AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2 St Ives Town 1
Buildbase FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round – 27-10-18
Ives run of poor results continued as the slithered out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle on the rain sodden turf of the lush Hayden Road Ground against the in-form Diamonds who extended their unbeaten run to five games whilst the luckless Ives stretched their losing run to six.
With the form book reading as it did this looked like a home banker on paper but as it was the visitors matched their hosts for long periods of this game and only fell due to some poor finishing and conceding two very sloppy goals either side of the break. But the old football metaphor that it is goals that win matches rang out loud and clear again.
The rain started just as the game kicked off and lead to a series of quick boot changes for a variety of players early in the game as slips and slides became the early order of the day with the previously firm pitch quickly turning very greasy on top.
These two teams had played out a fairly uneventful goalless draw at the same venue less than a month previous but both sides started with more positive intent each creating a shooting opportunity in the first few minutes. The hosts were straight to the fore directly from the kick off as a ball channelled down the left was fed infield to Tom Lorraine who forced Ives keeper Sam Wilson into a save, all be it a comfortable one, with his well struck shot from 25 yards after only fifteen seconds.
Ives early opportunity arrived after nine minutes as skipper Robbie Parker delivered a teasing free kick into the danger zone Sam Cartwright arrived at the back post with purpose but was prevented from getting a clean contact by a defender. The ball dropped into the box and it took a desperate interception by Jack Westbrook to prevent Owen Wallis forcing it home. The loose ball ricocheted into the air towards Munashe Sundire but would not come down enough to allow him to get over his effort from the edge of the box and the attempt sailed harmlessly over the top.
Diamonds skipper Liam Dolman is a massive presence in the centre of the back line in a number of ways. When he lumbers forward he also provides a big danger at the other end of the pitch. He did just that three minutes later as a quick throw saw the ball fed into him just outside the left hand corner of the Ives box. He unleashed a crashing drive that flashed inches wide of Wilson’s left hand post and could easily have taken out an unwary spectator sheltering from the rain by the goal.
The hosts had ex Ives favourite Declan Rogers in their line up and we are all aware of his abilities from free kicks around the box. The atmosphere amongst the Ives faithful got a little tense as Charlie De’ath bundled over Lorraine 25 yards out in 19th minute. The position looked perfect for a Rogers left foot curled and sure enough he was the man, but fortunately although he got his effort up and down over the visitor’s four man wall the ball went a couple of feet wide of Wilson’s goal.
The game was still fairly even with both defences on top and neither side able to find their runners with a telling pass in the final third. Ives probably looked most vulnerable when they pressed forward and they were almost caught out when a move broke down deep in opposition territory on the half hour. Full back Zac Reynolds managed to feed a ball down the right to pick out the willing run of Lorraine his low cross to the near post was turned just wide by Ben Diamond thanks to the all important challenge of Cartwright.
Another speedy break by the hosts only two minutes later would have almost certainly brought reward but for a telling intervention by Mark Coulson. Rogers broke from his own half and fed the ball square to Ben Farrell and with Ives short on numbers at the back he had options and looked to have picked the right one as he tried to slide the ball inside Coulson to pick out the well timed run of Lorraine. The big centre forward would have been clear but for the perfect sliding block of Ives full back.
Coulson was also in action at the other end in 37th minute as he combined well with Dylan Wilson to set up a crossing opportunity for Parker his clip to the near post picked out Sundire on the edge of the six yard box. But the silky midfielder snatched at his opportunity and only succeeded in flicking the ball over the top under pressure from Diamonds defenders.
With half time approaching it looked like the two teams were going to go in deadlocked. But Ives saw an opportunity to grab the advantage just as the game ticked into the added one minute. Ben Seymour-Shove got away down the right and found a bit of space on the bye line. With players arriving in the middle a telling cross would have created the best opportunity of the half. Sadly it was a poor cross straight into the arms of home keeper Ben Heath and that was to be Ives undoing as quick distribution from Heath saw the ball fed down the right where Jack Bowen got away. His low cross was much more telling than Seymour-Shove’s as he picked out Lorraine at the near post who finished with aplomb from close range to put the Diamonds in front.
