Category: First Team News

Pre-season Friendlies – 2018/19

Soham Town Rangers (H)  – Tues 10 July 7:45 pm

Peterborough Sports (H) – Sat 14 July 3:00 pm

Kempston Rovers (A) – Tues 17 July 7:45 pm

Hartley Wintney (H) – Sat 21 July 3:00 pm

Wisbech Town (A) – Tues 24 July 7:45 pm

Bedford Town (H) – Sat 28 July 3:00 pm

Cambridge City (H) – Sat 4 August 3:00 pm – Beer Festival Day

Friendlies can be subject to date / time change or cancellation at short notice.

Please check on here or social media for regular updates.

High placings in the Southern Premier Respect Table and the Annual Programme Awards

Although we weren’t as successful on the pitch as we have been in recent seasons, the club did very well in other areas.

We finished in 3rd place in the Respect table in the Southern Premier division on 852 points.

Points are awarded against the referee’s report for all sections, except for the pitch.

Teams receive 10 points if they receive an excellent report, seven for good, five for satisfactory and two for poor.

Sections included involve officials and bences, match officials’ dressing room and hospitality.

Home clubs can achieve a maximum score of 30 points per game, while away teams can get 10.

Marks are deducted as follows: Four points if a player receives a booking for dissent, and 12 points if they are sent off for foul and abusive language, which included bench personnel.

 

The club also did very well with it’s 2017/18 match day programme in the Annual Soccer Club Swap Shop Programme Awards placing 26th nationally out of over 640 entries

Programme editor Dave Hook would like to thank Nigel Howlett for his match reports, Louise Thompson for her match photos, Ricky Marheineke for his ‘Managers notes’ and regular guest contributors Brian Buck, Mat Guy & Mike Hodson. Without any of their valuable input, we would not have placed anywhere near as high.

 

Ricky appoints Craig Adams as his new Assistant Manager

We are delighted to announce that Craig “Bully” Adams has joined the football club as assistant manager.

With manager Ricky Marheineke stating it would be a summer of change and his immediate attention needing to be the recruitment of an assistant manager, the arrival of Bully completes the first and most important part of the puzzle.

Marheineke and Adams are no strangers with four of the last five seasons sharing a pitch on a number of occasions, but always in opposite dugouts. Ex Northampton Town professional Adams was manager of Wellingborough Town and Bedford Town before joining Biggleswade Town as assistant manager two seasons ago.

Adams is a current Uefa B license coach who has been accepted onto the Uefa A license course later this year.

Please join me in welcoming Bully to the club and we all wish you a very successful and enjoyable time with the Ives.

Photo by kind permission of Martyn Haworth – MH Sports Photo

Match report – St Ives Town 0 Hereford 2

St Ives Town 0 Hereford 2

Evo-Stik League South Premier – 28/04/18

For the second season in a row Ives ended their season by facing the champions, this time around the runaway winners Hereford. As in last season at Chippenham the Ives showed their visitors the respect of a guard of honour as they entered the arena.

The players on the pitch from both sides also owed a big debt on the day to a gallant group of supporters who had spent the morning battling the elements to get the game on. The brave few spent from first light sponging gallons of water off large areas of the pitch in varieties of precipitation which varied from a steady rain to heavy downpours. Fortunately they never got downhearted and eventually won the battle.

The early possession was mainly with the champions as they racked up three quick corners in succession in the eight minute. The second of this trio flashed through the Ives goalmouth bouncing in the six yard box and begging someone to apply a decisive touch but was eventually deflected out for another flag kick by a home defender.

Keeper Tim Trebes picked up an early shoulder injury in a collision with Mike Symons and seemed to take while to shake it off. But he showed that he was not feeling any ill effects in 15th minute as he hurled himself low to his right to palm away a snap shot from 25 yards by Jennison Myrie-Williams.

Peter Clark was showing his usual ebullience and buzzing around the midfield. He carved out Ives first half chance in 20th minute as scampered down the right flank before delivering a teasing cross to the near post that almost lead to a mix up between James Bowen and his keeper Martin Horsell. The defender ignoring his keepers call and hacking the ball away just before his custodian clattered into him.

Myrie-Williams continued to look sharp at the other end and on the half hour he robbed a dallying Miles Smith and drove on for goal trying to wriggle around Lloyd Groves just inside the box. The speedy striker went down under the challenge and referee Alex Rayment who was right on the spot waved away the visitors claims for a penalty.

But the Bulls did not have to wait much longer to get in front as Lance Smith and Symons combined well on the right. The latter delivered a cross to the near post where Pablo Haysham attacked the ball getting above Groves to power in a header from eight yards that looked like it was heading for the top corner. But keeper Trebes showed remarkable reactions to leap to his left and touch the ball onto the cross bar. The ball bounced down but was only half cleared to the edge of the box where full back Dara O’Shea pounced on it and lashed home a powerful low drive through the crowded box that flew into the far corner of the net.

The final noteworthy effort of the first period also went the way of the visitors as Ellliott Richards fed O’Shea who hung up a cross to the back post where Symons got above Smith but failed to keep his header down.

The second period started positively for the Ives as Danny Kelly got in their first shot on target only 20 seconds after the restart. But his low drive from 20 yards lacked power and proved a comfortable save for Horsell.

The game was much more even in this early period of the second half as Ives struggled to clear a Haysham corner in 54th minute the ball eventually falling to Lance Smith on the edge of the box. But he fired his effort well over the top as Clark swiftly closed him down.

The hosts went close to an equaliser in 57th minute as Dan Moyes picked out Ben Baker on the right with an excellent ball from the back. The young winger got outside Bowen and delivered a cross to the back post where Clark kept it alive knocking the ball back into the centre where a late arriving Ollie Snaith was just unable to force it home.

Home keeper Tim Trebes was forced into more action on the hour as his poor clearance fell to Mike McGrath who drove forward before unleashing a skimming 25 yard effort that Trebes had to plunge to his right to push away.

The game was finished as a contest by a second Bulls goal in 68th minute and it all came from an Ives free kick deep in visitor’s territory. Snaith was brought down wide left and with all of the big boys up from the back Declan Rogers delivered an out-swinging free kick which failed to beat the first man Richards picked out a quickly breaking O’Shea with his clearance and the speedy full back turned Luke Warner-Eley inside out before cutting inside the young full back who pulled the Bulls man down inside the box for a blatant penalty. Substitute John Mills who had only been on the pitch three minutes showed calmness personified as he waited for Trebes to go to his left before coolly dinking the ball down the middle.

To their credit Ives continued to battle but were unable to break down a rigid Bulls back line well marshalled by skipper Ryan Green. The closest they came was only one minute from the end of the ninety when eighteen year old substitute Gordan Torkornoo delivered the perfect teasing cross from the right that was just inches ahead of the fast arriving Clark in the centre and refused to come down for Kelly at the back post.

