   2    

Goals:

ST IVES: Richens 72, Edwards 73, 86 (pen)

ALVECHURCH: Gordon 80, 81 (pen)

Team Line Ups:

ST IVES: Bentley, Casey, Smith, Richens (capt), Williams, Hutchings, Alexandrou (Kaziboni 79), Cowling, Edwards, Kaunda, Harris (Herd 23), Unused subs: Fifield,

ALVECHURCH: Hollingshead, Dugmore (capt), Dyer, Mitchell, Paterson, Crowther, Allen-Hadley, Clayton-Phillips, Gordon, Dawkins, Reka (Dawkins 63), Unused subs: Ofosu, Hallahan, Cassidy, Carter

Cards:   Yellow:  ST IVES: Richens (24)       ALVECHURCH: none

SPONSORS MAN OF THE MATCH: Jonny Edwards

Attendance: 373

Match Programme: Ives v Alvechurch

The match programme for the final game of the season against Alvechurch is now available to view. Inside this week:

The latest news from around the club
The match report from our defeat last weekend against Halesowen
We review the season with ten highlights of the 2023/24 campaign
We focus on our visitors from Alvechurch
And our matchday quiz ‘Ten to Tackle’ tests you knowledge on the Ives season
Plus much more. Your 46 page matchday magazine can be downloaded for free HERE

Quiz Night

The St Ives Town Quiz Night returns on Saturday 11 May.

The cost of entry is £20.00 per team which is payable on the night. You can have a maximum of six people in each team and the cost of entry also includes a cheeseboard.

Due to the popularity of this event, it is important to book in advance. You can do so by contacting us at stivestownmedia@outlook.com . The deadline for bookings is noon on Friday 10 May,

End of season awards

This Saturday will see the end of season awards take place in the clubhouse after the final first team fixture against Alvechurch.

There will be five presentations for the under 19, under 18, A Team, Reserve Team and First Team Player of the Year. The event will start no later than 6:00pm and will last just over an hour.

Admission is free, and the club will be delighted to see as many supporters as possible stay after the game and mix with the players and officials of the club to celebrate the end of the season. A reminder that voting is still open for the first team player of the year. The link is HERE. Alternatively, you can collect a voting slip from the matchday office on Saturday.

Club Announcement: Martin Carter

St Ives Town Football Club is today mourning the loss of lifelong supporter Martin Carter who passed away on Monday night.

As a supporter and volunteer of the Ives for many years, Martin was known by so many at the club and together with his wife Janet and brother Steve, he was an ever present supporting the Ives at both home and away matches.

Chairman Paul Reason said “The passing of Martin is devastating news and a shock for everyone who knew him.  Not only was he a popular and well known figure at the club but one of the most dedicated and loyal fans as he hardly ever missed a first team game either home or away.  On behalf of everyone at St Ives Town, I would like to offer our sincere condolences to Janet, Steve and his family at such a sad time.  As a club, we will be paying our respects prior to the final game of the season against Alvechurch on Saturday”.

The club is aware that many supporters will be wanting to attend the funeral, and these details will be announced in due course.

Ives lose out in seven goal thriller

Halesowen Town 4 v St Ives Town 3

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  20-04-2024

Nigel Howlett reports from The Grove

Yet again Ives came out to entertain and on this occasion they found opponents willing to take them on toe to toe, giving the bumper West Midlands crowd an exciting afternoon in the pleasant April sunshine.

With both teams in good form each boasting five wins from their last seven games this fixture always looked likely to be a good one for the neutral and so it turned out. Whilst Ives had been scoring goals for fun in recent weeks the Yeltz had built their good run on solid performances usually leading to one goal victories. But Ives manager Ricky Marheineke was not about to set up for a cagy game and his opposite number Ross Penn rose to the challenge.

The opening minutes were generally ruled by the hosts with Kieren Donnelly firing an early opportunity wide before McKauley Manning fired the Yeltz in front in eighth minute. Kai Lissimore picked out the roving full back in space on the left edge of the box. A good first touch and a powerful low drive were sufficient to beat the diving Sam Bentley and find the bottom corner.

Ives slowly worked their way back into the game but it looked like they had suffered a serious blow to their hopes when the tricky Dan Barton picked up a knock as he tried to skip through the hosts formidable back line in 15th minute. After treatment and a fruitless attempt to return to the fray the young midfielder limped off to be replaced by Myles Cowling.

The Yeltz should probably have doubled their lead in 25th minute as an excellent flowing move down the left involving Manning, Donnelley and Caine Elliott ended with Miracle Okafor teeing up Lissimore but the hosts number eight snatched at the chance and fired over from a good position.