Ives had the kick off second half and like their hosts in the first carved out a chance almost instantly. Wilson slid a ball through the left channel to pick out the run of Seymour-Shove who outpaced Reynolds into the box. Heath came to meet him forcing him wide and an extra touch to get past the keeper made the angle very narrow the Ives winger eventually firing his effort into the side netting.
Having failed to get level the visitors suddenly found themselves two behind and well on the way to out of the contest. A ball down the right in 52nd minute looked like it might carry through to keeper Wilson. Covering defender De’ath made the decision to try and shield the ball back to his keeper who did not come leaving the Ives centre back off balance a final slip on the wet turf compounded his misery and left Diamond clear. The big striker drew the exposed Wilson towards him before unselfishly sliding the ball square to Bowen for him to side foot home.
Ives reacted well to the set back and Seymour-Shove failed to test Heath with another good opportunity only three minutes later as the hard working pair of Wilson and George Bailey combined well on the right to set up Joe Hood for a cross that picked out Seymour-Shove unmarked eight yards out. But the Ives winger powered his free header into the ground the ball bouncing up comfortably into the hands of Heath.
The next fifteen minutes were fairly even with Ives still enjoying a good share of possession but unable to break down the stubborn Diamonds back line. In fact the only chance of note in that period came from another quick break from the hosts in 69th minute that ended with the ball fed out to full back Sam Brown roaming forward on the left. He struck a rising first time effort from the left corner of the box that forced Wilson into a diving save to his left De’ath clearing up the loose ball.
From that point Ives began to get on top forcing the hosts back. Bailey was again the protagonist as he hounded down Dolman inside his own box robbing the big centre back and feeding the ball to Seymour-Shove his first time effort through the crowd was blocked away for a corner by the legs of keeper Heath. Sundire rose highest to the corner but powered his header well over the top.
A double change by manager Ricky Marheineke in 73rd minute saw the tiring De’ath and the perhaps unlucky Dylan Wilson replaced by Ben Baker and Danny Kelly. Baker was an instant threat and one of his pacey runs down the left in 81st minute saw him get outside Reynolds to the bye line. His driven cross was palmed into the crowd by Heath but the ball fell to a Diamonds boot.
Marheineke played his final card only seconds later replacing Bailey, who had run his heart out for the cause, with Ollie Snaith. Two of the substitutes combined to good purpose almost immediately as Snaith fed a perfectly weighted ball inside Reynolds to put Kelly clear. Heath was again very quick off his line to close down the Ives striker and blocked Kelly’s shot with his body at point blank range.
Ives were now well on top as the hosts defence began to rock a flowing Ives move in 85th minute saw Kelly pick out the overlapping Coulson down the left. His cross into the centre picked out Baker arriving at pace. The speedy winger’s side footed effort flashed inches wide of the post but the linesman’s raised flag would have denied him had it gone in.
The visitors did finally find a route back into the game with three minutes to go. Hood curled in an in-swinging free kick from the left. Snaith got in front of his man to get in an effort that struck the body of keeper Heath, but the Ives sub was not to be denied pouncing on the loose ball to fire home from a narrow angle.
In spite of a number of very shaky moments in the remaining time the hosts just hung on the claim the prize money and a place in the hat for the next round. A frustrated Ives can now concentrate their focus on getting back on track in the League as soon as possible.
Result : AFC Rushden & Diamonds 2 St Ives Town 1
Goals : Snaith 87
Team : Sam Wilson, Hood, Coulson, De’ath (Baker 73), Cartwright, Sundire, Wallis, Parker (capt), Dylan Wilson (Kelly 73), Bailey (Snaith 81), Seymour-Shove
Unused subs : Moyes, Patrick
Man of the match : George Bailey
Attendance : 386
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|October 27, 2018||15:00||The FA Trophy||2018-19||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|AFC Rushden & Diamonds||1||2|
|St Ives Town||0||1|