The final action of the damp afternoon two minutes into added time was a lucky escape for home keeper Trebes as he came for a high bouncing ball on the right hand edge of his box and dropped the greasy ball under challenge from Symons. Unable to regain his ground the keeper was forced to bring down the big striker inches outside the box. Richards decided to go for goal with the kick from a narrow angle, but Trebes was equal to the powerful effort and tipped the ball over the top.

A few seconds later the final whistle blew to conclude a hugely successful season for the Bulls who celebrated with their 500 plus supporters after the final whistle. Battling Ives also earned themselves a standing ovation matching their illustrious opponents for long periods of this game without ever looking likely winners. 

So ended a season that started so brightly back in August with an away win at eventual play off contestants Weymouth on a sunny South coast. Saw some lows as in the six goal beatings at Dorchester and Stafford, but some highs particularly the wins at Tiverton, Frome, Biggleswade and Kings Langley. We can now look forward to a whole new step three challenge next season in the newly form Central Division.

Here’s wishing all our readers a happy summer break with a little sunshine included all ready to return in about eight weeks for pre-season in July.

Score : St Ives Town  0  Hereford  2  

Goals : none

St Ives team : Trebes, Smith, Warner-Eley, Groves, Moyes, McGeorge (capt) (Torkornoo 78), Clark, Rogers, Kelly, Snaith (Leslie 78), Baker (Sawyer 86)   

Unused sub : Ogbonna

Supporters man of the match : Peter Clark

Attendance  :  702

Report by Nigel Howlett. Photo by Louise Thompson

Match report – St Ives Town 2 Basingstoke Town 2

St Ives Town 2 Basingstoke Town 2

Evo-Stik League South Premier – 26/04/18

An excellent free kick and well taken penalty by Dubi Ogbonna claimed a deserved comeback point for the Ives after they had gifted their visitors a two goal lead. Any neutral watching the game would have been hard pressed to realise that it was an end of season dead rubber as both sides put in a full compliment of effort and both tried to play entertaining football in what proved to be a very competitive game.

The Ives could have gone in front from their first meaningful attack in seventh minute as Ben Sawyer who was making a rare appearance in the starting line up cleverly flicked the ball over the Dragons back line to pick out an apparently well timed run by Ogbonna. The Ives front man flicked the ball over the advancing visitor’s keeper Jack Martin and into the net, only to have his celebration cut short as the assistant deemed that he had gone a split second to soon.

The first save for either keeper was a routine one for home keeper Tim Trebes in 13th minute. Dragons debutant Kaine McAuley managed to cut inside Jamie Short and fire in a well struck shot from the left corner of the box, but the effort was straight at the Ives stopper who held on well.

The usually ultra reliable Ives skipper Rogan McGeorge made a huge error to gift the visitors the lead midway through the first period as he tried to head a bouncing ball back to his keeper from 30 yards and failed to get enough on it. The ball dropped to the feet of centre forward Callum Bunting on the edge of the box who could not believe his luck. But the young striker kept his composure and slid the ball home low past the left hand of the exposed Trebes.

In spite of this set back Ives continued to enjoy a lot of possession and probe forward at every opportunity. The two wing backs Short and Luke Warner-Eley were both finding a lot of space deep inside opposition territory and both were delivering quality crosses into the Dragons box. But centre backs Guri Demuria and Dan Bayliss although stretched at times remained solid and denied the hosts a single clear site of goal. 

Ives only effort at goal in a first half where they more than matched their visitors did not arrive until 35th minute and that was a right footed effort from 20 yards by Warner-Eley that flew well wide. The chance was created by an excellent cross field ball from McGeorge to pick out Warner-Eley in space and give him chance to cut inside full back Tim Wohlfiel.

The Dragons made a double change at half time replacing youngsters George McGuiness and McAuley with the more experienced Dan Collier and Harry Long. These changes were presumably made with the idea of preserving what they had. 

But things got even better for the visitors only two minutes after the restart as for the second time in recent weeks Ives were caught out by a pre-rehearsed free kick identical to the one which deceived them at Banbury only four weeks ago. George Bennett stood over the kick but then sprinted away to the left on the side of the pitch where the defensive wall was still forming. No one went with him and the ball was channelled to him in space on the left hand corner of the Ives box. He drilled in a powerful low shot that seemed to take a deflection as it flew past Trebes and into the back of the net.

It would have been easy for a tired Ives squad to throw in the towel at this point, but to their great credit they continued to battled and grabbed a lifeline back into the game only seven minutes later. Warner-Eley was again heavily involved in the move which lead to the goal as he picked up a Peter Clark pass and tried to cut inside Wohlfiel only to be pulled back by the defender just outside the box. Ogbonna fooled keeper Martin and almost everyone in the ground with the free kick as most were expecting him to deliver a cross into the centre but instead he cleverly curled the ball over the defensive wall and just inside Martin’s near post with the keeper hurling himself to his right, but unable to keep the effort out.

The momentum was now with the Ives and they pulled level just after the hour with Warner-Eley once more the instigator as he picked up a cross field ball from Clark and tried to go outside Wohlfiel. The defender just managed to block the full backs attempted cross, but the ball rebounded to Warner-Eley who now went to cut inside only to be tugged back by the struggling Wohlfiel. Warner-Eley went down just inside the box and referee Abi Marriott had no doubt the contact was sufficient and awarded the penalty. Ogbonna made no mistake from the spot sending keeper Martin the wrong way.

Ives continued to go in search of a winner and in 71st minute Ogbonna went close to completing his hat trick as he outmuscled Demuria and battled into the box, but the ball would just not quite come down to allow him to get a shot away before he was crowded out by covering defenders.

Keeper Martin came to his sides rescue with an excellent double save nine minutes from the end as substitute Ben Baker cut inside Wohlfiel from the left and fired in a fierce right foot drive that looked like it was heading for the bottom corner only for Martin to hurl himself low to his right and get a good firm hand on the ball. Ollie Snaith pounced on the loose ball and fired in a follow up effort that Martin did even better to palm away low to his left.

Baker went close to grabbing the winner again three minutes later as fellow substitute Danny Kelly battled through the centre and went down just outside the box under challenge from Demuria. With referee Marriott playing an excellent advantage the ball bounced loose to Baker who tried to dink it over keeper Martin and just failed to get sufficient height on the effort allowing the Dragons custodian to make the save.

Having failed to take their chances to grab all three points Ives found themselves under pressure in the closing stages. There were five minutes of the ninety left when Bennett picked out Bunting at the back post with a curling cross from the left. But fortunately for the hosts Bunting’s header was straight at keeper Trebes.

The final opportunity of the entertaining evening also fell to the visitors in the 90th minute as with time ticking down Ives struggled to clear a long ball into their box the ball eventually falling to Demuria but although he struck his shot well enough the radar was a little off and it thudded the boards a couple of metres wide of Trebes left hand post.

So it ended honours even in a game the Ives probably just about shaded on points but to comeback from two down at this stage of the season shows the character that this side has built up in recent weeks. Luke Warner-Eley just shaded fellow full back Jamie Short to the supporter’s man of the match award thanks to his big input into both goals. But once again it was a game where everyone put in a shift to gain a hard earned reward.   

