Category: First Team News

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.

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

HSC Final: Ives v Godmanchester

A reminder that it’s the final of the Hunts Senior Cup on Tuesday night, 16 April. The Ives will be looking to retain the trophy following their victory last year against Yaxley. Make sure you get down to Jubilee Park, the home of Huntingdon Town FC and cheer the boys on in their quest to win some silverware to round off the season. You can get your tickets in advance HERE The full match details are:

Ives hit four in Stourbridge win

St Ives Town 4 v Stourbridge  1

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  13-04-2024

Nigel Howlett reports

It took a half time roasting from manager Ricky Marheineke to lift the previously soporific Ives back to their ebullient best as three second goals saw off the previously in form Glassboys. Prior to the inspirational second half performance the game had been drifting much as one might expect for an end of season encounter between two mid table sides. Ives had grabbed the lead ten minutes before the break courtesy of a brilliant run and perhaps fortunate finish from Theo Alexandrou. They also had to thank keeper Sam Bentley for preserving that advantage with an excellent low save to his right to keep out Brendon Daniels tame spot kick.

The visitors came into this game on a three game unbeaten run, still enjoying the new manager bounce since Darryl Knights took over the side at the end of March. But that bounce may have been deflated a little in the warm up when star man Alex Prosser pulled up with an injury that lead to a late change on the team sheet. To counteract that Ives were missing two of their most consistent players with Jordan Williams and Ed Hottor both suspended after picking up red cards in recent games.

The early pressure came from the Glassboys with Jake Hutchings bravely blocking a third minute strike from Kian Ryley after he had been teed up on the edge of the box by Koby Arthur. Visiting skipper Joel Kettle should also have done better with his header after he lost his man to get on the end of Daniels fifth minute corner but the big centre back failed to hit the target from ten yards.

Ives first opportunity arrived in twelth minute when Amadu Kaunda siezed on Jack Wilson’s wayward pass just outside the box. But the youngster snatched at the chance and blazed his effort well over the crossbar.

The first half then began the previously mentioned drift as both teams seemed to be enjoying the warm spring sunshine and coasting their way through the game. This mediocraty was punctuated by occassional periods of excitement mostly provided by Alexandrou who was siezing every opportunity to try his luck at getting past Wilson on the left hand side. He succeeded in showing Wilson a clean pair of heels on a couple of occassions without then providing a telling ball to pick out a team mate. But in 35th minute the young striker picked up a ball from Myles Cowling just inside the visitors half and set off on a pacy run that saw him again get past the struggling Wilson but this time he went on, and on, eventually rounding keeper Charlie Price with a shimmy before sliding the ball goalwards from a narrow angle. A desparate attempt to get the ball off the line by Aaron Forde only succeeded in forcing it into the net but the dubious goal panel awarded it to the deserving Alexandrou.

A second goal could have arrived two minutes later when Jonny Edwards robbed a dallying Kettle on the edge of the box. The loose ball rolling to Kaunda leaving the youngster with only the exposed Price to beat but much to the chagrin of the Ives supporters behind the goal referee Matthew Fletcher deemed that Edwards had fouled the Glassboys skipper in winning the ball.

That was a moment of Edwards at his best but five minutes before the break he did not do so well as he lost possession 25 yards from the visitors goal. The move then lead to a Glassboys breakaway that ended with Daniels taken down inside the box by a combination of Josh Tomlinson and Hutchings. Referee Fletcher had no doubt and pointed to the spot. Daniels picked himself up to take the kick himself, but the effort lacked conviction allowing Bentley to make an excellent save low to his right to preserve the host’s lead at the interval.

Ives still have targets this season as they continue to hunt out their best ever finish at step three and also their quest to finish leading goalscorers in the division and Marheineke reiterated these targets to his charges at the interval. The hosts took the manager’s rallying call to heart and came out for the second half a rejuvinated team sporting a new formation with a flat back four and Luke Harris pushed forward from his wing back spot into midfield

The half was only four minutes old when Kaunda drifted between players to get a clean header onto Smith’s long throw but the younger failed to hit the target with his effort. Harris was enjoying his more forward role and he set up the next opportunity for Cowling three minutes later. But the all action midfielder blazed his effort well over the top from 25 yards.

The threat was certainly there to suggest a second goal may come and sure enough it did courtesy of leading scorer Edwards on the hour. But the goal owed a lot to both Harris and Cowling. The former burst through the centre of the park going past two players with drag backs before feeding in the run of Cowling who got to the bye line before delivering a low cross into the six yard box that Edwards gleefully thumped home.

Cowling was everywhere and he almost grabbed a goal for himself seven minutes later following a brilliant interchange of passes with Alexandrou down the left. The wide man’s final ball into the feet of a fast arriving Cowling just inside the box looked a little heavy. But the diminuative midfielder took it perefctly into his run and stabbed a shot on goal that deflected inches wide off a covering defender. Substitute Dan Barton’s inswinging corner caused panic in the Glassboys defence and as the ball bounced around their box it eventually dropped to Tomlinson inside the six yard box who depatched it high into the net to make it three.

There was a hicup in the one way tide as Ives made the classic mistake of relaxing after scoring and duly let the visitor get a goal back only sixty seconds later. Glassboys debut making substitute Diallo Boubacar ran at the host’s back line and was bundled over 25 yards from goal by Hutchings. Daniels did a lot better with the resulting free kick than he did with his earlier spot kick getting the ball up and over Ives three man wall to beat the static Bentley high to his left.

Ives quickly switched back on and the flow towards the visitors goal resumed. By this point the tricky Greg Kaziboni had joined the cause in place of the tiring Alexandrou. His battling qualities came out in 76th minute as having lost possession to Harvey Portman he battled to win it back deep in Glassboys territory. His threaded pass put Barton away down the right. The youngster’s pull back found the feet of Edwards by the penalty spot but the big striker’s toe poked effort rolled inches wide of the post as Price scrambled across to cover.

It was Kaziboni’s turn to get on the scoresheet three minutes later and again it was his battling qualities that won him the chance as he challenged Portman for a lob over the top by Smith. The loose ball dropped to Cowling who unselfishly fed it back into the path of Kaziboni who cleverly curled it through the crowd into the bottom corner of the net past the despairing dive of Price.

The remaining time saw the visitors twice go close to a consolation goal with Wilson ghosting into the near post to get on the end of Jack Fletcher’s free kick from the right but steering his close range header wide. Daniels also had an opportunity with another free kick almost identical to the one that he scored but this time a fourth man in Ives wall denied him as his shot deflected wide of that bolstered wall.

Michael Richens had the game’s final chance two minutes into added time but his 25 yard free kick flew inches over the top.

For the records Ives have now matched their record points tally at step three still with two games to go and currently sit tenth in the table, three places above previous highest finishing position. Their four goals also leaves them on 81 goals from 38 games, five clear of next best Stamford. Still plenty to play for in those remaining two games.

Final Score:  St Ives Town   4  Stourbridge  1

Goals:

ST IVES: Alexandrou 35, Edwards 60, Tomlinson 67, Kaziboni 79

STOURBRIDGE: Daniels 69

Team Line Ups:

ST IVES: Bentley, Harris, Smith, Richens (capt), Casey, Hutchings, Alexandrou (Kaziboni 74), Cowling, Edwards, Kaunda (Barton 66), Tomlinson, Unused subs: none

STOURBRIDGE: Price, Flint, Portman, Forde (Walters 78), Kettle (capt), Wilson, Arthur (Boubacar 61), Fletcher, Daniels, Ryley, Bood (Cooper 89), Unused subs: Prosser, Bavanganga

Cards:   Yellow:  ST IVES:  Barton (86), Cowling (87)    STOURBRIDGE: Portman (41), Bood (45)

SPONSORS MAN OF THE MATCH: Aaron Smith

Attendance:  401

Match Preview: Ives v Stourbridge

It’s the penultimate home league game of the season on Saturday as the Ives host Stourbridge at the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road.

With three league matches to go, the Ives could potentially get to 61 points if they get maximum points from their remaining games. But their immediate focus will be to see if they can better 56 points which was their highest points tally since being a step three club.

IVES TEAM NEWS

Last weekend the Ives secured a last gasp victory at Barwell as a late strike from Jonny Edwards secured maximum points courtesy of a 4-3 win. In that game, Sam Bentley was back in goal after missing the Easter Monday defeat against Stamford. Elsewhere, boss Ricky Marheineke has a full compliment to choose from as they look to finish the season strongly.

INTRODUCING STOURBRIDGE

Stourbridge have have had an indifferent season in terms of league results and arrive at the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road in 13th position in the table. However, they have found some form of late and are unbeaten in their last three games having taken seven points off three clubs in the top six namely Redditch, Mickleover and Leamington. After the match with the Ives tomorrow they finish their season with games against Coalville, Royston and Hitchin.

STOURBRIDGE: LAST SIX

A Alvechurch: Lost 1-0
H AFC Sudbury: Drew 1-1
H Stratford: Lost 1-0
A Redditch: Won 1-0
H Mickleover: Won 3-1
H Leamington: Drew 1-1

THE REVERSE FIXTURE

The two teams met back in December and it was Stourbridge who recorded a 2-0 victory courtesy of goals from Alex Prosser and Luke Benbow.

MATCH SPONSOR

The match on Saturday is being sponsored in memory of Brian Lawson. Brian tragically passed away in January this year, but was a big fan of the Ives and we welcome members of his family to the game and hope they enjoy watching Brian’s beloved Ives in action.

INTRODUCING OUR MATCHDAY MASCOTS

We welcome representatives from the 1st St Ives Rainbows to the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road who will be our mascots for the game. The group are members of the Girlguiding Cambridgeshire West County and the wider Girlguiding UK community.

