Kettering Town 0 St Ives Town 3
Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division Central – 01-12-18
Even the most ardent Ives fans would have been hard pressed to anticipate this result at the home of the League leaders a ground where we have taken a few heavy beatings in the past. But those who chose to go Christmas shopping, visit relatives, or simply stay at home missed one of the best performances from an Ives side in many seasons. Not only did they come away from Latimer Park with all three points it was the manner of the victory which will live long in the memory of the Ives supporters that witnessed this one.
Manager Ricky Marheineke sprung a pre-match surprise with his team selection we all knew Jake Newman would be missing as he served his one match ban following his dismissal the previous Saturday and Ben Seymour-Shove coming into the front line with Ollie Snaith moving to the centre might have been anticipated. However leaving out both full backs and replacing them with centre backs was unexpected as Charlie De’ath was recalled to left back replacing Owen Wallis and Ben Jackson made his first start for the Club replacing Joe Hood on the right.
The opening exchanges were uneventful with both sides probing the others back line without really creating any chances to test the opposition keeper. The first noteworthy opportunity for either side was a bit of a let off for Ives in 16th minute. Lathaniel Rowe-Turner delivered a deep cross to the back post where Rhys Hoenes knocked it back into the centre and Dan Holman prodded home from close range but the assistant’s flag was already up as the cross had gone out of play.
Ives first opportunity came six minutes later and they converted it clinically to silence the home crowd. A ball down the left was expertly held up by Danny Kelly his clever flick through sent Ben Baker scampering away his pace took him to the bye line from where he slid the ball into the mix. It was slightly behind Snaith but the Ives action man showed an excellent touch to drag it in turn and rifle it the bottom corner of the net past a startled Paul White in the Poppies goal.
The hosts came back at the Ives with all guns blazing and went close only two minutes later. With Aaron O’Connor on the deck inside the box following a firm tackle by Jarvis Wilson they chose to keep the ball alive as Marcus Kelly delivered it back into the centre where Dan Holman got between defenders but his downward header from ten yards was straight at Ives keeper Martin Conway.
The Poppies had a big shout for a penalty in 25th minute as Rowe-Turner got away down the left and cut into the box. His low driven cross appeared to strike the outstretched arm of an Ives defender who was sliding in to try and stop the cross, but referee Mark Tinsley did not endear himself to the home faithful behind the goal as he waved away their appeals for a penalty.
To heap further suffering on the home fans Ives doubled their advantage in their next meaningful attack in 33rd minute. Seymour-Shove delivered an in-swinging corner from the left to the near post and with no one on the post Dion Kelly-Evans was forced to move towards his own goal to keep it out meaning his attempted clearance went straight back to Seymour-Shove. The winger had time to take a touch and pick his target in the centre he picked Sam Cartwright at the back post and the big centre back rose majestically to power home a downward header from eight yards to raise the optimism levels of Ives supporters to an unexpected high.
Ex Poppy Baker was terrorising his former team mates with his pace and direct running style and it was just such a threat that brought further reward for Ives five minutes before the break. The visitors broke away at pace from a host’s corner and another ex Poppy Munashe Sundire fed it to Baker who seized the opportunity to run at the defence forcing Durrell Berry to bring him down 25 yards from goal. The defender picked up a yellow card for the cynical challenge but the punishment for he and his team mates got considerably greater when Kelly struck a worldy of a free kick that dipped over the three man wall and bounced into the net off the underside of the crossbar, ala Jack Higgs in his prime. Keeper White had not moved a muscle.
By this point Ives fans were pinching themselves just to make sure this was not an alternative reality or a fantastic dream. The prime concern now was to make sure that we did not concede before the break. The host’s best attempt of the first period came two minutes later as Ives were almost caught out by a quick free kick. Kelly plonked the ball down 35 yards from goal and with the visitors still assembling their back line he slid it into the run of Holman clear into the box. Conway came to meet him and was relieved to see the skilful striker’s first time effort from twelve yards ruffle the side netting not the back of the net.
That was to be Holman’s last positive action of the afternoon as the Poppies centre forward perhaps in frustration put in an over the ball challenge on De’ath right in front of the referee only sixty seconds later. The official’s decision was a straight red card to add to the chagrin of the home fans and further decrease the hosts hopes of finding a route back into a match where they had been a poor second best in the first half.
Ives came out for the start of the second period in a mood to ensure that they held onto their advantage. Baker in particular was determined to inflict further pain on his former team mates. The second half was only two minutes old when he robbed Michael Richens inside his own half and set off on a sixty yard dash outpacing two defenders and hurdling a lunging challenge from Luke Graham before steading himself just outside the box and curling his right foot effort inches over the top.
The hosts were being hounded mercilessly by Ives front players who were effective in ensuring that they could not build up any head of steam by continually forcing them backwards much to the disgust of the home fans who started to barrack their own players as they passed the ball around inside their own half. The Ives midfield were equally as effective as their forward colleagues with Robbie Parker and Sundire ensuring that there was no route through the centre of the park forcing the Poppies to play into their hands by going long where the powerful centre back pairing of Cartwright and Wilson were winning everything in the air.
De’ath eventually succumbed to the injury picked up in the challenge from Holman to be replaced by Hood in 56th minute and new signing Ty Ward replaced a limping Seymour-Shove ten minutes later but the pair simply slotted into the well oiled Ives machine. Kettering manager Marcus Law played all of his cards making three substitutions by 68th minute but the replacements made no change to the pattern of the game which the hard working Ives continued to control.
The hosts did have one opportunity to get a route back into the game fifteen minutes from time as Wilson brought down O’Connor just outside the box. Substitute Ben Milnes lined up the free kick but only succeeded in firing it straight into Ives four man wall. Bailey replaced the tiring Kelly at the next stop in play and it was clear that his instructions were to continue the high pressing game which was preventing the Poppies creating any pressure. He quickly became as annoying as a mosquito to the host’s back line as he ceaselessly buzzed around them. His pressure forced a mistake in 86th minute that allowed Snaith to play Ward into the box. The debutant curled his left foot effort from 15 yards inches wide of the post with White beaten.
By the time that the hosts worked themselves a golden opportunity for a consolation goal in the fourth of the added five minutes the ground was half empty. Milnes and O’Connor exchanged passes to get into the box on the right with the latter being taken down by a clumsy challenge from a covering Parker. To top off the Poppies day Milnes blasted the resulting spot kick way over the top.
Ives small band of supporters were about the only ones left in the ground at the end as they stayed to a man and woman to cheer their heroes from the stage. This momentum needs to be taken into next weeks vital home game with Bedworth but for now those of us that witnessed this performance will be wandering around with big smiles on our faces for days.
Final Score : Kettering Town 0 St Ives Town 3
Goals : Snaith 22, Cartwright 33, Kelly 40
Team : Conway, Jackson, De’ath (Hood 56), Sundire, Cartwright, Jarvis Wilson, Baker, Parker (capt), Snaith, Kelly (Bailey 75), Seymour-Shove (Ward 66)
Unused subs : Wallis, Dylan Wilson
Supporters man of the match : Ben Baker
Attendance : 653
Report by nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|December 1, 2018
|Southern League Premier Division Central
|St Ives Town