Score : St Ives Town  2  Basingstoke Town  2  

Goals : Ogbonna 54, 61 (pen)

St Ives team : Trebes, Smith, Warner-Eley, Short, Moyes, McGeorge (capt), Clark, Leslie (Torkornoo 72), Ogbonna (Kelly 80), Snaith, Sawyer (Baker 67)   

Unused sub : Rogers

Supporters man of the match : Luke Warner-Eley

Attendance  :  76

Report by Nigel Howlett. Photo by Louise Thompson

Match Preview & Squad Details – St Ives Town v Hereford

We welcome Southern League champions Hereford to the ProEdge Westwood Road for the final match of the season.

Thursday’s game against Basingstoke resulted in a point apiece as we came back from 2 goals down to draw 2-2 courtesy of a Dubi Ogbonna brace.

On the squad front Lloyd Groves is 50/50. Charlie De’Ath, Phil Draycott, Eugene Libertucci are all absent. Jamie Short will return to March Town FC. Youngster Gordan Tornorkoo will keep his place in the squad after making his debut on Thursdays draw with Basingstoke Town.

As you would expect from a championship winning side, Hereford have won their last 10 games and will win the division by at least 10 points.

Hereford Recent Results
25/4/18 – Hitchin Town (A) – League – W 3-0
21/4/18 – Kettering Town (H) – League – W 4-1
17/4/18 – Biggleswade Town (A) – League – W 1-0
14/4/18 – Bishops Stortford (A) – League – W 1-0
7/4/18 – Chesham United (H) – League –  W 3-0
2/4/18 – Redditch United (A) – League – W 2-0
31/3/18 – Royston Town (H) – League – W 2-0
27/3/18 – Ewyas Harold (H) – Herefordshire FA Cup – W 7-0
24/3/18 – Gosport Borough (H) – League – W 5-1
20/3/18 – Frome Town (H) – League – W 1-0

Evo-Stik Premier. Table up to & including 26.4.18

Entry to the ground will be open from midday tomorrow.

Draught lager is only £3 a pint. There’s also over 15 different ales available.

There will be a BBQ doing burgers, bacon rolls etc.

Parking is adjacent to the ground in the leisure centre and school grounds which is free.

Match Preview & Squad Details – St Ives Town v Basingstoke Town

Just 48 hours after our 0-2 defeat against Chesham and we’re back at the Pro-Edge WWR for another Evo-Stik South Premier encounter.

On the squad front Lloyd Groves still remains sidelined and Eugene Libertucci unavailable. Charlie De’Ath’s season has been brought to an early end after suffering a broken arm during Tuesdays fixture at home to Chesham.

Basingstoke’s recent form has been excellent with 4 out of 5 games resulting in victories and will be looking to cement a top ten finish.

Basingstoke Town Recent Results
21/4/18 – Stratford Town (A) – League – W 1-0
17/4/18 – Bishops Stortford (H) – League – W 3-2
14/4/18 – Dunstable Town (H) – League – W 2-0
7/4/18 – Royston Town (A) – League – L 0-1
2/4/18 – Farnborough (H) – League – W 4-3

Evo-Stik Premier. Table up to & including 25.4.18

Match report – St Ives Town 0 Chesham United 2

St Ives Town 0 Chesham United 2

Evo-Stik League South Premier – 24/04/18

Ives maintained their poor form against Chesham as they slid to their fourth defeat in a row against the in form Generals. However the story could have been so different if the hosts had managed to take one of their chances early in the game.

It took a goal line clearance to deny Danny Kelly the opening goal after only six minutes. Kelly managed to latch onto a long ball out of defence by Luke Warner-Eley which was missed by Benji Crilley. With defensive arms waving in a vain attempt to claim offside Kelly found himself clear on the left edge of the box he cut inside a covering defender and fired in a low right foot drive that beat keeper Hafed Al-Droubi comprehensively, but skipper Kieran Murphy had read the situation and got around behind his keeper to clear the ball off the goal line.

Ives Charlie De’ath matched Murphy’s effort only two minutes later. A long cross field ball picked out Dave Pearce in acres of space on the left, he cut inside Miles Smith and drove on into the box. Home keeper Tim Trebes was smartly off his line to block Pearce’s initial effort at point blank range but the ball rebounded to the Generals winger who drove it goal bound past the prostrate Trebes. Fortunately for Ives De’ath had also got around behind his keeper and was in position to hack the ball away from inside the six yard box.

The break neck early pace continued as Ives went close twice in quick succession inside the 14th minute at the other end. Warner-Eley delivered a deep free kick to the edge visitor’s box where Kelly won the ball in the air. His header into the centre was knocked back to De’ath on the edge of the box but his well struck effort was deflected away for a corner off Murphy. The resulting Declan Rogers corner was kept alive beyond the far post by Kelly who delivered a teasing low cross to the near post where Phil Draycott got in front of his man but failed to keep his effort on goal down and the ball flew over the top and the chance was gone.

After that early burst of goalmouth action the game began to settle down into more of a midfield battle. The next half chance came the way of the Ives in 26th minute as a Matt Bevans slip allowed Draycott as site of goal. He struck his powerful 25 yard rising drive well, but unfortunately the shot was straight at keeper Al-Droubi who held on at the second attempt.

Having failed to make the most of their early opportunities Ives found themselves behind just before the half hour. A Jhai Dhillon corner from the right was headed clear of the box by Smith but the ball fell to Jon-Jo Bates 25 yards from goal, he side-stepped Lewis Leslie and curled an effort around the crowd of players inside the box and into the net beating keeper Trebes low to his left. The goal came with Ives centre back Charlie De’ath struggling with a serious arm injury that forced him from the field only seconds later.

It took an excellent double save from Trebes to prevent his side going two behind in 36th minute. Bevans threaded a ball out to Pearce on the right and he fed the ball on to overlapping full back Crilley who cut into the box before being taken down by a poorly timed challenge from De’ath’s replacement Dan Moyes. Referee Robert Evans had no hesitation in awarding the penalty. Bevans struck his spot kick low to Trebes right, but the keeper was equal to it diving to block the well struck effort. That was a cracking save, but Trebes showed amazing reactions to also deny Bates following up as he leapt up and hurled himself in the opposite direction to keep Ives in the game.

As the half closed good hassling by Peter Clark forced Murphy into a mistake. The all action Ives midfielder robbed him and slid the ball into the run of Draycott cutting in from the left, but the winger hurried his effort and failed to hit the target from a good position.

Ives almost got caught out by a long wind assisted goal kick from Al-Droubi in 50th minute. The ball found Oran Swales in space on the left and he cut inside past Jamie Short and drove towards goal. Fortunately for Ives rather than try and pick out a team mate he went for goal from a narrow angle only to be denied by the legs of a well positioned Trebes.

