Category: First Team News

Ives turn on the second half style as winning run continues

Nigel Howlett Reports

St Ives Town 3 v Barwell 1

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  27-11-2023

The battle of the in-form sides in the division provided entertainment a plenty, a barn storming second half comeback saw the threadbare Ives extend their winning league run to a record breaking five games as they inflicted a first defeat in eight on the Canaries.

With illness, injury and unavailability cutting deep into their small squad the Ives were only able to name two on the bench with the starting line up including late call ups for dual registered Callum Milne returning from Corby Town and Greg Kaziboni whose last start had been at Needham Market in late September.

With the above in mind it is perhaps not surprising that it was the visitors who had the majority of the early possession and created the games first opportunity after only six minutes when Tom Cursons dropped off at the back post to take down a deep Kobe Chong free kick. It took a brilliant goal line clearance from Paddy Casey to keep out his powerful drive that beat the diving Eddie Brearey in the Ives goal.

The hosts first opportunity of the game fell to Milne as the visitors struggled to clear an Aaron Smith long throw. The ball eventually dropping to the centre back beyond the far post. He struck his effort well but the ball deflected away off the legs of a covering defender.

Brearey had to be alert and have a fantastic sense of exactly where his area ended to ensure that Ives stayed level in 25th minute. A ball through the right channel from Chong looked like it had put Cursons clear. Brearey timed the sprint from his line to perfection to slide in and claim the ball off the toe of the advancing striker but the keeper also showed fantastic awareness to release the ball as he slid out of his area on the wet surface pushing it away to safety.

By this point in the game Ives had settled down and were beginning to create better chances of their own. Michael Richens fired a thirty yard free kick around the Canaries two man wall to force a diving save out of visiting keeper Harry Griffiths only ninety seconds after Brearey’s heroics at the other end. Ives best chance of the first period came and went on the half hour courtesy of one of their trademark flowing breaks. The move ended with Jonny Edwards sliding a ball through the Canaries back line that Brandon Njoku just beat keeper Griffiths to. But the young striker was heading away from goal at pace and off balance when he tried to strike the ball into the empty net and it flew inches wide of the gaping goal.

To rub salt in Ives wounds at missing that chance they then fell behind to a sucker punch eight minutes later. Chong delivered another deep free kick to beyond the far post where MJ Kamara timed his run to perfection to meet the dropping ball cleanly and send in a towering header that flew past Brearey and just inside the far post. Canaries celebrations suggested that they thought they had done a lot more than just scored the opener in this game. They took that momentum into the next few minutes and went close to increasing their lead just before the break as Brady Hickey ghosted between the Ives centre backs to get on the end of Ethan Hill’s ball in from the right. But fortunately his header was straight at Brearey who held on well.

There was just time for Richens to almost catch out Griffiths with a free kick from fully 35 yards that just scraped over the crossbar with the young keeper, who had positioned himself for the anticipated clip to the back post, scrambling back to cover.

Canaries right winger Beck-Ray Enoru was being watched by a plethora of scouts from higher level clubs but Ives had been very effective in keeping him out of the game in the first half. But someone of Enoru’s ability is going to have influence at some point in the game and he had two good chances early in the second period. Three minutes after the re-start Chong fed him in through the right channel and it took an excellent diving save, low to his left, by Brearey to keep out his first time effort from the edge of the box.

Ives box looked a bit like a shooting gallery in 53rd minute as a corner from the left bounced around. Enoru’s had the first go and his goal bound effort rebounded off one of his own team mates. The follow up by Hill also bounced away off the body of friend, or foe, in the crowd in front of Brearey’s goal.

The game was by no means all one way and Ives carved out another opportunity to get level in 57th minute as Njoku got across his man at the near post to get on the end of another of Richens in-swinging free kicks. But the young striker got a bit to much of the ball and directed his effort wide of the near post.

Give Njoku his due though he will always keep trying and eight minutes later he came up with the equaliser in almost identical fashion as he again attacked the near post and this time his close range flick to Kaziboni’s in-swinging cross was perfectly directed giving Griffiths no chance. Three minutes later and the tables were turned completely as the Canaries defence failed to deal with Sam Tessler’s clip over the top as Njoku harried and hassled them. Kaziboni picked up the loose ball and burst clear through the centre to fire Ives in front.

Things could have been a little different though as between those two goals Brearey had pulled off another good save to deny Enoru after Hickey and Josh Flanagan had combined well to set up the shooting chance for the dangerous winger. Enoru showed another flash of his abilities in 73rd minute when he burst down the left to deliver a cross to the near post where Micah Edwards met it perfectly and was a little unlucky to see his powerful header rebound off the body of a well positioned Brearey.

Ives effectively killed the game off in 78th minute as another Tessler clip over the top was met with hesitation amongst the nervy Barwell back line Kyle Rowley and fellow centre back George Ward both seemed to expect the other to deal with it and that type of hesitation is fatal with Njoku around. He nipped between the two, seized the ball, once again rounding the exposed Griffiths and this time finding the back of the net.

Now well on top Ives went close to a fourth, three minutes later, as another of their familiar flowing breaks once more caught the visitors back line in disarray and this time Richens, who had brought the ball from halfway just kept going and his fierce shot from 20 yards almost dipped under the body of the diving Griffiths who was pleased to see the rolling ball go wide of his right hand upright.

Ives comfortably saw out the remaining time to end a very successful November for the club. The result lifted the hosts to 14th in the table and prevented the visitors from moving up into the play-off places. The only disappointment was the small crowd, many were no doubt put off by the cold and the rain. But those of you who chose to stay by the fireside missed out on a thriller and there is plenty to warm your cockles in this Ives side.

Final Score:  St Ives Town   3  Barwell  1


ST IVES: Njoku 65 & 78, Kaziboni 68

BARWELL: Kamara 38

Team Line Ups:

ST IVES: Brearey, Harris, Smith, Richens (capt), Milne, Casey, Kaziboni (Cowling 82), Hottor, J. Edwards, Njoku, Tomlinson (Tessler 46), Unused subs: none

BARWELL: Griffiths, Flanagan, Kamara, Hill, Rowley, Ward, Enoru, Chong, Cursons (Davidson-Miller 72), Hickey (capt), M. Edwards, Unused subs: Evans, Master, Kutshienza, Manocchio

Cards:   Yellow:  ST IVES:  Casey (53), Harris (90+2)       BARWELL: Rowley (33), Hill (45)


Attendance:  148

Match Programme v Barwell

Our official online match programme for the home Monday night clash against Barwell is now available to read. Inside our 40 page+ edition:

  • We hear from Ives Chairman, Paul Reason
  • The latest from around the league
  • Matchday photos from our FA Trophy clash against Aveley
  • We focus on Barwell
  • And look back on that ‘Richens Rocket’ that secured a point against Barwell last season. Plus much more.

You can download your free online matchday magazine HERE

Edwards nets twice as Ives winning league run continues

Berkhamsted 0 v St Ives Town  2

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  25-11-2023

Nigel Howlett Reports from the Glencar Community Stadium

Goals in the first and last minutes of the second half from Jonny Edwards ensured that Ives kept their successful run going as they made it five wins from their last six games in all competitions. The goals simply capped off another thoroughly professional performance on the road, a game during which Ives were rarely troubled with keeper Eddie Brearey only needing to make one meaningful save to preserve his clean sheet.