Introducing the St Ives 1st Rainbows who will be matchday mascots on Saturday

MATCHDAY PROGRAMME

A reminder that all home matchday programmes for St Ives Town are produced online. The link to the programme for the match against Stourbridge is HERE

So come on join us at the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road as the Ives host Stourbridge. Kick-off is at 3:00pm.

Ives beat Barwell in seven goal thriller

Barwell 3 v St Ives Town 4

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  06-04-2024

Nigel Howlett reports from Kirkby Road

Ives continue to entertain as they claimed their eighth away win of the season grabbing another four goals in the process in a game that was full value for any neutral in the crowd with seven goals, a penalty, two red cards and an injury time winner all included in the admission price. There were some quality goals particularly a Michael Richens free kick just before the break and a screamer from the hugely promising Amaru Kaunda to open his account for Ives. But to balance that there were also some moments of poor defending from both sides which on occasions lead to a few more grey hairs for those on the benches.

With a gale force wind blowing diagonally across the pitch from corner flag to corner flag the general consensus from all prior to kick off was this was likely to be a game ruined by the weather. That theory was blown out the window very early thanks to the lightning start from both sides. The hosts opened the scoring from almost their first threatening attack in only fourth minute. The evergreen Leroy Lita tempted Paddy Casey into a rash challenge just inside his own box. The clumsy tackle took down Lita and with referee Lewis Mountain with a perfect view of the incident the verdict was penalty. Canaries skipper Brady Hickey calmly waited for Sam Bentley to hurl himself to his right before rolling the ball down the centre.

Undaunted Ives got themselves back level only seven minutes later with a flowing move. Ed Hottor burst through the centre of the park before feeding the ball on to Dan Barton who in turn fed the ball into the run of Richens down the right. His first time cross picked out Jonny Edwards in space at the back post. Ives leading scorer took the ball on the volley, and it was destined for the bottom right corner of the net before deflecting off a defender and ending up going in the opposite corner.

Play settled down after that early burst with the hosts doing most of the pressing with the wind at their backs. But Ives were defending resolutely to keep them at bay. Aaron Smith did very well to prevent MJ Kamara getting on the end of Deen Master’s 18th minute cross from the left. Bentley was called into action two minutes later as he got down smartly to his right to smother Hickey’s low drive from the edge of the box after Lita had cleverly teed up another Master ball in from the left.

The hosts forced nine corners in the first half and Ives dealt well with almost every one of them but they were caught out by a short one just after the half hour as the ball was fed back to ex Ives man Josh Flanagan who drove into the box before delivering a low cross into the mix that Lita fired against the post. Isiah Osbourne reacted first firing home the loose ball from eight yards to put the Canaries back in front.

Once more Ives reacted well to falling behind. A half chance came and went only three minutes later as Edwards did well to keep alive a Smith long throw that had got right through the goalmouth and out the other side. The striker clipped the ball back across goal where a stretching Josh Tomlinson won the ball but could only fire it into the side netting.

Sure enough Ives did get back on level terms before the break. Dan Barton burst through the centre on one of his trademark jinking runs and was crudely taken down by a clumsy challenge from Kamara to earn the hosts number seven his first yellow card of the afternoon and set up an opportunity for skipper Richens. Despite the Canaries setting up a five man wall Richens managed to get the ball up and down over it to find the top corner just beyond the desperate clutching fingers of diving goalkeeper Will Brook.

Both sides made changes at the break with Ives forced to replace the injured Barton with Kaunda and Canaries manager Jimmy Ginnelly replacing wing back Master with Micah Edwards and the ineffective Tristan Dunkley with Jahvan Davidson-Miller at centre forward.

Now with the wind in their favour it was Ives turn to look to get their noses in front. The first half chance came four minutes after the restart from a simple wind assisted dink over the top. Keeper Brook came to try and deal with in outside his box but was beaten by the bounce only being saved by Osbourne covering behind him. The centre back’s hook away from goal dropped to Theo Alexandrou 30 yards out and with the keeper still out of position he went for goal first time but the effort drifted wide.

Ives first corner of the second period in 55th minute almost brought reward as Richens flag kick curled perfectly to the back post where Williams rose above the crowd but thudded the crossbar with his close range header. The power of the effort took the rebound clear of the box and Alexandrou’s half volley to the dropping ball flew over the top.

The game was by this point very much end to end and the hosts enjoyed a good fifteen minutes going close on a few occasions during that time without getting back in front. Bentley did very well in 57th minute as he battled his way through the crowded box to punch Kamara’s clip from the right off the head of Lita just as the striker was looking to steer the ball goalwards.

Lita’s greatest asset, apart from his guile, is his ability to hold the ball up and he did that brilliantly to tee up a shot for Davidson-Miller in 63rd minute but Williams was alert to the danger and flung himself bravely across the line of the close range effort to deflect the ball away. Keeper Bentley made probably his best save of the game in 64th minute as Edwards cross from the left to the back post area was challenged for by both Davidson-Miller and Lita. The ball dropped to Sid Kerr 15 yards out and he hit a crisp low drive through the crowd that he thought was going in only for Bentley to hurl himself full length to his right to get a hand on the ball and turn it away.

During the Canaries purple patch Hottor had picked himself up a 61st minute yellow card for a clumsy tackle of Ethan Hill and foolishly he slid in on Kerr right in front of the referee only ten minutes later to give referee Mountain an easy decision and take Ives down to ten men.

But it was the ten men who got their noses in front for the first time in the game courtesy of a brilliantly taken 75th minute solo goal from Kaunda, his first, and on this performance not likely to be his last, for the club. Bursting onto a clip over the top through the centre of the park he still had a lot to do as he was under challenge from both Osbourne and Kamara. It would have been easy to go down but the youngster battled on and took the ball away from both players before turning inside and thrashing the ball his shot past the startled Brook from just inside the box.

Things were looking even brighter for Ives where Kamara showed his frustration to foolishly pick up his second yellow card of the game to even up the numbers ten minutes from time. The Canaries defender had been struggling with the all action Kaunda and the youngster’s goal celebration had probably raised the stakes thus he seized an opportunity to block the Ives substitute as he went to go around him again. The verbal tirade aimed at referee Mountain by Kamara when he was pulled up for the foul simply ensured his second yellow of the afternoon.

With the game now ten a side Ives would be hoping to see it out and it took an excellent block from Brook to prevent Richens from sewing the game up two minutes later. Put through by a brilliantly weighted ball from Myles Cowling, Richens just beat the onrushing keeper to the ball but Brook spread himself well to block the effort.

There were still more twists to come in the tail of this game yet. Five minutes from time Flanagan showed his pace to get around the outside of Smith down the right and his pinpoint cross picked out Lita who made no mistake beating Bentley with a well placed header from close range.

Rather than lift the hosts the equaliser seemed to reinvigorate Ives who tore at their hosts in search of a winner. Kaunda almost found it in 88th minute as he worked like a Trojan to cut out a throw from keeper Brook but he was unable to hit the target as he was quickly closed by the intended recipient of the throw Osbourne.

A 90th minute Richens corner was stabbed wide at the near post by Williams with Edwards lurking just behind him waiting to force the ball home. But Ives leading scorer was not to be denied as Brook’s resulting goal kick hung up in the strengthening wind and only made it to half way where an Ives head forced it forward down the centre. Edwards was on to it in a flash outpacing Osbourne before clipping the ball home past the fast advancing Brook to spark wild celebrations amongst the Ives travelling contingent.

Final play of the game was an excellent call and claim under heavy pressure from Bentley who did the perfect job of taking all of the pressure off his defenders and claiming a swirling free kick pumped into the box from half way by Brook.  

Final Score:  Barwell   3   St Ives Town   4    

Goals:

BARWELL: Hickey 4 (pen), Osbourne 31, Lita 85

ST IVES:  Edwards 11, 90+1, Richens 41, Kaunda 75

Team Line Ups:

BARWELL: Brook, Master (Edwards 46), Flanagan (Obeng 86), Kerr, Osbourne, Ward, Kamara, Lita, Dunkley (Davidson-Miller 46), Hickey (capt), Hill, Unused subs: Castle, Freeman,

ST IVES: Bentley, Casey, Smith, Richens (capt), Williams, Hutchings, Barton (Kaunda 46), Hottor, Edwards, Alexandrou (Harris 78), Tomlinson (Cowling 66), Unused subs: Kaziboni

Cards:   Red: BARWELL: Kamara (2 x yellows 38 & 80)   ST IVES: Hottor (2 x yellows 61 & 71)

Yellow:  BARWELL:  none    ST IVES: Edwards (79)

SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH:  Amaru Kaunda

Attendance: 278

Richens takes the gloves as Ives fall to defeat

St Ives Town 1 v Stamford 4 

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  01-04-2024

Nigel Howlett reports

The problems for Ives relating to this game started 48 hours earlier when St Albans City keeper Michael Johnson picked up a knock against Braintree forcing the Saints to recall dual registered keeper Sam Bentley. This forced a series of frantic phone calls to the Southern League office to request that the club be allowed to sign an emergency keeper ahead of this Easter Monday fixture. But it being Easter Sunday the League office was closed so hence a lot of supporters arriving for the game found out that what they had assumed was the club’s April fools joke was in fact a reality, inspirational captain and central midfielder Michael Richens had donned the gloves and found himself between the sticks.

The other major item of note ahead of kick off was a first Ives start for 18 year old Cambridge United loanee striker Amaru Kaunda. The youngster almost had an instant impact bursting into the box before feeding the ball into the feet of Jonny Edwards inside 25 seconds. But try as he might Ives leading scorer was closely marked and could not get a shot away.

The early pressure was all coming from the hosts and in eleventh minute Daniels keeper Michael Duggan almost misjudged Myles Cowling’s free kick from the left. The stretching keeper just did enough to touch the ball off the head of Jordan Williams arriving at the back post.

Duggan did a lot better four minutes later as he threw himself across his goal line to palm away a close range effort from Kaunda as the striker again showed his promise inside the box pouncing on Edwards knock down from Josh Tomlinson’s deep cross from the right.