Ives continued to battle hard with everyone giving their all but the very professional Generals were cleverly keeping possession and moving the ball around. When Ives did manage to get position high up the park they struggled to penetrate the well organised visitors back line expertly marshalled by Murphy.

The match was effectively finished as a contest by a somewhat bizarre second for the Generals in 73rd minute. Bevans delivered a powerful low free kick from the left into the no mans land between goalkeeper and attackers. A number of visiting forwards desperately lunged forward to get a touch, but the ball flashed past all, skipped up off the wet turf and just crept inside the far post.

Ives tried to respond instantly and carved out a good opportunity only two minutes later. Rogers delivered a telling cross from the left which picked out Ben Baker just beyond the far post. Rather than go for goal Baker cleverly cushioned the ball into the feet of Clark on the edge of the box. But the midfield dynamo screwed his shot so badly that the ball did not even go out of play. 

Pearce had an excellent chance to grab a third for the visitors in 78th minute as he timed his run to perfection to get on the end of a deep cross from Dhillon that arrived at the back post. He struck his half volley from eight yards cleanly but only succeeded in firing it into the side netting.

To their credit Ives continued to battle right to the end a carved out a couple of opportunities for a consolation goal in the closing stages. Five minutes from time quick thinking from Clark in taking a quick free kick inside the centre circle put Draycott away on the left side of the box. His low cross flashed across the face of goal just inches away from Dubi Ogbonna sliding in.

Only seconds later Leslie lost his marker to get on the end of a Draycott corner from the right. He got good contact on a clean header eight yards out at the near post, but his effort flashed past the far post.

The final action of the night saw Clark create yet another opportunity for one of his team mates as he flicked a ball over the Generals back line to put Baker clear on the right side of the box. The youngster cut in and went of goal but was quickly closed down by Al-Droubi who bravely blocked the effort at point blank range.

Once again the Generals proved what a good side they are controlling this game for long periods and taking their chances when the came along. Ives have yet to score in 360 minutes of football against their visitors but great credit must go to the men in black and white as in spite of this being their tenth game in 23 days they kept battling right to the end showing their true character throughout. One man who will always give his all is Peter Clark and he got the supporters vote for man of the match but he must have been pushed close by keeper Tim Trebes who pulled off a number of excellent saves topped off by the double save from the penalty to keep his side in the game.

Score : St Ives Town  0  Chesham United  2  

Goals : none

St Ives team : Trebes, Short, Warner-Eley, De’ath (Moyes 29), Smith, Rogers (Snaith 83), Baker, Leslie, Kelly (Ogbonna 70), Clark, Draycott (capt)   

Unused subs : Sawyer, McGeorge

Supporters man of the match : Peter Clark

Attendance  :  70

Report by Nigel Howlett

Match Preview & Squad Details – St Ives Town v Chesham United

Although our 0-0 draw at Dunstable on Saturday was a rather dull affair, it was our second consecutive clean sheet and the first time we’ve achieved that this season.

On the squad front Miles Smith returns from injury. Dubi Ogbonna has recovered from illness and Jamie Short joins up with the squad after playing for March Town at the weekend. Lloyd Groves misses out through injury and Eugene Libertucci through work commitments.

Chesham United will finish the season in the top ten, albeit some 20 points off the play-offs.

Chesham United Recent Results
21/4/18 – Farnborough (A) – League – L 0-2
17/4/18 – Gosport Borough (H) – League – W 3-0
10/4/18 – Merthyr Town (A) – League – W 2-1
7/4/18 – Hereford (A) – League – L 0-3
2/4/18 – Slough Town (A) – League – L 1-2
31/3/18 – Redditch United (H) – League – W 2-0
24/3/18 – Weymouth (H) – League – L 0-6

Evo-Stik Premier. Table up to & including 23.4.18

Match Report – Dunstable Town 0 St Ives Town 0

Dunstable Town 0 St Ives Town 0

Evo-Stik League South Premier – 21/04/18

The regular Ives travelling contingent saw their numbers bolstered by the usual drinking crew determined to enjoy themselves in the traditional manner to celebrate the last away game of the season. This group and the noisy home following behind one goal lifted the atmosphere in what was otherwise a poor affair between two fairly poor sides.

The Blues problem all season has been scoring goals and with Cambridge United recalling Tom Knowles from his loan spell and Dubi Ogbonna going down with a sickness bug on the morning of the match Ives scoring options were also severely restricted so it should be no surprise that goal scoring opportunities were limited throughout and the game ended goal less.

The hosts had a lot more riding on this game than the Ives and they can count themselves extremely unlucky not to take all three points as they hit the woodwork twice in added time and ultimately found themselves dropping to the bottom of the table as their rivals for the one relegation spot on offer Gosport thumped seven past Frome.

With the confidence from their excellent win less than 48 hours earlier it was the Ives that started the best taking the game to their perhaps nervous opposition in the opening stages. Luke Warner-Eley probed forward down the left in only the fourth minute. He fed the ball inside to Ollie Snaith who teed up Phil Draycott on the corner of the box. Rather than go for goal Draycott cleverly flighted the ball to the back post where Declan Rogers was lurking. He was only denied a clear effort on goal by a stretching Gedeon Okito who just got enough on the ball to knock it out for a corner.

The game then settled down into a tight midfield battle and the next chance for either side did not arrive until 17th minute. Ben Baker collected a ball out of defence on the half way line and outpaced Okito before picking out Danny Kelly in the centre with his pull back. Kelly unleashed a well struck low drive from 15 yards that brought a smart save out of keeper Nathan Harness who got down low to his right to block the effort but could not hold it. The ball rebounded high into the air off the rock hard pitch Snaith looked likely to force it home but Blues skipper John Sonuga saved his side bravely hurling himself in the head the ball away.

The remainder of the first half was a fairly tepid affair with Draycott forcing a routine save out of Harness in 34th minute. His 25 yard effort had all of the sting taken out of it by a deflection off Peter Kioso. The hosts first real attempt on goal arrived five minutes before the break as Ryan Young robbed Warner-Eley on the half way line. The young winger fed the ball inside to Andrew Osei-Bonsu and sprinted away down the right. Osei-Bonsu picked him out again with an excellent ball threaded inside the recovering full back. Fortunately for Ives keeper Tim Trebes was alert to the danger and sprinted off his line to block Young’s effort at point blank range.

Both sides had shouts for penalties turned down in the first fifteen minutes of the second half. Ollie Snaith had the early claim only three minutes after the restart as he went down under challenge from Okito as the two went for a clip over the top just inside the Blues box. Referee Paul Johnson waved away the claims as he did on the hour when Erin Amu went down holding his back as he came off worse when challenging Trebes for a high bouncing ball. His challenge forced Trebes into dropping the ball, but Ben Sawyer was on hand to hack it clear.

With the news getting through to the home players that Gosport were well in front in their game it became clear that they were going to want more than a point from this game. With their management crew urging them forward and their noisy group of supporters hammering out a rhythm on the back of the stand behind Trebes goal to urge their men to greater effort the hosts lifted themselves.

