Biggleswade Town v St Ives Town
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central 30-08-2021
Two games in 48 hours proved a step to far for a depleted Ives although their opponents were also missing three players and most of their usual management crew due to a Covid outbreak that under previous quarantine regulations would have lead to a postponement.
With Brett Solkhon and Luke Fairlamb joining the long list of injured players for the Ives and Robbie Parker not being risked for a second game so quickly after his first ninety minutes in almost a year on Saturday manager Ricky Marheineke found himself needing to make some late signings to field a competitive side. The two players brought in were a familiar figure to Ives supporters centre back Sam Cartwright and an experienced central midfielder in ex Cambridge United player David Bridges. Neither had played a competitive game elsewhere this season. With Waders manager Chris Nunn one of those absent due to Covid his stand in was player coach Joe Howe who named himself on the bench.
Both of Ives late signings went straight into the starting eleven with Cartwright lining up alongside Callum Milne forming a new and untested centre back pairing and Bridges replacing the rested Parker in the middle of the park. Other changes saw Eniola Agemoh-Davies replace the rested Ben Toseland at full back and Ben Seymour-Shove getting his first start of the season in place of the injured Fairlamb.
Not surprisingly Ives new look defence was a little shaky early on and keeper, and skipper for the day, Paul White was called into action after only 45 seconds diving low to his right to keep out a crisp right footer from Lewis Clayton after the Waders right winger had got on the end of a cross from the left by the speedy Magliore Muyembe. Ives did not learn from that early let off as hesitancy in defence lead to them falling behind only four minutes later. A long throw from the left by Kane Ferrell was allowed to bounce in the box. In the ensuing scramble the ball fell to Clayton who made no mistake this time slamming the loose ball high into the roof of the net from eight yards.
The visitors seemed to decide that the best way to protect their vulnerable looking defence was to go on the attack themselves and going forward they quickly started to look threatening and put pressure on what looked like a similarly uncomfortable Waders back four. Seymour-Shove had twice failed to hit the target from good positions before a storming run from midfield by Agemoh-Davies levelled things up in 14th minute. The young full back picked up the ball on the halfway line before surging forward through the heart of the hosts back line playing the perfect one two with Nabil Shariff just outside the box then finishing in style from just inside the box.
Both sides continued to look threatening going forward and it was the visitors that got their noses in front for the first time with an even better goal in 26th minute. Shariff challenged for and won the ball off James Peters on the edge of the centre circle. It ran loose to Liam Cross who instantly set off at pace on a diagonal run through the centre of a struggling Waders back line going past two defenders before outpacing Stevan Shaw into the box and then firing a left footed effort across the diving Jake Alley and into the far corner of the net.
But the lead was short lived as only four minutes later the hosts restored parity with a flowing move down the left well finished by Jemale Mckenzie. Peters timed his run through the left channel to perfection to get on the end of a threaded ball from Ferrell and he got to the bye line before picking out Joe Neal with his pull back. The unselfish number nine rolled the ball on to Mckenzie who side footed it home low to the left of the unsighted White from just inside the box.
Like two heavyweight boxers the two teams continued to slug it out blow to blow towards the bell. The hosts almost landed two blows and the visitors one in the remaining time before the break. In 34th minute a poor ball out of defence by Cartwright fell to Neal who got to the edge of the box before unleashing a low drive that White blocked with his legs. The big keeper did even better to keep out the follow up effort from Mckenzie pushing it around the post as the lively number ten tried to screw it home from a tight angle.
Having survived that scare Ives should have gone back in front in 38th minute as their first corner of the day delivered from the right by Cross picked out the head of the unmarked Bridges who failed to hit the target with a free header from eight yards.
Cartwright redeemed his earlier slip four minutes before the break when he performed a miraculous recovery to prevent Neal putting the Waders back in the lead. The young centre back had been caught flat footed on the halfway line as Neal sprinted clear onto a ball over the top but he did not give up and with White doing just enough to delay the centre forward Cartwright was able to slide in and dispossess him cleanly on the edge of the box.
