AFC Rushden & Diamonds v St Ives Town
BetVictor League Southern Premier Central – 26-08-19
Ives start to the season continues to frustrate and confound all who watch them as for the fourth game in a row they outplayed their opposition, worked very hard to create chances, failed to take them and then give away a soft late goal to end up with no return. Not surprisingly though these results see them sitting in the early season relegation zone with one point and one goal from five games.
Taking into account the exertions in their previous games only forty eight hours earlier and the weather conditions both sides made changes from Saturday’s fixtures. Diamonds made five changes and Ives three with Ty Ward returning at left back and Charlie De’ath moving across to centre back Charlie Johnson drops to the bench where he is joined by Tom Wood and Ollie Snaith who are replaced by Dan Clifton and George Bailey respectively.
Both sides seemed to be taking account of the weather as the early stages are played out at a steady pace with most of the activity in the centre of the park. The first real opportunity did not arrive until fifteen minutes in and it proved to be Ives best chance of the day. Bailey got around Liam Dolman on the left and pulled the ball back to Jack Snelus on the edge of the box. His attempt to lay the ball inside was cut out but Clifton closed down and blocked Ben Acquaye’s attempted clearance the ricochet put Snelus clear in on goal with only keeper Ben Heath to beat. Snelus went for power and hammered in an effort from by the penalty spot that brought a brilliant reaction save out of Heath as he parried the ball away.
Having failed to take that opportunity Ives found themselves with another chance to load the Diamonds box three minutes later only this time it almost cost them a goal. Ben Seymour-Shove was brought down by Jack Ashton wide on the right. All of the big boys came up from the back but the free kick failed to beat the first man and Nathan Gosnal-Tyler fed the ball out from the back to put Acquaye away down the left. The speedy winger outstripped the Ives cover and sped into the box firing past the exposed Martin Conway to the back post where Julian McDonald tapped it home but the host’s striker had gone just to soon and the assistant’s flag was up to strike off the “goal”.
Having survived that scare Ives soon resumed their forward momentum and in 24th minute Jarvis Wilson cut out an attempted ball down the left by Ashton and threaded the ball inside to Snelus who scampered on to the edge of the box before putting Seymour-Shove clear through the right channel. His shooting opportunity was a little rushed as he ran wide and he failed to test Heath with the ball rolled across the face of goal to safety.
As the half ticked on Ives continued to enjoy good possession and carve out half chances without taking them but the also still looked vulnerable to a smart counter attack when their forward moves broke down. Events in 35th minute showed the game I microcosm. An excellent ball out of defence by Clifton put Seymour-Shove away down the left and with Bailey busting a gut to get through the centre Seymour-Shove just had to find him with his pull back. But once again the ball into the centre was off target as it rolled behind Bailey allowing a struggling Dolman to clear the ball at the expense of a corner. Again the flag kick failed to beat the first man and Ward was perhaps fortunate to not pick up a yellow card as he pulled back McDonald as the striker tried to break away down the centre. The resulting free kick was delivered long to the back post where Ryan Dove knocked it down into the mix and it took a couple of attempts before the cool head of Danny Kelly eventually managed to get the ball clear.
Kelly was in the right place again five minutes later as another deep free kick from the right by Acquaye was somehow won beyond the far post by Ashton and his header back into the centre is cleared from almost under his own crossbar by the well positioned Kelly.
With a drinks break taken midway through the half there were an added four minutes at the end of the half and that was enough time for each side created a half chance. In the first added minute a long throw by Sam Brown creates panic in Ives box as Ben Farrell flicked it on and Alex Collard knocked it back into the box. Conway dropped the ball under heavy pressure and was much relieved as Dolman’s close range effort was blocked away by Kelly.
The final opportunity of the first period only ninety seconds later saw Parker seize an opportunity to run at the heart of Diamonds back line before teeing up Snelus who’s snap shot from 20 yards flew over the top into the catch netting behind the goal.