Osei-Bonsu went close for them in 73rd minute as he found some space 30 yards from goal and strode forward before unleashing a shot that skimmed across the turf and thudded the fence inches outside Trebes right hand post with the Ives custodian scrambling to get across.

Some of the Ives team were visibly flagging in the heat as the energy exerted in four games in eight days began to take its toll. Manager Ricky Marheineke decided to send on some fresh legs replacing Snaith and Draycott with Peter Clark and Lewis Leslie. The change almost conjured up a goal as both were involved in the move only a couple of minutes later that saw Kelly unleash a curling effort from the edge of the box that forced Harness into a full length diving save low to his right.

Osei-Bonsu was at the heart of most of the Blues best effort and he charged down McGeorge’s attempted clearance to win his side a corner in 80th minute. He also got on the end of Okito’s in-swinger but directed his header straight at Trebes presenting the keeper with a comfortable save.

With time running out the hosts began to get more urgent in their efforts to grab that all important goal. Three minutes from the end of the ninety Kieran Ogden got on the end of another Okito corner but failed to hit the target from a good position.

The game really heated up as it went into added time. In the first added minute Osei-Bonsu cut inside Sawyer and clipped a ball to the far post where a stretching Charlie De’ath just did enough to deflect the ball away from a late arriving Kioso. The resulting corner was cleared allowing Ives to break away Warner-Eley fed the ball onto Clark in space on the left. He delivered a low cross that was only inches away from Baker arriving in the centre.

Leslie saved his side in fourth minute of added time as he just did enough to deflect a Osei-Bonsu shot from 25 yards onto the base of Trebes left hand post and out for yet another corner. The referee blew up for a foul on Trebes from the resulting corner which seemed to be the signal for the Blues frustration to come out and a small fracas followed that seemed to involve all 22 players on the pitch with goalkeeper Harkness running fully 80 yards to arrive just as things were settling down. The ultimate result was three yellow cards two for Blues players and one for the old warrior Dan Moyes.

This delay ensured that there were a few more minutes to be added and in the seventh and final added minute The Blues managed to force their eight corner of the half. Okito delivered it perfectly into the centre Sonuga rose like a salmon above the crowd, including Trebes who had come to try and claim it, and powered in a header that beat everyone but slammed into the underside of the crossbar bounced down and was hacked away. The final whistle that sounded only seconds later was a signal for the Blues players to slump to the pitch ala a cup final losing side.

Although they dropped to the bottom of the table the good thing for them is that their fate is still entirely in their own hands with three winnable games to come including hosting Gosport in a crunch game on Thursday evening.

Ives on the other hand can celebrate their second clean sheet in a row for the first time this season. The presence of Dan Moyes in the back line for those two games is no coincidence his reading of the game, battling qualities and communication skills bring the best out of those around him. Freed of the pressures of captaincy Charlie De’ath had one of his best games in a while alongside Moyes and deservedly won the supporters man of the match accolade.

As for the happy travelling crew they had settled down to enjoy the FA Cup semi-final on television as we departed Creasey Park and may still be sharing a friendly glass or two with their opposing supporters as this report is being written. Just what non-League football is all about.

Score : Dunstable Town  0  St Ives Town  0  

Goals : none

St Ives team : Trebes, Sawyer, Warner-Eley, De’ath, Moyes, McGeorge (capt) Baker, Rogers, Kelly, Snaith (Leslie 76), Draycott (Clark 76)  

Unused subs : Groves

Supporters man of the match : Charlie De’ath

Attendance  :  164

Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson

Match Preview & Squad Details – Dunstable Town v St Ives Town

We make the relatively short journey to Bedfordshire for our last away game of the season on the back of 2 very contrasting mid-week results. On Tuesday we suffered a heavy 2-6 defeat at the hands of Stratford Town. Just 48 hours later we put in arguably the best team performance of the season with a 1-0 victory over Redditch United.

On the squad front Miles Smith is still missing through injury. Tom Knowles and Jamie Short have returned to Cambridge Utd and March Town respectively. All other players fit and available.

Dunstable currently sit in 23rd place in the table and are in a straight fight with Gosport Borough to avoid the drop.

Address: Creasey Park Stadium, Creasey Park Dr, Dunstable LU6 1BB

Admission prices – Adult £10, Concessions & Student £6, U18 £3, U16 Free

Dunstable Town print a free 4 page ‘mini’ programme available at the the ground and a full programme online. CLICK HERE to download the online programme.

CLICK HERE for Dunstable Town’s fixtures & results

Evo-Stik Premier. Table up to & including 19.4.18

Match Report – St Ives Town 1 Redditch United 0

St Ives Town 1 Redditch United 0 

Evo-Stik League Southern – Premier Division 19/04/18

To badly plagiarise Dinah Washington’s hit “what a difference two days makes!”. Ives somehow lifted themselves from the depths of despair following Tuesday evenings tonking against Stratford to put in one of their best all around performances of the season and claim only their third home victory of the season with a clean sheet to boot.

Ollie Snaith’s contender for goal of the season was the clincher, but the real hero amongst this much changed side was a man who showed his true character as he went from the ignominy of a half time substitution on Tuesday to rightfully claim the man of the match award 48 hours later.  

Amid manager Ricky Marheineke’s six changes was a return to the back four for eighteen year old Jamie Short who found himself alongside veteran centre back Dan Moyes. Moyes return allowed Groves to move across to his more familiar left sided centre back position with the back line being completed by the solid Luke Warner-Eley. The vocal presence of Rogan McGeorge added steel to the midfield alongside the silky skills of Declan Rogers with the ever willing Snaith just behind a back to form Dubi Ogbonna who once again lead the line with passion.

After their poor starts in the last two games Ives were simply looking for a solid opening period and they achieved that well. As the confidence grew they started to nibble at the Reds back line. Warner-Eley roamed forward on the left side in tenth minute and his clip over the top picked out Ogbonna running into space. The big striker took the ball down well and fired in a shot from a narrow angle that ruffled the side netting.

Snaith’s persistence won Ives a corner in 20th minute as he harried Nathan Fox into an error. Rogers delivered the resulting flag kick into the mix where Groves got in front of his man to flick the ball on and it only just evaded the lunging Moyes at the far post.

Tom Knowles pulled the first save of the game out of Redditch keeper Ethan Ross two minutes later as he cut in from the right hand corner of the box and unleashed a rising left footer that the big Reds keeper comfortably palmed over the top.

The visitor’s best chance in the first half came only ninety seconds later as Stuart Fleetwood got between Short and Moyes and managed to get away at pace. He cut in on goal leaving Moyes in his wake. Keeper Tim Trebes came out to close him down and it looked like Fleetwood had done everything right as he clipped the ball past the advancing keeper, but the effort finished up bouncing inches wide of the far post.

