Needham Market v St Ives Town
BetVictor League Southern Premier Division Central 26-12-19
Keeper Finley Iron was the Ives hero not only pulling off a string of fines saves but also providing the assist for Ben Seymour-Shove’s late equaliser as the visitors grabbed a hard earned point on a very wet and windy Boxing Day in Suffolk.
Iron’s wind assisted punt proved pivotal in the closing stages but the game had not started that way for the Ives custodian as he struggled to make clean contact on an fourth minute attempted clearance against the strong Westerly breeze his attempt falling at the feet of Craig Parker fully forty yards from goal. The midfielder took a touch and tried to drill a low drive into the vacant net fortunately for the scampering Iron Alfie Powell just managed to stretch out a long leg to divert the effort past the post.
The hosts kept the pressure on against a disjointed looking Ives and managed to get their noses in front only four minutes later as Ty Ward got caught out ball watching at the back post. Gareth Heath took advantage of a slip from Aaron Phillips to get to the bye line on the left and clipped the ball up to the back post where Parker managed to get in front of Ward and prod the ball home from close range.
The early flow of the game was all one way as the Marketmen continued to find holes in the Ives back line. In twelfth minute a quick break through the centre saw Will Hunt and Parker exchanged passes before the former got around Ward on the outside and unleashed a rising drive from just outside the box that flew over the top.
Iron started his heroics halfway through the first period as he spread himself well to deny Joe Neal after the host’s number seven had been put clear down the centre by a perfect through ball from Adam Mills. Tom Wood was on hand to scramble the loose ball to safety.
The Marketmen went close again in 26th minute as Mills got away down the left onto a long wind assisted punt from keeper Marcus Garnham he teed up a cross to the back post where Ward made sure that he was not caught out this time but in attempting to head the ball to safety over his own crossbar he got it a little wrong and was very lucky when the ball struck the woodwork and rebounded into play. Heath was onto the loose ball in a flash only to be denied by a combination of the recovering Ward and keeper Iron who between them managed to keep the close range effort out.
The one way traffic assisted by the elements continued almost unabated and in 33rd minute a Callum Sturgess corner from the right picked out Parker in space beyond the far post and he tried to go for the spectacular as he swung a leg at the dropping ball and caught it on the volley fortunately his contact was poor and the ball screwed across the face of goal where Ward this time got his clearance right knocking out at the expense of another corner.
Another smart break from the Marketmen carved out yet another opportunity for them in 35th minute as Heath and Sturgess combined well to feed the ball into the feet of Mills on the left side of the box but with his back to goal. A little shimmy and a smart turned created enough space for him to get the shot away but fortunately he only ruffled the side netting with his well struck effort.
The final minute of the half saw Iron called upon to make one of the more routine saves of his busy afternoon as he held onto a well struck right footed effort from Hunt after the Marketmen’s centre forward had cut in from the left and slammed in a powerful drive that was fortunately straight at the Ives stopper.
Ives first meaningful attempt on goal arrived three minutes after the restart when skipper Robbie Parker found a little bit of space just outside the box and unleashed a snap shot that nearly caught out Garnham who was forced to parry the effort into the air and was grateful that his left back was first to react to the dropping ball and Sturgess calmly headed the ball back into his hands.
Iron was back to his heroics again two minutes later as he twice denied the hosts in quick succession. Initially Hunt was put clear down the centre and Iron was instantly off his line to close him down deflecting the centre forwards effort wide off his body at point blank range. The resulting corner saw Sturgess and Heath work a clever routine that finished with Sturgess breaking into the box at pace and firing in a fierce effort from a narrow angle that Iron did well to parry away, the loose ball fell to Mills who probably should have done better but snatched at the chance and only managed to screw his effort wide from ten yards.
The goal frame came to Ives rescue again on the hour as Iron came for a dangerous in-swinging corner from the right and got a fist to it through the crowd but the ball fell to Heath just outside the box and the Marketmen’s play maker calmly curled the ball over the crowd and past the grasping fingers of Iron only to be denied as the ball rattled the crossbar and bounced down into the six yard box. Parker was first to react but the assistant’s flag was raised to prevent him prodding the loose ball home.