The only change to Ives side which was so unfortunate not to progress in the FA Trophy at Aveley was a swap at right wing back where the excellent Luke Harris returned in place of the injured Benji Mensah. The visitors started their first ever trip to the compact Glencar Community Stadium a little gingerly as they tried to come to terms with the small and bumpy pitch and it was the Comrades who made all of the early pace with their very direct style getting the ball forward quickly at every opportunity. But the only save that Brearey had to make in those opening exchanges was a comfortable catch to a sixth minute Connor Toomey free kick from 35 yards.

There were also advantages for the visitors from the small pitch and once they came to terms with the surface and started to probe forward they found that Aaron Smith’s long throw could be a very potent weapon delivering the ball to the centre of the area. The first of his arcing missiles in 18th minute almost caught out the hosts as Jordan Williams got on the end of it to flick the ball across the six yard box with no one able to force it home.

The Comrades carved out, and wasted, their best opportunity of the first half in 29th minute as Lewis Johnson managed to get away down the right and looked to pick out Sami Bessadi with his pull back but the hosts number ten was beaten by the pitch as the ball bobbled to prevent him even getting a shot away.

Three minutes later at the other end of the pitch Edwards also spurned a golden opportunity to open the scoring from the best move of the match to that point as Michael Richens won the ball deep inside Comrades territory and fed it out to Harris who delivered the perfect inviting ball along the six yard box where it looked like Edwards merely had to direct his free header one side, or other, of keeper Jamie Head. But the big centre forward was stretching and did not make a good enough contact to hit the target.

Brandon Njoku was as hard working as ever and his constant niggling at the host’s defence almost brought him reward in 36th minute as he capitalised on an error from Sam McClelland and burst into the box but a perfectly timed covering tackle from Luke Massingham just as he went to shoot ensured that the shot flew harmlessly wide.

Each side carved out a half chance in the last couple of minutes of the first period. Initially Jordon Frederick and Bessadi combined well on the right with the latter cutting inside and getting in a low drive from the corner of the box that bobbled in front of Brearey who spilled it but was astute enough to recover the ball just ahead of Johnson. At the other end of the pitch the last attack of the half saw a Dan Barton cross from the right just evade Njoku sliding in at the near post.

There was a real nip in air as the sun went down at the start of the second half but it was the hosts that really got caught cold as Ives went in front only 58 seconds after the re-start. Barton got down the right and fed in Njoku who picked out Harris in space on the edge of the box. The young wing back picked his spot low to Head’s right forcing the keeper into a diving save. But the ball rebounded from his hands straight to the feet of Edwards six yards out and the striker made no mistake side footing home into the empty net.

There then followed a good spell for the Ives with Edwards again going close in 51st minute. Not for the first time in the game the hosts struggled to deal with a Smith long throw. The ball ricocheting around the box before eventually falling to Edwards beyond the far post. He took a touch before drilling in a goal bound shot that deflected wide off the leg of Massingham.

Realising that things were not going his way Comrades manager Steve Heath decided to make a double change just after the hour bringing on Max Bustamente and Olu Lawal in place of Frederick and Toomey respectively and the two replacements had an instant impact as the hosts enjoyed their best spell of the game. They created their best chance of the afternoon in 65th minute as Bessadi slipped a pass through Ives back line to put ex Royston striker Matt Bateman clean through. But Brearey was quickly off his line to close him down and spread himself well to block the shot at close range.

The hosts continued to press without creating another clear cut opportunity as Ives back line stood firm. Johnson almost got away on a break in 77th minute but some clever defending by Paddy Casey ensured that the chance came to nothing. As he steered the player wide allowing Brearey to slide in and claim the ball. The Comrades created two more half chances in the following five minutes. Bateman rose highest to get on the end of Anthony Ball’s cross from the right but could only direct his header from twelve yards straight at Brearey and there were half hearted shouts for a penalty when the same player went down under combined challenge from Casey and Brearey with ten minutes to go.

Referee Jorden Gibson waved those appeals away and the hosts hopes of getting anything from the game disappeared into the cold air with those vain shouts as Ives picked up again and took control for the remaining time. Substitutes Greg Kaziboni and Ed Hottor combined to come within millimetres of doubling the lead in 89th minute as Kaziboni’s hanging cross from the right was only half cleared to Hottor 25 yards out. The powerful midfielder took a touch before unleashing a fierce rising drive the flashed past Head before the keeper could move but just went the wrong side of the crossbar.

But the Ives supporters behind the railway station end goal only had to wait another sixty seconds before Edwards made the game safe. Skipper Richens rampaged forward through the centre and laid the ball off to Edwards on the edge of the box. The big striker took a touch before letting go a low right footer that went through the legs of Massingham before beating the diving Head and finding the bottom corner to confirm another excellent win on the road for the visitors and once again move them back out of the bottom four.

Final Score:  Berkhamsted    0   St Ives Town   2



ST IVES: Edwards 46 & 90

Team Line Ups:

BERKHAMSTED: Head (capt), Ball, Towell (Williams 86), Massingham, McClelland, Riddick, Johnson, Frederick (Bustamente 61), Bateman. Bassadi, Toomey (Lawal 61), Unused subs: Austin, Newton

ST IVES: Brearey, Harris, Smith, Richens (capt), Williams, Casey, Barton (Kaziboni 85), Cowling (Hottor 81), Edwards, Njoku, Tomlinson, Unused subs: Tessler

Cards:   Yellow:  BERKHAMSTED:   Ball (26)              ST IVES:  none


Attendance:  268

Match Preview: Berkhamsted v Ives

St Ives Town face a trilogy of matches where they will be looking for points as they attempt to haul themselves away from the relegation zone. The first of those games comes on Saturday when they make the trip to Berkhamsted. What follows are two home games against Barwell on Monday night and bottom side Long Eaton United next Saturday.


The Ives make the trip to Berkhamsted on the back of defeat in the FA Trophy at Aveley last weekend. The 2-1 reverse was harsh on the Ives as they looked set to record victory against the National League South high flyers, only to concede two late goals. During that game, the Ives lost the services of defender Ben Mensah with injury whilst Dan Barton and Myles Cowling were substituted late on. Ives fans will be hoping that all three will available to play a part in the game tomorrow.


It’s been a difficult first few months of the season for Berkhamsted. The Comrades are at this level after winning the Southern League Central Division last year by 19 points. This season they have just won one game and that was against Nuneaton on the opening day of the season. They have drawn seven and lost ten. Berkhamsted sit one off the bottom of the table with ten points. The low point of the season for them came in a 9-0 hammering in a league match against Coalville. In the FA Cup they were knocked out by AFC Totton and Potters Bar defeated them in the FA Trophy.