Ives could have gone in front in 28th minute as Warner-Eley again probed forward down the left side. His pull back picked out Knowles who took a touch before firing in a low drive that beat Ross low to his right but cannoned to safety off his near post.

Ogbonna forced another good stop out of Ross in 35th minute as he ran onto a Short clip over the top. The Ives striker got on the end of it deep inside the box, but his powerful right footed effort was kept out by the well positioned keeper’s legs.

Ben Baker should have scored the opener less than sixty seconds later as Knowles outpaced Lewis Wright down the left. Ogbonna tried to flick home his low driven cross with a cheeky attempted back heel at the near post but completely missed the ball which rolled on to Baker arriving at pace at the back post. He appeared to go for the roof of the net to avoid the scrambling keeper as he tried to recover. But he got it all wrong and skied the effort from the edge of the six yard box.

Young Short showed his composure as came to Ives rescue five minutes before the break as he just managed to divert Fleetwood’s driven cross from the right away from the onrushing Jordan Mills at the back post..

Unlike Tuesday night we arrived at the break with the game still goalless, but Ives certainly edging it on points. The nervousness seemed to return to the supporters in the early stages of the second half and this was certainly not helped by the Reds picking a up a free kick inside the D only two minutes after the restart. Skipper James Mutton curled the ball expertly over Ives wall but Trebes was equal to the effort leaping high to his left to palm the ball away.

The visitors who had seemed to spend long periods of the first half thinking that they simply had to turn up to win suddenly began to realise that they were in a genuine contest. The tricky Mills flashed a 25 yarder inches wide of Trebes left hand post two minutes later.

However the visitors were rocked as Ives took the lead in spectacular fashion in 52nd minute. Jamie Short cut out a pass intended for Mills on the half way line and slid the ball into the feet of Baker he turned it inside to Snaith who was being closely marshalled by a defender. At least 25 yards out the young midfielder took a touch and went for goal with a right footed effort that screamed past Ross and dipped in off the underside of the crossbar.

Ives should have doubled their lead five minutes later as Ogbonna managed to get on the end of a long cross field ball. His low ball into the centre was wildly sliced by Fox straight to the feet of Baker ten yards out in a central position. Unfortunately he scuffed his shot giving Ross chance to get down to his right to make a save. But the big keeper spilled the ball. Baker reacted quickest nipping the ball away from the scrambling Ross, but he was forced wide and only succeeded in firing his effort against the outside of the post from a very narrow angle. 

Knowles forced another save out of Ross in 63rd minute as he curled a free kick over the wall forcing the keeper to plunge low to his right to push the ball out for a corner.

Urged on by their manager the visitors started to show a little bit more fight but with the very vocal leadership of McGeorge backed up by the awareness and communicative skills of Moyes the Ives back line dealt very well with the Reds direct approach. Groves was at the heart of this resistance winning header after header as crosses and corners continued to be delivered into the box. 

The usually reliable Knowles should have sewn the game up thirteen minutes from time as he got on the end of a flowing Ives break away. Rogers delivered a low cross field ball into the centre looking for Danny Kelly who had just entered the fray. But everyone missed the ball and it rolled on perfectly into the run of the late arriving Knowles. The cheer was rising as he opened his body to clip the ball over the exposed Ross, but he got it horribly wrong and the cheer had to swallowed as although he clipped the ball over the keeper he got to much on it and also cleared the crossbar.

To show how effective the Ives back line was on this evening Trebes was barely forced into a save of note in the remaining time. In fact the best chance in the latter stages came from an Ives raid at the other end as Fox made a hash of trying to clear a Knowles cross from the left and presented Kelly with a shooting opportunity inside the box. But the Ives substitute fired his effort inches wide of the target with Ross looking on.

Let us hope that Ives can keep the nucleus of this side together for the remaining four games as it would be great to go into next season with a bit of momentum after such a poor 2018 to date.

Score : St Ives Town  1  Redditch United  0  

Goals : Snaith 52

St Ives team : Trebes, Short, Warner-Eley, Groves, Moyes, McGeorge (capt) (Leslie 76), Knowles, Rogers, Ogbonna (Kelly 70), Snaith (Clark 76), Baker   

Unused subs : De’ath, Draycott

Supporters man of the match : Lloyd Groves

Attendance  :  74

Report by Nigel Howlett. Photo by Louise Thompson

Tom Knowles recalled by Cambridge United

Young winger Tom Knowles has been recalled by his parent club Cambridge United and will spend the rest of the season in their first team squad.

Tom made his Ives debut on 6 January at Kings Langley, coming off the bench and scoring a goal in a 3-0 victory. He made 16 appearances and scored 4 goals along with several ‘Player of the Match’ performances.

We wish Tom all the best for the future in what looks to be a very promising and fruitful career in the world of football.

Match Preview & Squad Details – St Ives Town v Redditch United

Just 48 hours after our heavy 2-6 defeat at the hands of Stratford Town, we welcome another Midlands club to the ProEdge Westwood Road in the shape of Redditch United

On the squad front Miles Smith is still missing through injury. Daniel Moyes returns and Youth Team captain Jamie Short will start. 

Redditch sit in 16th place on 51 points. They’ve won 2 out of their last 7 fixtures.

Redditch United’s recent results
14/4/18 – St Neots Town (A) – League – L 1-2
7/4/18 – Weymouth (H) – League – L 1-2
4/4/18 – Royston Town (H) – League – W 1-0
2/4/18 – Hereford (H) – League – L 0-2
31/3/18 – Chesham United (A) – League – L 0-2
24/3/18 – King’s Lynn Town (H) – League – L 0-1
20/3/18 – Gosport Borough (H) – League – W 4-2

Evo-Stik Premier. Table up to & including 17.4.18

Tonight’s programme cover features the late Roger Knowles who sadly passed away a few days before the original fixture date of 10 Feb. There’s also an up to date insert to accompany it.

Match Preview & Squad Details – St Ives Town v Stratford Town

We welcome Stratford Town to the ProEdge Westwood Road this evening for a rearranged fixture for the start of playing 6 games in 12 days which is commonly referred to as the ‘Silly Season’!

On the squad front Miles Smith is missing through injury and Daniel Moyes remains absent. Lewis Leslie returns to the squad following his suspension.

Since the original fixture date both sides have only won 1 game a piece and will be looking to improve on that this evening.

Stratford Town’s recent results
14/4/18 – Biggleswade Town (A) – League – L 1-3
12/4/18 – Banbury United (A) – League – L 0-4
7/4/18 – Slough Town (H) – League – L 0-1
31/3/18 – King’s Lynn Town (H) – League – L 1-5
27/3/18 – Hitchin Town (H) – League – L 1-2
24/3/18 – Farnborough (A) – League – W 4-1
20/3/18 – Tiverton Town (H) – League – L 1-2
17/3/18 – Kettering Town (H) – League – L 0-4

Evo-Stik Premier. Table up to & including 16.4.18

Match Report – St Ives Town 1 Dorchester Town 2

St Ives Town 1 Dorchester Town 2

Evo-Stik League South Premier Division – 14/04/18

The warm spring sunshine was the only real positive that Ives could take from their twelfth home defeat of the season. This one was made all the more galling as it was only the second win on their travels for the Magpies all season. Their only previous maximum return on the road had come at struggling Dunstable way back in September.

