Edwards hat-trick sees off Sudbury

AFC Sudbury 2 St Ives Town 4

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

Nigel Howlett reports from the MEL Stadium

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final Score:  AFC Sudbury   2   St Ives Town    4    


SUDBURY: Pinnington 38, Allen 89

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

Team Line Ups:

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

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

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


Attendance: 374