  • Adults: £12.00
  • Over 65 Concessions: £6.00
  • Unaccompanied Children: £2.00
  • Accompanied Children: Free

Ground Details:

The Glencar Community Stadium

Broadwater, Lower Kings Road




Late goals deny Ives Trophy victory

Aveley 2 v St Ives Town 1  

Isuzu FA Trophy 2nd Round  18-11-2023

Nigel Howlett report from the Parkside Stadium

Two late goals from substitute Manny Ogunrinde snatched away a deserved victory from battling Ives. Second placed in National League South the Millers sit 41 places above their visitors but it was the Cambridgeshire side who were on top for most of this game and but for a fantastic display from home keeper Jonathan North would have had the game won by half time. The home keeper took the man of the match award from the days match sponsors and rightly so for pulling off a string of brilliant saves to keep his side in the game.

Ives took the confidence gained from their recent five match winning run into this game and it was they who were first into their stride troubling the home defence from early on. A twelfth minute Michael Richens free kick from 25 yards that curled over the wall had North scampering across his line but he was happy to watch that effort fly inches wide of his right hand post.

Highly promising young wing back Ben Mensah had been given his first start by manager Ricky Marheineke which was hard on stand in wing back Luke Harris who has done exceptionally well in recent games. The next chance in 20th minute fell to Mensah as Jonny Edwards got down the left and delivered a cross that reached the young full back arriving at pace on the edge of the box but he snatched at it and the shot flew harmlessly wide.

The 24th minute saw Ives carve out two excellent chances inside 60 seconds. Another Richens free kick into the box came off a defender and dropped at the feet of Dan Barton only ten yards out but rather than go for goal he tried to pick out a colleague and the ball was scrambled away. But it was quickly returned to the Millers end of the pitch with Edwards timing his run to perfection to get clear through the left channel. He drew keeper North towards him but the agile stopper did not commit early and made an excellent diving save low to his left to keep out the shot when it came.

Keeper North did even better in 29th minute diving full length to his left to palm away a fierce drive from the edge of the box by Brandon Njoku who had seized the opportunity to get his shot away when Millers skipper, Harry Gibbs, slipped.

Ives keeper Eddie Brearey had been more of a spectator at the other end of the pitch simply watching as a long range effort from Dara Dada sail over his crossbar in 23rd minute and comfortably fielding an earlier effort from the same player. But things got a little busier for him in a five minute spell immediately after the half hour mark. A free kick from wide left was delivered deep to the back post by Alex Hernandez and Charlee Hughes got a touch on it just ahead of the Ives keeper who was pleased to see the effort drift wide of the post.

The same two players combined only ninety seconds later with Hernandez delivering a low cross to the near post from the right where Hughes sliding in knocked it into the side netting. Brearey really earnt his corn in 35th minute when Eduino Vaz delivered a deep corner that was won in the air beyond the far post by Tommy Davis, Hughes attacked the centre back’s header back into the centre and it took a brilliant reaction save from Brearey to keep out the effort at point blank range.

Back up the other end North was back in action only sixty seconds later this time pulling off another full length diving one handed save to his left to deny Mensah after the youngster had been picked out in space on the edge of the box by the darting Barton. Unlike his earlier effort Mensah took his time and picked his spot but still could not beat the athletic stopper.

Ives went even closer five minutes before the break when an Aaron Smith long throw was flicked on at the near post and Josh Tomlinson looked certain to force it home at the back stick. But the flying boot of Davis took the ball off his head virtually right on the goal line prompting shouts for a penalty from the large number of travelling Ives supporters behind the goal.

The final action of an entertaining first period saw Brearey called upon to show his prowess again as he managed to dramatically change direction and throw himself to his right to tip around a deflected 25 yard effort from Hernandez.

The hosts were no doubt reminded of their elevated position in the football pyramid by their manager at the break and they came out looking more determined forcing three early corners. The final one of those was knocked down to the feet of Gibbs just inside the box but he fired his first time effort just over the top.

Having weathered that mini storm fairly comfortably Ives quickly returned to taking the game to their more illustrious opponents. A 64th minute burst of pace from Njoku took him past a struggling Vaz and it took a desperate lunge from Davis to take him down just outside the box. Richens curled the resulting free kick around the wall but again the flying North was equal to it plunging to his left to palm the effort away one handed.

The ball rolled out for a throw wide on the right and the resulting Smith projectile flew deep into the box where Gibbs could only get a poor defensive header on it and the ball dropped by the penalty spot where Richens did brilliantly to strike his effort on the volley the ball flew through the crowd past a startled North and went into the net via his left hand post to spark wild celebrations both on and off the pitch.

Now finally in front Ives still continued to push forward looking for a second to kill the game. Richens struck an absolute thunderbolt from 35 yards in 74th minute that had it not been straight at keeper North may well have found the net. As it was the keeper did just enough to get something behind the ball the rebound going straight back towards the rampaging Richens who was clumsily bundled over by Garrett Kelly just outside the D. This time though Richens did not get the free kick right firing it well over the top.

The changes that won the game for the Millers took place two minutes later as manager Danny Scopes decided to introduce speedy striker Ogunrinde and attacking midfielder Ikechi Eze in place of Dada and Siju Odelusi respectively. Ogunrinde was almost immediately into the action and spurned a very good chance to level things up within four minutes of his introduction. Hernandez got down the left and picked out Ogunrinde in space at the back of the box but the youngster sliced his first time effort wide.

He made no such mistake with four minutes to go as he timed his run to perfection to meet Vaz’s corner from the left at the near post powering his header home from eight yards. The goal that broke Ives hearts and prevented them even having the opportunity of a penalty shoot out arrived in 90th minute. Nana Kyei got down the left and delivered a cross to the centre that perfectly picked out Ogunrinde and he made no mistake directing his close range header past the exposed Brearey.

There was an added seven minutes, more than enough time for Ives to glean a deserved reward from the game. They certainly raised themselves again and gave it a go but a corner from Harris and three more Smith long throws were all dealt with adequately by North and his colleagues to ensure that it is the Millers name that will be in the hat for Mondays third round draw. Gallant Ives only reward was to be given a deserved standing ovation from their big travelling support as they left the field. But the critical thing is to continue to take this momentum into a series of vitally important league games that are now coming up thick and fast.

Final Score:  Aveley  2  St Ives Town  1


AVELEY: Ogunrinde 86 & 90

ST IVES:  Richens 65

Team Line Ups:

AVELEY: North, Vaz, Stephen, Odelusi (Eze 76), Davis, Gibbs (capt), Kyei, Kelly, Hughes, Hernandez, Dada (Ogunrinde 76), Unused subs: Randall, Ainsworth, Lawrence, Yeates

ST IVES: Brearey, Mensah (Harris 45+1), Smith, Richens (capt), Williams, Casey, Barton (Hottor 78), Cowling (Nassunculo 85), Edwards, Njoku, J. Tomlinson, Unused subs: Kaziboni,  

Cards:  Yellow:  AVELEY:  Hughes (58), Davis (64), Kelly (74), Hernandez (76)     ST IVES: Cowling (22)


Attendance: 272

FA Trophy match preview: Aveley v Ives

It’s the second round of the Isuzu FA Trophy this weekend as St Ives Town make the trip to Aveley.

The visit to the National League South outfit comes on the back of an excellent 3-1 victory for the Ives in the last round against Marine. Prior to this, they navigated their way past Kettering in the third qualifying round of the competition.

