King’s Lynn Town U18 4 St Ives Town U18 4
Thurlow Nunn Youth League Western Division – 14/05/18
The Young Ives completed their season in an exciting end to end game played out on a rough bumpy surface in the imposing surroundings of the Walks Stadium.
Ives found themselves with a dilemma before the off as neither regular keeper was available for this hastily rearranged fixture. Fortunately outfield player Brandon Oldale stepped up to the plate so well that the Linnets did not realise that their visitors were lacking a recognised gloveman until after the conclusion of the game.
Oldale was called into action early on as he blocked a low drive from Emre Upston with his legs in the eleventh minute. The chance had been carved up by Charlie Rudland going on a weaving run down the left which saw him get the better of stand in right back Louis Bald. Rudland picked out Upston well with his pull back only for the striker to be denied by a well positioned Oldale.
Having been denied the opening goal the hosts then found themselves behind only sixty seconds later. Aaron Makeham threaded a ball down the left which put Martin Saunders away. He cut inside two defenders and got into the box before driving in a cross that keeper Lewis Herbert found to hot to hold and presented Harry Sargent with a tap in at the back post.
The Linnets should have equalised in 17th minute as Rudland and Connor Young played the perfect one-two through a static Ives defence. Rudland found himself clear on goal, but was quickly closed by Oldale who did just enough to hurry the tricky winger into clipping his effort just past the post.
The equalising goal did arrive midway through the first half as Ives struggled to clear the Linnets first corner in 23rd minute. A poor clearing header at the near post dropped to the feet of Young 15 yards from goal. The big centre forward did not need a second invitation rifling the ball high into the net through the crowd in the box.
The goal lifted the hosts and they came close to a second in their next attack only one minute later. Overlapping full back Taylor King got down the left and delivered a cross into the mix that Oldale just managed to touch off the head of Young. The ball dropped to Jack Cropley at the far post but Makeham managed to bravely throw himself across the line of the shot to block the ball away.
A long George Cawte free kick delivered a very simple second for the Ives in 33rd minute. Jordan Locke flicked the ball on at the edge of the box and skipper Jamie Short bravely beat keeper Herbert to the ball to knock home his first goal of the season.
The lead lasted just over sixty seconds as King again got down the left and delivered a cross that ricocheted off an Ives defender and fell to Rudland who had time to pick his spot and gave Oldale no chance from 15 yards.
Oldale’s only error of the evening was partly to blame for the Linnets taking the lead eight minutes before the break. His poor goal kick fell to Cropley who played it into the path of Young, Locke still had the chance to put the ball into row z but decided to try and shield it back to his keeper instead allowing Young to get in first and lash the ball home from the edge of the box.
There was still time for Sargent to grab his second and pull the visitors back level before the break again in very simple fashion. Bald threw the ball into his feet just inside the box and Sargent cleverly turned his man before firing a rising left foot drive into the roof of the net past the startled Herbert to end a pulsating six goal first period.
The hosts started the second half on the front foot and went back in front in 58th minute. Rudland combined well with Adam White down the right before the latter hung up a teasing cross to the back post where Cropley rose above the defence to head home.
Ives had their stand in keeper to thank for keeping them in the game four minutes later as the visitors struggled to clear another cross from the right the ball fell to Cropley eight yards out. Fortunately for the visitors he hit his shot straight into the midriff of Oldale who held on well.
The Linnets changed their keeper early in the second period and replacement keeper Michael Bailey twice thwarted Sargent in less than sixty seconds around the 68th minute. Billy Mobbs initially delivered a cross from the right that Sargent looked likely to bring down only to have the ball bravely plucked off his toe by Bailey as he shaped to shoot. Only seconds later Sargent got completely clear through the middle onto a Cawte through ball only for the well positioned Bailey to keep out his cleanly stuck effort from just inside the box with his legs.
Not to be outdone Oldale again proved his keeping abilities four minutes later. Linnets substitute Sam Rolf threaded a ball through into the run of Young but Oldale was equal to his effort tipping the strikers rasping drive from the edge of the box over the top.
The deserved Ives equaliser arrived thirteen minutes from time as Sargent completed his perfect hat trick complementing his earlier right foot tap in and left foot shot with a perfectly placed looping header that drifted over Bailey to nestle in the back of the net. The chance had been served up by a powerful run down the right and inviting hanging cross from Mobbs.
Each side had an opportunity to grab a winner in the closing stages. Ives went close two minutes before the end of the ninety as Short got above keeper Bailey to get on the end of another long hanging Cawte free kick into the box. But Aiden Doughty had got around behind his keeper and was on hand to scramble the ball off the line.
The final opportunity of the evening just seconds into added time fell to the hosts as King delivered a long cross field ball to the edge of the box where Rudland headed it down to the feet of Taylor Brant who hammered in a powerful half volley that beat the spectacular dive of Oldale, but clipped the crossbar on its way to safety.
So ended a thoroughly entertaining game with honours even, it also draws a curtain on a rather interrupted season for the Ives where a few to many draws cost them a real tilt at retaining their title leaving them in an honourable third place in the table.
At this point I would like to wish all of our second year scholars well in the future wherever that may take them. It has been good to see some of them make their first team debuts this season and hopefully Ricky has seen enough potential in one or two to keep them within the first team squad for next season. Those moving up from first to second year show a considerable amount of promise and I am sure that with Lloyd and Ben guiding them along with the new intake presently being recruited the Ives will have another very competitive side to start all over again in August.
King’s Lynn Town 4 St Ives Town 4
Team : Oldale, Bald, Makeham, Pilling, Locke, Short (capt), Kelly (Jakes 59), Cawte, Sargent, Mobbs, Saunders
Additional subs (roll on/roll off) : Kelly for Locke 85
Goals : Sargent 12, 44 & 77, Short 33
Attendance : 51
Report by Nigel Howlett