Barwell v St Ives Town
BetVictor League Southern Premier Division Central 07-12-19
A battling performance but sadly yet again no reward for the Ives as the Canaries grabbed the only goal of the game three minutes before the break to push the visitors into the bottom two and stretch Ives winless run to eleven games.
For the first time in a long time Ives manager Ricky Marheineke was able to name an unchanged starting eleven and the only change on the bench was the addition of midweek signing ex Kettering and Banbury midfielder Edmund Hottor.
As last week Ives started on the front foot and they could easily have gone in front after only three minutes. Joe Curtis played a perfectly weighted lob over the hosts back line and Matt Foy was onto in a flash just beating onrushing keeper Max Bramley to the ball. The keeper clumsily brought down Foy a couple of metres outside the box and was only saved from a card by the fact that the Ives striker was heading wide rather than directly at goal. Curtis curled the resulting free kick around the wall but straight into the hands of the grateful Bramley.
Ives keeper Finley Iron had to show that he was on his toes only four minutes later as Joey Evans and Tristan Dunkley combined to put Brady Hickey clear into the box but Iron was smartly off his line to bravely smother the ball at the striker’s feet.
Play continued to swing from end to end in these early stages and the next opportunity fell to Ives skipper Robbie Parker in 13th minute as an intended cross ricocheted off a Canaries defender and fell to his feet just inside the box but his left foot snap shot lacked power and was comfortably saved by Bramley.
Iron was called into much more spectacular action two minutes later as Evans and Dunkley again combined this time assisted by powerful centre forward Tolani Omotola the move ending with Dunkley picking out Kai Williams in space on the back edge of the box. The left winger stepped inside before curling a right foot effort that was destined for the top corner before Iron’s right hand palmed it around the post as the agile stopper hurled himself high to his left.
Dunkley was at the heart of a lot of the hosts better moves in the first period and he looked like he had slid a ball through the Ives back line to put Omotola clear in the 19th minute. But young centre back Alfie Powell had been keeping a close eye on the big striker and he timed his tackle to perfection to whip the ball off Omotola’s toe just as the Canaries central striker was about to get his shot away.
Ives were still very much still in the game at this point and in 24th minute a clever Curtis free kick from the right picked out Ben Jackson in space beyond the far post and he found Parker in the centre with his header back into the box. The Ives skipper got his header on target but it was blocked by the leg of a Canaries defender, as was the same players follow up shot after the ball had dropped back to his feet inside the crowded box.
As the half wore on it began to settle down into more of a midfield battle with chances much more at a premium. Omotola was still proving a handful and in the 40th minute he exchanged passes with Hickey before unleashing a left foot rocket from 15 yards that the well positioned Iron did well to push away. But the young keeper had no chance two minutes later when the same player capitalised on some poor Ives defending to put the hosts ahead. Iron delivered a free kick down the park that was powerfully headed back up the middle Dunkley got away from Jarvis Wilson and Powell to get a clear run on goal and then unselfishly drew Iron to him before rolling the ball sideways to Omotola who had the simple task of knocking it into the empty net.
There was a fairly quiet start to the second half and the first opportunity did not arrive until 63rd minute when the dangerous Dunkley was allowed to roam 60 yards with the ball at his feet as Ives defenders retreated. He finished the run with a stinging left foot effort from the edge of the box that was fortunately straight at Iron who held on well. All of that happened with the hosts temporarily down to ten men whilst Omotola was off the field receiving treatment for an eye injury sustained when he tried to block an Iron clearance from a back pass.
The Canaries centre forward was unable to continue and was replaced by Zayn Hakeem but the hosts continued to look the more likely to side to add to their lead and went very close to doing just that in 70th minute. A scramble in the visitors goalmouth saw the ball knocked back to Hickey on the edge of the box and the hosts skipper showed excellent composure as he took a touch and delicately curled the ball through a small gap in the crowd aiming to sneak it in the bottom corner. He was unlucky to see the effort fail as with the unsighted Iron motionless on his line the ball struck the foot of the post rebounded back into play. Williams pounced on it and slammed in a follow up effort but Jackson was on hand to block the shot at point blank range and the ball was eventually hacked clear.
For all of their effort and energy Ives were struggling to create anything much around the hosts box. The closest they came to grabbing an equaliser was fifteen minutes from time when Jackson timed his run to perfection to get on the end of a Curtis corner from the right. But his goal bound header was deflected taking all of the power out of it and allowing Bramley to make a diving save low to his left.
The hosts went a lot closer to doubling their lead only one minute later as Hottor brought down the tricky Williams just outside the box to set up a shooting opportunity for Hickey. The Canaries skipper was denied by the woodwork for the second time in quick succession as he curled the resulting free kick over Ives five man wall and with Iron rooted to the spot he was unlucky to see the ball strike the crossbar and go over the top.
Iron came to Ives rescue again with five minutes to go as he did brilliantly to deny Hakeem who rose above the visitor’s defence to get on the end of Eliot Putman’s cross from the left. The keeper hurled himself to his left to tip the substitutes powerful header around the post and keep his sides hopes alive.
The hosts hit the woodwork for the third time only sixty seconds later and once again Hickey was the unlucky man as he curled an effort from the left edge of the box that beat the diving Iron but rebounded into play off the far post. Substitute Sam Hollis pounced on the loose ball but fired well over the top from a good position to keep the score at one nil.
Ives continued to battle but despite their urgency and efforts they were unable to carve out a decent opportunity in the remaining time and fell to their eighth League defeat on the road this season, seven of those have been by a single goal. Their conquerors moved to within one point of the play off places in a very tight top half of the table. On the positive side many of the injured players are still getting back up to full match fitness, Alfie Powell and Ben Toseland have fitted in well and Edmund Hottor showed some very nice touches when he came on. A couple of wins could still turn this tough season around but they must be found soon to get some momentum going.
Final Score : Barwell 1 St Ives Town 0
Goals : none
Team : Iron, Jackson, Toseland, Clifton (Hottor 64), Powell, Jarvis Wilson, Bailey (Snaith 75), Parker (capt), Foy, Curtis, Dylan Wilson (Seymour-Shove 81)
Unused subs : Johnson, Ward
Supporters man of the match : Alfie Powell
Attendance : 149
Report by Nigel Howlett
|December 7, 2019
|Southern Premier Central
|St Ives Town