The run in the FA Trophy has coincided with some excellent form for the Ives who go into the game unbeaten in the last five games in all competitions. Last Saturday, the Ives secured an excellent 4-2 win at home to Halesowen, with all four goals for the Ives coming in the first half. That result meant that the Ives got themselves out of the relegation zone after a difficult first couple of months of the season.


Supporters of the Ives will be hoping that midfielder Dan Barton will be fit to be included in the squad after leaving the field early in the first half last week following a head injury. Johnny Herd continues with his recovery from injury whilst the striking options will be lead by Brandon Njoku and Jonny Edwards.


The trip to Aveley is arguably the biggest test yet for the Ives as they face a side who are currently second in the National League South and eight points behind leaders Yeovil. Aveley, nicknamed the Millers have lost six times in the league this season, two of those have come in the last two games. Last Saturday they lost 3-0 at Bath City and on Monday night suffered a 2-1 reverse at home to Chelmsford City. The Millers made decent progress in the FA Cup as they made it to the fourth qualifying round but were deprived a place in the first round proper after losing 4-0 in a replay to Barnet.


The Ives will be backed by a good number of travelling supporters and anyone going can purchase tickets online in advance. The link to the Aveley ticketing website is HERE. As with previous rounds of the competition, there will be no replay and the match has to be decided on the day, with penalties if necessary.


Aveley FC

Parkside, Park Lane, Aveley, RM15 4PX

If you are not going to the game, then there will be full coverage across the Ives social media channels throughout the afternoon with a match report and post match analysis on the club website from Saturday evening.

Kick-off at the Parkside Stadium is at 3:00pm.

First half blitz secures another win for the Ives

St Ives Town 4 v Halesowen Town 2

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  11-11-2023

Nigel Howlett Reports

In form Ives swept away the out of form Yeltz with a scintillating first half display that was topped off with four goals in a fifteen minute spell just before the interval. The two late consolation goals claimed by the visitors merely proved to be a dent in an otherwise impressive home victory. The Ives fifth successive win in all competitions.

The win was all the more impressive as it was achieved without the probing runs of the tricky Dan Barton with the Cambridge United loanee picking up a knock very early in proceedings that saw him limp off in only twelfth minute to be replaced in central midfield by the combative Ed Hottor.

The confidence gained from an excellent midweek win at Coalville was showing through early on with Ives pressing high to unsettle their opponents. That tactic created an opportunity in seventh minute. Jonny Edwards robbed Josh Ezewele just outside the box before driving on and unleashing a shot that was blocked by the keeper’s legs. Barton kept the ball alive and his clip into the centre was just to high for Brandon Njoku who could only direct a stretching header wide of the post.  

A couple of half chances fell the way of the visitors whilst Ives were settling themselves following the departure of Barton. Miracle Okafor managed to get on the end of a 14th minute free kick from the right but could only direct his flicked header from twelve yards wide of the target. The closest that the visitors came to scoring in the first period was four minutes later when Ives struggled to clear a ball into their box. The loose ball fell to Josh Hawker and his shot was deflected forcing Eddie Brearey into a diving save to his left but he could not hold the ball and it took an excellent clearance from Aaron Smith to prevent lurking Yeltz forwards from knocking the ball home.

It was from the half way point in the first period that the hosts really started to get on top. A 22nd minute long throw from Smith was fed back to him wide left and his clever ball inside picked out Jordan Williams on the edge of the box. A composed sideways pass from Williams picked out Michael Richens in space inside the D and his first time effort flew inches wide of Daniel Platt’s left hand upright as the keeper scrambled to get across.

Smith’s long throws and crosses from the left continued to cause problems in the Yeltz back line. His 28th minute cross perfectly picked out Njoku arriving in the centre but the striker’s header took a deflection off Ryan Wynter and went over the top. Smith’s next projectile into the box lead to Ives opener in 31st minute as the visitors struggled desperately to deal with the long throw the ball bouncing around just yards from goal before it eventually fell to the feet of the unmarked Josh Tomlinson six yards out and the Northampton Town loanee gratefully accepted the chance to open his account for Ives.

The goal seemed to lift Ives to even greater efforts and they almost doubled their lead three minutes later as a long range pile driver from Hottor deflected off a defender into the feet of Edwards inside the box. He was quickly crowded out and his shot blocked but the rebound fell to Luke Harris following up his powerful drive was blocked by a defender bravely throwing himself across the line of the shot.

The hosts were not to be denied for long and sure enough the lead was doubled in 36th minute as Richens rampaged forward down the right getting to the bye line before pulling the ball back to Edwards eight yards out. The centre forward scuffed his first time effort but luck was on his side as the ball travelled across the face of goal straight to the unmarked Njoku who became the second Ives player to score a tap in from six yards.

The visitor’s defence was now visibly rattled and Ives added two more in the additional four minutes at the end of the first period. Njoku and Edwards combined again in the first added minute with a slide rule pass from Njoku putting Edwards clear. This time his contact on the ball was perfect as he calmly lobbed the exposed Platt from the edge of the box. The final goal right on the stroke of half time again came in simple fashion with the Yeltz defence again falling apart. Myles Cowling robbed Ezewele 25 yards from goal and sent Edwards through the left channel he got to the bye line before unselfishly picking out his strike partner with a dink into the box that gave Njoku a simple header into the net from inside the six yard box.

With the game already over at the break the visitors were just playing for pride second half and Yeltz manager made two changes at the interval to try and get something of a foothold in the game. Those sacrificed were Hawker and Richard Gregory replaced by George Cater and Kieren Donnelly respectively.

The pace and mobility of Njoku and Edwards continued to cause the visitors defence problems in the early stages of the second half and both were denied clear runs on goal by offside flags inside the first ten minutes. After that the Ives seemed satisfied to hold on to what they had got and the pace of the game dropped off a little allowing the visitors to get into the game. They created a couple of half chances from a 55th minute McKauley Manning free kick. Brearey came for the ball into the box but was forced to punch it clear under heavy pressure from friend and foe alike. His attempted clearance fell to Todd Parker 25 yards out. His shot was blocked by a defender but the rebound dropped to Donnelly who curled his effort from 20 yards just over the top.

There followed a couple more efforts from the visitors with Manning ending a 60th minute run down the right by cutting inside and firing into the side netting from just outside the box. Brearey did well to cling onto a 68th minute 25 yard pile driver from Parker.

Ives thought they had got a fifth goal in 75th minute as a clever corner routine between Cowling and Njoku ended with the former delivering a perfect ball to the back post where Richens knocked it home but the Yeltz defence had got out quickly leaving the Ives skipper offside.

The hosts switched off just for a few seconds in 78th minute and it cost them their clean sheet with Okafor losing his man in the centre to get on the end of Manning’s cross from the left and power his header home from eight yards.

With time ticking down Edwards had one final chance to claim Ives fifth of the day as he and Njoku once more combined well deep in opposition territory. This time the final pass from Njoku teed up Edwards for a 25 yard effort that he struck well forcing keeper Platt to make a diving save low to his right.