That miss proved costly as Ives, inspired by Cowling, suddenly turned the game on its head. The midfielder threaded a 27th minute slide rule pass through the Yeltz back line to pick out the perfectly timed run of Jonny Edwards. Keeper Dan Platt came to try and slide in and claim the ball ahead of the marauding centre forward. But Edwards got enough of a touch to ensure that the sliding keeper could not hang onto the ball and then showed his killer instinct by pouncing on the loose ball and curling it into the roof of the net from the corner of the box.

Only ninety seconds later Cowling proved provider again. This time threading a ball through the centre that put the speedy Amaru Kaunda clear. He too showed the true striker’s instinct to beat the exposed Platt comprehensively from the edge of the box to put Ives in front for the first time.

But the first half entertainment was far from over as the hosts came taring back at the Ives and six minutes after going in front they found themselves pegged back. Full back Manning grabbed his second of the game curling his 25 yard free kick around Ives four man wall to beat Bentley low to his right as the keeper scrambled to get across. The free kick had been awarded when the battling Luke Harris clumsily upended Todd Parker as the midfielder tried to burrow his way through.

The game just kept on giving as Theo Alexandrou stunned the massive home crowd to silence again when he put Ives back in front with the goal of the game in 37th minute. Michael Richens corner was powerfully met in the six yard box by Ryan Wynter but his clearing header dropped to Alexandrou fully 25 yards out. The youngster took on the dropping ball and met it perfectly beating the startled Platt low to his right with a screamer that found the corner of the net.

There was still time before the break for Ives to suffer a couple of big scares. Paddy Casey took one for the team to thwart the first of these five minutes before the break. Richens free kick from the left was cleared with Donnelley just beating Casey to the clearance on half way and touching the ball past him. A blatant body check was the only thing that prevented the pacy number eleven getting away. Fortunately for Ives referee Tom Wall deemed the foul so far away from goal that Casey could not really be considered the last man and much to the disgust of the home crowd the card shown was yellow.

The final opportunity of the half for the hosts just moments before the break came courtesy of the dangerous Manning. The roving full back again found space on the left and drew in defenders before picking out Jak Hickman in space at the back of the box. But the Yeltz winger tried to take on the effort first time and sliced well wide from just inside the box.

So a five goal first half, could the two sides keep up the entertainment level for the second period?. They certainly gave it a go. First chance of the second half fell to the hosts five minutes after the re-start with Lissimore putting Hickman away down the right and Okafor getting in front of his man at the near post to flick his effort narrowly wide.

Two minutes later at the other end Aaron Smith went close to opening his account for Ives as he got on the end of Cowling’s clever pull back from the left. But the full back’s close range effort deflected wide off a defender.

The two sides continued to trade blows and it was the Yeltz who pulled themselves level in 55th minute. Wynter started his run to meet Hickman’s corner from the back of the box, on his way through he lost his marker before meeting the delivery to the near post perfectly and giving Bentley no chance from close range.

Ives could so easily have been back in front only four minutes later as Cowling and Edwards worked a one two through the centre, keeper Platt raced out to just beat Edwards to the return, the loose ball skewed to Kaunda on the corner of the box. But as defenders desperately raced back to cover the youngster fired wide of the empty net.

The visitors continued to probe and twice went close in 64th minute. Initially Platt was forced to make a scrambling save after he was almost caught out by Richens 30 yarder. Only seconds later the home keeper did even better as he flung himself high to his left to fingertip over Harris’s attempted curler from 25 yards.

The value of those two saves was increased dramatically two minutes later when Hickman seized an opportunity to run at Smith down the right eventually turning inside past the full back and firing in a fierce left footer that took a deflection off the head of Jake Hutchings on its way past Bentley.

Now with their noses in front the hosts went in search of a fifth goal to kill off their tenacious visitors. Okafor went close without testing Bentley twice around the 80 minute mark. Initially outjumping Josh Tomlinson to get on the end of Hickman’s cross from the right. Then firing over from 25 yards with a chance that he created himself with a turn and shot.

But Ives were by no means done and created a series of chances in those last ten minutes, at least one of which should have been taken to get them their deserved reward from this game. The resulting Bentley goal kick from Okafor’s effort flicked off the head of Edwards to put Alexandrou away down the right. But he was unable to pick out a team mate with a low cross shot that flashed across the face of goal.

The closest Ives came to an equaliser was in 84th minute when substitute Johnny Herd’s deep free kick was headed out of the box but fell to Richens who beat Platt with his fierce drive only to see the ball rebound to safety off the underside of the crossbar.