Ives started the second period in determined mood and quickly got well on top. In 49th minute the eager Snelus harried and robbed Gosnal-Tyler by his own corner flag then cut into the box before slipping a ball along the six yard line that was just out of the reach of the outstretched leg of Wilson arriving at pace at the back post.
The visitor’s desperate quest for a goal needed a little luck and that might almost have happened three minutes later as slow build up play from Ives ended with Bailey delivering a ball into the box from the left that did not fall for a comrade but Snelus charged down Dolman’s attempted clearance and the rebound flew straight at goal but only into the waiting arms of Heath.
For the second game in a row 53rd minute looked like it would prove pivotal. On Saturday it had seen the dismissal of a Stourbridge player and today it was Diamonds midfielder Ashton who saw red as he picked up his second yellow card in twelve minutes either side of the break. This one was for bringing down Seymour-Shove from behind as the Ives winger was darting for goal just outside the box. Ward fired the resulting free kick well over the top.
This was a busy period for referee Ryan Williams as Parker also picked up a needless card a couple of minutes later for pulling back Acquaye wide on the right a moment that would prove more telling later in the game.
The inevitable reshuffles followed the dismissal of Ashton as Diamonds sacrificed McDonald to bring on Zac Reynolds to reinforce the centre of the park. With one less striker to worry about Ives manager Ricky Marheineke replaced the tiring Bailey with Andrew Osei-Bonsu and pushed Ben Jackson further forward on the right.
Jackson was enjoying a lot of space in his wide position and Osei-Bonsu should have done much better as he got on the end of a perfectly delivered cross by the full back in 76th minute. The Ives striker met the ball with his right foot eight yards out and looked like he was going to sweep it home but his contact was poor and the ball rolled agonisingly wide of the post.
The same player made much better contact two minutes later as Wilson charged down an attempted clearance and the ball fell to Osei-Bonsu on the edge of the box he stepped outside onto his right foot and slammed in a thunderbolt that cannoned into the body of keeper Heath and rebounded to safety.
Having gone close on so many occasions without finding the net Ives have been susceptible to the sucker punch this season and they were almost caught out ten minutes from time. Farrell and Dove combined well down the right the latter’s low cross to the near post fell to the feet of Acquaye who slammed in a shot from ten yards that whacked the inside of the post and rebounded straight into the grateful hands of Conway.
Ives continued to search for the winner without really creating much more as the nearest they come in the remaining ten minutes is another Jackson cross from the right that is sliced over his own crossbar by Collard. When lady luck is with you that may have gone in, but she has certainly deserted Ives at the moment as the ultimate sucker punch deep in added time proved. The ten man hosts had settled for a point deep in added time and Farrell was trying to shield the ball in the corner when Wilson needlessly fouled hm. The same player got up to deliver the ball into the mix where Collard lost his marker to direct a header on target that Conway probably had covered until the ball deflected off the head of Kelly and went past him.
To add insult to injury there was still time for Parker to pick up his second yellow card of the game for a challenge in centre of the park that referee Williams deemed dangerous. The resulting red card means the influential skipper will miss the Ives opening FA Cup tie of the season a week on Saturday.
Overall conclusion Ives must find a way to change their luck and quickly before they find themselves rooted in the bottom three. Searching out four leaf clovers, buying lucky heather or hoping for black cats to cross their paths may help failing that finding the golden chalice of a twenty goal a season man, or maybe simply a session or two of finishing practice for the present squad may bring reward!.
Final Score : AFC Rushden & Diamonds 1 St Ives Town 0
Goals : none
St Ives team : Conway, Jackson (Woodward 82), Ward, Jarvis Wilson, Kelly, De’ath, Clifton (Wood 90), Parker (capt), Bailey (Osei-Bonsu 72), Snelus, Seymour-Shove
Unused subs : Johnson, Snaith
Man of match : Danny Kelly
Attendance : 525
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|August 26, 2019||15:00||Southern Premier Central||2019-20||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|AFC Rushden & Diamonds||0||1|
|St Ives Town||0||0|