Another late lapse in concentration allowed the visitors to grab a second consolation and make the score line a little more respectable deep in added time. Parker threaded a ball through Ives back line to pick out the run of substitute Simeon Cobourne and the Yeltz substitute beat Brearey with a crisp low drive from just inside the box.

Form really is everything in any sport and a follower of form may well have predicted this result. The Yeltz started the season like a train going unbeaten in their first eleven games in all competitions but are now on a low ebb this being their fifth game without a win. Ives form is the complete reverse, only one win in their opening eleven games they now take a five game winning run into their tough Isuzu FA Trophy tie at National League South high fliers Aveley next week.

Final Score:  St Ives Town    4   Halesowen Town   2


ST IVES: Tomlinson 31, Njoku 36, 45+3, Edwards 45+1

HALESOWEN: Okafor 78, Cobourne 90+4

Team Line Ups:

ST IVES: Brearey, Harris, Smith, Richens (capt), Williams, Casey, Barton (Hottor 12), Cowling (Mensah 76), Edwards, Njoku, Tomlinson (Tessler 65), Unused subs: Kaziboni, Nassunculo

HALESOWEN: Platt (capt), Ezewele, Redfern, Parker, Wynter, Morris, Holmes (Cobourne 65), Hawker (Cater 46), Okafor, Gregory (Donnelly 46), Manning, Unused subs: Hickman, Mitchell

Cards:   Yellow:  ST IVES: Harris (58), Cowling (67), Hottor (69)     HALESOWEN: Hawker (26), Wynter (76)


Attendance:  482

Halesowen Programme

The official matchday matchday magazine for the home match with Halesowen Town tomorrow is now available to read.

Inside our 49 page edition this week:

  • It’s been a big week for community news at the club with the launch of our Christmas programme competition for kids and news of a successful grant application
  • Read all about our fantastic victory at Coalville Town on Tuesday night
  • Relive the Marine FA Trophy victory with some brilliant matchday images
  • Ives supporter, Dave Hook goes groundhopping to Doncaster
  • We turn the spotlight on our visitors, Halesowen Town
  • And our popular matchday quiz, Ten to Tackle returns

PLUS lots more. Download your free online edition HERE. Please note there are no printed copies available.

Match Preview: Ives v Halesowen

St Ives Town continue with their league programme on Saturday when they welcome Halesowen Town to the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road.

The match comes hot on the heels of a 1-0 victoy at Coalville on Tuesday night, a win that saw the Ives stretch their unbeaten run to four in all competitions.  Victories against Royston, Marine, Eaton Socon and Coalville have given the team a new sense of belief that they are beginning to turn the corner after a difficult first few months of the season.


The Ives will have to be at their very best if they are going to continue their decent run of form as they come up against a Halesowen side who have made an excellent start to the season following their promotion from the Northern Premier League Midlands last year.  The team news for the Ives is that Peter Abimbola has been recalled to Northampton after being on loan from the Cobblers for the last few weeks.  Johnny Herd is still recovering from injury, and the squad will also feature new signings Ben Mensah and Sam Tessler.


Depsite Halesowen having a decent first few months of the season, they arrive at the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road in the midst of a wobble in form having won only once out of their last five league outings.  That came against AFC Sudbury on 14 October.  In recent times, they have been knocked out of the FA Trophy by Macclesfield and on Tuesday evening lost 2-1 to Nuneaton.  It wasn’t so long ago that the Yeltz were second, but have now slipped to eigth and will be keen to get maximum points to stay in and around the top six.


Richard Gregory.  The striker netted his 50th goal for the Yeltz against Nuneaton in midweek, and will be one to look out for.  Also keep an eye out for Miracle Okafor.  The former Sporting Khalsa player has scored several times already this season and will be a target man for the visitors should he be in the squad.


As it is remembrance weekend, the club will be paying its respects before kick-off.  There will be representation from the Royal British Legion and a bugler will play the last post.  This will be followed by a minutes silence.


Happy Hour………. A reminder that before every home game this season, there is a special drinks promotion in the bar where all pints are priced at £3.00 between 1:00pm and 2:30pm.  Hot food is also available, and we look forward to seeing everyone.

Admission Prices….

Adults: £11.00

Concessions (Over 65’s): £8.00

Military Discount/Students with ID: £6.00

12 -16’s: £2.00

Under 12’s (Accompanied by an Adult): £2.00

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

Njoku bags the winner as Ives win again

Coalville Town 0 v St Ives Town 1

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  07-11-2023

Nigel Howlett reports from The Mander Cruickshank Solicitors Stadium

In form Ives stretched their winning run to four games in all competitions with a thoroughly professional performance against a similarly in form home side who had cracked in sixteen goals without conceding in their previous three games. Make no mistake though this was no smash and grab raid hard working Ives solid back line restricted their hosts to a very small number of chances and they always offered a threat at the other end thanks to the pace of Brandon Njoku and Dan Barton.

The goal that decided the game came thanks to the pace and determination of Njoku coupled with the impetuosity of ex Ives keeper Paul White who dashed fully forty yards from his goal to try and beat Njoku to a Jonny Edwards through ball only to find out all to late that he was going to come off second best in the race.

Ives made two enforced changes from the side that beat Marine in the FA Trophy with Charlie Johnson returning in the heart of the back line in place of the suspended Jordan Williams and Luke Harris continuing in the unfamiliar role of right wingback in place of recalled Northampton Town loanee Peter Abimbola. The hosts made only one change to their line up from their previous victory with Wes York coming in to replace Alex Dean at full back.

The confident hosts applied the early pressure with Tim Berridge firing wide from a good position after being set up well be the dangerous Terrell Pennant after only ninety seconds. Keeper Eddie Brearey was forced into his first save of the evening in seventh minute plunging low to his left to tip around a fierce drive from Tom McGlinchey cutting in from the left.

The visitors first probe into the Ravens box came three minutes later when Myles Cowling burst through the centre before trying to slip a ball through into the well timed run of Njoku but keeper White was alert to the danger and slid in to claim the ball just ahead of the Ives striker.

The high tempo game then settled into more of a midfield battle with goalmouth action limited until the half hour mark when it took more alert action from White to just prevent Njoku getting on the end of an under hit back pass from Herve Pepe-Ngoma. Only moments later it was Brearey’s turn to show his abilities at the other end as he parried away a fierce drive from Luke Shaw at his near post. The chance had come courtesy of a swift move down the Ravens left involving McGlinchey and Berridge.

Another speedy break, this time for Ives in 34th minute saw Jonny Edwards given a shooting opportunity as Barton slipped the ball through to him on the left edge of the box but he took a touch thus narrowing the angle and only succeeded in firing into the side netting.

The last ten minutes of the first period saw the hosts carve out two very good opportunities both of which they squandered without testing Brearey. The first in 37th minute came from a quick break from Berridge racing through the centre and outpacing Ives defenders. Rather than go for goal he squared the ball across to Pennant in space at the back post but the young winger sliced his effort wide when it looked easier to score.

