Holbeach United U18s 4 St Ives Town U18s 2
Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division 22-10-18
The young Ives visited the formidable lair of the Tigers and came within a few inches and a few minutes of being the first side this season to depart from deepest Fenland with anything other than a defeat. Having fallen behind twice the Ives battled back to get level before half time only to miss a penalty on the hour and then eventually fall to two late goals as Holbeach maintained their one hundred per cent home record.
For the second time in successive games the Ives gifted their opponents an early goal. On this occasion keeper Shay Griffiths called for a hopeful through ball but was a little late leaving his line and allowed Harry Collishaw to nip in and beat him to the ball on the edge of the box and prod it past him into the empty net.
It became clear early on that big centre forward Fenn Storey was going to be a thorn in Ives side throughout this fixture. He went close to doubling the hosts lead in 9th minute as he got on the end of a Will Barnes clip into the box from the right. Fortunately for Griffiths his powerful volley from 15 yards flashed inches wide.
Ives first foray into Tigers territory was a trademark run from Zac Hope in 11th minute as he outpaced Luke Williams and hurdled a flying tackle from covering defender Jordan Olive only to be outdone by the very bobbly pitch which saw the ball bounce away from him just enough to let keeper Brad Waters bravely plunge in and take the ball off his toe.
Griffiths redeemed his early error in 21st minute as he plunged smartly to his right to palm away a well struck effort from the edge of the box by Storey who had cleverly dropped off to the edge of the box where he found space to get on the end of a pull back by Josh Balding.
The Ives keeper did even better in 29th minute as he hurled himself high to his right to tip away a curling effort from 20 yards by Liam Scales that was heading for the top corner. This time Storey had been the provider as he cleverly held up a ball into his feet before teeing up Scales.
The resulting corner was quickly cleared allowing Ives to break out at pace with Louis Bald threading a perfect ball through to put Hope away on the left, unfortunately none of his colleagues could match the flying wingers pace and his dangerous low cross flashed across the face of goal just ahead of Thomas Wakley sliding in to try and get a touch.
Having threatened Ives went one better three minutes later as another swift break down the middle saw Billy Mobbs and Wakley combine with the latter knocking the ball into the overlapping run of Mihayl Mitkov. The young full back showed composure well beyond his years as he calmly picked his spot and threaded the ball past the despairing dive of Waters into the bottom corner of the net from just inside the box.
Having fought so hard to get level Ives almost instantly found themselves behind again as a Kieron McConnell free kick from the right was headed home at the near post by Storey. The big centre forward had got in front of his marker and looped his header over Griffiths and into the far corner of the net.
But Ives were still very much in this game and five minutes before the break the sheer battling power and persistence of Wakley got them back level again. The centre forward harried giant centre back Olive into an error robbing him and out muscling him 25 yards from goal then had the composure to look up and curl a magnificent effort just beyond the grasping fingers of Waters and into the top corner.
The hosts again reacted by putting more pressure on Ives back line and went close to going back in front two minute later as Balding and McConnell combined to break through the visitor’s line on the edge of the box. Griffiths was smartly out to narrow the angle and did well to block McConnell’s low drive with his legs.
Ives lifted themselves again and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the early stages of the second half. The battling Wakley continued his struggle against his much bigger markers and in 55th minute he again went close as he skilfully took in a ball from Bald and curled an effort similar to his first half goal only this time the shot from 25 yards curled inches wide.
The visitors were handed a fantastic opportunity to get in front for first time in 59th minute. Bald fired a free kick into the box from the half way line, keeper Waters came for it but failed to hang onto it. Referee James Marsden’s whistle blew and most in the ground thought it must be for a foul on the keeper but the excellent official who had a very good game all evening had spotted Olive manhandling Wakley as the ball came into the box and was pointing to the spot. Mobbs took on the responsibility and struck his low effort well it beat keeper Waters comfortably but thudded the bottom of his right hand upright and rebounded to safety.
The let off seemed to lift the hosts and from that point on they wrestled control from the Ives and began to slowly build up pressure on the visitor’s rear guard. Storey went close in 67th minute as Scales picked out his run into the box with a dink from the right and the centre forward’s half volley flashed inches wide.
Wakley gained a brief moment of respite for Ives in 70th minute as he won a free kick 25 yards from goal in a central position. Mitkov struck the free kick well dipping it over the three man wall but Waters was well positioned and held onto the ball at the second attempt.
The Tigers continued to press and Brandon Andrews went close with a powerful header from a McConnell corner from the left in 72nd minute A well positioned Mitkov saved his side by hacking the ball off the goal line with Griffiths beaten.
Ives continued to battle and looked like they might just hold out for what would have been an excellent point on the road only to be undone by the powerful Storey five minutes from the end of the ninety as he outmuscled Connor Paine on the edge of the box and teed up substitute Billy Barnes whose low drive took a wicked deflection off an Ives defender on it’s way into the bottom corner of the net past an unsighted Griffiths.
With Ives trying to push forward in search of an unlikely third equaliser of the night an error from substitute Adam Kelly deep inside his own box allowed two Tigers substitutes to execute the coup de grace as Billy Barnes this time became provider robbing Kelly to set up Kyle Compton to lash home from close range just seconds from the final whistle to put a perhaps undeserved gloss on the score line for the hosts.
After last weeks poor defeat at Downham there can be no disgrace in this much improved show at a ground where even Deeping have been beaten already this season. A final word on referee Mr Marsden who put on one of the best shows from a match official I have seen this season in difficult conditions with a bumpy pitch and at times a hostile atmosphere he was never over the top, always in control and only resorted to his cards when absolutely necessary.
Final Score : Holbeach United U18 4 St Ives Town U18 2
Goals : Mitkov 32, Wakley 40
St Ives team : Griffiths, Quinsee, Mitkov, Purse (Kelly 54), Paine, Pillin (capt), Mobbs, Bald (Katz 85), Wakley, Gibbs (Stork 34), Hope
Other subs roll on roll off : Bald for Mitkov 83, Gibbs for Katz 88, Mitkov for Hope 88
Unused Subs : Rudd, Burnham
Attendance : approx 45
|November 22, 2018||19:45||Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division||2018-19|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|Holbeach United U18’s||2||4|
|St Ives Town U18||2||2|