Category: U18 News

Weekend Round Up – 29 & 30 September

Saturday 29 September

The Ives played out a 0-0 draw at AFC Rushden & Diamonds. 

Click here for the match report.

Sunday 30 September

The Ladies 1st team completed a quick double in 2 succesive Sundays over Hertford Ladies to chalk up a 4-1 victory in the ERWFL Div 1. Sisters Katie & Georgia Stancombe got the goals with a brace a piece. Katie Stancombe was also awarded ‘Player of the Match’.

In the EJA League, the U16 exited the League Challenge Cup losing to a narrow 4-5 scoreline at Hitchin Town. The U15 won their Challenge Cup game with a 5-1 win at Haverhill Rovers. The U14 lost 1-3 at home to Newmarket Town in the Green Division.

In the Royston Crow Youth Football League the U13 recorded an impressive 11-1 win at Letchworth Garden City Eagles.

Up to date league tables can found for all our teams in the tab menu bar.

U18s & FA Cup Replay – Match Reports

Monday 24 September

The U18s won their 2nd game in 5 days with a local derby 4-2 victory over Godmanchester Rovers in the Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division.

Click here for the match report

Tuesday 25 September

The Ives advanced to the FA Cup 3rd round qualifying for the first time ever courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Grantham Town in the 2nd qualifying round replay to set up a visit to York City in two Saturdays time.

Click here for the match report

Round Up 20-23 September

Thursday 20 September

The U18s chalked up their first win of the season with a 1-0 victory at March Town United.

Click here for the match report.

Saturday 22 September

The first team drew 1-1 against Grantham Town in the 2nd Qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup and will have to do it all again in a replay at The Meres on Tuesday 25 September, 19:45 kick off.

Click here for the match report & match photos.

Sunday 23 September

The Ladies 1st team progressed through to the 2nd round of the ERWFL league cup with a 5-0 win over Hertford LFC at WWR. The goals came from Georgia Stancombe x 2, Katie Stancombe, Hannah Seymour-Shove & Francesca Worrell.

For the 3rd week running the Ladies development team are involved In 5-2 score line, winning at home v Histon LFC res in group C of the Cambs league cup. Goalscorers – Jade Carpenter x 2, Connie Liddiard x 2 & Katherine Speed.

The U16s win 3-0 against Biggleswade Utd U16 in the EJA league.  2 goals on home debut for Adam and 1 for Josh W.

The U14 win with a convincing 11-0 scoreline in the Hunts County Cup at Somersham Town U14. Goalscorers – Bailey Kelly x 2, Harvey Keates x 2, Daniel Legg x 2, Alfie Baker x 2, Luke Dunn x 2 & Billy Chambers.

The U15 & U13 scheduled fixtures were postponed.

U18, Ladies & Colts – Round Up

Thursday 13 September

The U18s visited Deeping Rangers for a Thurlow Nunn Youth League fixture. Unfortunately they were on they slipped to a 6-0 defeat. Click here for the match report.

Sunday 16 September

The Ladies 1st team travelled to Histon Ladies in the ERWFL Div 1 and came away with a point in a 2-2 draw. The Ladies were 2 to the good at half time with goals from Tierney Coulson (also POM) and Hannah Seymour-Shove. Histon however, pulled level in the second half and the Ladies had to dig in to get a point at the end.

After suffering a 2-5 defeat last week the Ladies Development side enjoyed a 5-2 win at Isleham United Ladies in the in the Cambs South Div. The goals came from Lauren Gibson x2, Fran Worrall, Connie Liddiard & Jade Carpenter.

In the EJA League, the U16 lost by the odd goal in 9 at Takeley. The U15 recorded an excellent 4-3 win at AFC Sudbury. The U14 suffered a narrow 1-2 defeat at home to Needham Market.

In the Royston Crow League, the U13 game at home to Plantation Youth was postponed.

Up to date league tables can found for all our teams in the tab menu bar.

Match Report – St Neots Town U18 2 St Ives Town U18 1

St Neots Town U18  2  St Ives Town U18  1  

Huntingdonshire FA County Under 18 Cup Quarter Final  – 14/01/18

Ives went into this game seeking revenge for a very close defeat in last year’s final, and came out of it feeling robbed of at least the chance of a penalty shoot out against their fierce local rivals who now remain on course to retain their crown.

A slow start to the second half cost the visitors dear as they conceded two goals in a three minute spell immediately after the break. Substitute Sam Bond pulled a goal back with eighteen minutes to go, the same player then had a huge appeal for a penalty turned down as he was scythed down deep inside the box in added time. The only person in the ground who did not think that it was a spot kick was the referee. But by such fine margins are games decided and cups won.

Confident from their League win earlier in the week the Ives started the game on the front foot taking the game to their opposition and creating a couple of half chances in the first ten minutes without testing the home keeper.

The hosts first foray into visitor’s territory came in 9th minute as George Holman went a rampaging run straight into the heart of the Ives back line. He unleashed a fierce effort on goal from 25 yards that a well positioned Tom Smith made look a much more comfortable save than it might have been.

This seemed to boost the home sides confidence and Saints began to enjoy their best period of the game as they pushed Ives back. But in spite of enjoying the lion’s share of possession for the next twenty minutes they were unable to work Smith again as the visitor’s back line well marshalled by skipper Jamie Short held firm. Even losing powerful centre back Jordan Locke to an injury did not knock them as Matt Harvey slotted in well alongside Short.

The closest Saints came to breaching the Ives back line during this spell were in 24th minute when Aaron Hiscock managed to wriggle past Dawid Kwiatowski on the right and was taken down right on the edge of the box by the covering Billy Mobbs. Referee Chris Martin waved away Saints appeals for a penalty and surprisingly did not even give the hosts a free kick. Saints also carved out a half chance in 30th minute as the speedy Andre Williams got away down the right and hung up a deep cross to beyond the back post where Hiscock kept the ball alive knocking it back into the centre for Holman to head wide from a good position.

But as half time approached the flow of the game seemed to change again and the battling Kyrie Foster carved out two chances for himself as he battled his way through tackles to get to the edge of the box. But on both occasions he failed to test keeper Shaami Ahmed as he screwed his shots wide.

Foster also got on the end of Ives best opportunity of the first half which came just seconds before the break as Tiago Dias and Harry Sargent exchanged passes before the former slid the ball into the feet of Foster just inside the box. He had time to take a touch, but snatched at the chance blazing well over the top from a good position.

The game was won, and lost, in the first five minutes of the second half as the Ives started slowly, and the Saints seized the opportunity taring at them and grabbing what proved to be an unassailable two goal advantage.

The first goal arrived two minutes after the restart as Hiscock got to the bye line wide on the left and delivered a teasing cross that a stretching Smith just managed to claw away from the head of Kieran Waites. But the ball dropped to Williams who drove it back into the centre where Short did amazingly well to bravely hurl himself in front of a point blank shot from Waites. Unfortunately for Ives the ball fell to Sam Routs who fired it home from six yards.

