ICA Sports U18 v St Ives Town U18
Huntingdonshire FA U18 County Cup – Semi Final 20-01-19
Ives youngsters progressed to the final of the Hunts County Cup without ever getting out of second gear as they only just beat the weather but perhaps more comfortably beat their gallant opponents on a frosty morning in Peterborough.
The car thermometer still said it was minus two degrees but fortunately the sun had just got high enough in the sky to lift the early frost out of the ground sufficiently to allow the game to commence on a decent looking pitch in this small oasis of green at South Bretton. Home to ICA Sports who have a decent record in Peterborough Sunday morning Youth League with only two defeats in their season to date. The Italian roots of the Club are still visible in their nickname of Azzurri.
At a point in time when most of these lads are usually still in bed they needed to be on their game and Harry Sargent showed that this message had got through to the lads as with the game only twelve seconds old he closed down a back pass to keeper Matt Wilshire and was unlucky as his block of the clearance ballooned up in the air allowing the keeper to recover and claim the dropping ball.
Only one minute later Sargent was clattered in the back by the big Azzurri centre back Oliver Piddington just outside the box. Billy Mobbs beat the wall with his curling free kick but it went just the wrong side of the post. Piddington was struggling to keep Sargent in check in these early stages and picked up a very early booking for taking him down again in sixth minute. Billy Garlick’s free kick was flicked on at the near post and arrived at the feet of Mitchell Pillin who should probably have done better but screwed his first time effort wide from six yards.
Having survived these early scares the hosts began to come into the game a little more but Ives back line looked strong and anything that did get through was handled comfortably by Lucas Morton in Ives goal. Ives continued to look the more likely to score and Mobbs went close in 19th minute as he fired a snap shot from 15 yards over the top after a Karl Frans long throw had arrived at his feet.
Keeper Wilshire kept his side level as he stood up well to deny Thomas Wakley in 28th minute after the Ives wide man had been put clear by an exquisite ball over the top from Garlick. He had a more comfortable save to make to keep out a Joe Purse effort from 25 yards after the resulting corner had been headed clear to him.
Although Ives continued to enjoy the majority of possession it was beginning to look like they were not going to be able to get in front before the break but Sargent changed things with a solo goal in 39th minute. He picked up a ball from Louis Bald just inside the opposition half before turning and running at the defence jinking left and right to try and find an opening through the retreating Azzurri back line he eventually found just enough of a gap to fire a bobbling effort on goal that looked little threat but keeper Wilshire’s vision was obscured by his own defenders and he reacted to late to stop the ball rolling in by his right hand post.
The goal was the signal for Ives to lift themselves another gear and they tore at the struggling hosts back line for the remaining six minutes of the first half. Pillin and Sargent both went close with headers before Wakley doubled the visitor’s lead. Garlick clipped a ball through the gap between centre back and full back and Wakley burst through outmuscling Ciaran Millen before firing under the body of Wilshire from ten yards.
Mobbs was denied a third goal which would have killed the game by an excellent save from Wilshire right on the half time. Having outpaced his marker Mobbs cut in from the left and fired in a low drive that the diving Wilshire just deflected around the post.
The half time whistle had come just in time to save the hosts from the knock out blow but that blow arrived five minutes after the restart. A free kick from the left was half cleared to substitute Connor Gibbs on the edge of the box. He miss hit his attempted shot but the ball fell to Mobbs by the penalty spot and he smartly turned on it and slammed home a low right footed effort giving Wilshire no chance.
Having gone three in front Ives relaxed perhaps a little to much and only nine minutes later the powerful Azzurri substitute Charlie Jenkins made them pay as he chased down a long ball down the middle outmuscled Locke and slotted it in the bottom corner past the exposed Morton to give the hosts a glimmer of hope of getting back into the game.
They could have had that hope exponentially increased only three minutes later as James Ware clipped a ball inside Bald to put Ben Denton away but the hosts striker snatched at his opportunity hammering his shot well over the top as Morton came to close him down.
Having survived that scare Ives settled down to professionally see out the remaining half an hour keeping possession wherever possible and moving the ball around in the middle of the park. They achieved this fairly effectively and still managed to create a few more opportunities to increase their lead. George Cawte set up a shooting chance for Mobbs in 68th minute but he could only fire into the side netting from the right hand side of the box. Sargent continued to battle and was unlucky not to score in 72nd minute as he outmuscled Tom Baxter to get on the end of a long ball down the middle. He was driven wide by keeper Wilshire who eventually did well to block his shot when it finally came in.
The hosts had one final opportunity to make the last ten minutes very interesting as Tyler Munns outpaced Connor Paine down the left and cut in before firing in a low drive that Morton did well to cling onto with Denton in close proximity.
The final goal of the morning arrived just after the game entered added time and was a deserved reward for the hard working and very disciplined Sargent who was scythed down by Sam Bloodworth as he was running across the box for a blatant penalty, referee Michael Dunkley agreed with that opinion and pointed to the spot. Sargent picked himself up and grabbed the ball to ensure he got his just reward and made no mistake slamming the ball home emphatically from the spot.
So Ives can look forward to a final against their arch rivals St Neots on what we hope will be a much warmer April evening. Let’s hope they can go one better than their predecessors of two years ago who were unfortunate to lose a tight final against the same opponents.
Final Score : ICA Sports U18 1 St Ives Town U18 4
Goals : Sargent 39 and 90+1 (pen), Wakley 44, Mobbs 50
St Ives team : Morton, Frans (Paine 50), Bald, Purse (Gibbs 32), Locke (capt), Pillin, Mobbs, Cawte, Sargent, Garlick (Rudd 61), Wakley (Lee 56)
Other subs roll on roll off : Purse for Cawte 77, Cawte for Locke 87
Unused Subs : Stork
Attendance : approx 35
Report by Nigel Howlett
|January 20, 2019||10:30||Hunts County U18 Cup||2018-19|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Final Score||Goals|
|ICA Sports U18||—||—||—||1|
|St Ives Town U18||—||—||—||4|