Ives pressure continued and Kaunda was again involved in 18th minute as he got away down the left before delivering an inviting low cross into the centre that was just taken off Cowling’s toe by Will Glennon at the expense of a corner.

Stand in keeper Richens had to make his first real save two minutes later and he had fortune on his side as he somehow managed to keep out James Blunden’s powerful header from eight yards with the assistance of the crossbar. The Daniels big centre back had got on the end of Rhys Hilton’s clip to the back post after a corner had been knocked back to him.

More slick passing and movement created another opportunity for Ives in 22nd minute. The move ending with Kanunda pulling the ball back to Ed Hottor on the edge of the box. His first time effort was well saved by Duggan plunging low to his left to deflect the ball around the post. The resulting Cowling corner to the back post was not dealt with by the Daniels as they missed a couple of chances to clear the ball before Jake Hutchings pounced to stab it home from close range and open his account for the club.

But the lead was very short lived as the visitors worked a move down the right that ended with Hilton laying a ball across the box for Lee Shaw to beat Richens comprehensively from ten yards to level the scores.

Now well and truly back in the game it only took the play off chasing visitors another five minutes to nudge in front. The initial break into Ives box coming from their skipper Rob Morgan who fed the ball on to Tendai Chitiza who unselfishly rolled it across goal for Jack Duffey to slam home at the back post.

But give them their due Ives heads did not drop and they came roaring back looking for an equaliser. Kaunda again went close as he spun brilliantly onto a knock down inside the box, his shot taking a big deflection off a defender and looping just over the bar with Duggan beaten. The resulting Cowling corner almost went straight in thanks to a clever step over from Tomlinson in front of the near post but the combination of keeper Duggan and Shaw did just enough to prevent the ball crossing the line.

Ives went even closer to what would have been a deserved equaliser seconds before the break. A long throw was knocked back to Aaron Smith wide left and he delivered the prefect ball into the centre where five Ives players were attacking the ball. Dan Barton got there first to force it home but the celebration was cut short by an assistant’s upraised flag.

The second half started just as the first had ended with Ives almost forcing an equaliser only to be denied by an offside flag. This time it was a slide rule Hottor pass that put Kaunda through the right channel. But the young striker had set off a split second to soon.

But that was the final jewel in Ives day as they started to tire and the powerful Daniels started to take control. Richens held on well to Hilton’s 50th minute drive from just outside the box. Chitiza should have made it three, two minutes later. Shaw and Hilton combined well on the right to feed Morgan into the box. The skipper’s initial shot was blocked by the covering Williams but the ball rebounded to Morgan who cleverly clipped it to the back post where the unmarked Chitiza blazed over from ten yards.

The Daniels pressure continued and Hottor presented them with a perfect opportunity to test Richens goal keeping abilities in 54th minute as he scythed down Harry Vince just outside the box. The visitor’s midfielder picked himself up and carefully lined up the kick. Although he got his low shot around Ives four man wall he failed to test the stand in keeper as the shot went a couple of metres wide.

Despite a lot of hard work Ives were unable to build any real second half pressure on the visitor’s goal. Danger man Edwards was being well shackled by Blunden who was helped out by a cluster of his team mates every time the ball went into the feet of Ives leading scorer. Both Edwards and Blunden picked up yellow cards for a spat on half way in 69th minute.

Defensively the hosts were protecting their cover keeper well as typified by Tomlinson’s excellent recovery block to deny Duffey after he had broken into Ives box in 73rd minute. But the resilience was waning and what had begun to look like an inevitable third goal arrived ten minutes from time as substitutes Michael Frew and Michael Armstrong combined well to work their way in from the right. The move ending with the latter beating Richens low to his left from just outside the box. This third goal prompted a flurry of unusual action from Ives. Wing back Paddy Casey became Ives eighth keeper of the season as he replaced Richens for the remaining time. Luke Harris also came on for Hottor at the same time.

Sadly the very positive moves from manager Ricky Marheineke did not bring the hoped for reward of a route back into the game and sure enough as an Ives attack broke down Duffey seized the opportunity to burst clear down the middle and beat Casey comprehensively to kill off the game. The fourth Daniels goal prompted a loud verbal reaction from Williams which referee Richard Wharton interpreted as an intimidatory action aimed at him and sufficient to earn the Ives centre back a straight red card.

With the game already over referee Wharton then found eight minutes to add. The only noteworthy action during that period was in the sixth of the added eight when Morgan pounced on a poor clearance from Casey and came within millimetres of adding insult to injury as his curled effort from fully forty yards bounced on the surface and just crept over the crossbar with Casey already beaten.

Final Score:  St Ives Town   1  Stamford   4

Goals:

ST IVES: Hutchings 23

STAMFORD: Shaw 25, Duffey 31 & 90+1, Armstrong 80

Team Line Ups:

ST IVES: Richens (capt), Casey, Smith, Hottor (Harris 83), J. Williams, Hutchings, Barton (Alexandrou 73), Cowling, Edwards, Kaunda (Kaziboni 80), Tomlinson, Unused subs: none

STAMFORD: Duggan, Shaw, Glennon, Vince, Offler, Blunden, Chitiza (Armstrong 58), Morgan (capt), Siddons (Frew 63), Duffy, Hilton (Challinor 71), Unused subs: Wallis, Tsagium,

Cards:   Red: ST IVES: Williams (90+2)

              Yellow:  ST IVES:  Edwards (69), Harris (89)    STAMFORD: Offler (51), Blunden (69), Glennon (77), Shaw (90+3)

SPONSORS MAN OF THE MATCH: Jordan Williams

Attendance:  373

Match Programme: Ives v Stamford

The official online matchday magazine for the Easter Monday clash at home to Stamford is now available to view. Our 46 page publication includes:

A review of the win over Berkhamsted
We take a check on the latest from around the league as we we enter the final weeks of the season
We focus on our visitors from Stamford
There’s a review of all the latest reserve and A Team results
And our popular Ten to Tackle matchday quiz returns with questions from the FA Cup Quarter Finals
PLUS much more. You can download your free copy HERE

Edwards hat-trick sees off Sudbury

AFC Sudbury 2 St Ives Town 4

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  30-03-2024

Nigel Howlett reports from the MEL Stadium

Hat trick hero Jonny Edwards claimed his 50th goal for the Ives, along with numbers 51 and 52 in a clinical display of finishing that made the Yellows attempt to claw their way out of the drop zone a whole lot harder whilst mathematically ensuring their ebullient visitors of another season at step 3.

Sudbury’s ex St Neots Town manager Marc Abbott had gone to the transfer market just ahead of the deadline signing experienced striker Simeon Jackson from National League South Chelmsford City as the man to score the goals to move them out of the bottom three.

The new signing had two glorious chances to endear himself to the home faithful inside the first four minutes of the game. Initially breaking clear of Ives back line after Josh Tomlinson misjudged the bounce on the Yellow’s 3G surface, which was clearly a little higher than the quattro tech Westwood Road. Sam Bentley was quickly off his line to close down Jackson and made an excellent save spreading himself well to block the shot at point blank range. Only seconds later Joe Tarpey danced into Ives box from the left and fed in Jackson whose first time effort from ten yards beat Bentley but rebounded off the outside of the post.

All of the early pressure came from the hosts and skipper Jake Turner should probably have done better with an eleventh minute opportunity which he blazed high and wide from the right hand corner of the box. The same player also blasted a 21st minute free kick from 25 yards straight into Ives four man wall. The rebound creating Ives first opportunity of the game as they broke at pace with Edwards spraying a perfectly weighted pass out to Theo Alexandrou wide left. The youngster cut inside but miss-hit his shot from the edge of the box although the bobbling ball almost caught out keeper James Bradbrook who scrambled across his line to palm it out for a corner. The keeper did much better with the resulting Michael Richens flag kick leaping high to tip it away from Jake Hutchings arriving unmarked at the back post.

Ives then enjoyed a purple patch with Alexandrou and Edwards combining well in 26th minute. The former just failing to pick out his strike partner with a low cross from the left that the Yellows scrambled away. But two minutes later the hosts failed to deal effectively with Aaron Smith’s long throw from the left. The ball coming off a defender before dropping to Edwards just inside the box. His first time strike with his left foot flew past the despairing fingertips of keeper Bradbrook to put Ives in front and clock up the talismanic striker’s half century for the club.

The goal rocked the hosts fragile confidence and Ives went looking for more. It was Myles Cowling’s turn to link up with Alexandrou on the left in 33rd minute. The move finishing with the all action midfielder teeing up Richens for one of his trademark 25 yarders. But this time the radar was a bit off with the ball ending up in the car park.

But just as they were looking likely to comfortably see things out to half time Ives concentration lapsed. Jacob Pinnington had been seeing quite a lot of the ball down the right for the hosts. But Smith and Jordan Williams had generally dealt with him well, or his end product had not been great. But in 38th minute he found that end product as he was allowed to take down a long ball before cutting inside along the eighteen yard line and unleashing a low left foot shot that beat the diving Bentley low to his left and levelled things up.

The only other chance before the break also fell to the hosts and Pinnington was again the protagonist as his effort from 25 yards deflected off Williams to Josh Allen inside the box. But again Bentley was sharp off his line to make a brave close range stop.

With their desperate need for points the home supporters were expecting a roaring second half from their heroes sure enough the first attempt on goal after the re-start did come from the Yellows in 55th minute but Bentley made a comfortable save to keep out Allen’s tame effort from 20 yards. The task became a whole lot harder for the hosts only ninety seconds later when Charlie Lewis clipped Cowling as the Ives midfielder burst into the box. Referee Thomas Whay was in the perfect position to judge and decided that the contact was inside the box. Edwards clinically despatched the resulting spot kick to restore Ives lead and heap the pressure on the home side.