Ives got off to the worst possible start as the visitors got their noses in front in their first venture into home territory in only the third minute. A ball into the box was only half cleared to full back Kyle Egan fully thirty yards from goal. But he was not closed down and used the time that he had to thread a slide rule pass through the left channel to pick out the run of Ashley Pope and the Magpies striker made no mistake firing his first time effort past the exposed Tim Trebes and into the back of the net from fifteen yards.

Egan was again involved in 20th minute as he cut out an attempted cross field ball from Rogan McGeorge on the half way line. Once more his pass picked out a team mate as he found Antonio Diaz in space on the right. The tricky Diaz hung up a cross into the box where Pope forced his way between the Ives centre backs to steer his header into the top corner past the statuesque Trebes from ten yards.

Ives grabbed a foothold back into the game only three minutes later as the speedy Tom Knowles got around the outside of Egan down the left and delivered a driven cross into the six yard box where Danny Kelly was on hand to prod the ball home from close range.

The first half continued in open end to end fashion with both sides trading blows without really managing to force a save from either keeper. The closest Ives came to testing Chris Weale in the Magpies goal was in 38th minute as they broke at pace from a Dorchester corner. Kelly picked out Knowles with an excellent ball from deep inside his own half. Knowles outpaced Chris Clarke on the outside and again delivered a telling cross into the danger zone. Unfortunately none of his team mates could match his pace and the ball flashed harmlessly across the face of Weale’s goal.

The visitors did better with their next corner three minutes later as Ollie Griggs got across his marker at the near post. Fortunately for Ives his glancing header was straight at Trebes who held on well.

Knowles had a good shout for a penalty turned down right on the break. Declan Rogers picked out Ben Baker in space on the right. He sped down the line before delivering a hanging cross to the back post where Knowles looked favourite to win the header until he was bundled in the back by covering defender Diaz. The ball was cleared to the half way line where Miles Smith picked up a booking for clattering into Tom Blair. The Ives full back also managed to injure himself in making the challenge and had to be replaced by utility man Phil Draycott at half time.

The game slowed as the heavy pitch began to take its toll in the second half. In spite of a lot of toil and endeavour both sides were struggling to create clear cut opportunities. The visitors carved out the first shooting opportunity in 53rd minute as Pope and Diaz combined on the right to set up a chance for Aaron Rodriguez. He ran across the face of the Ives back line before finding a bit of space, but only succeeded in hammering his left footed effort into the boards a couple of feet wide of Trebes right hand post.

The hosts then began to enjoy a period in the ascendency. In 57th minute Knowles created a chance for himself by running at the Magpies defence on the right hand corner of the box. He managed to side step a defender before unleashing a rising effort from fifteen yards that deflected off Griggs and went over the bar. This was the first of four Ives corners in quick succession. But keeper Weale claimed two of these confidently inside his six yard box and the nearest they came to troubling the big keeper during this period was a Knowles free kick from 25 yards on the hour. Unfortunately the free kick from Ives danger man struck the edge of the Magpies wall which took all of the power out of it allowing Weale to make the save low to his right.

Ives did hit the woodwork in 72nd minute, but it was an effort Weale had covered. Knowles delivered a corner from the left and Kelly challenged the keeper in the box forcing Weale into a punch. The ball fell inside the box, but just would not come down to let Charlie De’ath get a shot away. Neil Martin poked it clear to the right hand edge of the box where McGeorge picked it up and battled his way through two tackles to get to the bye line before hanging up a cross into the centre that bounced to safety off the top of the crossbar with the alert Weale looking on.

Ives continued to huff and puff but did not come close to blowing the Magpies house down. The introduction of Dubi Ogbonna and Ben Sawyer to give more striking options made little difference. As the Ives confidence drained out of them the visitor’s confidence started to grow as they sensed the opportunity of a very rare win bonus on the road. They went close to increasing their lead in 78th minute as Diaz and substitute Alex Stafi combined to tee up Dom Panesar-Dower inside the D. He carefully picked his spot, but by going for placement rather than power he gave Trebes chance to get across and grasp his side footed effort at the base of his left hand post.

The final opportunity of the afternoon fell to the Magpies Billy Lowes who battled his way past De’ath leaving the Ives skipper claiming he had been fouled, but the referee deciding he had simply been outmuscled by the Dorchester man. With De’ath now on the deck Lowes had time to pick his spot from the edge of the box, but unlike his colleague he went for power and it took a smart save from Trebes low to his right to keep out his well struck effort.

So ended another sad day for the Ives, but a very joyous one for the Magpies who departed from the still sunny Pro-Edge Stadium trying to remember out how to celebrate on the four hour journey back to the South coast.

Ives now have the challenge of six games in the next fourteen days. With most of these players now playing for their places for next season we can hope to see full commitment from the whole squad in those games which will mean nothing to their league finishing position which is now determined but will certainly let us see those that want to feature in manager Ricky Marheineke’s squad come next August.

Score : St Ives Town  1  Dorchester Town  2  

Goals : Kelly 23

St Ives team : Trebes, Smith (Draycott 45), Warner-Eley, De’ath (capt), Groves, McGeorge, Knowles, Snaith (Ogbonna 73), Kelly, Rogers, Baker (Sawyer 86)  

Unused subs : Libertucci, Clark

Supporters man of the match : Tom Knowles

Attendance  :  192

Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson

Match Preview & Squad Details – St Ives Town v Dorchester Town

Today’s game at the ProEdge Westwood Road is definitely on. Many thanks to everyone who came down this morning to help make the pitch playable.

The Ives will be looking to improve on the 0-0 draw at Gosport last Saturday which secured our step 3 status for next season.

On the squad front Daniel Moyes is unavailable and Lewis Leslie is suspended. Luke warner-Eley returns after missing the Gosport game and Ben Sawyer joins the squad for the first time since returning from his loan spell at Barton Rovers.

Dorchester sit in 20th place on 45 points. They comprehensively won 6-0 against us at their place back in December.