Paddy Casey did well to slide in with a perfectly timed tackle to prevent Berridge getting his shot away after the striker had robbed Cowling deep in Ives territory and strode forward into the box again in 40th minute. The final Ravens chance of the first half, just two minutes before the interval, was also wasted by Pennant. McGlinchey and Eliot Putman combined well down the left with the overlapping full back delivering a low cross into the box which arrived at the feet of Pennant at the back post but under pressure from Casey the youngster again failed to hit the target.

The hosts came out determined to put their resilient visitors to the sword at the start of the second half and they exerted real pressure on Ives goal for the first twenty minutes but with the whole side working like Trojans the lads from Cambridgeshire resisted the storm. McGlinchey was at the heart of most of the threatening moves from the hosts carving out the chances that there were. His 50th minute threaded through ball picked out the run of Pennant cutting in from the right but Casey again did just enough to deflect the effort wide.

McGlinchey and Shaw combined to set up a shooting opportunity for Berridge after 56 minutes but the usually deadly striker did no better than his colleagues before him firing across the face of goal and wide from fifteen yards. Two minutes later it was the turn of centre back Ash Carter to fail to hit the target as a corner was knocked down to him on the edge of the box.

Ives continued to put their bodies on the line to preserve their clean sheet a perfect example of this came in 68th minute as two players both hurled themselves across the line of the shot to block out a 25 yarder from Ravens skipper Joe Doyle-Charles. But the onslaught was beginning to wain by that point and Ives seized their opportunity to get their noses in front in 72nd minute.

A ball out of defence by Harris was fed into the feet of Edwards inside his own half. He played the ball into space behind the Ravens back line and Njoku set off in pursuit outpacing Pepe-Ngoma. The ball was out by the right touchline and full forty yards from his goal but White made the decision to come for it. Realising his error to late as Njoku beat him to the ball leaving the big keeper and Pepe-Ngoma both on the deck as he strode off with the ball. The striker then showed great composure to move forward to the edge of the box before rolling the ball home into the empty net as struggling defenders vainly tried to get back.

The goal silenced the rowdy home crowd and knocked the stuffing out of the players. They only managed to create one good opportunity to grab an equaliser in the remaining twenty minutes and it was the closest that they came to scoring all night. A hopeful 78th minute ball into the box fell to the feet of Berridge by the penalty spot. He beat Brearey with his strike and was unlucky to see the ball strike an upright and rebound across the face of goal before being scrambled clear. From that point the hosts seemed to realise that it was just not going to be their evening and they failed to muster the anticipated late pressure.

Edwards and substitute Tiago Nassunculo both missed chances to kill the game in the same Ives raid two minutes into added time. Barton raced through the centre to set up Edwards for a shooting opportunity on the edge of the box, which unusually for him he declined instead feeding the ball into the feet of Nassunculo inside the box but he took one touch to many and was crowded out before he could get a shot away.

But that did not matter as the final whistle sounded on an excellent evening two minutes later. There were plenty of contenders for the man of the match award with all three centre backs and Luke Harris in his unfamiliar role getting votes from the small contingent of hard core Ives supporters. The eventual winner being Charlie Johnson who won every aerial battle inside Ives half to clinch the nights accolade.

Final Score:  Coalville Town   0   St Ives Town  1



ST IVES: Njoku 72

Team Line Ups:

COALVILLE: White, York, Putman, Carter, Pepe-Ngoma, Shaw (Cook 72), Doyle-Charles (capt), Towers, McGlinchey, Berridge, Pennant, Unused subs: Hutchings, Laban, Chambers, Burkey

ST IVES: Brearey, Harris, Smith, Richens (capt), Tomlinson, Casey, Barton, Cowling (Hottor 74), Edwards, Njoku (Nassunculo 86), Johnson, Unused subs: Tesler, Mensah, Kaziboni,

Cards:   Yellow:  COALVILLE: none                ST IVES:  none


Attendance:  312

Match Preview: Coalville v St Ives

St Ives Town are scheduled to return to league action on Tuesday evening as they make the trip to Coalville Town.


The Ives had a blank Saturday following the postponement of their fixture at Stourbridge meaning that their last league action was back on 23 October when they beat Royston Town courtesy of a last gasp winner from Nathan Njoku. That result was the start of an uptick in results as the Ives went on to beat Marine in the FA Trophy and Eaton Socon in the Hunts Senior Cup. Due to the lack of league fixtures, it does mean the Ives have dropped a couple of places down the table and are currently one off the bottom, so a win against Coalville would be much needed as they look to claw themselves out of the bottom four.


The challenge ahead of the Ives will be a difficult one as they take on a Coalville side who netted 15 goals in their previous two league games. A 9-0 hammering of Berkhamsted was followed by a 6-0 drubbing of Long Eaton United. Like the Ives, Coalville progressed through to the second round of the FA Trophy following a victory against Alvechurch. Recent results for the hosts are in stark contrast to how they started the season as they began the campaign with some indifferent form, but are now arguably heading in the right direction as they currently sit 10th in the table with games in hand on those around them and will stay fancy their chances of mounting a promotion challenge after narrowly missing out last season.


Tim Berridge. The striker is second in the league leading goalscorers this season having netted 10 goals so far.


Coalville Town Football Club
The Mander Cruickshank Solicitors Stadium
Owen St
Leicestershire LE67 3DA

Kick-off is at 7:45pm

Squad update

Ahead of the league match at Stourbridge today, St Ives Town have made one addition to the squad by completing the signing of Ben Mensah.

Ben, 20, is a full back and a former Peterborough United youngster, having signed a professional contract at London Road in 2020. However, he was released by Posh this summer.

Leaving the club is Fernando Bell-Toxtle who has joined Bedford Town. Fernando joined from Royston in the summer, but has seen his appearances restricted in recent times and we wish him well at his new club.

Match Preview: Stourbridge v Ives

After two consecutive cup victories, St Ives Town resume their league programme this weekend with a trip to Stourbridge.

In recent weeks the Ives have seen something of an upturn in their fortunes with three consecutive victories in all competitions. The last gasp victory against Royston started the sequence off followed by wins against Marine in the FA Trophy last Saturday and a midweek win at Eaton Socon in the Hunts Senior Cup. The Ives may quietly fancy their chances of getting an all important victory against a Stourbridge side who sit just three places and five points above them in the league table.


Instrumental midfielder Dan Barton was substituted in the second half of the Marine victory last Saturday which was more of a precaution than anything else and hopes to be available for the trip. Elsewhere, Johnny Herd remains injured so Aaron Smith looks set to continue to deputise at left back. Meanwhile Brandon Njoku and Jonny Edwards will lead the attacking threat with the partnership beginning to flourish in recent weeks after the latter returned from an injury that forced him to miss much of the first two months of the season.


Stourbridge have had a mixed bag of results during the opening months of the campaign. Four wins in total, two at home and two away and two home draws sees them on 14 points. Their last victory in the league came in a 4-1 victory at Long Eaton on 7 October. Their league progress has perhaps been taken out of the spotlight due to their FA Cup run which saw them get to the fourth qualifying round before losing 3-0 at home to Gateshead. The Ives perhaps need to be on their guard tomorrow as confidence seems to have returned last week as the hosts convincingly beat Bamber Bridge 5-1 in the FA Trophy.