As in the first period the hosts set the early pace after the re-start but the first real opportunity for either side did not arrive until 58th minute when Muyembe got away down the left and delivered a ball to the near post where Clayton was able to take it down, swivel and fire off a shot that White did well to block. He did equally well to react and pounce on the loose ball ahead of the marauding Squire.
Two minutes later the Waders did go back in front in bizarre fashion as Ives needlessly put themselves under pressure playing a free kick from near the halfway line back towards their own goal and then losing possession to concede a needless corner. Ferrell delivered it into the mix where an under pressure White got a poor punch on it. The ball fell to Squire who knocked it towards goal but Dylan Williams was on hand to fire the ball off the line unfortunately for him his attempted clearance cannoned off his own goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Falling behind in such unfortunate circumstances did not knock the Ives for long and Shariff went close to an equaliser only four minutes later as he took down a ball in from the right by Cross and turned Shane Bush before unleashing a fierce drive from a narrow angle that beat Alley but slammed into the upright and rebounded back into play.
The visitors went close to that precious equaliser again in 73rd minute as another cross from the right caused problems in the host’s box. This time the deliverer was Agemoh-Davies and Shariff bravely went in for his clip to the near post with both keeper Alley and Bush. The loose ball ran to Seymour-Shove but the angle was almost impossible and he flashed his effort across the face of goal and out for a throw.
Ives continued to enjoy good possession and keep probing but they still looked vulnerable to the ball over the top and were almost caught out in 79th minute as Neal broke clear to a ball clipped into the left channel. White came racing from his goal, but always looked second best and sure enough the centre forward beat him to the ball forcing the keeper to clatter into him. White was perhaps a little fortunate that Neal was heading away from goal when the contact came so the card he received was yellow.
Late changes for the Ives saw the welcome return of another long term injury absentee Jack Snelus who replaced Seymour-Shove for the final ten minutes and Ryan Robbins who replaced the tiring Shariff five minutes later. The latter could so easily have made himself the hero with his first touch as he had only been on the field a matter of second when a Cross corner from the right was knocked down to him ten yards from goal, sadly the big striker got it horribly wrong screwing his first time effort well wide.
There was an added four minutes indicated by referee Jack Bloxham and that was time for Ives to go close three times. In the first of them substitute Robbie Parker got on the end of a teasing cross from the right by Agemoh-Davies but only succeeded in powering his header inches over from a good position. Two shouts for spot kicks came in the last two minutes first Robbins and Cross combined on the left with the former running at the defence, getting clipped by Bush just outside the box but staying on his feet then going down when unchallenged a few strides later. He picked up a yellow card for his troubles.
The second one was probably a better shout as Cross ran onto a through ball from Hottor but the young wide man had let the ball run away from him when the minimal contact came inside the box from a covering defender. Personal opinion from an observer only a few metres from both incidents was that if either had been given they would have been a very soft penalty to award and with referee Jack Bloxham in good position for both I think that he made the right decisions.
Overall opinion was that it was a game that we could have, and should have, got something from and that something could easily have been three points. Our chance for revenge against our neighbours down the A1 will come on Boxing Day but for now it is time to regroup, refocus, get a few more of the walking wounded back to full fitness and march on to another big test as we visit Needham Market in the FA Cup next Saturday.
Final Score : Biggleswade Town 3 St Ives Town 2
BIGGLESWADE : Clayton 5, Mckenzie 32, White (own goal) 60
ST IVES : Agemoh-Davies 14, Cross 26
BIGGLESWADE: Alley, Shaw, Ferrell, Peters, Hall, Bush (capt), Clayton (Kone 75), Squire, Neal, Mckenzie (Koya 66), Muyembe Unused subs : Purse, Hill, Howe
ST IVES: White (capt), Agemoh-Davies, Flanagan, Hottor, Milne, Cartwright, Cross, Bridges (Parker 52), Shariff (Robbins 84), Williams, Seymour-Shove (Snelus 79) Unused subs : Toseland, Heath
Ives Supporters man of the match : Liam Cross
Attendance : 215
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|August 30, 2021||15:00||Southern Premier Central||2021-22||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||2||2|