Dorchester Town’s recent results
9/4/18 – St Neots Town (H) – League – L 0-4
7/4/18 – Bishop’s Stortford (H) – League – W 1-0
27/3/18 – Kettering Town (A) – League – L 3-4
24/3/18 – Royston Town (H) – League – W 1-0
10/3/18 – Merthyr Town (H) – League – L 1-2
24/2/18 – Dunstable Town (H) – League – D 1-1
17/2/18 – Startford Town (A) – League – L 0-2
10/2/18 – Chesham United (A) – League –  D 2-2
3/2/18 – Kings Langley (H) – League – W 1-0
27/1/18 – Gosport Borough (A) – League – D 2-2
20/1/18 – Hereford (H) – League – L 0-1
16/1/18 – Slough Town (A) – League – L 0-2
13/1/18 – Redditch United (H) – League – W 1-0
6/1/18 – King’s Lynn Town (A) – League – L 0-3
1/1/18 – Tiverton Town (H) – League – W 3-0
26/12/17 – Weymouth (A) – League – D 2-2
23/12/17 – Bishop’s Stortford (A) – League – L 0-1

Evo-Stik Premier. Table up to & including 12.4.18

Match Report – St Neots Town 3 St Ives Town 1

St Neots Town 3 St Ives Town 1 

Evo-Stik League South Premier – 05/04/18

This hastily rearranged local derby went in favour of the hosts who started well and ruled the roost throughout comfortably beating the ten man Ives who fell behind in fifth minute, lost Lewis Leslie to two silly yellow cards in four minutes around the half hour mark and shipped a second goal three minutes before the break. This saw the game finished as a contest and although the gallant ten men continued to battle throughout the second period Danny Kelly’s well taken goal two minutes from the end was only a consolation as an uncharacteristic error from keeper Tim Trebes had allowed Jordan Norville-Williams’s speculative effort to increase the Saints lead eight minutes after the restart.

The hosts came out of the blocks quickly and took the game to Ives straight from the off. Their first effort on goal arrived in only the third minute as Tom Meechan and Nabil Shariff combined to set up a shooting opportunity for Dion Sembie-Ferris. His crisp drive from the right corner of the box flashed across the face of Trebes goal.

The opening goal arrived only two minutes later as Ives back line struggled to deal with a long throw from Saints skipper Luke Knight the ball was allowed to drop inside the box and Dylan Williams reacted first to turn it back into the mix where David Bridges was on hand to prod the ball home from close range.

The pressure on Ives continued to grow as Bridges again found space to run at the Ives back line and delivered a low driven cross from the right that Phil Draycott did well to turn over his own crossbar under heavy pressure from Shariff. The resulting corner arrived at the back post where fortunately for the visitors two Saints players got in each other’s way and only succeeded in knocking the ball into the hands of the grateful Trebes.

The Saints continued to move the ball around and their pace and movement continued to trouble the Ives defensive line. But they continued to hold their shape although frustrations were beginning to bubble under the surface with Leslie and Bridges the two main protagonists. Leslie picked up his first yellow card in 28th minute as he slid into a needless challenge on Williams in a wide left position. The Ives midfielder had already had a talking to after his reaction to an early midfield challenge from Knight so the booking came as no real surprise. The resulting free kick was swung in by Williams and Bridges rose unmarked in the centre of goal ten yards out but failed to hit the target with his free header.

Bridges and Leslie continued their midfield battle and the Saints man joined his Ives colleague in referee Oliver Mackey’s notebook less than sixty seconds later as he pulled back Draycott as the Ives wingback tried to instigate a counter attack.

Referee Mackey was busy again in 32nd minute as Leslie, seemingly not having learnt from his previous caution recklessly flew into another poorly timed midfield tackle where he got more of his opponent than he did the ball. The second yellow card instantly followed and Leslie was condemned to the lonely walk of shame.

Ives won their first corner of the game three minutes before the break and it proved their own undoing as the ball was cleared out to the left where Norville-Williams broke at pace carrying the ball deep into Ives territory before releasing it inside into the run of Shariff who gleefully swept the ball home left footed past the exposed Trebes from just inside the box.

There was still time before half time for Ives full back Luke Warner-Eley to save his side from further embarrassment as he pulled off a remarkable recovery tackle to deny Sembie-Ferris the chance to increase the hosts lead. The marauding Knight pinged a perfect crossfield pass out to Sembie-Ferris on the right and he immediately showed his pace as he raced away from Warner-Eley and cut in on goal. But somehow the Ives man found an extra gear and recovered to not only catch the Saints man, but cleanly take the ball off his toe just as he shaped to shoot.

Ives had struggled to get a foothold in this game with eleven players on the pitch so the likelihood of them claiming anything with ten was nothing more than a small glimmer in the mind of the most hopeful of their faithful fans. Even that glimmer was extinguished in 53rd minute as a scrappy period of play eventually saw the ball knocked out to Norville-Williams fully thirty yards from goal. The young full back was not closed down and took a touch before trying his luck with a low drive that seemed to catch Trebes off guard as it kicked off the turf and beat him low to his left with the startled keeper a little slow to get across his goal.

This looked like it might be the signal for the flood gates to open, but to their credit Ives did not put up the white flag but continued to battle and stay in the game. The ever willing Tom Knowles had got very little service in the first half. But he found a little space on the hour as he skipped past Taylor Parr on the right before delivering a sharp cross to the near post where ex Ives man Liam McDevitt just managed to divert it past his own post under pressure from Danny Kelly.

That raid proved to be a brief diversion to just lift the Ives supporters a little. Knight maintained his grip on the centre of the park and he continued to create opportunities for his colleagues that they either squandered or were denied by the hard working Ives back line. Meechan found just enough space in the visitor’s box to turn and fire wide in 69th minute. Five minutes later the same player was denied by the evergreen Dan Moyes as the Ives veteran threw himself at a teasing cross from Shariff to just take the ball away ahead of the Saints centre forward.

In spite of all their effort Ives had not managed to get a single shot on target before 84th minute. But all that changed in the closing stages as first Knowles tested Finlay Iron in the host’s goal with a dipping shot from 25 yards that had the Saints custodian struggling to keep it out low to his right.

Knowles was also involved in the consolation goal that arrived four minutes from time as he picked up the ball deep in his own half and strode forward before feeding the ball into the feet of substitute Dubi Ogbonna who in turn ran at the fast retreating Saints back line before unselfishly feeding the ball on to Kelly who had found space on the left edge of the box and expertly curled the ball past the static Iron into the corner of the net to grab his first goal since his hat trick in a losing cause against Kettering way back in September.

Some of the Saints faithful must feel that the four points that they have gleaned from two League clashes and a County Cup semi-final win will go a little way towards redressing the balance between the two Huntingdonshire rivals as Ives have ruled the roost in these fixtures in recent seasons. Whilst Saints are already assured of a comfortable mid table position Ives need to ensure their mathematical safety with a result at struggling Gosport on Saturday. This bruising encounter played with only ten men for an hour, less than 48 hours before the trip to the South coast was not ideal preparation. But I am sure that manager Ricky Marheineke will shuffle his cards and some of those rested from this game will have a big part to play on Saturday and in the tough run of games to follow.  

Score : St Neots Town  3  St Ives Town  1    

Goals : Kelly 88

St Ives team : Trebes, Draycott (Moyes 38), Warner-Eley, De’ath (capt), Kelly, Smith, Knowles, Leslie, Libertucci (Rogers 63), Clark, Baker (Ogbonna 73)  

Unused subs : McGeorge, Snaith

Supporters man of the match : Danny Kelly

Attendance  :  238

Report by Nigel Howlett. Photo by Louise Thompson