To give them their due the Yellows worked hard in search of another equaliser. Allen fired wide from a good position just after the hour. The first half danger man Pinnington got his first chance to run at Ives back line three minutes later and his fierce drive from a narrow angle forced Bentley to spectacularly leap to his left to tip the ball over.

A poor 75th minute ball out of defence by Lewis was cut out by Richens who went for the spectacular trying to beat the out of position Bradbrook from fully 45 yards. But the scrambling keeper was grateful to see the ball float just wide of his left hand upright.

With time ticking down Abbott decided to replace the by now ineffective Pinnington with Afolabi Soyemi-Ololade as he went in search of an equaliser. The striker’s first touch did put the ball in the net, but unfortunately for he and his manager it was at the wrong end of the pitch. Smith’s long throw cleared the group of players climbing for it at the near post, flicked off Soyemi-Ololade just behind them and bounced past the startled Bradbrook to put Ives 3-1 up with seven minutes to go.

The hosts did not give up and threw more at their visitors as Ives looked to see the game out. Jack Cawley fired a 25 yard free kick well over the top before Allen took full advantage of space opening up before him to beat Bentley from just outside the box with one minute of the ninety left. The hosts supporters were now hoping for a barnstorming finish and the possibility was there as substitute Ed Hottor hauled down Soyemi-Olalade 25 yards out as the impressive stadium clock moved to ninety minutes. Desperate to make up for his earlier error Soyemi-Olalade took on the responsibility of the free kick but his effort failed to trouble Bentley as it sailed out of the ground.

With everyone now pushing forward for the Yellows in search of getting something from the game Edwards seized the opportunity to complete his hat trick in the third of five added minutes. Richens won the ball on half way and put him clear one on one with keeper Bradbrook. As ever Edwards kept his cool deceiving the keeper with his footwork before dancing around him to roll the ball into the empty net and add another match ball to his collection.

The result leaves Ives in a comfortable eleventh place with the Yellows sitting in a precarious spot four points from safety with five games to go. This afternoon’s four goals gives free scoring Ives a little bit of daylight in their quest to end the season as the division’s leading scorers as they now sit on 72 goals with their nearest pursuers Mickleover three goals adrift.

Final Score:  AFC Sudbury   2   St Ives Town    4    

Goals:

SUDBURY: Pinnington 38, Allen 89

ST IVES:  Edwards 28, 58 (pen), 90+3, Soyemi-Ololade 85 (own goal)

Team Line Ups:

SUDBURY: Bradbrook, Tarpey, Lewis, Dickens, Turner (capt) (Neal 76), Hunter, Page, Allen, Pinnington (Soyemi-Ololade 83), Jackson, Cawley, Unused subs: Oluwatimilehin, Philp, Bradley

ST IVES: Bentley, Casey, Smith, Richens (capt), J. Williams, Hutchings, Barton (Hottor 67), Cowling (Harris 87), Edwards, Alexandrou (Kaunda 74), Tomlinson, Unused subs: Kaziboni

Cards:   Yellow:  SUDBURY:  Cawley (58),    ST IVES: Richens (16), Alexandrou (30), Edwards (79), Cowling (80)

SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH:  Jonny Edwards

Attendance: 374

Edwards penalty secures win over Comrades

St Ives Town 1 v Berkhamsted 0

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  23-03-2024

Nigel Howlett reports

It is never easy to play sides battling for their lives at this stage of the season and the struggling Comrades will perhaps feel a little hard done by with this result which appears to hinge on two second half decisions by referee Chris Darling one at each end of the pitch. Ex Ives man Greg Sandiford picked himself up to a yellow card for diving as he went down inside the box under challenge from Jordan Williams and Aaron Smith seven minutes after the interval. 20 minutes later at the other end of the pitch Theo Alexandrou won the spot kick that ultimately decided the game as he was upended by Tom Newman’s attempt to clear a dropping ball inside his own box.

However closer analysis of the overall pattern of the game would show even the most ardent Comrades supporter that they were fortunate not to be beaten by a much more comprehensive score with Ives hitting the woodwork four times in the game, including three in a one sided second half. The result, plus Hitchin’s draw with high flying Telford, leaves the visitors all but mathematically relegated as they now sit eighteen points behind their Hertfordshire rivals with only six games left to play.

Perhaps not unsurprisingly it was the visitors who were first out of the blocks and Sandiford spurned two good chances in the early exchanges. Arriving late at the back post he got on the end of Kyal Williams deep fourth minute cross but could only direct his attempted volley well off target. Smith was Ives saviour thirteen minutes later as he did just enough to prevent Sandiford turning home Max Bustamente’s low cross from the left. The Comrades went close again sixty seconds later as their skipper Conner Toomey got in front of his marker at the near post to glance Adam Watkins cross from the left just past the post.

Ives suddenly sparked into life just before the 20 minute mark as the all action pair of Myles Cowling and Alexandrou combined well to dance their way into the box. The formers snap shot from 15 yards flew past the startled Josh Bowler in the visitor’s goal and rattled the crossbar before rebounding to safety.

This effort lifted the home supporters who raised their voices to try to spur on their heroes to greater efforts. But the visitors similarly raised their efforts to cancel out hosts brief burst of action and the remaining time up to the break saw very little noteworthy action from either side. For the record the three efforts that went into the notebook were a tame 20 yard effort from Jonny Edwards after good work by Greg Kaziboni and Michael Richens in 23rd minute. A thirty yarder from Richens that flew high and wide in 45th minute and a smart dash from his line by Bowler to prevent Dan Barton getting on the end of Sam Bentley’s long punt in added time.

The second half started in much more dramatic style with Comrades centre back Sam McClelland almost inadvertently putting Ives ahead only seconds after the restart. A quick Kaziboni free kick put Edwards away down the right. His driven cross to the centre struck McClelland as the centre back stretched to prevent the ball reaching Alexandrou lurking at the back post. Much to the relief of the Comrades big number five the ball rebounded just wide of the post.

Then came the visitor’s shout for a penalty as Sandiford tried to get between challenges from Williams and Smith to get on the end of a return ball from Bustamente. Referee Darling was in the perfect position to see the incident and he instantly blew his whistle, but rather than pointing at the spot it was to wave a yellow card at the young Comrades winger. This decision incensed the Berkhamsted bench so much that assistant manager Darren Locke picked himself up a yellow card for his pains.

From that point Ives began to take control of the game and started to create opportunities. An excellent 55th minute break saw Barton gain possession inside his own half before scampering over half way and feeding Alexandrou in space on the left. He cut inside past Dan Newton but failed to test Bowler with his low drive from just outside the box. The visitors came within millimetres of going in front nine minutes later as Cowling tried to bustle his way into the visitor’s box. The ball was knocked off his toe and fell to Alexandrou on the left hand corner of the box. Without hesitation the young striker let fly a fierce drive that dipped and swerved past the static Bowler and rattled his crossbar before rebounding away.

The Comrades were limited to sporadic raids into Ives territory but 20 minutes from time they created themselves a half chance as substitute Olu Lawal delivered a deep cross that Bustamante headed back into the danger zone. Jake Hutchings got the ball away but only as far as Watkins 25 yards out. The visitor’s midfielder carefully curled his effort just wide of the post with Bentley scrambling across to cover.

The hosts rattled the woodwork for the third time in 74th minute as Barton cleverly fed Richens away down the right. He picked out substitute Amaru Kaunda arriving at pace with his pull back but the Cambridge United loanee’s first time effort from six yards struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced down and away. But Ives luck finally changed seconds later as the ball was fed back to Cowling who tried his luck from just outside the box. His shot struck a defender and looped up into the air dropping at the back post where Alexandrou was waiting, looking to turn it home. As he went to shoot Newman swung a leg to try and clear the ball. That swinging leg did not make contact with the ball but did take down Alexandrou. Once more referee Darling was in an excellent position to view the contact. After a moments consideration he pointed to the spot. Once everything had died down the ever reliable Edwards cooly beat Bowler with the penalty.

Now with their noses in front Ives went in search of a second to kill off their tenacious opponents. An excellent 81st minute cross field ball from substitute Ed Hottor picked out Alexandrou in space on the left. This time he went outside his marker and fed the ball inside to the run of Cowling who clipped his first time effort inches wide with Bowler looking on.

Simple route one fashion almost worked for Ives moments later as McClelland misjudged a Bentley punt in the swirling wind. The ball flicked off his head and Kaunda was onto it a flash but with colleagues fast arriving the youngster proved that he is a striker in the making as he retained possession even as he was closed down by Luke Massingham and did eventually get his shot away but it was blocked by the covering defender.

With time ticking down into an added six minutes Ives were looking to preserve their slender lead but there was still time for Bowler to show a little of his potential as the young keeper reacted well to palm Richens stinging drive from a narrow angle onto his left hand post deep in added time.

There was just time for one final scare for the hosts before they could claim the precious three point. The Comrades won a free kick just inside Ives half in the final added minute, substitute Lawal curled it invitingly to the back post where McClelland leapt like the proverbial salmon to get on the end of it. He met the ball cleanly but powered his header wide of the post to almost stick the final nail in the visitors step 3 coffin as the final whistle blew immediately after.

Final Score:  St Ives Town   1   Berkhamsted  0    

Goals:

ST IVES: Edwards 78(pen)

BERKHAMSTED:  

Team Line Ups:

ST IVES: Bentley, Casey, Smith, Richens (capt), J. Williams, Hutchings, Barton (Hottor 78), Cowling, Edwards, Alexandrou (Tomlinson 90), Kaziboni (Kaunda 68), Unused subs: Harris,

BERKHAMSTED: Bowler, Newton, K. Williams (Lawal 68), Oulton, McClelland, Massingham, Sandiford (Chamberlain 84), Watkins, Bustamante, Toomey (capt) (Bessadi 54), Newman, Unused subs: Frederick, da Silva

Cards:   Yellow:  ST IVES:  Edwards (21)      BERKHAMSTED: Oulton (21), Sandiford (52)

SPONSORS MAN OF THE MATCH:  Myles Cowling

Attendance:  297

Match Preview: Ives v Berkhamsted

St Ives Town return to home league action this Saturday as they welcome Berkhamsted to the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road.

