AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0 St Ives Town 0
Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Central Division – 29-09-18
On a day when the players minds could easily have wandered to next weekends FA Cup trip to York City the management team ensured that they all maintained their focus throughout this tough trip to Rushden to come away with yet another excellent point on the road.
As ever the Ives had done their homework on the opposition and the need to keep the game tight and also win the aerial battles at both ends of the park meant recalls to the starting line up for Owen Wallis, Danny Kelly and Ollie Snaith with Ben Baker, George Bailey and Ben Seymour-Shove all dropping to the bench.
Two of the returnees combined well to set up the game’s first opportunity in eleventh minute as the pair interchanged passes on the right side of the host’s box the move ending with Kelly sliding a pass through to put Wallis into a shooting position. The midfielder’s first thought was to look for a team mate in a better position but with all other options closed down he went for goal from a narrow angle but shot straight at the well positioned home keeper Ben Heath who held on well.
Kelly himself had an effort on goal five minutes later as he rose highest to win a Joe Hood corner at the back post but his looping header just drifted over the crossbar and landed on the top of the net.
Joel Gyasi was looking the Diamonds most dangerous player and he picked up a loose ball in midfield in 24th minute. His run took him across the face of the Ives back line but he was tracked all of the way by Ollie Snaith who eventually brought him down 30 yards from goal in a central position. Jack Bowen went for goal with the kick but the four man Ives wall did their job blocking the ball away.
A long Hood free kick on the half hour brought the Ives a half chance. The mobile Ives front line moved the Diamonds defence around creating a hole where Hood put the ball, Sam Cartwright lost his marker and arrived in that opening but could not quite get enough of a touch to direct the ball on target.
Ives found themselves under pressure from their own corner two minutes from the break as Gyasi picked up the ball on the half way line and sped off down the right. Jarvis Wilson did fantastically well to get back and rob the speedy winger with a perfectly timed covering tackle just as he was about to shoot.
There was still time before the half time whistle for the hosts to carve out one more opportunity as Dan Clifton and Bowen combined well on the left to set up Ben Diamond for a run at the Ives defence. His effort from 25 yards was blocked but the ball ran loose to full back Nathan Hicks roaming forward on the right hand corner of the box. Hicks went for power and struck his first time effort well but the ball flashed across the face of Sam Wilson’s goal and thudded the boards wide of his right hand post.
After an even first half when neither keeper had a real save to make we were expecting more of the same second half. But the hosts came out of the traps well and set about building up pressure on the Ives back line. Centre forward Tom Lorraine went close only ninety seconds after the restart as he latched onto a loose ball just outside the left hand corner of the Ives box and fired a fizzing effort just wide of keeper Wilson’s left hand post.
A quick Diamonds break almost caught Ives out four minutes later as Gyasi clipped a ball over Cartwright in the right channel. The Ives centre back was slightly off balance allowing Bowen to outmuscle him and get his shot away but a well positioned Sam Wilson was equal to the effort blocking the shot away for a corner.
The hosts kept the pressure on and had an appeal for a penalty turned down in 51st minute as Gyasi and Bowen combined well on the to set up Hicks to deliver a deep cross from the right that Diamond hit on the half volley from the left corner of the box. The shot struck Hood at close range and bounced away with the host’s strikers and their supporters behind the goal shouting that the effort had struck the young defender’s arm. Referee Ollie Mackey was on the spot and instantly waved away the appeals.
The hosts continued to bombard the Ives box with a series of long throws by Sam Brown and corners from both sides, but the visitor’s back line maintained their composure and held firm against the onslaught. The closest they came during this spell was in 53rd minute when Lorraine got above Mark Coulson at the back post to get on the end of a Brown cross, but he directed his downward header wide of the post.
The lively Dylan Wilson was giving big centre back Liam Dolman a few problems with his movement at the other end of the park and the young striker was unlucky not to get away in 67th minute as Dolman slipped on the edge of the box and only just managed to get enough of a touch on the ball to allow a team mate to cover around behind him and take the ball away from Wilson just as the striker shaped to shoot.
The ball was cleared straight down the other end where Lorraine bravely went in with Sam Wilson and just managed to flick the ball over the Ives keeper, but Jarvis Wilson got around behind his keeper to divert the effort away from goal. The Diamonds fans behind the goal were once again baying that Wilson had used his arm to stop the ball, but this time their players did not back them up nor did referee Mackey allowing Wilson to hack the ball clear.
Ives did get the ball in the net in 74th minute as Robbie Parker rolled it home but the assistant’s flag was already raised against substitute Ben Baker earlier in the move. Kelly skilfully took the ball down on the edge of the box, spun and went for goal, but the big striker miss hit his effort and the ball bobbled through the Diamonds crowded box and arrived at the feet of Baker inside the six yard box at which point the flag went up meaning Parker’s follow up effort counted for nothing.
The closest either side came to scoring was nine minutes from time when Diamonds skipper Dolman lumbered forward to add weight to the hosts attack. The big defender climbed highest at the back post to get on the end of Bowen’s cross and powered a header goal wards. Keeper Wilson reacted well and tipped the effort onto the crossbar defenders then coming to his aid to hack the loose ball away.
Having defended balls into their box so well throughout Ives were almost caught out by a long punt from keeper Heath four minutes from time. The ball was allowed to bounce deep in Ives territory and Jarvis Wilson’s attempted clearance was seized on by Diamond just outside the box. His low snap shot got through the crowd but thudded the boards a couple of feet wide of Wilson’s right hand post.
Keeper Wilson was called into action once more in 88th minute as he bravely came and punched a Bowen cross off the head of Diamonds substitute Ben Farrell. The Diamonds recent signing from St Ives Declan Rogers was introduced with twelve minutes to go but any extra knowledge he may have had of the visitor’s tactics was not evident as his main input was to deliver three corners deep into Ives box which were all dealt with just as effectively as anything else throw in there by the hosts.
The three added minutes were played out without either side creating a chance and both sides will probably be satisfied with a share of the spoils as Ives remain in eight place and Diamonds maintain their unbeaten home record in the League. Now attention can switch to next weeks FA Cup trip to York!.
Result : AFC Rushden & Diamonds 0 St Ives Town 0
Goals : none
Team : Sam Wilson, Hood, Coulson, McGowan, Cartwright, Jarvis Wilson, Wallis (Baker 66), Parker (capt), Dylan Wilson (Seymour-Shove 76), Kelly, Snaith (Patrick 86)
Unused subs : Bailey
Man of the match : Tom McGowan
Attendance : 586
Report by Nigel Howlett
|September 29, 2018||15:00||Evo-Stik League South - Premier Division Central||2018-19|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|AFC Rushden & Diamonds||0||0|
|St Ives Town||0||0|