The second arrived only three minutes later and again Hiscock was the provider as he broke away down the left outpacing Kwiatkowski and delivered a low cross to the near post where Holman managed to get in front of his marker and opened his body perfectly to side foot the ball past the exposed Smith from close range.

Having fallen two behind it was always going to be an uphill task to get back into the game. But to their credit Ives lifted the pace and began to push their hosts back with Gordan Torkornoo and Dias battling hard to wrest control in the centre of the park. The introduction of Sam Bond in 66th minute also provided a new spark to their front line.

It took Bond only six minutes to halve the arrears as he got on the end of a threaded through ball from Dias after the silky midfielder had exchanged passes with Foster in the centre of the park. Bond still had work to do, but he was brave as he just beat keeper Ahmed to the ball to slide it home from ten yards.

Ives had an opportunity to level things up whilst their opponents were still rocking as only three minutes later Sargent lost his marker to get on the end of Foster’s in-swinging free kick, but when it needed a flick, he got it all wrong and got to much on the ball knocking it away from goal.

With ten minutes to go manager Ben Seymour-Shove made the bold move of going three at the back and pushing an extra man forward as Mobbs returned to the fray replacing full back Kwiatkowski. Ives continued to press, but they were now leaving gaps at the back and Williams came within inches of sewing the game up three minutes from the end of the ninety. Saints substitute Ben Southwood fed the ball down the line into the run of Williams who was clear and clipped the ball past the exposed Smith only to be denied by a covering Short who did well to knock the ball off the goal line and past the post.

With time fast running out, Ives players, and almost everyone else in the ground, except the one that mattered, were convinced that they should have had a penalty. Martin Saunders battled down the left and clipped a cross into the box. Bond robbed Alfie Donkin as he tried to clear just inside the box, turned onto the loose ball and was just about to shoot as Jack Baker unceremoniously upended him. In spite of all of the protestations which continued well after the final whistle that swiftly followed the incident, referee Martin remained unmoved.

The Ives can continue to voice their complaints and a draw would probably had been a fair result from a very competitive and even game. However the match was really lost in those vital first five minutes after the re-start and anything that could have been gleaned from added time would have been considered a very lucky escape. But it was not to be and it is the holders that march on into the semi-finals and Ives wait to win the competition that they last won in 2004 goes on a little longer.

St Ives Team : Smith, Kwiatkowski, Pillin, Short (capt), Locke (Harvey 26), Torkornoo, Mobbs (Bond 66), Dias, Sargent, Foster, Mobbs, Saunders

Additional roll on roll off subs : Locke for Harvey 79, Mobbs for Kwiatkowsi 86

Unused subs : Oldale

Goals : Bond 72

Attendance :  approx. 45

Report by Nigel Howlett

Youth, Ladies & Colts Round Up – 14 Jan

3 Wins, 1 Loss & 1 Abandonment

In an unusual Sunday fixture for the Youth Team, they went out at the quarter final stage of the Hunts Cup losing 2-1 at St Neots. A repeat scoreline of last years final between the two sides.

A full match report by Nigel Howlett to follow.

Upcoming fixtures

  • Mon 29 Jan – Wisbech St Mary U18 (H) – Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division
  • Wed 7 Feb – King’s Lynn Town U18 (A) – Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division

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The Ladies 1st Team had a game free weekend.

Upcoming fixtures

  • Sun 21 Jan – Cambridge Rangers (H) – Cambs Women’s Invitational Cup
  • Sun 28 Jan – Park Ladies (H) – Cambs Women’s Premiership

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The Ladies Development league match at Newmarket Town Ladies Reserves was abandoned in the 80th minute with the score at 1-1 due to a serious injury suffered by a Newmarket player.

Newmarket Ladies made the following statement via Twitter –

Game Abandoned after 80 Min due to a serious injury.

Thank you to Darren Marjoram and all at St Ives Town Ladies for their help and support in dealing with our injured player. #FootballFamily

Upcoming fixtures

  • Sun 21 Jan – Histon Ladies Res (H) – Cambs Women’s Championship South
  • Sun 28 Jan – Burwell Tigers Ladies (H) – Cambs Women’s Championship South

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The U15’s progressed to the 3rd Round of the Presidents Cup with a 1-0 win over Leiston courtesy of a Ben Smith goal.

Manager Paul Everest had the following to say –

The 15’s travelled to Leiston in the EJA Presidents Cup today. A good game that saw St Ives come away with the win after a hard fought game. Look forward to the draw for the next round.

Upcoming fixtures

  • Sun 21 Jan – Stowmarket Town (A) – EJA U15 Yellow Division
  • Sun 4 Feb – Haverhill Rovers (A) – EJA U15 Yellow Division

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The U14’s won through to the semi finals of the Hunts U14 Cup with a 7-2 victory over Godmanchester Town.

The U14 management made the following comment via Twitter –

Tidy display in the Hunts Cup this morning 7-2 win over Godmanchester. On to the semis!!!

Upcoming fixtures

  • Sun 21 Jan – Felixstowe & Walton (H) – EJA U14 Green Division
  • Sun 4 Feb – Haverhill Rovers (H) – EJA U14 Green Division

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The U13’s made it through to the Final of the League Cup with an excellent 2-1 victory over top of the table Saffron Walden Community Youth Blues

Baker & Keates got the Ives goals. Damien Boakye was awarded ‘Player of the Match’

The U13 management reported the following via Twitter –

What a performance today!!! We had 12 men after a few late drop outs through illness. We asked our team to show desire, passion, patience and commitment. That’s exactly what happened!

Oli & Dan thanks for doing your stints in goal!!!

Upcoming fixtures

  • Sun 21 Jan – West Wratting Youth (H) – Cambs & District Colts League U13A Division
  • Sun 28 Jan – Sun 14 Jan – Saffron Walden Community Youth Blues (H) – Cambs & District Colts League U13A Division

Match Report – St Ives U18 5 Downham Town U18 0

St Ives Town U18  5  Downham Town U18  0

Thurlow Nunn Youth League Western Division – 08/01/18

This game proved to be the perfect opportunity for the young Ives to work off any Christmas excess ahead of their County Cup Quarter Final against St Neots on Sunday. It took them a while to break down their visitor’s resilient defensive formation and they only went in one up at the break, but their superior fitness and technique showed through in the second period as the played some excellent flowing football in spite of the heavy conditions and blew away Town scoring four further goals without reply. The score line could have been even more emphatic but for an excellent goal keeping display from the visitor’s stopper Dan Clark.

Clark started his heroics as early as 4th minute when he sprinted from his line to quickly close down Martin Saunders after the Ives winger had been put through on goal by an excellent threaded pass from Billy Mobbs. The young keeper bravely blocked Saunders shot at point blank range.