IVES TEAM NEWS

The Ives have not played at home on a Saturday since 24 February when they suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Stratford Town.  They have played on a Monday night since when they also lost to Coalville but sandwiched between that there have been wins at Royston and Alvechurch and a point last week at Long Eaton.  In that game, the Ives had to settle for a point coming from 3-1 down to secure a 3-3 draw.  The point at Long Eaton left the Ives 12th in the table and a win tomorrow could push them up into the top ten.

INTRODUCING BERKHAMSTED

On Saturday, the Ives face a Berkhamsted side who have won only twice all season, the second of those coming last week when they recorded victory over Bromsgrove Sporting.  Given that last Saturday was only their second victory of the season, Berkhamsted have found it hard going following their promotion last season and currently sit bottom of the league on 17 points with relegation looking inevitable.  That said in recent weeks the Comrades have taken a point off opponents or lost narrowly with a 3-2 defeat at leaders Needham Market on 10 February being an example.

REVERSE FIXTURE

It was back on 25 November when the teams met for the first time this season and the Ives secured a 2-0 victory courtesy of two goals from Jonny Edwards.

FORM GUIDE: LAST SIX

IVES: L L W L W D

BERKHAMSTED: L L D L D W

NON-LEAGUE DAY

Tomorrow is Non-League Day and the Ives have an offer for anyone with a season ticket at any club to pay half price entry to watch the game.  Simply produce your valid season ticket at the turnstiles to redeem this offer.

HAPPY HOUR

You can also take advantage of happy hour at the clubhouse where all pints will be priced at just £3.00 from 1:30pm-2:30pm.

MATCH SPONSORS

We welcome Westwood Painting and Decorating to the game who will be our match sponsors.  We hope they have a fantastic afternoon with us, and we thank them for their support.

MATCH PROGRAMME

The official matchday magazine for all home games is available on line only. You can download your copy HERE

Kick-off at the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road is at 3:00pm.

Ives salvage draw at Long Eaton

Long Eaton United v St Ives Town    

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  16-03-2024

For the second week in a row, it took a sterling second half performance to get reward from a game where the first half showing had left Ives with a lot of work to do. Unlike last week at Alvechurch where they fortunately managed to arrive at the break on level terms the visitors found themselves two goals in arrears against their struggling hosts who had registered only one win on home soil all season.

To give them credit though with the relegation trap door hanging by a thread the Blues had picked up some excellent draws against promotion chasing teams in recent weeks and came into this game with a modicum of confidence of improving that dismal home record. It was they who started on the front foot and it took a brave block from Jordan Williams to prevent Andrew Wright getting a seventh minute shot on goal from the edge of the box.

Tricky winger Joseph Nyahwema was looking dangerous on the left and should probably have done better with a tenth minute effort as he cut inside and fired a fierce effort well over the top from 20 yards.

In a similar pattern to last week Ives greatest threat in the first half was coming from dead ball situations and they managed to get in front in the simplest fashion from one of those in 17th minute. Aaron Smith’s long throw was knocked back to him and he curled a first time cross to the back post where Jonny Edwards had ghosted in unmarked. His knock back into the centre was forced home from point blank range by a similarly unattended Josh Tomlinson. 

But that lead only lasted ninety seconds as the Blues responded in style to level up with a well taken goal. Nyahwema was the provider showing good footwork on the left to get past Jake Hutchings and deliver a cross that Callum Cocks attacked at the back post to turn it past Sam Bentley low to his left.

The host’s left back had taken his first goal well and he took his second seven minutes later in much more spectacular style finding the top corner with a free kick from 25 yards that caught out Bentley beating him high to his left with the keeper perhaps a little slow to move his feet.

The lacklustre Ives main threat continued to come from Smith’s long throws and Theo Alexandrou should really have levelled things up in 39th minute. The long throw was flicked on at the near post by Tomlinson and fell to Alexandrou in space ten yards out by the back post. He went for it first time on the half volley and made clean contact but directed his effort just wide of the post.

As so often in football failure to take a chance at one end of the pitch comes back to haunt you at the other. So it was to be three minutes before the break as a mix up between Williams and Bentley presented Liam Loughlan with a simple third for the hosts. Williams was going to deal with a long ball down the park but got a shout from his keeper so ducked it to allow it to go through. But the keeper had not allowed for the pace of Loughlan who nipped between the two to steal the ball and then maintained his composure to take it down before striding on to roll it into the empty net.

Alexandrou quickly got Ives going after the re-start and his 48th minute run set up the first of the visitors ten attempts on goal in the second period. He got down the left outside Owen Betts and delivered a driven cross that was knocked away at the near post but the ball fell to Michael Richens 25 yards out. But his powerful first time effort screamed well wide.

Ives continued to pour forward in search of a route back into the game and Richens turned provider for their next chance four minutes later as he carefully hung up a cross to the back post where Hutchings rose highest but the centre back directed his looping header back across goal and wide of the far post as Blues stopper Ross Durrant scrambled across his line to cover.

The visitors pressure continued with Alexandrou finding lots of space on the left. In 64th minute he cleverly cut inside and delivered a teasing ball to the back post where the covering Cocks did just enough to deflect the ball away from the lurking Tomlinson. Alexandrou was again involved in Ives halving the arrears in 67th minute. He drew a foul out of the struggling Betts in a wide left position. Richens clever free kick was only half cleared to Myles Cowling on the edge of the box and he did very well to carefully steer his shot through the crowded box and past the unsighted Durrant into the bottom corner of the net.

That was Cowlings last action for the afternoon as he instantly became part of a double substitution from Ives manager Ricky Marheineke as the visitors went in pursuit of a leveller. Cowling was replaced by Greg Kaziboni with fit again Dan Barton replacing wing back Tomlinson. Kaziboni was involved in setting up Ives next opportunity as he got down the right before delivering a cross to the back post which Hutchings met with a first time effort that was bravely blocked by a covering defender.

The equaliser finally arrived in 82nd minute with wide men Kaziboni and Alexandrou both involved. The former putting the latter away down the left and Alexandrou’s pinpoint cross to the centre perfectly picked out Edwards arriving inside the six yard box and Ives leading scorer did the rest forcing the ball home into the roof of the net.

To give them their due neither side settled for a point and both had late chances to grab a winner. Blues opportunity came first in 90th minute when a corner from the right bounced around Ives box with two flying blocks from defenders before Nyahwema snatched at the loose ball and fired wide from just outside the box.

Ives opportunity only seconds later was more clear cut and should probably have been taken. Once more the duo of Alexandrou and Kaziboni were involved. With Alexandrou cleverly feeding Kaziboni into space down the left. He turned inside on the edge of the box and tried to beat Durrant with a curling effort that the stretching keeper just managed to palm away. But the ball fell to the feet of the unmarked Edwards just six yards out. He took a touch and unleashed a powerful drive that was brilliantly blocked on the line by the covering Cocks to deny Ives what would have been a fantastic three points.

The hosts will certainly look at this result as two points dropped and the draw leaves them very much on the precipice as with just six games left they find themselves 15 points from safety. Ives poor first half gave them a mountain to climb in the second and they came within inches of reaching the pinnacle with Edwards late effort blocked on the line. The consolation that Ives can take from the game is that the three goals that they scored have now taken them up to joint leading scorers in the division alongside high flying Mickleover. For the statisticians amongst you this is only Ives fourth draw of the season and their first since 12th September last year. There is still plenty more entertainment in the remaining weeks of the season yet. 

Final Score:  Long Eaton United   3   St Ives Town  3      

Goals: 

LONG EATON: Cocks 19, 26, Loughlan 42

ST IVES:  Tomlinson 17, Cowling 68, Edwards 82

Team Line Ups:

LONG EATON: Durrant (capt), Betts, Cocks, Atwal (Keane 65), Bertram, Hanson (Martin 57), Mandjoba (Rogers 87), Wright, Hewlett, Nyahwema, Loughlan, Unused subs: Gordon, Tyson 

ST IVES: Bentley, Casey, Smith, Richens (capt), J. Williams, Hutchings, Cowling (Kaziboni 68), Hottor (Kaunda 87), Edwards, Alexandrou, Tomlinson (Barton 68), Unused subs: Harris

Cards:   Yellow:  LONG EATON:  Hanson (14), Wright (21)      ST IVES:  Hutchings (59) 

SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH:  Theo Alexandrou

Attendance:  154

Match Preview: Long Eaton v Ives

St Ives Town head to Derbyshire on Saturday as they make the trip to Long Eaton United.  It’s the third successive Saturday that the Ives have been on the road and they will be hoping to add another three points to their tally following previous weekend victories at Royston and Alvechurch. 

IVES TEAM NEWS

The Ives make the trip having not played since last Saturday and boss Ricky Marheineke will be looking to the same players who recorded the excellent result at Alvechurch to do more of the same this weekend.  In that game, Luke Harris started at right back in favour of Paddy Casey whilst Jake Hutcings continued to impress alongside Jordan Williams at the heart of the Ives defence.  Both Jonny Edwards and Theo Alexandrou look set to lead the attacking options as the Ives go looking for a double after comfortably beating the hosts in the reverse fixture back in December.

INTRODUCING LONG EATON

The Ives make the trip favourites to get the points against a Long Eaton side who have found this season a struggle, with the majority of the campaign seeing them prop up the table.  However, recent results have seen the hosts look to finish the season on a high and this was certainly the case last weekend when they secured a 0-0 draw at home to leaders Needham Market.  Prior to the point against Needham Market, they have taken a point off Stourbridge, Coalville and Leamington so will go into the game four games unbeaten, a run that has seen them move off the bottom of the table, albeit still 16 points from safety.