Luke Benbow. The striker has had multiple spells with Stourbridge and scored a hat-trick last week in their FA Trophy victory. His previous spells with the Glassboys has seen him chalk-up over 250 appearances and is back at the War Memorial Ground once more and is seen as a key part of the squad.


If you are travelling to the game tomorrow, you can purchase your tickets in advance from Stourbridge ticketing site. The link is HERE

Kick-off at the War Memorial Ground is at 3:00pm.

Ives progress begin cup defence with Eaton Socon win

Eaton Socon 0 v St Ives Town 1 

Huntingdonshire FA Senior Cup 1st Round  31-10-2023

Nigel Howlett Reports

A Charlie Johnson header from a corner after 26 minutes was the goal which sent cup holders St Ives through to the semi-final of Hunts FA Senior Cup but all of the plaudits must go to the hard working step six Eagles who battled hard throughout to ensure that this game remained much tighter than many would have expected right to the end.

One thing that did help the hosts though was their bobbly River Road pitch and it was that which prevented Tiago Nassunculo testing home keeper Devon Phelan in the second minute. Ives rangy striker had started his run on the half way line and things opened up for him nicely to get an effort away from just outside the box but the bobble meant that the effort went high and wide.

The first effort on target of the evening came in the 18th minute but debutant Nick Keyamo’s flicked header to Aaron Smith’s long throw only required a comfortable save to his left for keeper Phelan.

With Ives in total control and moving the ball around well despite the surface it looked like simply a matter of time before they could find a way through the hard working Eagles back line. An excellent 25th minute through ball from Johnson looked like it had put Jonny Edwards clear but Josh Newman had other ideas and came sliding across to bravely block the shot when it came.

The visitors got their noses in front in the simplest fashion from the resulting Luke Harris corner which perfectly picked out the unmarked Johnson twelve yards out. The powerful centre half got his header spot on as he found the top corner of the net just beyond the despairing dive of Phelan.

Now in front and in complete control of the game Ives fans in the compact stadium were expecting more goals to follow but it just did not happen. The next action for Phelan was not until ten minutes before the break when he struggled to keep out a teasing cross from the right by Harris that looked like it was going to drift in at his near post. He just did enough at the expense of a corner but this one came to nothing.

A couple more chances to increase the lead came and went in those remaining ten minutes before half time. Nassunculo’s flicked header to a Smith cross from the left required a routine save from Phelan. But the keeper did not even have to work to keep out the second one as Keyamo stabbed another low Smith cross wide of the near post.

The Eagles only real probe into Ives territory in the first half came in the very last minute with covering defender Paddy Casey blocking a Brad Brown shot from 25 yards before it even entered the box.

One change for Ives at the break with Jordan Williams coming on to replace Casey in a like for like swap in the back three. Ives fans still thinking that the goal fest was going to arrive soon were sadly mistaken as the battling Eagles kept themselves in the game. But things may have been a little different had Edwards hit the target as he got on the end of Nassuculo’s hanging cross from the right three minutes after the restart. But he was perhaps a little hampered by Fernando Bell-Toxtle getting across in front of him and the header flew over the top.

Edwards had a second opportunity to increase the lead two minutes later when he beat the Eagles attempted offside trap to get on the end of Harris’s deep cross in space but rather than take the ball down he tried to cleverly lob the out of position Phelan and the effort drifted just wide of the post.

Harris came close to catching out Phelan with another cross from the right that looked like it was going to drift in under the crossbar in 56th minute. But the fast back peddling keeper did just enough to claw the ball away. As the ball dropped inside the box Edwards went for a spectacular scissor kick that resulted in what golfers would call a fresh air allowing Eagles defenders to scramble it away.

Two more Ives changes just after the hour saw the introduction of Cambridge United loanees Brandon Njoku and Dan Barton to replace Edwards and Keyamo respectively. But even this exciting pair struggled to put together any flowing moves on this pitch. They did combine to carve out one opportunity 15 minutes from time when Barton got down the right and delivered a dangerous cross to the back post where Njoku arriving at pace met it on the volley but like others before him on the evening he failed to hit the target.

Ives continued to look untroubled but as the clock ticked down the home bench and supporters began to get a little more animated as they realised that there was still a small chance that they could get something from the game. That little bit of belief did transfer to the players on the pitch and the only recorded shots for the Eagles in the game both came in the last ten minutes but neither troubled Eddie Brearey in the Ives goal. An 81st minute snap 25 yarder from Callan Irvine went well wide and an added time effort from a similar distance by Frankie Webster took a similar trajectory.

The final whistle followed quickly after that effort to bring the curtain down on an evening where Ives can say that although they were by no means spectacular they got the job done and go into the hat for the semi-finals. The Eagles will hope that the level of effort shown throughout this game can be matched in their upcoming league fixtures to boost them up the Spartan South Midlands Division One table.

Other benefits from the game were the opportunity to get minutes in for squad players and also for the management team to get an opportunity to properly run the rule over new signings Keyamo and centre back Sam Tessler who looked composed, although not really tested on an overall satisfactory evening.



ST IVES: Johnson 26

Team Line Ups:

EATON SOCON: Phelan, Buckle, Flack (Samupita 84), Newman, E. Smith (capt), Irvine, Webster, Brown, Jolly (Zekri 72), Mitcham (Kimpton 58), Rhaman, Unused subs: Buckland, Reid

ST IVES: Brearey, Hottor, A. Smith, Bell-Toxtle (capt), Tessler, Casey (Williams 46), Keyamo (Barton 61), Harris, Edwards (Njoku 61), Nassunculo, Johnson, Unused subs: Richens, Cowling,  

Cards:  Yellow:  EATON SOCON: none        ST IVES: none


Attendance: 92

Tonight: Eaton Socon v Ives

St Ives Town begin their defence of the Hunts Senior Cup tonight when they visit Eaton Socon for a quarter final tie.

It was back at the end of April that the Ives were crowned winners of the competition when they beat Yaxley on penalties.

The match tonight will feature some of the Ives players who haven’t seen game time recently so the likes of Tiago Nassunculo, Luke Harris, and Charlie Johnson could feature in the starting line-up.

Eaton Socon go into the game on the back of two home defeats against Moulton and Winslow United, The hosts eliminated St Neots at this stage last year before losing to Yaxley in the semi-final.

Kick-off this evening at the Eaton Socon Sports Club is at 7:30pm.

Ives handed away draw in Trophy

St Ives Town have been drawn away to Aveley in the second round of the Isuzu FA Trophy.

Aveley are currently second in the National League South, currently six points behind leaders Yeovil and have lost four of their opening 14 league games this season.

The tie will be played at the Parkside Stadium on Saturday 18 November 2023.

Ives improved form continues as Marine beaten in Trophy

St Ives Town 3 v Marine 1

Isuzu FA Trophy 1st Round  28-10-2023

Nigel Howlett Reports

A powerful first half performance, well backed up by an excellent second half defensive display saw back in form Ives despatch the renowned cup fighting Mariners. The side from Liverpool who only four seasons ago hosted Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup are up to their exploits again this season and host League Two Harrogate Town in that hallowed competition next Saturday. But make no mistake they made their visit to Cambridgeshire equally determined to progress in the FA Trophy.

