Biggleswade Town v St Ives Town
Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division Central – 05-01-19
When these two teams met at Westwood Road back in October it was a high energy contest between two very competitive sides each very quick to close the other down with neither side willing to give the other a moment on the ball all around the park. On that October evening a game of very few chances was decided in favour of the Waders by a single goal just before the hour.
The big difference in this game was that it came at the end of a gruelling period of Christmas and New Year fixtures hence although the effort was still there from both sides the energy level had dropped a notch leading to a much more open game which boasted a total of 26 no. shots fourteen of which were on target so both goalkeepers were busy. Unfortunately for Ives the result ended up being exactly the same as the previous fixture this time the only goal arriving five minutes earlier than in October.
With Sam Cartwright’s loan spell concluded and he now returned to the Posh Ben Jackson moved across into the centre of defence with Owen Wallis coming in at right back as the only changes to the starting eleven that played so well at St Neots four days earlier. A near to fit again Jarvis Wilson replaced Wallis in the only change amongst the substitutes.
The afternoon started in similar fashion to that which followed as both sides fired snap shots well off target in the first three minutes Donovan Makoma for the hosts and Jake Newman for the Ives.
The first real chance of the game then fell to the visitors in only sixth minute as Robbie Parker threaded a pass through the Waders back line to put Newman clear cutting in from the right. Keeper Sam Donkin came to meet the Ives striker and spread himself well to block Newman’s left footed effort at close range.
Ives keeper Martin Conway was called upon to make his first telling save of the afternoon only two minutes later as he reacted sharply to make a one handed block to deny Joe White after the big centre forward had worked room for a shot inside the box having been fed the ball by Jonny McNamara. This led to a period of Biggleswade pressure but the hard working Ives backed line although stretched at times managed to keep them at bay with one timely interception by Wallis to prevent Bradley Bell getting on the end of a cross from the right being the most noteworthy action in the next ten minutes.
Having weathered this period of pressure Ives then went close themselves in 18th minute as Danny Kelly robbed ex Ives and St Neots man Jack Bradshaw deep in his own half. Cutting in from the left Kelly picked out Munashe Sundire in a little bit of space 25 yards from goal. The all action midfielder had chance to take a touch but his powerful effort was always rising and ended up about a foot over the top of Donkin’s crossbar.
The Waders went very close to going in front in 25th minute as Makoma got away down the right and picked out White closing fast at the near post with his cross. The big striker got across in front of Charlie De’ath and made good contact and was a little unlucky not to score as his effort hit the post and rebounded into the grateful hands of Conway.
That was the start of another period of Waders pressure and in the run up to half time Conway was by far the busier of the two keepers. In 34th minute a ball in from the right by McNamara was flicked on at the near post by White and arrived at the feet of Liam Brooks at the back post he cleverly turned his man and fired in a shot from ten yards that Conway did well to palm away. Two minutes later the keeper was in action again to deny White after the Waders striker who was looking suspiciously offside had been allowed to go on to get clear through the left channel onto a ball clipped over the top. But once more the Ives keeper bravely spread himself to block the striker’s effort at close range.
But it was not all one way and Donkin was forced into a spectacular save to keep the scores level two minutes before the break. A Parker free kick from the right was only half cleared to Ben Baker 25 yards out. The young wide man managed to take a touch and showed great technique to get over the dropping ball and fire in a rasping effort that was heading for the top corner but for the fingertips of Donkin as the young keeper flung himself high to his left. Having saved his side he then almost turned claimed an assist as he caught the hanging corner and instantly delivered a long punt down the middle which almost caught out the Ives rear guard as McNamara fired over from a good position.
The first effort of the second half went the way of Ives as Newman and Kelly combined to set up a shooting opportunity for Ben Seymour-Shove. The man playing his 200th game for the Ives struck his shot well and it squirmed through the hands of Donkin but the ever alert keeper recovered swiftly to reclaim the ball before it could cross the line.
Having gone within inches of going in front the visitors then fell behind in a manner that will disappoint manager Ricky Marheineke. A McNamara corner from the right was flicked on at the near post and fell to the feet of Brooks who had completely lost his marker at the back post. The Waders striker made no mistake beating Conway with a crisp half volley that flew into the net from eight yards.
Going behind seemed to knock a little of the momentum out of the visitors and again the hosts enjoyed a period of pressure. Jackson came to Ives rescue three minutes later as White and McNamara combined to set up a shooting opportunity for Brooks inside the box. He flicked his effort past the spreading Conway but Jackson was covering behind his keeper and hacked the goal bound effort away. Only seconds later it was Wallis’s turn to keep his side in the game as he just managed to prevent McNamara getting on the end of a low cross from the right by Bell.
In a valiant effort to find a little more spark manager Marheineke replaced both of his wide men on the hour with Ollie Snaith and Ty Ward replacing Seymour-Shove and Baker respectively. If he had a plan to make a further positive change later in the game that went out of the window only moments after the double change as Wallis pulled up with what looked like a hamstring injury to force Marheineke to play his final card and replace him with Joe Hood.
As the time ticked away it was still the Waders on top and they had chances to kill the game off but failed to take them. McNamara got away down the left in 77th minute and picked out Makoma in the centre. The tall midfielder made such poor contact with his header from eight yards that the hard working Bell managed to keep the ball alive on the other side but Coulson slid in to intercept as he attempted to pick out White lurking at the near post with a return cross.
Conway had to make one more outstanding save three minutes from the end of the ninety as he leapt high to his right to turn away a powerful snap shot from the corner of the box by Makoma.
As is so often the case in these games a team which has been under the cosh for long periods but battled to stay in the game will get one chance to get themselves some reward in the last few minutes and that is exactly what happen as Snaith and De’ath combined to harry and rob Bradshaw by his own corner flag. The latter got the ball and set off inside shaped to shoot but then laid the ball off to Parker just inside the box. With Waders defenders desperately hurling themselves in to try and block the effort Parker unleashed a rising drive that beat the defenders and the flying Donkin but skimmed millimetres over the top. So near to snatching a point, but not quite to be as the final whistle blew before the resulting goal kick could even be taken.
Final Score : Biggleswade Town 1 St Ives Town 0
Goals : none
Team : Conway, Wallis (Hood 63), Coulson, Sundire, Jackson, De’ath, Baker (Snaith 60), Parker (capt), Newman, Kelly, Seymour-Shove (Ward 60)
Unused subs : Jarvis Wilson, Bailey
Supporters man of the match : Martin Conway
Attendance : 207
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson
|January 5, 2019
|Southern League Premier Division Central
|St Ives Town