The elegant George Cawte played a well flighted ball over the top only sixty seconds later. Mobbs chased it down collecting the ball as it came off a defender, but his effort from just inside the box was deflected wide of the post.

Four minutes later the ever willing Harry Sargent chased a hopeful ball through the left channel and just beat Clark to it, but was forced wide by the keeper. He unselfishly laid the ball back to the fast arriving Saunders who struck his shot well from just outside the box, but the gallant Clark had recovered his ground and plunged to his left to cling on to the effort.

Ives continued to knock on the Town door, but it remained firmly shut until 26th minute when Mobbs threaded a perfect ball between centre back and full back to pick out the run of Cobi Thomas cutting in from the right. Thomas finished well clipping the ball over the body of the exposed Clark as the keeper tried to close him down.

Home keeper Tom Smith had been a virtual spectator up to this point. But the battling Jesse Tierney who had been ploughing a lone furrow for the visitors was brought down by Mitchell Pillin on the right. Richard Mills curled in the free kick to the near post where Tierney managed to lose his marker and get across in front of Smith. But the keeper stayed alert and still managed to cling onto the ball in spite of being unsighted.

This sortie into home territory seemed to lift the visitors and they enjoyed their best spell of the game in next fifteen minutes. On the half hour Tierney exchanged passes with Sam Gosling the move ending with the latter being put clear in the box. But the young winger snatched at his chance and sliced his effort wide from a good position.

Town went close to grabbing an equaliser twice more before half time. Gosling was again involved in 42nd minute as he got on the end of a through ball from Fraser McManus. This time he struck his effort from just inside the box cleanly, but straight at Smith who held on well.

The last action of the half saw Joe Causton pick out the hard working Tierney in space on the right. But whether through tiredness, or a desire to catch Smith out of position, the striker took his shot on very early from fully 35 yards and Smith was happy to watch it float over the top.

It was not long after the break before Ives superior fitness began to tell in the heavy conditions. A probing run through the centre by Thomas created space for Sargent who was well picked out by the young winger. Sargent’s fierce left footed effort from the corner of the box was stopped by Clark, but he spilled the ball. Mobbs was on hand to knock it home only to be denied by an assistant’s flag as he had strayed into an offside position.

The visitors did carve out a chance just before the hour as McManus pounced on Dawid Kwiatkowsi’s attempted clearing header from Josh Ford’s cross. But the Town striker skied his effort well over from twelve yards.

Having failed to grab a leveller the visitors soon found themselves two behind. In 62nd minute Tiago Dias threaded a ball down the left to pick out Saunders who cut in and unleashed a low skimming drive from 20 yards that Clark did well to palm away low to his right. Saunders delivered the resulting corner into the mix where Jordan Locke knocked it on for Sargent to force the ball home at close range.

Kyrie Foster was introduced for Sargent immediately after the goal and he had an almost instant impact as only three minutes later Saunders and Mobbs combined well on the left. Mobbs cross was well taken down by Foster with his first touch inside the box, his second touch slotted the ball past the exposed Clark.

Smith was called upon to make his best save of the evening in 74th minute as he plunged to his left to push away a well struck 25 yarder from Gosling after the winger had cut inside and tried his luck.

Clark was still doing his best to keep the score down at the other end and he did well to hang onto a stinging drive from the edge of the box by Saunders as he got on the end of a threaded pass from the dangerous Foster only sixty seconds later.

Foster’s strength and speed continued to trouble the Town back line and it was no surprise when he added his second and Ives fourth in 78th minute. He timed his run perfectly to get on the end of Thomas’s clip over the top and finished well past the exposed Clark from just inside the box.

The final goal of the night was a second for Sargent as he received a pass from substitute Brandon Oldale on the edge of the box, stepped inside, looked up and picked his spot with a curling effort around two defenders that crept in the bottom corner past the unsighted Clark.

Overall verdict was another very good all round display that will have blown the cobwebs away and prepared the boys well for Sunday’s challenging encounter with their local rivals. The game, a repeat of last year’s final, will take place on St Neots Town Astro with a 10.30 kick off

St Ives Team : Smith, Kwiatkowski, Pillin, Short (capt), Locke (Harvey 69), Cawte, Thomas, Dias, Sargent (Foster 63), Mobbs, Saunders (Oldale 78)

Additional roll on roll off subs : Sargent for Mobbs 83

Goals : Thomas 26, Sargent 62 & 85, Foster 65 & 78

Attendance :  21

Report by Nigel Howlett

Match Report – Downham Town U18 1 St Ives Town U18 3

Downham Town U18  1 St Ives Town U18  3  

Thurlow Nunn Youth League Western Division – 14/12/17

The young Ives side took another step in their education as they needed to come from behind to take the three points from battling opponents on a bitterly cold evening in the fens.

This fixture was previously set for a much more balmy evening in the middle of September when the Ives raced into a three goal lead inside the first twenty minutes before the fixture was abandoned due to a serious injury to one of the Downham players. However on their return visit the Ives were met by a much more resilient hosts who looked the more positive from the off and it was no real surprise when they went in front after only twelve minutes as Josh Ford and Dan Murphy combined on the right and Jessie Tierney got across Jamie Short at the near post to knock home the latter’s low cross.

Ives were playing against a strengthening breeze in this first period and keeper Tom Smith was cleverly keeping his kicks low into the teeth of the wind. Two minutes later Jordan Locke flicked on a Smith goal kick in the centre circle. Harry Sargent instantly brought the ball under control and fed it through into the run of Martin Saunders cutting in from the left. But Saunders well struck effort from the edge of the box was deflected inches wide. Locke climbed highest to the resulting corner, but could not keep his header down.

The pitch was cutting up following the recent rain and the combination of a bumpy pitch and strong wind was making good football difficult, it was definitely a night for the hard workers on the park, not one for the connoisseurs. Cobi Thomas showed the work ethic well in 36th minute as he chased back on the right hand side to win back a ball after it looked like Sam Gosling was going to get away. Having won the ball back he fed it inside to Owen King who slotted a ball through the right hand channel for the ever willing Sargent to chase. Home keeper Ryan Brown looked the favourite to win the race, but Sargent was braver and stronger winning the challenge to earn himself the opportunity to roll the ball into the empty net for Ives equaliser.

The hosts should have gone back in front on the stroke of half time as Murphy bravely battled his way deep into Ives territory on the left. His driven cross was expertly flicked on by Fraser McManus and Josh Ford arrived all on his own in acres of space at the back post. He had time to take a touch, but instinctively stabbed at the ball and rolled his effort inches wide of the post with the goal at his mercy.

After ten minutes in the pleasant warmth of the changing rooms no one was to keen to come out for the second half. But with the strengthening, and even more biting, Northerly wind now at their backs Ives began to take control of the game. Sargent used the wind to his advantage to put the visitors in front in 56th minute. With keeper Brown struggling to get distance on his goal kicks he handed duties to one of his defenders. But Jamie Bowler did little better with his effort which fell to the feet of Sargent 25 yards from goal. The big centre forward to a touch and then rifled an effort on the breeze over Brown and into the roof of the net giving the keeper no chance.