FORM GUIDE: LAST SIX

LONG EATON: L L D D D D

IVES: W L L W L W

GOING TO THE GAME:

Long Eaton United FC
Grange Park
Station Road
LONG EATON
Derbyshire
NG10 2EF

Kick-off is at 3:00pm

Ives hit another four on the road

Alvechurch 1 v St Ives Town 4

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  09-03-2024

Nigel Howlett reports from Lye Meadow

A rip roaring second half performance saw Ives turn this game on its head after they had sleepwalked their way through an uninspiring first period where they were very fortunate to go in at the break on level terms. The equaliser just before the break coming courtesy a Michael Richens free kick from fully forty yards out wide on the left that swung in, evaded everyone in the centre and deceived home keeper Ronnie Hollingshead to find the bottom corner of the net.

That goal coming how it did and at the point in the game when it did undoubtably went some way to knocking the stuffing out of the Church but the real catalyst at half time was the rocket that manager Ricky Marheineke gave his soporific charges. That plus a tactical change replacing Josh Tomlinson with Paddy Casey and changing the back three to a flat back four. The change of tactics had the effect of nullifying the hosts threat down their left side where the combination of Nick Clayton-Phillips and Ben Cassidy had found a lot of joy before the break. The rocket also seemed to work as Ives stepped things up all over the park suddenly getting in the faces of their young opponents and clearly rattling their composure.

As previously stated the early period of the game saw the Church enjoying some good possession and trying to break down their visitors. Ed Hottor picked up an early booking for scything down the lively Clayton-Phillips in eleventh minute. Referee Dale Wooton played an excellent advantage as the ball ran on to Dylan Mitchell who fired inches wide from just outside the box.

Ives were not without their chances, but these were generally coming from dead ball situations rather than flowing football. A 15th minute Aaron Smith long throw was knocked back to Theo Alexandrou who delivered the ball into the danger zone between keeper and defenders. Josh Tomlinson got a touch and the ball bounced up to Jordan Williams whose header was cleared off the line by a well positioned Jaanai Gordon.

That threat on the left proved fruitful for the hosts in 28th minute when Cassidy fed the ball into the feet of Clayton-Phillips who cut inside into space before firing low past the left hand of diving keeper Sam Bentley and finding the back of the net via the inside of the post.

The same two players combined ten minutes later to set up another chance for the hosts. This time Clayton-Phillips threaded the ball through to the run of Cassidy who got to the bye line before hanging a ball up to the back post where Smith did very well to head the ball away from the fast arriving DJ Campton-Sturridge. But it dropped to Mitchell on the edge of the box who hit a rasping half volley just over the top.

But having missed that chance to go two up before the break the hosts suddenly found their lead cancelled out in somewhat bizarre circumstances, although Richens will say that he meant it all along. Alexandrou was bundled over near the left touchline by a clumsy challenge from Church skipper Josh Dugmore. Richens struck the free kick powerfully swinging it in on goal and both Williams and Tomlinson managed to get across in front of Hollingshead but neither got a touch, however their movement was enough to cause the keeper to take his eye off the ball which bounced in front of him and skipped on into the corner of the net.

Ives came out for the second half instantly showing more purpose, but before they managed to get in front they did have one let off in 54th minute. Keeper Bentley miss cued an attempted clearance straight to Gordon 45 yards from goal. The Church centre forward had chance to take a touch and tried to lob the out of position stopper. Despite his valiant attempt to recover his position the keeper could only watch as the ball sailed over his head and was mighty relieved to see it float just wide of his right hand post.

It was from that point which Ives took complete control and the hosts next noteworthy attempt on goal did not come until two minutes from time. The high press got the visitors in front just after the hour. Richens harried and robbed Cassidy deep inside the Church half. Striding forward Ives skipper fed the ball into the run of Luke Harris just outside the box. He in turn fed it on to the feet of Jonny Edwards just inside the box. The Ives centre forward had chance to take a touch before firing a left footer low past the right hand of the static Hollingshead.

The flow was now all one way and Richens scored his second free kick of the afternoon to make it three in 73rd minute. A Smith long throw was knocked out to Richens on the edge of the box and his first time effort arrowed through the crowded Church box and rattled the crossbar. The rebound fell to Myles Cowling on the edge of the D his fierce drive was blocked by the upraised arm of a desperate diving defender inches outside the box. Referee Wooton was right on the spot and immediately awarded the free kick. It looked to close for Richens to get the ball up and down over the five man wall. But he had other ideas and as the players beside the wall parted he fired a powerful low drive through the gap to find the bottom corner just out of reach of the diving Hollingshead.

The rampant Ives were now taring apart their struggling hosts. Richens came within inches of his hat trick two minutes later. Smith fed the ball to Alexandrou on the left and he cut inside along the edge of the box before squaring the ball to his skipper 20 yards out. Again Richens went for power, but this time he got the elevation wrong as the effort beat the flying Hollingshead but flew just over the crossbar.

The all-action midfield duo of Cowling and Richens combined to set up an opportunity for Greg Kaziboni in 82nd minute. The Ives substitute tried to place his effort from just inside the box only to be denied by Hollingshead as the keeper flung himself to his right to palm the ball away.

A series of Ives corners followed before the dancing feet of Cowling set up Williams to deliver the coup de gras four minutes from time. The ball was fed out to the midfielder in a wide left position and he immediately seized his opportunity to run at the tiring Church defence going past three defenders to get to the bye line before picking out Williams on the six yard line with his cut back. Ives centre half gleefully prodded the ball home just ahead of young substitute Amaru Kaunda who was right behind him and eagerly awaiting his first goal for the club.

There was still time left for the stunned hosts to spurn a good opportunity for a consolation goal as Yaw Ofosu got his head on Clayton-Phillips 88th minute corner but failed to hit the target from eight yards.

There were a number of contenders for man of the match but Ives very small band of travelling supporters behind the goal were unanimous in acclaiming Cowling the deserved winner of the award.  

Final Score:  Alvechurch   1   St Ives Town   4     

Goals:

ALVECHURCH: Clayton-Phillips 28

ST IVES:  Richens 41, 73, Edwards 62, Williams 86

Team Line Ups:

ALVECHURCH: Hollingshead, Dugmore (capt), Cassidy, Mitchell, Ofosu, Crowther, Allen-Hadley (Campton-Sturridge 31), Hallahan (Brown 68), Gordon (Reka 89), Clayton-Phillips, Dawkins, Unused subs: Dyer, Patterson,

ST IVES: Bentley, Harris, Smith, Richens (capt), J. Williams, Hutchings, Cowling, Hottor (Kaziboni 63), Edwards, Alexandrou (Kaunda 77), Tomlinson (Casey 46), Unused subs: none

Cards:   Yellow:  ALVECHURCH:  Mitchell (45)      ST IVES: Hottor (11), Williams (34), Harris (90)  

SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH:  Myles Cowling

Attendance:  246

Ives suffer narrow Coalville defeat

St Ives Town 1 v Coalville Town 2

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  04-03-2024

Nigel Howlett Reports

All of the goals and almost all of the action came in a pulsating first 45 minutes. But the endeavour put in by both sides in tough encounters on heavy pitches only two days earlier really showed in the second half as the pace of the game slowed and chances became much more limited. Ives second half cause not being helped by losing their two most creative players in Dan Barton who picked up an unlucky injury just before the break when getting a shot away and Theo Alexandrou who departed at the interval succumbing to a knock picked up in Saturday’s win at Royston.

Both sides made changes following their very recent previous fixtures. Ives bringing in Paddy Casey and Myles Cowling to replace the rested Luke Harris and Ed Hottor respectively. The Ravens similarly resting Wes York, Herve Pepe-Ngoma and Kieran Cook who all dropped to the bench with Roddy McGlinchey, Luke Shaw and the exciting Terell Pennant coming into the starting eleven.

Having started the game on Saturday in explosive style Ives did it again getting their noses in front in only the seventh minute when leading scorer Jonny Edwards clinically despatched a spot kick which had been awarded when he was upended inside the box by Ashley Carter. The hosts continued to press early on with Edwards going close with a thirty yarder that dipped just over the crossbar five minutes later. That opportunity being set up by Josh Tomlinson who had robbed Pennant on half way before rolling the ball into the feet of his centre forward.

It took the visitors a while to get going but once they did they quickly began to create opportunities of their own. A flowing move in 17th minute ended with Pennant driving a low cross across the six yard line that Tim Berridge was only prevented from turning home by a timely interception from Casey.

Ex Raven Jake Hutchings almost presented his former colleagues with an equaliser five minutes later as Berridge read his intentions and cut out a back pass. Keeper Sam Bentley did well to close the striker and prevent him getting a shot away but he picked out Shaw with a ball inside and it took a brave block from Jordan Williams to keep out the midfielder’s shot. The loose ball ran to Tom McGlinchey and it took an equally excellent save from the recovering Bentley to prevent him turning the ball home. But having survived that scare Ives got caught out from the resulting well worked Shaw corner Berridge arrived at the near post and although his initial effort was blocked Scott McManus was on hand to force home the rebound.

The game was now very much on and it became an exciting end to end encounter as both sides traded blows looking for that all important second goal. Unfortunately for Ives they found their former keeper Paul White in excellent form and he did brilliantly leaping high to his left to tip away an Edwards screamer in 28th minute. The ball had arrived at the striker’s feet on the edge of the box as the Ravens struggled to clear a Michael Richens corner from the right.

The visitors then managed to get in front from their next attack three minutes later. Roddy McGlinchey ran at the heart of the Ives defence and was adjudged to have been tripped by Williams just outside the box. Shaw then delivered the perfect free kick getting the ball up and down over the hosts five man wall and finding the top corner just out of the reach of the flying Bentley.