But Ives had other ideas and took the lead after only 85 seconds. Michael Richens curled in an early free kick from the left and Jordan Williams ghosted in unmarked to nod past a static Felix Goddard in the visitor’s goal.

That early goal rocked the Mariners and Ives continued to harry them high up the pitch at every opportunity but it wasn’t until 17th minute that they carved out another opportunity for a shot on goal. A powerful run down the left by Aaron Smith allowed him to feed the ball on to Dan Barton his pull back to the edge of the box picked out Peter Abimbola but the youngster snatched at the chance and fired well over.

It was exactly half way through the first period before the Mariners really put any threat onto Ives goal. The speedy Sol Solomon robbed Myles Cowling inside Ives half and drove in on goal, but Paddy Casey was alert to the danger and came across to cover and block the shot. Another half chance followed for the visitors three minutes later when skipper Josh Wardle rose highest at the back post to get on the end of Will Tomlinson’s free kick but he could only direct his header wide under heavy pressure from Ives defenders.

Play quickly swung back to the other end where keeper Goddard was saved from embarrassment by his defenders. Another clever Richens free kick into the box was won at the near post by Jonny Edwards who directed his toe poke on target but Goddard made a comfortable save. Although inexplicably the keeper then dropped the ball leading to a bout of pinball inside the Mariners box. Both Williams and Richens following up had shots blocked before the ball ricocheted to Brandon Njoku by the penalty spot. He hit the ball perfectly on the volley and it was arrowing for the back of the net before covering defender Chris Doyle flung himself along the goal line to head the ball away.

It took more excellent Ives defending to block out another swift Mariners break just before the half hour. The dangerous Finlay Sinclair-Smith got away down the right and delivered a ball to the near post where Louis White was lurking but Josh Tomlinson slid in with a well timed challenge to knock the ball away from goal. That effort was quickly followed by fierce 25 yarder from Will Tomlinson that keeper Eddie Brearey blocked but could not hold fortunately his defenders were alert to the danger and scrambled the ball clear.

But that was the visitor’s final attempt before the break as Ives took control for the remaining fifteen minutes. The pace and direct running style of Ives front men continued to cause the visitors problems and a 33rd minute run from Njoku saw him get into the heart of the Mariners back line. He fed the ball on to Barton who in turn laid it on the Richens cutting in from the right. His powerful first time effort flashed across the face of goal but the wrong side of the far post.

The host’s doubled their advantage from their very next attack two minutes later. A poor defensive header from Doyle fell to Barton 25 yards out but rather than go for goal he ran at the Mariners back line, pulling in defenders before cleverly sliding the ball to the unmarked Edwards who made no mistake from just inside the box.

There was still time for Edwards to get the ball in the net again two minutes before the break again it was a free kick into their box which almost proved the Mariners undoing. A struggling defender only succeeded in half clearing the ball to Cowling just outside the left edge of the box. A clever side step allowed him to drill a ball across the six yard line that Edwards bundled in at the far post only to be denied by an assistants upraised flag.

The visitors were bound to offer more in the second half. Although it was Ives who created the first half chance and what proved to be their last one until the closing stages. Abimbola delivered a dangerous ball in from the right that a stretching Njoku just failed to turn home at the far post.

Then started the Mariners bombardment. A free kick from wide on the right by White was punched away by an under pressure Brearey, the ball fell to Tomlinson 25 yards out but the skipper got it all wrong and sliced his effort well wide. Only seconds later the Mariner’s danger men combined as Sinclair-Smith fed a ball into the well timed run of Solomon but Brearey was smartly off his line to block at point blank range.

Cowling took down White to concede a free kick just inches outside Ives box on the hour. Tomlinson took on the responsibility and did well to get his shot up and down over Ives five man wall but Brearey made good ground across his goal line to claim the ball well. Sinclair-Smith came within inches of pulling a goal back in 68th minute as full back Michael Carberry got forward down the left and picked him out with an inside pass. The Mariners number seven calmly curled his effort over Brearey but it rebounded back into play off the angle of post and crossbar.

The pressure did finally tell fifteen minutes from time and again Sinclair-Smith was involved getting to the bye line on the left before picking out his skipper on the edge of the box with his pull back Tomlinson made no mistake thumping home a low drive through the crowded goalmouth.

With the wind very much in their sails the visitors went in search of an equaliser but unlike in the not to distant past Ives back line admirably lead by Williams stood firm and defended their box well limiting the Mariners to half chances only. Sinclair-Smith, substitute Jordan Lussey and Carberry combined well down the left in 83rd minute but the latter’s driven cross flashed harmlessly across the face of goal. Two minutes later Sinclair-Smith and Solomon combined to set up a shooting opportunity for Manasse Mampala but the visitor’s substitute fired his effort wide from the edge of the box.

The clock ticked into an added five minutes and two minutes into that added time the Mariners final half chance came and went as Carberry and Mampala combined on the left with the formers cross to the edge of the box being met on the volley by White but the effort flew well over the top.

After that Ives looked to be playing out the final few minutes very well, so well in fact that referee Colman O’Meara found another couple of minutes to add and it was in the final one of those when the excellent high pressing of Njoku paid off as he and substitute Tiago Nassunculo harried keeper Goddard into a hurried clearance that went straight to Richens 40 yards from goal. He may have thought about delivering the ball back to the corner flag but the site of a vacant net was just to inviting and he found the back of it with what proved to be the last kick of the game to put the icing on the top of an excellent home win and ensure that Ives are in the hat for Monday lunch times second round draw. The result matches the Club’s best run in the competition which came in the same season when Marine hosted Tottenham in the FA Cup in 2020/21 when both sides had to play their big games behind closed doors courtesy of the Covid pandemic. This time we can hope for a home draw and a big crowd.

Final Score:  St Ives Town    3   Marine  1


ST IVES: Williams 2, Edwards 35, Richens 90+7

MARINE: W. Tomlinson 76

Team Line Ups:

ST IVES: Brearey, Abimbola, Smith, Richens (capt), Williams, Casey, Barton (Hottor 71), Cowling (Harris 90), Edwards (Nassunculo 90), Njoku, J. Tomlinson, Unused subs: Bell-Toxtle, Johnson

MARINE: Goddard, Ferguson, Carberry, W. Tomlinson, Doyle, Wardle (capt), Sinclair-Smith, White, Osei (Mampala 71), Solomon, Nolan (Lussey 46), Unused subs: Hayde, Cowderoy,

Cards:  Yellow:  ST IVES: Smith (52)     MARINE: Solomon (81)


Attendance: 279

Ives v Marine: Match Programme

The online official matchday magazine is now available to download for the Isuzu FA Trophy first round clash with Marine. Inside our bumper 45 page edition this week:

  • We review the Ives’ last-gasp victory over Royston on Monday night
  • Ives supporter Dave Hook looks back on some FA Trophy clashes of recent years
  • We look back at the two occasions when Marine reached the semi-finals of the competition
  • And our popular matchday quiz ‘Ten to Tackle’ returns for another week

There’s much more too, and it is FREE to download. Simply click HERE to get your copy.