The visitors kept pressing, in 88th minute Edwards held up the ball well before laying off to substitute Kai Fifield who picked out the run of Alexandrou but his tired looking shot from the edge of the box was parried away by a well positioned Platt.

The final chance for a deserved leveller came with the very last kick of the game. Bentley’s long punt deceived the Yeltz back line and bounced over the head of a defender. Cowling and Alexandrou both chased onto the ball, did they get in each other’s way?, maybe, as with only the exposed Platt to beat Cowling tamely pulled his effort wide from fifteen yards.

It was a much relieved hosts who concluded their final home game of the season with a lap lap of honour after the final whistle to thank their twelfth man, the raucous home support who had certainly enjoyed their afternoon in the sun. Let’s hope for similar weather next Saturday to give you all chance to get down to quattro-tech Westwood Road to enjoy the final bit of entertainment from the Ives for this season.

Final Score:  Halesowen Town   4   St Ives Town  3       

Goals:

HALESOWEN: Manning 8, 35, Wynter 55, Hickman 66

ST IVES: Edwards 27, Kaunda 29, Alexandrou 37

Team Line Ups:

HALESOWEN: Platt (capt), Mitchell, Manning, Parker, Wynter, Taylor (Redfern 58), Hickman, Lissimore, Okafor (Boothe 82), Elliott (Holmes 69), Donnelly, Unused subs: Ezewele, Gregory

ST IVES: Bentley, Casey, Smith (Herd 70), Richens (capt), Tomlinson, Hutchings, Barton (Cowling 17), Harris (Fifield 84), Edwards, Kaunda, Alexandrou, Unused subs: none

Cards:   Yellow:  HALESOWEN: Wynter (55), Boothe (90+5)     ST IVES: Kaunda (32), Casey (40), Fifield (87)

SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Theo Alexandrou

Attendance: 1206

Match Preview: Halesowen v Ives

St Ives Town make their final away trip of the season on Saturday when they travel to Halesowen Town.

The Ives were last in league action last Saturday when they recorded a 4-1 victory against Stourbridge at the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road. Since then, the retained the Hunts Senior Cup with a midweek victory against Godmanchester Rovers.

Missing from the Ives squad will be Ed Hottor who has had surgery on an injury. But back in the squad on Tuesday night for the cup final victory was Johnny Herd who has been recalled from his loan spell with Cambridge City and looks set to be included in the squad for the trip to the Midlands. Jonny Edwards will be spearheading the Ives attack as he looks to cement his place at the top the league leading scorer charts with just two games to go. Victory for the Ives on Saturday will take them past the highest points they have gained at step three and give them a giant step towards finishing in their highest position at this level ahead of the final game of the season next season when they host Alvechurch.

Halesowen go into the game one point and one place above the Ives in 9th position in the table. The Yeltz were last in action last Saturday when they beat Hitchin 1-0 at Topfield. The win at Hitchin was one of four league games they have won from their last six outings. The two defeats coming against Mickleover and Leamington. The Yeltz will certainly be up for revenge as the Ives recorded an excellent 4-2 victory at the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road back in November in the reverse fixture.

GOING TO THE GAME:

Halesowen Town FC
The Grove
Old Hawne Lane
HALESOWEN
B63 3TB

Admission Prices: Adults 12.00, Concessions £9.00

Kick-off is at 3:00pm.

This Saturday: RACE NIGHT

Join us at the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road tomorrow evening, 20 April for a Race Night.

The event is open to all the family and the first race is at 8:00pm. Horses and jockeys are still available to purchase at a cost of £5.00 and you can buy these on the night. The event is free entry and the bar will open along with refreshments. Join us for what promises to be an entertaining evening raising money for St Ives Town Football Club.

Ives win Hunts Senior Cup

St Ives Town retained the Hunts Senior Cup as they beat Godmanchester 2-0 at Huntingdon Town FC on Tuesday evening.

Ives needed penalties last year to overcome the challenge of Yaxley and it was a penalty this time that broke the deadlock when the Ives were awarded a second half spot kick that Jonny Edwards converted.  The game was made safe five minutes from time when Michael Richens found the net to ensure that the Ives retained the trophy.

The Ives Starting XI:

Bentley; Casey; Smith; Richens; Hutchings; Barton; Harris; Edwards; Cowling; Alexandrou
SUBS: Herd; Williams; Hottor; Kaunda

Victory! The Ives celebrate retaining the Hunts Senior Cup
Ives manager, Ricky Marheineke celebrates with his staff