Home keeper Garnham was fortunate to get away with an error in the 62nd minute as he tried to shepherd a rolling ball out of play just outside his eighteen yard box only to be robbed by substitute Matt Foy who had only a few moments earlier replaced the tiring George Bailey. Unfortunately none of his fellow strikers had bargained on Foy gaining possession and so he found himself alone amongst a crowd of red shirts with not a team mate he could pick out inside the box. He was forced to go for goal only to be dispossessed by the covering Dan Morphew.
Keeper Iron pulled off his best saves of the afternoon to keep Ives in the game two minutes later Hunt got away down the middle with a perfectly timed run. As Iron came to meet him the centre forward tried to flick the ball over him but an upstretched arm by the Ives keeper did just enough to divert the ball away from goal but Mills was following up at pace and the ball was dropping to his feet ten yards from goal it looked like he only had to make clean contact to bury the ball but he reckoned without the never say die attitude of Iron as the young keeper bravely flung himself full length across the shot and managed to deflect it away from goal much to the disbelief of the home faithful.
Lifted by the heroics of their keeper Ives began to probe the hosts defence in search of a possible equaliser. In 66th minute Ollie Snaith got on the end of a quick passing move through the centre involving Parker and Joe Curtis he was just about to get his shot away when Russell Short took his legs from under him just outside the box. There was a queue of people to take the resulting free kick Seymour-Shove took the responsibility but failed to trouble Garnham as his effort flew well over the top.
Iron was called upon again as the game entered the final twenty minutes. Mills cut out a poorly directed pass from Curtis on the halfway line and burst forward running fully forty yards before forcing a diving save low to his left out of Iron to keep out his crisp left footed effort from just inside the box. Only seconds earlier Hunt had failed to hit the target from a good position having got on the end of a teasing cross from the right by Neal.
The young Ives keeper made his final good save of the afternoon twelve minutes from time as he leapt high to tip over a powerful Short header after the Marketmen’s number four got on the end of Heath’s in-swinging corner from the left. But that was not the keeper’s final telling contribution of the day as his wind assisted goal kick with three minutes to go deceived the hosts back line and the ever alert Seymour-Shove was onto the bouncing ball lifting it over the advancing Garnham who could only look on as the covering Dan Morphew tried desperately to hook the ball back off the goal line. Those of us behind the goal are convinced he did not achieve it but fortunately goal line technology was not required as Seymour-Shove followed up to spark gleeful celebrations as he fired home the loose ball with Morphew stuck in the back of the net.
There was just time for one other noteworthy event deep in added time when Ives substitute Edmund Hottor who had only been on the field a few minutes recklessly launched himself into a sliding tackle on Marketmen’s Jake Dye that saw him receive a red card for his pains from referee Emily Heaslip. Hottor got a bit of the ball, but also got quite a lot of Dye it was the sort of tackle that few years ago would not have been deemed a problem but these days more often than not attracts a red card as Ives found out to their advantage a few weeks ago at Bromsgrove.
Overall the red card cannot detract from a very good point on the road for struggling Ives who can certainly thank their gallant keeper for keeping them in the game on a number of occasions but it was very nice to see them grab a point rather than lose points with a late goal. Once again I say we must take the positives from this and push on hoping for a change in fortunes into the New Year. The perfect way to welcome it in would be three points off our old adversaries the Diamonds on New Years Day.
Final Score : Needham Market 1 St Ives Town 1
Goals : Seymour-Shove 87
Team : Iron, Phillips, Ward (Dylan Wilson 78), Toseland, Powell, Wood, Snaith (Hottor 80), Parker (capt), Bailey (Foy 58) Curtis, Seymour-Shove
Unused subs : Clifton
Supporters man of the match : Finley Iron
Attendance : 214
Match report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook.
|December 26, 2019
|Southern Premier Central
|St Ives Town