Almost straight from the kick off the silky Emre Tursucu threaded a ball through to put Tierney clear into the box. But Smith was equal to his effort from 15 yards plunging to his left to turn the shot round the post. The resulting corner lead to a scramble in the visitor’s box but the ball was eventually hacked away to safety.

With Saunders still recovering from an injury and only capable of playing the first 60 minutes and Thomas already limped out of the action at half time Ives were forced into an unusual formation for them on the hour as Matt Harvey came on to replace Saunders and went into a back three with Mitchell Pillin and Jamie Short moving up into a midfield four and Louis Bald joining Sam Bond and Sargent in a front three.

Although manager Jack Cassidy was somewhat forced into this formation it worked very effectively with the solidity and strength of Short and Pillin very quickly preventing the hosts building anything through the centre of the park. Short was involved in creating a golden opportunity for Bond to increase the Ives lead in 72nd minute. Smith cleverly picked out Short by the half way line and he combined with Bond down the right before having his low drive palmed around the post by Brown. The resulting corner was kept alive at the back post by Short who laid it back to Bald just inside the box. His low ball into the centre found Bond completely unmarked six yards out in the centre of goal. He got his shot on target, but Brown somehow managed to keep it out with his legs.

Short continued to be at the heart of everything that Ives were doing going forward and his powerful run down the centre set up an opportunity for Sargent to claim his hat trick four minutes from time. But big striker skied his effort well over the top from just inside the box.

The third goal did finally arrive one minute later as King found his corner from the left knocked back to him and he hammered back a rasping drive from a narrow angle that Brown deflected up into the air. But the ball dropped to the back post where Harvey was first to react to ram the it home from point blank range to claim his opening Ives goal.

Everyone was pleased to hear the final whistle and grab the opportunity to return to the warmth a few minutes later. The journey back across the bleak fen was made all the better with three more points in the bag from another good, solid performance.

St Ives Team : Smith, Kwiatkowski, Pillin, Short (capt), Locke, Cawte, Thomas (Bald 45), King, Sargent, Bond, Saunders (Harvey 61)

Unused subs : none

Goals : Sargent 36, 56, Harvey 87

Attendance :  approx. 20

Report by Nigel Howlett

Match Report – St Ives Town U18 2 Peterborough Northern Star U 18 0

St Ives Town U18  2  Peterborough Northern Star U18  0

Thurlow Nunn Youth League Western Division – 04/12/17

A goal in each half capped off a thoroughly professional performance from the developing young Ives side as they controlled this game throughout and but for a few missed chances could have won by a better margin. The side again contained predominantly first years but the experience was still there in the back line which was well marshalled throughout by captain Jamie Short, and performed well enough to ensure that keeper Tom Smith only had one real save to make in the entire 90 minutes. The young central midfield pairing of Owen King and George Cawte in spite of being out numbered in the middle of the park constantly took the game to their opposition. With the now experienced Billy Mobbs on one flank and the exciting prospect Louis Bald making his first start on the opposite side there was plenty of pace and trickery in the wide positions. All feeding a front two of Sam Bond and the ever willing Harry Sargent.

Considering that it was only the second Thurlow Nunn game that most of these players had started together Ives began the game well and were immediately in the ascendency. They went close in only 7th minute as a George Cawte free kick from just inside the Star half was only half cleared to Sargent 25 yards from goal. He took on the dropping ball and hit a dipping volley that pulled an excellent save from Star keeper Fabio D’Agnano who leapt high to his left to tip the ball onto the crossbar. Mobbs was following up and latched onto the loose ball, but hammered his effort well wide with the goal at his mercy.

The hosts continued to press forward and Mobbs went close again seven minutes later as he got onto the end of a ball threaded through the right channel by Owen King. Rather than go for power Mobbs decided to go for precision this time and tried lobbing D’Agnano from just inside the box, but his effort crept inches over the crossbar.

It continued to be all Ives, but they were struggling to find away through the resilient Star back line. Jordan Locke ventured up field for the next free kick delivered into the visitor’s box in 29th minute. He got on the end of a ball which was knocked down to him, but miskicked his effort allowing a Star defender to hack the ball away. But Bald was onto the loose ball in a flash and teed himself up for a volley from 25 yards that skimmed the crossbar with D’Agnano beaten.

The goal which had been threatening finally arrived seven minutes before the break from yet another Cawte free kick delivered into the danger zone. Two defenders got in each others way and only succeeded in knocking the ball down to the lurking Locke six yards from goal and this time he made no mistake slamming home the loose ball past the exposed keeper.

Star’s only threatening effort in the first period came three minutes later as Joe Carr curled a free kick from 30 yards just over the top. But Smith watched the effort confident in the knowledge that if needed he had it covered.

Ives should have doubled their advantage right on the break as Cawte slid a ball through into the perfectly timed run of Bond to put him through one on one with the keeper. But a slightly heavy first touch from the striker allowed D’Agnano to bravely slide in and block Bond’s effort with his body at point blank range.

Smith’s only real save of the night came in 58th minute as Segun Okunrinboye curled a 25 yard free kick around the Ives wall forcing Smith to plunge full length to his left and turn the effort around the post.

But the previous flow of the game soon resumed as Sargent got free on the right and tested D’Agnano again with a first time effort from the corner of the box that forced the keeper into another save low to his left.

Sargent was denied on that occasion, but his persistence paid off seven minutes later as he harried Ban Gale into a mistake robbing the defender just outside his own box. Sargent cut across the edge of the face of goal and as other defenders came to close him down he unleashed a low left foot drive that beat D’Agnano low to his right and went in the bottom corner of the net.

Sargent was giving Gale a tough time and again he robbed him in 71st minute and looked like he was clean through on goal. But to his credit the Star defender recovered on this occasion and came in with a perfectly timed tackle to take the ball off the Ives striker’s toe just as he shaped to shoot.

Ives continued to dominate and yet another Cawte free kick set up an opportunity in 75th minute. This time Short got on the end of it at the near post and got the perfect flick to the back post where the ball just evaded the late arriving Sargent.

Keeper Smith did get a bit more action twelve minutes from time as he sprinted from his line to just beat Star debutant Mamsaliu Cande to a ball over the top well outside his box. But he mishit his attempted clearance straight at Harry Catanach fully 30 yards from goal. Left with the dilemma of trying to retreat, or keeping going Smith went for the positive and was proved right as he successfully blocked Catanach’s effort with his body a long way from goal and his team mates came to his aid by hacking the loose ball to safety.

The referee had handed out some odd yellow cards during the evening, Liam Harper for Star, and Cawte for Ives, were both unfortunate recipients. However Adam Kelly earned himself an unlikely accolade as he picked up a deserved caution before he had even kicked a ball as he came on to replace the tiring Bald in 79th minute and picked up his card for clattering Catanach less than 30 seconds later.