The end to end nature of the game did not change but the excellent White continued to thwart Ives. His hands were stung by a fierce drive from the edge of the box from Barton but it was in falling having got this shot away that the young winger picked up the injury that saw him depart the fray a few minutes later to be replaced by Ed Hottor.

It was Bentley’s turn to show his prowess in 38th minute as he flung himself high to his right to tip away a deflected 25 yarder from Eliot Putman. The resulting corner again caused problems before Ives eventually managed to scramble it clear.

With half time approaching Ives upped their game and pushed hard for the equaliser and they did manage to beat the excellent White in the final minute of regulation time but Cowling’s close range effort came back off the crossbar. The chance came from an excellent move started by Hottor winning a tackle deep in his own half before feeding the ball on to Edwards who in turn put Alexandrou away down the left. His cross into the danger area was met by Cowling at the back post and Ives luck was certainly not in as the rebound off the goal frame just evaded Edwards arriving in the box.

There was still time for Ives to go close twice more in the five minutes added for Barton’s injury. Cowling had a goal bound shot blocked away bravely by McManus and White again brilliantly denied Williams after the centre back had got his head to the resulting corner.

So ended a pulsating first 45 minutes that but for some brave defending and excellent goal keeping would have ended with many more goals than it did. We were all hoping for more of the same second half but sadly it was not to come as both sides began to show their exertions of only 48 hours earlier and the pace of the game dropped.

Pennant was still looking lively for the visitors and in 50th minute he cut in from the right at pace and unleashed a fierce rising drive from the edge of the box that beat Bentley and clipped the crossbar on its way over the top.

Clever play from Edwards almost carved out an opportunity for Cowling six minutes later. Receiving a ball in from the right by Casey Ives centre forward almost deceived the Ravens defence as he back heeled the ball into the run of his midfield teammate but McManus was alert to the danger and just cut it out.

Ives applied some pressure forcing a series of corners and long throw opportunities for Aaron Smith. But whist Smith’s throws caused the Ravens defence problems and at least three of them were allowed to bounce inside the box Ives did not have anyone in the right place attacking the back post. The corners were generally well dealt with by the admirable White who chose to punch on each occasion and was quite effective in doing so.

But for all of their pressure Ives did not really test White again and it was the visitors who looked more likely to increase their lead on the break. A 75th minute move saw Shaw and Pennant link up on the right with the latter driving in a skimming low drive from 20 yards that Bentley did well to tip around diving to his right. The closest either side came to a goal in the second period was eight minutes from time when Berridge played in Pennant through the right channel but rather than a composed finish from the youngster he went for power and although his drive from just inside the box beat Bentley it thumped the keepers left hand post and rebounded to safety.

There was one final save for Bentley to make with three minutes to go and again it was Pennant that he denied after the young winger had been teed up by McGlinchey for another shot from the edge of the box.

The Ravens saw out the remaining time and the added five minutes fairly comfortably as a hard working but tired looking hosts struggled to create anything in those closing stages. Ives missed the chance to leapfrog their opponents in the table and remain in a mid table thirteenth with nine games to go. The Ravens rose two places to tenth and can look forward to their FA Trophy Quarter Final encounter with Northern Premier League Macclesfield on Saturday.

Final Score:  St Ives Town    1   Coalville Town   2

Goals:

ST IVES: Edwards 7 (pen)

COALVILLE: McManus 23, Shaw 31

Team Line Ups:

ST IVES: Bentley, Casey (Harris 88), Smith, Richens (capt), Williams, Hutchings, Barton (Hottor 43), Cowling, Edwards, Alexandrou (Kaunda 46), Tomlinson, Unused subs: Kaziboni

COALVILLE: White, Dean, Putman, R. McGlinchey, Carter, Shaw, Doyle-Charles (capt) (Pepe-Ngoma 49), Berridge, T. McGlinchey, Pennant (York 90+4), McManus, Unused subs: R. McGlinchey, Shaw, Pennant, Lita, Towers,

Cards:   Yellow:  ST IVES: Casey (52), Richens (57)      COALVILLE: Doyle-Charles (45), Dean (90+2)  

SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH:  Jonny Edwards

Attendance: 166

TONIGHT: Ives v Coalville

Monday night football returns to the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road this evening as the Ives continue their PitchingIN Southern League Premier Division Central campaign with the visit of Coalville Town.

Ives Team News

The match comes just two days after the Ives recorded an impressive 4-2 victory at Royston Town. There was two goals each for Theo Alexandrou and Michael Richens as the Ives returned to winning ways following back-to-back defeats. The result on Saturday moved the Ives up to 13th in the table and victory tonight would see them move up to 10th. Given the quick turnaround in fixtures, Ives manager Ricky Marheineke maybe tempted to tweak the starting line-up so we could see a start for the likes of Paddy Casey or Myles Cowling who started on the bench at Royston on Saturday.

Introducing Coalville

Coalville arrive one place, and one point above the Ives in the table and on Saturday had to settle for a draw at home to strugglers Long Eaton United. The league form of the Ravens has been patchy of late with just one league win in their last six. That came against Hitchin Town. The other results in that sequence have seen two defeats at Leiston and Stamford and aside from the draw on Saturday points have also been shared at AFC Telford United and Berkhamsted. This form is in stark contrast to the form Coalville are displaying in the FA Trophy as they have made it all the way to the Quarter Finals and on Saturday will contest for a place in the last four when they host Macclesfield.

Admission Prices:

Adults: £11.00
Concessions (Over 65): £8.00
Military Discount (with ID card): £5.00
Students (with ID card): £5.00
12 – 16’s: £2.00
Under 12’s: FREE (if accompanied by an Adult)

Match Programme:

A reminder that all match programmes at St Ives Town are online, and the matchday magazine for the game this evening can be downloaded via the following link HERE

Kick-off at the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road is at 7:45pm.

Player movements

In recent days, there have been some movements with the first team squad.

Moving out on dual registration to Cambridge City is left back Johnny Herd. Johnny has been missing for most of the season with a long-term injury, and we wish him well during his time at City as he returns to playing football once more.

Coming in is goalkeeper Sam Bentley. Sam, 19, is on a dual registration with St Albans City and has also played in the academy for Luton Town. Sam made his debut for the Ives yesterday in our 4-2 victory at Royston Town.

Ives hit four in Royston win

Royston Town 2 v St Ives Town  4

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  02-03-2024

Nigel Howlett reports from Garden Walk

The previously in form Crows were presented with something of a poison challis prior to the start of this game as they were awarded with the Southern League team of the month award for January, a prize that they just managed to pip the Ives to and perhaps it was that extra little incentive that the visitors needed to spur them on to completing their second double in two seasons over their local rivals.

Ives started the game down the slope and with the wind and sun behind them and tore into the heart of their opponents straight from the off seizing the lead in cracking style in only the fourth minute. Theo Alexandrou gained possession inside the centre circle and instantly set off directly through the centre of the Crows back line which seemed to just open up for him and the youngster took full advantage advancing to the edge of the box before unleashing a fierce drive that left Louis Chadwick in the hosts goal clawing at fresh air as the ball flew past him into the net.

The hosts picked themselves up from that early set back and started to try and work their way back into the game. The lively Andronicos Georgiou robbed Aaron Smith 25 yards from goal and it took an excellent block from the covering Jordan Williams to prevent the youngster getting his eighth minute strike on target. Georgiou caused more problems five minutes later when he was upended just outside the box by Ed Hottor but Ives five man wall did its job blocking out James Brighton’s curling free kick.

Ives should have doubled their advantage in 16th minute when skipper Michael Richens picked out the left sided run of Alexandrou. The youngster did brilliantly to get to the bye line and pick out Jonny Edwards in a little bit of space by the penalty spot. But unusually the visitors leading scorer fluffed his lines directing his first time effort a couple of yards wide of Chadwick’s right hand upright.

The visitors very mobile front line continued to cause all sorts of problems for the Crows and Dan Barton had a good shout for a penalty turned down two minutes later as he galloped away onto a Richens through ball, just beat Chadwick to it and was then bundled over by the keeper in a wide right position, but crucially just inside the box.

Georgiou continued to look the main threat for the hosts and he twice set up shooting opportunities for Kian Harness in a six minute spell midway through the half. First time he cut in from the right before teeing up his strike partner for a shot from the edge of the box that he curled wide. Second time was an even better chance as the busy number ten burst through the middle before feeding Harness through inside the box but the striker again failed to hit the target from a good position.

The very open game continued to flow end to end and Ives spurned another golden opportunity to double their lead just after the half hour. A long punt from debutant keeper Sam Bentley fell to Alexandrou 25 yards out. He took the ball down well and threaded it through into the run of Luke Harris. The wing back was clear with only Chadwick to beat but the keeper spread himself well to make an excellent block.

But keeper Chadwick was caught out by Richens six minutes later as Ives finally did claim the second goal that their first half performance deserved. The Ives skipper picked up the ball on halfway and strode forward. Seeing the out of position Chadwick fast back peddling he tried his luck from 30 yards and caught the keeper flat footed with a rasping drive that beat his despairing dive and found the back of the net.

The hosts did manage to carve out a couple of half chances to find a route back into the game before the break. A quick 42nd minute free kick saw Harness fed in through the left channel but Bentley was smartly off his line to close him down and make a good block. The keeper was a little more fortunate ninety seconds later when he came off his line to head away a lob over the top by ex Ives man Charlie Johnson. The ball dropped to Georgiou and his on target effort deflected off an Ives defender straight into the grateful hands of Bentley who had retreated into his box.

Having started the first half like a train Ives repeated the trick at the start of the second and it only took them 150 seconds to go three up. Harris fed in Barton down the right and his cross to the near post was met perfectly by Alexandrou who drifted his deft header over Chadwick and just inside the far post.

