Kings Langley v St Ives Town
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central 29-09-20
This game was a brilliant advert for step three football as the two sides slugged it out at break neck speed almost from start to finish. The only thing lacking was a grandstand finish to the game from either side but that was probably as much down to both sides simply running out of energy in the closing stages as the exertions of the crowded early season fixture list caught up with them.
With manager Ricky Marheineke awaiting the result of a coronavirus test Mitchell Austin took charge of the team for the first time. Even though Marheineke was not at the Orbital Fasteners Stadium he was very much to the fore in the changes to Ives line up from their gallant defeat on Saturday. Hard work by he and the club secretary earlier in the day ensured that experienced right back Liam Bateman was signed from Tamworth in time to replace stand in full back Jarvis Wilson. Nabil Shariff had completed his three match ban to take the number eight shirt vacated by injured skipper Robbie Parker with Marc Richards taking the armband. Austin’s first decision came his way before the game even started as Northampton loanee Jacob Ballinger pulled up in the warm-up with a muscle injury, Ben Toseland taking his place in the starting eleven.
The game may not have had an exciting finish but it certainly had an explosive start. There were only sixty seconds on the stop watch when Marc Richards caught Callum Adebiyi dallying just outside his own box. The ball was knocked sideways to Michael Gyasi who took a touch before rifling in a powerful left footed effort that keeper Alex Tokarczyk got a hand to be could not keep out of the net.
Ives high pressing game was causing the Kings defenders problems early on, two minutes later it was again Adebiyi who made the mistake. This time his hurried clearance went straight to Dylan Williams thirty yards from goal. His threaded pass picked out the well judged run of Gyasi but this time the young striker’s touch let him down allowing Tokarczyk to claim the ball.
The hosts first really threatening foray came in 14th minute when full back Kyle Connolly was allowed space to roam forward and took the opportunity to try his luck from fully thirty yards. His low drive skimmed off the wet surface forcing keeper Martin Conway into a diving save low to his right.
Captain Richards was very much leading by example and his harrying tactics almost brought further reward half way through the first period as he robbed Rod Collins inside the centre circle before feeding in Gyasi cutting in from the left. This time the speedy striker fired his effort harmlessly across the face of goal from a narrow angle.
By this point the game had become very much an end to end affair with Richards, Gyasi and Shariff all causing problems for the visitors and to counter that the equally mobile strike force of Brad Wadkins, Harrison Crawford and Jack Wood were stretching the Ives defence. Crawford got away down the left in 27th minute before delivering a pin-point cross to the near post where Wadkins managed to get in front of Oran Jackson but could not steer his effort on target.
Ten minutes later Collins combined well with Wood who did well to turn Brett Solkhon on the edge of the box but Jackson was covering and slid in to bravely block the striker’s effort at point blank range. With half time approaching the hosts continued to press forward in search of an equaliser Jordan Parkes had a long range effort well held by Conway four minutes from the break but the Ives keeper had no chance when the leveller did arrive ninety seconds before the break. Parkes delivered a long free kick was into Ives box a couple of attempts to get it clear were unsuccessful and the ball eventually fell to Crawford by the penalty spot who slammed home a low right footed effort to take the two teams in at the break at one goal each.
The second half started exactly as the first had with Richards forcing Adebiyi into an early mistake, this time needlessly conceding a corner. The flag kick was the first touch for Dan Clifton, who had replaced the limping Williams at the break. It was delivered to the centre of the box where Richards was again prominent. The ball ricocheted off a defender and fell to Gyasi just inside the box. He finished like a true striker spinning and lashing home the ball with such ferocity that Tokarczyk did not move a muscle as it flashed past him and billowed the net.
Ives now back in front only ninety seconds after the re-start but this time the lead did not last long as Wood was allowed to pick up a loose ball 25 yards from goal. He cleverly side stepped a defender before beating Conway low to his right with a well struck effort.
The game continued at the same unrelenting pace as both sides went in search of a winner. The next couple of attempts both came from the home side, in 56th minute Wood cut inside Toseland down the right before firing in a low drive that keeper Conway held cleanly at his near post. Four minutes later the same player combined well with overlapping full back Gary Connolly before again lining up a fierce drive from the edge of the box but this time he was thwarted by Solkhon bravely hurling himself across the line of the shot.
Ives next noteworthy attempt arrived in 67th minute when Richards added to Adebiyi’s tough night by forcing him into a poor header as the pair challenged for a long punt from keeper Conway just outside the box. The ball fell to Gyasi who was only denied his hat trick by Tokarczyk plunging to his left to keep out his toe poked effort. Gyasi’s pace continued to trouble the Kings back line and six minutes later he showed just how quick he can be as he picked up the ball on the half way line before showing Gary Connolly a clean pair of heels thene cutting inside and firing off a rising drive that was unfortunately straight at keeper Tokarczyk who held on well.
Opportunities continued to come the way of Ives front three and the next trio of chances all fell to Shariff. In 76th minute he managed to almost get clear onto a clever Richards flick to a Conway punt only to be denied by a brilliantly timed covering tackle from Jorell Johnson. With just six minutes of the ninety left he got even closer as he intercepted a poor cross field pass just inside Kings half and bore down on goal. But the fact that this was his first full ninety minutes of the season began to show and he was forced into an early shot from the edge of the box as defenders began to close. His shot was still sufficient to force Tokarczyk into a diving save low to his right. The resulting corner by substitute Ben Seymour-Shove saw Shariff cleverly lose his marker but he was not able to get sufficient contact on the ball to trouble the keeper.
Referee Michael Smith added an extra six minutes to take into account time lost during two lengthy periods of treatment to keeper Conway who fortunately made it to the end and a number of periods when inexplicably there were no footballs to allow the game to continued and a wait ensued whilst someone had to go and collect one from an adjacent field. But whilst Kings enjoyed most of the possession during this period both sides were looking a bit leggy and neither were able to create a clear opportunity for a winner.
Overall conclusion was a very entertaining game where the stats suggested that a draw was probably a fair result. With the strength and guile of Richards and the speed and finishing ability of Gyasi and Shariff Ives look dangerous every time they go forward and with the inclusion of Bateman’s experience the back line now looks a lot more solid. The midfield perhaps lacked a little in this game but with captain Parker hopefully soon to return and Seth Patrick expected to get his international clearance in the near future the competition for places is hotting up which hopefully bodes well for a good season.
Final Score : Kings Langley 2 St Ives Town 2
Goals : Gyasi 2 & 47
Team : Conway, Bateman, Toseland, Hottor, Oran Jackson, Solkhon, Gyasi (Seymour-Shove 82), Shariff, Richards (capt) (Lincoln 88), Williams (Clifton 46), Hicks
Unused subs : Ballinger, Patrick
Supporters man of the match : Michael Gyasi
Attendance : 293
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|September 29, 2020||19:45||Southern Premier Central||2020-21||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||1||2|