Not surprisingly the final chance of the evening fell to the Ives with ten minutes to go as yet another Cawte free kick was flicked on by King and fell to the feet of Short at the back post. He struck his effort from eight yards well, but was denied by the legs of the well positioned D’Agnano.

Overall a good three points, but more importantly more game time together for these lads as the quest to build for next season continues by blooding more of the youngsters. Next up for the lads is a County Cup Quarter Final at St Neots and the way that these lads have performed will make it a very difficult decision for manager Jack Cassidy deciding the team that he puts out.

St Ives Team : Smith, Kwiatkowski, Pillin, Short (capt), Locke, King, Bald (Kelly 79), Cawte, Bond, Mobbs, Sargent

Unused subs : Oldale, Harvey

Goals : Locke 38, Sargent 67

Attendance :  27

Report by Nigel Howlett

Match Report – St Ives Town U18 1 King’s Lynn Town U18 1

St Ives Town U18  1  King’s Lynn Town U18  1          

Thurlow Nunn Youth League Western Division – 27/11/17

A very young Ives squad containing nine first years in the fourteen were perhaps a little fortunate to take a point from a game where they struggled to create many clear cut chances. But to their credit every one of them battled all the way and an equaliser three minutes from time by George Cawte gleaned them a hard earned point against the young Linnets who had lead from mid-way through the first half thanks to a well taken goal by Charlie Rudland.

With so many changes to the line up it was always going to take Ives a while to get into their stride and it was the Linnets who were creating the early chances. Rudland combined well with Josh Walker on the left after six minutes. The move finishing with Walker playing in Rudland on the left hand side of the box. The skilful wide man took a touch, but fired over from a good position.

Less than a minute later the visitors were probing the Ives back line again, this time Jack Cropley and Connor Young exchanged passes before the latter fired in an effort from the edge of the box that was fortunately straight at Tom Smith who held on well.

Ives first opportunity arrived in 15th minute as a pass went astray in the Linnets back line. Tiago Dias pounced on the loose ball 25 yards from goal. He took a touch before curling in a well directed effort that forced Lewis Herbert in the visitor’s goal into a diving save low to his left. Billy Mobbs was following up and kept the ball alive, but was unable to pick out Harry Sargent with his ball back into the middle.

In spite of this escape it was still the visitors on top and they went close again in 20th minute as Rudland delivered a long free kick into the box that arrived at the feet of Callum South at the back post. Fortunately Smith was down quickly to keep out his prodded effort by his right hand post.

Ives had a massive escape three minutes later as a Rudland corner from the right was met powerfully in the air by Young eight yards out. His header beat Smith comprehensively, but rattled the underside of the crossbar before bouncing down into the goalmouth. Smith made two remarkable saves to keep the ball out in the ensuing scramble. The second of these certainly looked like he had pulled the ball back from behind the goal line, but the well positioned assistant referee waved play on and the ball was eventually hacked clear.

Having got away with that one Ives were probably looking for time to settle. But it was not forthcoming as the skilful Walker played a peach of a ball over their back line to pick out a perfectly timed run from Rudland. He took the ball in his stride and went around the exposed Smith before netting well from a narrow angle to put the Linnets in front in 24th minute.

Ives had an instant chance to respond as straight from the restart Dias went down the left and delivered a teasing ball into the middle that dropped onto the foot of Mobbs arriving at the back post. Unfortunately the young striker snatched at his chance and volleyed well over the top.

The game evened out for the remainder of the first period with most of the exchanges in midfield and neither side able to create a real opportunity.

The second period started in similar fashion to that which the first ended with both sides struggling to wrestle control in the centre of the park. The first chance of the second half arrived in the 54th minute in unexpected style as the classy Walker made probably his only mistake of the evening misplacing a pass by the half way line that Mobbs pounced on. He slotted a through ball into the channel for Sargent to run onto and the striker out muscled South as he ran onto the ball. However he was pulled back by the referee’s whistle as he bore down on goal with the match official deciding that he had fouled the big Linnets centre back as they tussled for the ball.

Nine minutes later referee Laurie Parnham played an excellent advantage as Mitchell Pillin brought down Cropley by the half way line. The ball was taken on by Young who played a one two with Walker before blazing over from a good position.

Ives substitute Louis Bald was looking very lively and he had the confidence to go for goal from 40 yards in 71st minute as a hurried clearance from keeper Herbert arrived at his feet. Although he got the direction right the attempted lob just lacked sufficient power to clear the fast retreating keeper who made a good catch.

As the game wore on Ives came more and more into it and continued to push forward in search of an equaliser. But it looked like the Linnets defence well marshalled by skipper South was going to hold them at bay. Until three minutes from time when Freddie Collison was deemed to have fouled Mobbs by the left hand corner flag. Mobbs delivered the resulting free kick to the back post where Cawte had crept in undetected and was able to steer his free header between Herbert and the post to level things up.

With their tails now up the hosts went in pursuit of a very unlikely winner. But even though they managed to win a corner deep in added time which gave them chance to crowd the box, including throwing keeper Smith forward for the third game in a row this time a second goal did not arrive and it finished with honours even on an entertaining game.

St Ives Team : Smith, Kwiatkowski, Pillin, Short (capt), Locke (Harvey 81), Cawte, King (Bald 57), Sargent (Oldale 75), Mobbs, Dias

Unused subs : none

Goals : Cawte 87

Attendance :  32

Report by Nigel Howlett

Match Report – St Ives Town U18 0 Deeping Rangers U18 0

St Ives Town U18  0  Deeping Rangers U18  0          

Thurlow Nunn Youth League Western Division – 20/11/17

Having taken a six goal pasting at the hands of the Rangers only a month before it was going to take real character from the Ives boys to get something from this early return fixture and that was exactly what we got in abundance in this game.

Manager Jack Cassidy tried a change of formation with what he referred to as a rolling back four which at times when it needed to be became a back five with wide men Vitor Vaz and Martin Saunders acting as very effective wing backs. With the three centre backs very effectively keeping the shackles on their arch tormentor from the first game Rob Conyard. With Patrik Polhos and Gordan Torkornoo constantly disrupting the Rangers midfield this was a game for the purist with chances very much at a premium throughout.

The first chance of the game after twelve minutes actually proved to be the closest that either side came to breaking the deadlock. Conyard managed to find half a yard of space to get his head onto a long free kick into the box by Scott Walmsley and the ball beat keeper Sam Carter before rebounding off the inside of the upright and back into play. Mitchell Pillin was first to react hacking the loose ball to safety.

Ives first effort on goal arrived from a very well pre-rehearsed corner routine six minutes later. Billy Mobbs delivered a low corner to the edge of the box. Sam Bond cleverly stepped over the ball and Tiago Dias following up hammered in a low right foot drive that cannoned off a defender.

