Cambridge City 6 St Ives Town 2
BigFreeBet.com Challenge Cup – 1st Round 02/10/17
Manager Ricky Marheineke announced after Saturday’s narrow defeat to Merthyr that he was going to use this Cup tie as an opportunity to learn about the players in his squad so it should be no surprise that he announced five changes to the starting line up. Ben Seymour-Shove and James Hall returned, with first starts being awarded to recent signing Jamie Nicholls and ex scholar Matt Wright. The final change was a surprise to us all and an experiment for Marheineke as recommended French centre back Carl Langa signed on the day from Southall FC made his debut.
Unfortunately the experiment did not start well as Langa and fellow centre back Lee Chaffey were caught cold inside the first few seconds. A low cross from the right by Ollie Snaith after only 16 seconds was not dealt with and Lewis Wilson gratefully accepted the gift firing home the loose ball past a startled James Goff from close range.
Things went from bad to worse for the Ives as City doubled their lead after only six minutes. A long free kick into the box by ex Ives man Mark Coulson was mishandled by the shell shocked Goff and the experienced Jordan Gent was on hand to prod the ball home from inside the six yard box.
Having given their opposition a two goal start Ives began to slowly fight back into the game and came close to pulling a goal back only three minutes later as Peter
Clark found time and space on the left to deliver a precise cross over the City back line that picked out Wright beyond the far post. The young striker took the ball down well and struck a rising drive from 15 yards that another ex Ives man, keeper Niall Conroy, did well to parry. The ball looped up into the air and Nicholls was first to react, but could not direct his header on target under pressure from Gent and the Lilywhites managed to scramble the ball clear.
Langa continued to struggle to come up to the pace of step three football and he was almost found out again in 16th minute. Tom Knowles delivered a ball into Ryan Sharman who took the ball down well and turned Langa forcing the centre back to bring him down 25 yards from goal in a central position. Knowles hit a fierce curling free kick around the four man wall that crept inches wide of Goff’s left hand post. Chaffey was gallantly trying to stem the City tide and he bravely denied Wilson in 26th minute diving full length in front of the City striker to knock away a low Knowles cross at the near post.
Ives raids in the first period were very sporadic with their only other noteworthy effort arriving on the half hour as a stretching Nicholls just managed to get on the end of a Ben Seymour-Shove free kick from the right. But his under pressure header sailed wide of Conroy’s goal.
The Lilywhites continued to run the show and killed the game off with two more goals in a six minute spell just before the break. In the 35th minute Buster Harradine managed to get away down the right. Knowles attacked his low driven cross at the back post and in spite of Miles Smith’s attempts to scramble the ball off the goal line the on the spot assistant referee on the far side deemed that the ball had crossed the line. The fourth was another embarrassing momentfor the struggling Langa as he tried to step up to play Wilson offside, but completely mistimed his move to leave the big City striker completely clear and he finished with aplomb lashing the ball into the top corner of the net from just inside the box.
While the Lilywhites enjoyed their half time cuppa in the confident knowledge that they had already won the day, a tongue lashing from Marheineke was the rightful reward for the woeful Ives. The unfortunate Langa was put out of his misery as he was replaced by Club captain Charlie De’ath prior to the start of the second half.
Marheineke’s hair dryer treatment got a reaction as a number of Ives players visibly lifted their performance in the early period of the second half. The visitors even got the ball in the net after 55 minutes. An under pressure Conroy was forced to punch a hanging cross and the ball fell to Seymour-Shove 25 yards out. He fired in a low drive that deflected off a defender into the net. But unfortunately the referee’s whistle had already gone for a foul by James Hall on the keeper.
As City dropped the pace and Ives lifted themselves the flow of the game evened up for a while. Goff made a good save low to his left to deny Snaith in 57th minute. The elusive Clark went on a mazy run into the heart of the City defence six minutes later. He got past two and then knocked the ball onto Seymour-Shove, but his low drive provided a comfortable save for Conroy.
Wilson was still causing problems at the other end and he cut in from the right past two attempted challenges in 65th minute. Jordan Jarrold eventually stopped the run deep in Ives box. The loose ball fell to substitute Salim Relizani following up, his driven effort beat Goff, but was scrambled off the line by Smith. Smith had to repeat that trick to preserve the score line four minutes later. Harradine latched onto a poor attempted back pass by Lewis Hilliard and got around Goff only to be denied by the covering Smith.
Jimmy Hartley was introduced for the tiring Nicholls in 67th minute and he instantly added an extra impetus to the Ives going forward. He had only been on five minutes when he robbed Ryan Towner inside the City half. He quickly moved the ball on to Clark who fired a low drive into the bottom corner of the net from 25 yards beating the diving Conroy.
City instantly restored their advantage as Harradine delivered a ball in from the right and Chaffey was out muscled by Wilson who fired home from close range to complete his hat trick.
A very bed night for Ives turned into a disastrous one twelve minutes from time as the all action Hartley went over on his ankle under challenge from Ben Robinson and ended up limping out of the action with an injury that could put him out for some weeks.
There was still time for another goal each. Chaffey claiming his first ever goal for the Ives as he got on the end of a Draycott corner to power home a free header from six yards in 88th minute. Sharman finished things off for the victors right on time as he was similarly given the freedom of the park to get on the end of a Harradine corner eight yards out.
After the game manager Marheineke was quick to state that he had learned a lot about his squad from the game. With that in mind it looks likely that there may well be some changes of personnel in the squad in the near future. A similar exercise may be on the cards for the upcoming County Cup tie against Huntingdon Town in early November, but hopefully by then things will have turned around and we will be looking to keep that hoped for good run going. Peter Clark won a somewhat hollow man of the match award and certainly showed that he has his heart in the battle on the night and the bigger one to come, others must follow his example.
Finally a word for our tenants, the Lilywhites, who were very worthy winners on the night we wish them every success in the rest of the competition.
Final Score : Cambridge City 6 St Ives Town 2
Goals : Clark 72, Chaffey 88
Supporters man of the match : Peter Clark
St Ives team : Goff, Smith, Jarrold, Chaffey, Langa (De’ath 45), Hilliard, Seymour-Shove, Nicholls (Hartley 67, Draycott 80), Hall, Clark, Wright
Unused substitutes : McGowan
Attendance : 193
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson