Nuneaton Borough v St Ives Town
BetVictor League Southern Premier Division Central 21-12-19
There was little early Christmas cheer for Ives as the difference in class was evident throughout this one sided affair as the promotion chasing Boro’ comprehensively defeated a hard working but uninspiring visitors and but for some very good last ditch defending and some excellent saves from Finley Iron the score line could have been even worse.
The hosts took control of the game straight from the off and it took a very well timed saving tackle from Alfie Powell to prevent overlapping full back James Clifton opening the scoring in the seventh minute. Clifton had been brilliantly picked out by a hanging cross field ball from Jack Byrne that caught out Ben Toseland.
Even in these early stages Callum Powell and Rhys Sharpe were looking a dangerous combination on the left and in the 13th minute the pair combined for the latter to deliver a deep cross to the back post where David Bremang tried to cleverly loop his header over Iron. But the Ives keeper moved his feet well and just managed to claw the ball away at full stretch.
Only one minute later the Boro’ had a good appeal for a penalty turned down as Sharpe managed to rob Toseland near his own bye line and then went down as the Ives full back challenged him to try to regain possession deep inside the box. Referee Richard Eley was well positioned and deemed Toseland’s tackle a fair one much to the distaste of the Boro’ faithful behind the goal.
The inevitable goal arrived in 17th minute when the powerful Boro’ skipper Luke Benbow managed to get the better of Ben Jackson inside the centre circle. Benbow then showed his quality as he used the space he had gained to slide the ball into the run of Ryan Edmunds cutting in from the right. Edmunds low left foot drive from 20 yards beat the diving Iron low to his left and crept in the bottom corner.
Now in front the Boro’ were looking confident and keeping possession well. Patient build up play created their next chance in 25th minute as a move involving at least a dozen passes was finished with Edmunds getting to the bye line before picking out Benbow in space 15 yards out. It took a brave point blank block from Tom Wood to prevent him increasing the hosts lead. Two minutes later the lively Powell skimmed Ives crossbar with a dipping effort from 25 yards that beat the diving Iron.
Ives first opportunity of the game arrived just after the half hour as a long Robbie Parker free kick was knocked down inside the box and fell to the feet of Ollie Snaith. The young midfielder did well to strike his effort cleanly and keep the shot down and was a little unlucky to see his goal bound effort deflect wide off Miles Addison.
Alfie Powell came to Ives rescue again eight minutes before the break as he once more slid in with a perfectly timed tackle to take the ball off the toe of Benbow just as the big striker was about to let fly from the edge of the box having been fed in by Callum Powell.
The visitors did manage to carve out the final opportunity of the first period two minutes later when George Bailey timed his run to perfection to get onto a long ball out of defence and looked like he was going to get a run on goal. But big centre back Isaiah Osbourne was alert to the danger and stuck out a long leg to knock the ball away at the expense of a corner. The resulting Ben Seymour-Shove flag kick was knocked down to Joe Curtis on the edge of the box but he only managed to fire well over the top as he was swiftly closed down.
Perhaps a little lucky to still be in the game at half time Ives then went very close to grabbing an unlikely equaliser in the opening minutes of the second period. Seymour-Shove managed to find space on the left and cleverly dinked the ball into the centre where Curtis was arriving at pace his header beat keeper Tony Breeden and looked like it was heading for the corner of the net before it was glanced wide by the covering Addison.
But having failed to get level Ives swiftly found themselves two behind. They survived an initial scare in 49th minute when Callum Powell cleverly fed Sharpe for the young full back to deliver a deep cross from the left that picked out Bremang beyond the far post his header back into the six yard box was headed over his own crossbar by Alfie Powell under pressure from Benbow. But Ives went to sleep from the resulting Sharpe corner as Bremang somehow lost his marker to get himself a free header from eight yards that he powered past the exposed Iron.
Iron did well to keep the deficit to two In 52nd minute as he leapt high to tip over a powerful header from Benbow after the centre forward had managed to get across the front of his marker to get on the end of an in-swinging Clifton free kick from the left. Benbow also managed to get on the end of a Clifton corner in similar fashion five minutes later but this time his effort flew just over the top.
Ives best chance to grab a route back into the game came in 65th minute as keeper Breeden fired a poor clearance straight at Curtis in the centre of the park. His well directed header put substitute Matt Foy away. The out of position Breeden had little choice but to close down the Ives striker and Foy tried to go around the big keeper who managed to redeem himself well plunging in bravely to take the ball off Foy’s toes to snuff out the danger.
Once that chance had gone begging the game quickly returned to its familiar pattern with the classy Boro’ moving the ball around well and using the full width of the park to stretch the hard working Ives at every opportunity. Clifton fired a 25 yard free kick well over in 68th minute after Bremang had won the chance when he almost got away from Wood only to be pulled back by the Ives centre back who picked up a yellow card for his troubles.
The lively Bremang was causing all sorts of trouble for Ives back line as he was constantly roaming around and finding space. He outpaced Alfie Powell in 73rd minute to get on the end of a long punt from keeper Breeden and the tall number eleven kept his composure to pick out Devon Kelly-Evans with his pull back who fortunately for Ives snatched at his chance and blazed over from a good position. But the third Boro’ goal did arrive two minutes later and Bremang was again the protagonist as he got away from Ty Ward on the right to get on the end of a Clifton ball into the box. A clear pull back by the Ives full back gave referee Eley one of the easiest penalty decisions he will ever have to make and Benbow emphatically beat Iron from the spot slamming the ball straight down the middle as the keeper went to his right.
To their credit Ives kept battling but it almost appeared to be men against boys and Bremang almost managed to pick out Callum Powell for a tap in two minutes later fortunately substitute Aaron Phillips just managed to get a touch to the ball as it skimmed across the box to divert it away from the unmarked Powell at the back post. The Ives sub did even better nine minutes from time as he was in the right place to clear a low shot on the turn from Benbow off his goal line. The fourth Boro’ goal eventually arrived though four minutes from time when Bremang ran clear onto a simple ball over the top from Addison and slotted past the exposed Iron.
Christmas marks the half way point in a difficult season for the Ives and the present return of 15 points from 21 games is very unlikely to be good enough to keep them up. The second half of the season starts at Needham Market Boxing Day when the search for a minimum return of at least a further 25 points from the remaining games commences!
Final Score : Nuneaton Borough 4 St Ives Town 0
Goals : none
Team : Iron, Jackson (Phillips 72), Toseland (Foy 58), Ward, Powell, Wood, Snaith, Parker (capt), Bailey, Curtis, Seymour-Shove (Hottor 78)
Unused subs : Dylan Wilson
Supporters man of the match : Joe Curtis
Attendance : 392
Match report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Gemma & Louise Thompson.
|December 21, 2019
|Southern Premier Central
|St Ives Town