The hosts continued to look the more likely to score in the first period and it took an excellent block from keeper Max Fisher to keep out Mobbs well struck shot from just inside the box after Bond had battled his way down the left and seen his low cross to the near post deflected into the run of Mobbs.

The final opportunities before the break also came the way of Ives. Two minutes from the interval an attempt to break through the centre by Polhos saw the ball blocked into the feet of Dias 25 yards from goal. He cleverly turned inside onto his right foot and curled an effort that looked like it was heading for the bottom corner until Fisher hurled himself across his goal to palm the ball around the post. The resulting corner was kept alive at the back post by Saunders whose header back into the danger zone was knocked down the feet of Vaz by the opposite post. But he was quickly crowded out and fired his effort well over the top from a good position.

The visitors started to come more into the game in the second period and a speedy break out of defence almost caught Ives napping in 56th minute. The classy Harrison Dee had just entered the fray as a substitute but it was his pass that picked out Walmsley in space down the left. His teasing low cross into the centre looked like it was going to be turned home by Conyard, but Pillin was alert to the danger and just beat the big man to the ball at the expense of a corner.

Dee again showed his quality in 73rd minute as he went for goal with a viciously dipping free kick from 25 yards. But Carter was equal to the effort hurling himself across his goal to fingertip the ball over the top.

Rangers were enjoying a purple patch during this middle period of the second half but even though they won a series of free kicks and corners they were still struggling to penetrate the solid shape of the Ives well organised back line. The closest they came was nine minutes from time when substitute Alex Muroz delivered an inch perfect cross to the near post that Conyard just beat Carter to. But although his flick beat the keeper it also went over the top.

The final half chance came the way of Ives two minutes later as a through ball down the centre was missed by Jack Fryatt in the Rangers defence. Mobbs looked like he was going to get onto the ball for a clear run on goal, but Fisher was alert to the danger and sprinted from his goal line to hack the ball clear.

The final action of the game saw Ives win a corner deep in added time. As in the recent Sports game everyone including keeper Carter was pushed up into the opposition box. But this time there was no heroics as the ball was hacked away and the final whistle blew on an enthralling encounter that certainly did not lack effort and endeavour, but just that little bit of quality for either side to unlock the others solid formations.

Overall the result did neither side a favour, but it is certainly a score line that will have pleased League leaders Peterborough Sports as it makes things very difficult for either of these two sides to now overhaul the runaway leaders. For Ives it looks like their hopes of retaining the title are all but gone. However they must continue to show this level of commitment and go all out to win their remaining games in the hope that the other two will slip up.

St Ives Team : Carter, Kwiatkowski, Pillin, Polhos, Short (capt), Torkornoo, Vaz, Dias, Bond, Mobbs (Foster 67), Saunders

Additional sub roll on roll off : Mobbs for Kwiatkowski 81

Unused subs : Oldale, Makeham, Morris, Cawte

Goals : none

Attendance :  54

Report by Nigel Howlett

Match Report – Holbeach United U18 3 St Ives Town U18 2

Holbeach United U18  3  St Ives Town U18  2          

Thurlow Nunn Youth League Western Division – 16/11/17

The young Ives slim chance of retaining their Western Division title was all but extinguished as they were dealt a taste of their own medicine by a workmanlike, but effective, Tigers side on a crisp Fenland evening.

Having taken four points off runaway League leaders Peterborough Sports in their last two League games with late goals the visitors fell to a sucker punch breakaway goal for the hosts deep into added time to exit Carters Park with no reward from a curate’s egg performance.

A brief precis of the game says that they were second best in the early stages and had goalkeeper Sam Carter to thank for keeping the scorers level. Very good for twenty minutes up to the break when they took the lead and should have added at least one more. Very slow out of the blocks after half time where they fell behind. Grabbed an equaliser on a breakaway twenty minutes from time and then looked the only likely winner, but wasted glorious opportunities to go in front before falling to the last ditch break by the Tigers.

With Tom Smith missing injured keeper Carter made his seasonal debut in the competition and he had to be alert to bravely claim a through ball off the toe of Harry Collishaw after the Tigers wide man had been put clear by an excellent diagonal ball from Ben Lawrence. Two minutes later Carter again saved his side blocking a point blank effort at the far post whilst his colleagues looked on as the Tigers first corner was knocked down to Joseph Fowler on the back edge of the six yard box.

Carter was also called upon to make a couple more routine saves as the hosts ruled the early stages with Ives taking a long time to get any rhythm going. But as the half wore on they began to press their opponents a little more and come more into the game. The Tigers had been very happy to pass the ball around their back line bringing goalkeeper Will Ingleby into the action quite happily. For most of the first half Ives had allowed this to happen unhindered. But on the half hour Ash Morris closed down one such back pass forcing Ingleby into a hurried attempt to move the ball out to the left. Tiago Dias was onto his intended pass in a flash and rattled the ball back past the red faced keeper from just inside the box to put the visitors in front.

The lead should have been doubled four minutes later as Vitor Vaz picked out the run of Martin Saunders on the left allowing Saunders to get past his man to the bye line. He picked out Morris eight yards from goal with his pull back. But the all action midfielder almost struck his shot to well and somehow fired the effort wide of the near post when a miskick would probably have bounced in.

Ives continued to rule the remainder of the first half without really troubling Ingleby further as Dias and Saunders both fired efforts wide from just outside the box following good build up play involving George Cawte, Billy Mobbs and Morris.

Having finished the first half so strongly the small contingent of Ives supporters were hoping that the side would continue in the same vein at the start of the second period and grab a second to really take control. How wrong we were as the visitors started the second half even more sluggishly than the first. Carter was called on to make another save only ninety seconds after the restart as substitute Jordan Olive fired in a vicious drive from 25 yards that stung the hands of the big keeper, but he was quick to react and pounce on the loose ball ahead of Ryan Cook.

Ives did not learn their lesson from this and two minutes later the scores were level. Lawrence tricked Dawid Kwiatowski into bringing him down 30 yards from goal. Alex Richardson floated in the free kick to the back post where two Holbeach players contested the flick. The final touch appeared to come from Cook and the ball crept in the corner past Carter’s despairing dive.

The Tigers continued to push forward and seven minutes later they got themselves in front. The tricky Lawrence combined well with Harry Burchinall down the left and was taken down from behind by Vaz inches outside the box. Richardson fired in the free kick which took a wicked deflection off Dias in the wall and rolled into the net past an unsighted Carter.

It should have been 3 – 1 Tigers and game dead and buried on the hour as Richardson managed to release Cook clear into the box with only Carter to beat. But the striker went for power rather than finesse from ten yards and only succeeded in hammering his effort inches wide when a little more composure was needed.