The hosts were unlucky not to pull a goal back only four minutes later as Harness got on the end of a cross from the right at the near post and looked like he had replicated Alexandrou’s effort but it was not to be as the ball struck the far post and rebounded straight into the hands of keeper Bentley who gratefully grasped it to his chest.

Harris came within millimetres of putting the game completely out of the Crows reach in 54th minute. Fed in by a perfectly weighted pass from Alexandrou he carefully weighed up his options and deftly chipped it over the exposed Chadwick with Edwards fast arriving at the back post it looked certain to be four but both Harris and Edwards were denied by the upright as the ball struck it and rebounded back into play for it to be scrambled away by a Crows defender.

Alexandrou was continuing to cause the Crows defence all sorts of problems with his direct running style and ability to beat a man. Only sixty seconds after Harris hit the post he stung the hands of Chadwick with a crisp rising drive from just outside the box that the well positioned keeper held at the second attempt.

The Crows did however manage to grab a lifeline in 57th minute. Centre back Adam Murray had by this point been thrown forward by manager Matt Waldron and he found himself in the right place to force the ball home after Harness’s lob over Bentley had rebounded off an upright.

It took another good save from Bentley to prevent the Crows making it a nail biting last 20 minutes as the keeper spread himself well to deny Harness after the striker had got on the end of Sam Mvemba’s cross from the left.

Four minutes later captain fantastic Richens killed off the game by grabbing his second and Ives fourth of the day. It came in very similar circumstances to his first as he won a tackle against Harness inside the centre circle and strode forward all the way to the edge of the box before unleashing a powerful low drive that struck the legs of the diving Chadwick and looped into the air. Everyone looked on in hope that the ball would come down in their favour and it was Ives fans celebrating when it did as the ball crept under the crossbar and into the net.

Richens almost completed his hat trick only seconds later as he robbed a shell shocked Ed Asafu-Adjaye just outside the box and tried to lob the out of position Chadwick but the ball floated just over the top much to the relief of Crows keeper.

The Crows did manage to grab a late consolation goal midway through an added five minutes. Johnson’s near post flick to a corner from the right was cleared off the line by a covering defender and it looked like the chance was gone but Ives were slow to react allowing substitute Damaray Anyadike to latch on to the loose ball and thrash it past Bentley to make the final score in this exciting encounter 4-2 in favour of the Ives.  

Final Score:  Royston Town   2   St Ives Town   4    

Goals:

ROYSTON: Murray 57, Anyadike 90+2

ST IVES:  Alexandrou 4, 48, Richens 37, 74

Team Line Ups:

ROYSTON: Chadwick, Dawodu, Johnson (capt), Coldicott-Stevens (Anyadike 75), Murray, Henry, A. Williams (Esan 46), Brighton (Asafu-Adjaye 75), Harness, Georgiou, Mvemba, Unused subs: Virciglio, Townsend-West

ST IVES: Bentley, Harris, Smith, Richens (capt), J. Williams, Hutchings, Barton (Kaunda 84), Hottor (Cowling 87), Edwards, Alexandrou (Casey 80), Tomlinson, Unused subs: Kaziboni

Cards:   Yellow:  ROYSTON:  none                ST IVES:  Alexandrou (79), Tomlinson (82)

SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Theo Alexandrou

Attendance:  423

Errors cost Ives as Stratford take the points

St Ives Town 1 Stratford Town  3

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  24-02-2024

Nigel Howlett reports

Three calamitous errors at the back cost Ives this game, one in which they enjoyed the lion’s share of possession and carved out more opportunities than their play-off chasing opponents. But as is always the case in football it is what happens inside both boxes that decides the result and gifting your opponents three goals whilst failing to hit the target, or even failing to get a shot away, on to many occasions at the other end is a recipe for disaster and that is exactly what came to pass.

The hosts started the game well and inside the first minute they carved out their first opportunity. Michael Richens free kick from the right was knocked back to him and he curled the ball back to the far post where Josh Tomlinson and Jordan Williams got in each other’s way. The latter did manage to direct his header on target but Bards keeper Callum Smith made a comfortable save.

Only sixty seconds later chance number two came along for Ives but again they failed to test keeper Smith. Myles Cowling did well to block an attempted clearance from Dann Vann, the rebound setting Theo Alexandrou clear down the left. He got to the bye line before picking out Cowling on the edge of the box with his pull back, but a poor first touch meant the all action midfielder failed to get a shot away.

Ives continued to dominate these early stages and a flowing ninth minute move ended with Richens feeding Jonny Edwards on the edge of the box. Ives leading scorer took a touch and let fly a powerful drive that deflected wide off a defender. Another good chance fell to Cowling three minutes later when a Richens corner from the right somehow found its way right across the visitor’s box to arrive at his feet 15 yards out. He struck his effort well and it was on target but the ball deflected off Tomlinson and went over the top.

Having survived all of that early pressure the Bards slowly began to work their way into the game and their first threatening sortie into Ives territory came in the 18th minute when Lewis Ludford-Ison worked some space on the left before driving a shot across the face of Lewis Patching’s goal from the corner of the box.

The visitors got their noses in front in true route one style only sixty seconds later as a mix up between Williams and keeper Patching presented Callum Ebanks with probably the easiest goal that he will score this season. Keeper Smith delivered a long punt down the centre of the park. An initial nudge from Ebanks meant that Williams did not meet the ball cleanly but he was on hand to head the bouncing ball back to his keeper only for Patching to drop it at the feet of the Bards lurking centre forward who gleefully accepted the gift rolling the ball into the empty net.

Initially stunned to fall behind in such fashion it took Ives a few minutes to gather themselves but once they had they were soon threatening Smith’s goal again. In 25th minute Dan Barton scampered away down the right before picking out Alexandrou on the edge of the box with his pull back. Unfortunately the Stevenage loanee sliced his effort across the face of goal presenting a chance for wing back Aaron Smith arriving at the back of the box but his first time effort flashed across the face of goal to safety.

Leading scorer Edwards is usually a certainty to get a shot away if the ball arrives at his feet inside the box but even he was having an off day and made a complete mess of Ives next chance on the half hour. Richens delivered a delightful chip over the top that fell at Edwards feet on the edge of the box but the big striker managed to get the ball stuck between his feet allowing Liam Daly to recover and rob him before he could propel an effort goalwards.

As the clock ticked down towards half time it was the visitors turn to create but fail to convert a couple of good opportunities. Ebanks put Alex Worley away down the left in 32nd minute and the wing back’s driven cross arrived at the feet of Dan Lafferty arriving at the back post but the Bards number 20 failed to hit the target with his first time strike. Worley was also involved in the final effort of the half in the first of three added minutes when he flashed a low drive just wide from the left corner of the box.

Ives started the second half just as they had the first by taking the game to their opponents. The half was only 50 seconds old when Barton’s perfectly weighted cross field ball picked out Alexandrou cutting in from the left but the striker’s goal bound effort struck a defender and deflected wide.

Keeper Smith was really tested for the first time in 54th minute as he leapt full length to his left to brilliantly tip Richens powerful 25 yard free kick around the post. Each side in turn went close inside sixty seconds on the hour. The visitors first as Ebanks held the ball up well to tee up Lafferty who unleashed a rising drive from 20 yards that beat Patching and flicked the top of the crossbar on its way over the top. Straight from the resulting goal kick a flowing Ives move down the right ended up with the ball being fed across to wing back Smith cutting in from the left. His first time effort again failed to hit the target the ball ending up in the side netting.

The hosts continued to push forward in search of an equaliser and they got a helping hand from Bards skipped Paul McCone in 67th minute. An Aaron Smith long throw resulted in a scrambled inside the Stratford box and referee Harry Price was in the perfect position to spot McCone’s upraised arm block Tomlinson’s on target shot right by the penalty spot. Edwards proved as reliable as ever from the spot sending keeper Smith the wrong way to level things up.

Manager Ricky Marheineke went for the positive replacing wing back Paddy Casey with an extra midfielder in Luke Harris and within seconds of him joining the fray Barton just failed to find the top corner with a curling effort from the right that had keeper Smith hurriedly back peddling to cover the ball.

But only two minutes later disaster struck for Ives again as the Bards got back in front from another long Smith punt. The ball was flicked on and keeper Patching was slow to come for the flick allowing Lafferty to nip in and beat him to it. Once again a visitor’s striker was left with the simplest of tasks to roll the ball into the unguarded net.

Once more Ives rallied and Williams rose highest at the back post to direct a 78th minute Richens corner on target but Smith was equal to the effort and held on well. That proved to be the final noteworthy effort for the hosts as another error from Patching effectively killed off the game four minutes from time. The lively Ebanks managed to get behind Ives back line but his shot from the right edge of the box lacked power however, diving low to his right, Patching could only push the ball back into play presenting Worley following up with another simple tap in to complete the scoring.

Whilst this was a disappointing result for Ives it was far from a disappointing performance and to put it into perspective it was their first home defeat of 2024 and only their second since October last year.

Final Score:  St Ives Town  1  Stratford Town  3

Goals:

ST IVES: Edwards 68 (pen)

STRATFORD: Ebanks 19, Lafferty 75, Worley 86

Team Line Ups:

ST IVES: Patching, Casey (Harris 73), A. Smith (Kaunda 82), Richens (capt), J. Williams, Hutchings, Barton, Cowling (Kaziboni 82), Edwards, Alexandrou, Tomlinson, Unused subs: Hottor

STRATFORD: C. Smith, Vann (Wilson 22), Worley, Daly, McCone (capt), Hussey, Coyle (Molyneux 75), Hawker (Hewlett 61), Ebanks, Ludford-Ison, Lafferty, Unused subs: Barkers, Lamb

Cards:   Yellow:  ST IVES: Richens (34), Alexandrou (84)       STRATFORD: Hawker (50), Lafferty (54), Worley (80)  

SPONSORS MAN OF THE MATCH: Jordan Williams

Attendance:  333