Brantham Athletic v St Ives Town
Emirates FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round – 22-09-20
Everyone hopes to avoid that banana skin of going out to the FA Cup against a lower level side in the early rounds of the FA Cup but sadly the Ives stepped square on it for the second season in a row. The story of the game was that a slow start saw them fall behind in only seventh minute and then in spite of enjoying long spells of possession they were unable to break down a rugged and resilient Blue Imps back line and when they did find routes through either woeful finishing or good goalkeeping from home stopper Andrew Plummer kept them at bay.
Manager Ricky Marheineke made one change to the starting eleven from Saturday’s successful opening day team with Ed Hottor returning from suspension in place of Michael Gyasi who dropped to the bench.
After a quiet opening few minutes the hosts stunned Ives by going in front in their first attack of the night. Patrick Brothers got away down the left and picked out Matt Hayden in the centre. The striker still had a lot to do but he showed a good touch to get the ball under control before slamming in a low right foot effort that beat Martin Conway low to his right and went in off the upright.
Ives slow start continued and it was not until 16th minute that the registered their first shot of the evening a 25 yarder from Hottor after he had been teed up by Dylan Williams. Sadly it proved more dangerous to roosting birds high in the tree to the right of Plummer’s goal than it did to the stopper himself.
The hosts did not sit back and defend their slender lead they continued to look dangerous going forward and Jarvis Wilson did just enough to prevent Hayden doubling his tally on the evening after a ball into the box dropped at the strikers feet three minutes later.
The closest Ives came to getting level before the break came in 27th minute when route one tactics almost brought them reward. Conway’s long punt down the centre was flicked on by Marc Richards and the ball struck the hand of a covering Blue Imps defender inches outside the box. There were a queue of people eager to take the resulting free kick and it was taken cleverly with Williams back heel opening things up for Ben Toseland to strike his shot but the young full back pulled his low drive inches wide of Plummer’s left hand post.
This was the signal for the visitors to start building some pressure and Richards should have done better seven minutes later as he rose unchallenged at the back post to get onto a hanging Kyle Lincoln cross from the left but unlike Saturday the usually deadly centre forward steered his header the wrong side of the post.
Only seconds later a Ben Seymour-Shove cross from the right was sliced over his own crossbar at full stretch by Stef Mallardo. Keeper Plummer had his first real test of the evening in 39th minute as Robbie Parker set up Nathan Hicks 25 yards out. The Ives number eleven let fly a screamer that Plummer did well to push away low to his right.
Having enjoyed that very good period Ives almost got caught on the break only ninety seconds before half time. Hayden was this time the provider as he wriggled his way through on the left. He got to the bye line before pulling the ball back to Regan Pelling just inside the box and he slotted the ball into the corner of the net. To his great chagrin the assistant referee on the near side instantly raised his flag with the problem being that Michael Shaikly had run across the face of goal inside the six yard box and got in front of keeper Conway thus was deemed interfering with play. Perhaps a slightly lucky escape for the Ives who almost rubbed salt into the wounds of the hosts seconds later as Williams cut in from the right to feed in Seymour-Shove but Plummer was equal to his well struck shot blocking with his body at close range.
Manager Marheineke decided to make a tactical change at the break and returned to Saturday’s successful line up with the speedy Gyasi replacing Hottor. Ives needed a good start to the second period but their poor finishing continued to let them down. The half was four minutes old when Seymour-Shove and Hicks combined to put Williams in but as those before him the Ives man failed to hit the target from twelve yards.
Toseland was having some success in tandem with Gyasi down the left and the former’s low cross almost crept in at the back post in 54th minute. If the faintest of touches from Jack Marshall had been a little more he would have diverted the ball inside the post instead of out for one of Ives eight corners of the second period. The Ives left back came even closer to forcing a struggling Brantham defender into putting the ball into his own in 62nd minute as his deep free kick to the back post was deflected onto his own crossbar by Mallardo.
Ives were dealt two injury blows which did not help their cause as just after the hour both Wilson and Williams limped out of the action to be replaced by 17 year old full back Bailey Baker making his competitive debut and striker Arel Amu. This meant that manager Marheineke had been forced into playing his entire hand with still almost a third of the game to go.
Gyasi continued to take every opportunity to run at the tiring host’s defence but to often his end product lacked the cutting edge. In 77th minute he managed to beat three defenders in a mazy run along the eighteen yard line but sadly when the shot came it was scuffed and proved a simple save for Plummer.
The hosts had two very good chances in the following three minutes to make the latter stages a whole lot easier for themselves. Baker was Ives saviour on the first of these as he showed his pace to catch and dispossess Brothers who looked like he had got clear down the left and was cutting in on goal. The Blue Imps striker went down under the challenge but referee Michael Robertson-Tant was right on the spot and deemed the tackle a fair one. Conway then pulled off a brilliant diving save high to his left to keep Ives in the game only seconds later. Brothers and Hayden had combined well again before setting up substitute Johnny Lee for a curling effort from 20 yards that was heading for the top corner but for the heroics of Ives keeper.
By this point in the game Toseland was operating at a left winger and there were two minutes of the ninety remaining when another of his teasing crosses looked like it was going to find Oran Jackson ghosting in at the back post but a struggling Joss Neale stretched himself to get just the faintest of touches to knock the ball away. The ball was fed back up to Toseland who this time got to the bye line before drilling in a low cross that Richards tried to divert goal wards only to also be denied by the now seriously cramped up Neale. That was the Blue Imps midfielder’s final action as he limped off the field, I think he probably knew he had done just about enough to see his colleague’s home.
There was one final opportunity at each end in the added six minutes. Two minutes in and with every Ives player deep inside host’s territory Jack Madley managed to get the ball away to Hayden who was completely clear but as Conway came to meet him he took the rshot on early but put it into the side netting.
Ives final chance to take the game to penalties came in the fifth added minute as Richards got a flick onto a long Conway punt Gyasi ran onto the bouncing ball but under heavy pressure from Malladro he sliced his effort high and wide from just inside the box.
The Blue Imps had earned their celebration at the end and it is they who progress to the next round. Ives must lift themselves for another tough battle on Saturday as they visit the powerful Lambs in the West Midlands.
Final Score : Brantham Athletic 1 St Ives Town 0
Goals : none
Team : Conway, Jarvis Wilson (Baker 62), Toseland, Hottor (Gyasi 46), Oran Jackson, Lincoln, Seymour-Shove, Parker (capt), Richards, Williams (Amu 64), Hicks
Unused subs : Patrick, Clifton
Supporters man of the match : Ben Toseland
Attendance : 194
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|September 22, 2020||19:45||The FA Cup||2020-21||90'|
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