Having somehow survived that fright Ives suddenly began to wake up again and in 63rd minute that should have got back level. Cawte was taken out by a scything tackle from behind inside the centre circle that should have led to a card for Richardson. Cawte limped out of the game to be replaced by Patrik Polhos. Mitchell Pillin delivered the resulting free kick to the back post where the ball fell to Saunders. He side stepped his way past a posse of defenders before squaring the ball along the six yard line to Jamie Short in space at the back post. But Short misdirected his effort at goal and only hit a team mate inside the goalmouth. The ball rebounded to him, but by now keeper Ingleby had time to recover his position and bravely threw himself in to block the shot at point blank range.

This near miss lifted the Ives and they began to take control of the game again. Saunders was looking more like his old self down the left and five minutes later he again outpaced his full back before laying the ball back to Polhos on the edge of the box. His low drive was parried away by Ingleby who did even better to block away the follow up effort from Dias.

Dias showed a flash of his undoubted brilliance in 70th minute as he curled a ball from the centre circle perfectly into the well timed run of Sam Bond. Bond outpaced his marker and gave Ingleby no chance beating him low to his right with a well struck drive to level up the scores again.

Now Ives started to go for the kill, Short picked out Saunders run perfectly with another ball over the top in 73rd minute. But this time Ingleby stayed solid and blocked the powerful effort with his legs at the near post.

The visitors continued to press, but the resilient Holbeach back line continued to hold firm. We thought that the winner was coming in 89th minute as Vaz won the ball well in the centre circle and fed it on to Polhos who picked out the run of Dias arriving in the box at the back post. But the man we though most likely to score in such circumstances was denied by the legs of Ingleby. A series of Ives corners followed as they continued to search out the vital winner. But with most of their side in the opposition penalty area Ives were caught cold as the last flag kick deep in added time was cleared to Cook on the half way line. But he had Pillin desperately trying to get back. However he showed his composure waiting for Richardson who was busting a gut to join him. Pillin made it to close Cook, but Richardson slid home his ball into the centre just ahead of the diving Carter to send Tigers players and supporters alike into raptures and break Ives hearts.

Ives frustrations had really started to boil over as time ticked away and their inability to finish, topped off by the late winner swilled in with some baiting from victorious Tigers players lead to needless yellow cards for Vaz, Bond, Pillin and Carter all for pointless “handbag” offences.

These boys have already proved that they can beat the best. Unfortunately they must learn that you cannot simply turn up at places like Holbeach and expect to win. You must earn that victory by all working hard for ninety minutes and maintain your work rate throughout. They have also got to learn to keep their discipline and let their football do the talking in these type of niggly games. A ruthless streak is required.

St Ives Team : Carter, Kwiatowski, Makeham, Short (capt), Pillin, Cawte (Polhos 64), Vaz, Morris, Mobbs (Bond 45), Dias, Saunders

Unused subs : Locke, Foster

Goals : Dias 30, Bond 70

Attendance :  45 approx

Report by Nigel Howlett

Match Report – St Ives Town U18 4 Peterborough ICA Sports U18 1

St Ives Town U18  4  Peterborough ICA Sports U18  1            

Huntingdonshire Under 18 County Cup 2nd Round – 12/11/17

A well taken Sam Bond hat trick and a goal from Billy Mobbs saw Ives overcome stubborn resistance from Peterborough Sunday League side ICA on a bright, but cold morning on a windswept distant pitch at Jubilee Park.

The visitors came looking determined to get at Ives early on and it took an alert save from Sam Carter to prevent Guiseppe Spataro putting them ahead in only 2nd minute. However Ives did not heed this warning and when the hosts back line allowed Tyler Munns space to run across the edge of the box he punished them by firing a well struck left footed effort into the top corner of the net past the despairing dive of Carter in 13th minute.

The early Sunday morning start was perhaps a little much for some of Ives boys, but falling behind sparked a reaction and three minutes later Cobi Thomas cut in from the left past his marker and unleashed a rising drive that flashed past keeper Matt Wilshire and rattled the upright before rebounding away.

There were only three more minutes on the clock when Ives equalised. Sam Bond’s persistence saw him rob a dallying defender and battle to the edge of the box before squaring the ball inside to Mobbs who struck a low shot that crept underneath the body of Wilshire as he was a little slow to get down to his left.

ICA continued to battle hard and worry their illustrious hosts. In 27th minute Alesio Hoxha chased a hopeful ball down the middle and got between Matt Harvey and Jordan Locke then bravely beat Carter to the ball and was unlucky to see his toe poked effort hit the post and rebound to safety.

Ives went in front in 35th minute as a Bond effort was blocked by Ciaran Millen. The ball rebounded to Mobbs who showed great technique to hammered in a powerful volley that Wilshire did well to parry up into the air. He did even better to recover and punch the dropping ball off the head of Thomas inside the six yard box. But the ball was not cleared and it arrived back with Bond who struck a low drive through the crowd that beat Wilshire low to his left in almost identical fashion to Mobbs opener.

With half time approaching Ives were enjoying a period of good possession, but their visitors restricted them to just one more good opportunity before the break as Ash Morris battled through the centre of the park before sliding a pass through the left channel that put Bond in one against one with Wilshire. The keeper did well making himself big and although Bond slid the ball past him he also put it wide of the keepers left hand post.

Although now playing against a strengthening breeze Ives continued in the ascendency for the early part of the second half and Bond grabbed his second and the hosts third with a crisp rising drive from the edge of the box having been set up by an excellent run past two defenders and pull back from Mobbs down the left.

To their credit ICA heads did not go down and as Ives eased off the visitors came more back into the game. Munns tested Carter’s positioning and footwork with a dipping volley from fully 35 yards in 66th minute. But the big keeper was alert to the effort and made the save look easy.

James Ware should probably have reduced the arrears twenty minutes from time as he somehow found space eight yards out to get on the end of a corner from the right. But he directed his free header just wide of the upright with the goal at his mercy.

Rather than kill the game Ives went in search of more goals and should probably have added another in 76th minute. Morris put Bond clear through the right channel, but rather than go for his hat trick the Ives centre forward unselfishly tried to roll the ball square to give Mobbs a tap in, but overhit the pass.

Four minutes later a corner from the right was cleared to Jamie Short at the back of the area. He delivered a teasing ball into the box which fell to the feet of Locke at the back post. But the centre half snatched at his opportunity and hammered the ball well over the top from an excellent position.

ICA were still well in the game and could have set up a grandstand finish with seven minutes to go as a speculative effort from Spataro beat the diving Carter, but rattled the crossbar and rebounded to safety.

Skipper Short was playing in an unfamiliar midfield role and it took him a while to find his feet in the position, but as the second half wore on he was becoming more influential and enjoying getting forward more. He went close to grabbing a goal in 88th minute as Mobbs once more danced his way down the left before picking out Short on the edge of the box with his pull back. The skipper’s well struck effort was pushed away by Wilshire diving to his left.

The referee had been hot on pushes throughout the game and it was no real surprise when he spotted one inside the box in 90th minute to award ICA a penalty. Fortunately for Ives Hoxha failed to hit the target with his powerfully struck spot kick to deny ICA an even closer score line.

There was still just time for Bond to put a gloss on the final score and complete his hat trick with a clinical finish from just inside the box having been set up by an excellent run and cross from the right by substitute Adam Kelly.

Although their performance dropped well below the level of recent League games. Ives did all that was asked of them to march through to the Quarter Finals, but ICA can hold their heads high having match the hosts for long periods of this game and perhaps been a little unlucky not to add to their solitary goal.

St Ives Team : Carter, Oldale, Pillin, Harvey, Locke, Short, Thomas (Kelly 45), Morris, Bond, Jakes, Mobbs

Unused subs : Foster, Dias

Goals : Mobbs 19, Bond 35, 58, 90+1

Attendance :  25 approx

Report by Nigel Howlett

Match Report – St Ives Town U18 1 Peterborough Sports U18 1

St Ives Town U18  1  Peterborough Sports U18  1            

Thurlow Nunn Youth League Western Division – 06/11/17

Patrik Polhos was the goal scoring hero as Ives grabbed a late, late, equaliser deep into added time to claim a deserved point and keep themselves in the hunt for the Western division title.

These two teams had met only four days earlier in Peterborough where a display of flowing football had seen Ives inflict the first defeat of the season on the table topping Sports. With that in mind it was to be guaranteed that this game would be a frantic affair with the visitors keen to exact revenge on their rivals and Ives equally eager to further display their own title credentials.

Match winner in the original fixture Martin Saunders had tormented Sports on that evening and the visitors management team were eager to ensure that there was no repeat in this game as they rearranged their squad to ensure that Saunders was always going to be given no space. However this plan was almost unravelled in the first ten seconds of the game as the kick off was laid back to Polhos and he curved a perfect ball over the Sports back line catching them napping. Saunders was away, but Sports were saved by some brave and alert goalkeeping from Viktors Jansons as he sprinted from his line and plunged in to take the ball off the Ives man’s toes just inside the box.

After this very early scare for Sports the game settled into an even contest predominantly played out in midfield. The next keeper in action was Tom Smith in 11th minute as he sped from his line to hack away a ball over the top ahead of Sports lone striker Jack Eldridge. His clearance fell to Jamie Scott fully 40 yards from goal, but the Sports play maker was confident enough to go for goal. Fortunately for Ives Smith recovered his position well to make a comfortable catch of the on-target effort.

The hard working Eldridge was the next to threaten in 18th minute as he fought his way through a couple of Ives tackles on his way to the edge of the box. But having worked himself into a good position he snatched at the effort and sliced his effort well wide from a good position.

Play swung to the opposite end and only two minutes later Saunders managed to work himself some space on the left getting past both of his markers before delivering a low driven cross to the far post where a stretching Vitor Vaz only succeeded in hammering his close range effort against the underside of the crossbar. The ball was scrambled away before Tiago Dias could force it home.

Smith was alert to keep the scores level in 28th minute as Scott cleverly flicked on a good delivery into the box by Henry Nkobi and Eldridge pounced on the loose ball to fire in a well struck effort from just inside the box that Smith did well to palm away low to his left.

Jansons pulled off a similar save to deny Dias after Foster had been held the ball up well on the edge of Sports box before teeing up Ives silky midfield man who took a touch before firing in a low drive that the keeper kept out diving low to his right in 31st minute.

Ives continued to enjoy the majority of possession as the game headed towards the break, but they were unable to find a way through the uncompromising Sports back line. On a number of occasions the final ball was just not quite good enough to find the man trying to run into the gap and the pulsating game went into half time goalless.

Jansons made another good save six minutes after the break as he got down well to his right to hold onto a Dias free kick from 30 yards that bounced awkwardly just in front of him. Ash Morris was on hand should he have spilt it.

The solid display from Sports earned them an extra reward on 56 minutes as the ever willing Eldridge got on the end of a long ball down the park from Nkobi and skilfully took down the ball before bursting into the box and firing past Smith low to his right to put the visitors in front.

Ives responded well to this set back and Gordan Torkornoo pushing forward from left back drew another excellent save from Jansons only three minutes later as he got on the end of a Saunders free kick and fired in a powerful drive from 15 yards that the keeper did very well to parry one handed. He did even better to scramble the loose ball away from the feet of Morris who again the man following up.

Sports came close to grabbing a second to kill the game in 63rd minute as the hard working Scott found space down the left and cut in before firing in an effort from the edge of the box that took a deflection and looked like it was heading into the bottom corner until Smith’s outstretched left hand blocked it. Torkornoo was on hand to hack the loose ball away just ahead of Eldridge.

The game continued at break neck pace and as the players began to tire a few more gaps began to appear. Saunders exploited one of these in 75th minute when he got down the left and delivered a cross to the near post where Morris rose highest, but failed to hit the target with his flicked header that flashed across the face of goal to safety.

Sports last chance to sew the game up came three minutes later as Scott robbed Polhos on the half way line and bore down on goal with the Ives back line in his wake. A slightly heavy touch gave Smith chance to close him bravely and when the shot came the keeper had effectively got right on top of him and blocked the effort with his body to keep Ives in the contest.

That save was to prove crucial as Ives began to push more and more men forward in search of the vital equaliser. Sports defenders were putting their bodies on the line to block everything that their hosts could throw at them, but a number of them were struggling badly with cramp and with only one man on the bench their management team had little option but to leave them out there. Ives were unable to take advantage of one situation where two defenders were off the pitch having received treatment as the game entered added time.

It looked like time was going to run out as substitute Sam Bond was denied by keeper Jansons at the expense of a corner in the fourth of four added minutes. But thanks to a bit of time wasting by Sports in added time the referee found enough time for the corner to be taken and with all 22 players in the Sports box. The late run into the box by keeper Smith seemed to cause some panic in the visitors back line and as he pulled defenders to the front post Saunders hung up his corner by the back stick where Polhos somehow managed to get between two other Ives players to squeeze his header between the man on the line and the post he was holding. The entire Ives squad erupted from the dugout to join in the celebrations, two of them picking up bizarre bookings for their actions.

There was literally just time for the game to kick off before the final whistle which saw more celebrations on what felt like a win for the young Ives and must have felt like a defeat for the deflated Sports who had hung on for so long. The result opens up the League with both tonight’s protagonists and Deeping Rangers in the shake up. Sports are probably still favourites with points in the bag and either of the others needing to win all of their five games in hand to pass them.

St Ives Team : Smith, Kwiatowski, Torkornoo, Short (capt), Pillin, Polhos, Vaz, Morris (Bond 76), Mobbs (Foster 29), Dias, Saunders

Unused subs : Locke, Cawte, Thomas

Goals : Polhos 90+5

Attendance :  31

Report by Nigel Howlett. Photo Louise by Louise Thompson