Peterborough Sports U18 1 St Ives Town U18 1
Thurlow Nunn Youth League Western Division – 30-08-18
The Thurlow Nunn League fixture computer did the young Ives no favours when it drew out their early season fixtures giving them visits to last season’s runners up and winners in their opening two League games. Not surprisingly they were given a stern test by a strong and powerful Sports side in this first game.
Both teams opened the game at a slow probing pace and were effective in cancelling each other out in the early stages. The first noteworthy effort on goal from either of them arrived in 13th minute when Sports Henry Nkobi tried his luck with a well struck free kick from fully 30 yards which Shay Griffiths in the Ives goal was happy to watch travel about two feet over his crossbar.
Ives first attempt of note came from a probing run and cross from the right by Hugo Katz two minutes later. His driven cross was spectacularly punched away by Sports keeper Dylan Veni.
The hosts continued to use their strength and power to win a lot of possession in the centre of the park but generally chose the wrong option in the last third when it came to trying to find a route through the resilient Ives back line well led by captain Jordan Locke. The visitor’s back line were so effective in breaking up Sports attacks that Griffiths hardest task in the first period was dealing with a series of over hit balls over the top.
The few other Sports efforts on goal in the first period were a back post header from a corner in 20th minute by Nkobi that landed on the roof of the net, a rising drive from 20 yards by Chris Seary that cleared the crossbar in 25th minute and the most dangerous move of the first half that came seven minutes before the break when Nkobi threaded a ball down the line to put Louie Veni away he pulled the ball back to Seary who squandered the chance firing wide from the edge of the box.
Having got a roasting from their management team at half time the hosts stepped up the pace at the start of the second half and also got a little cleverer in their approach trying to thread ball through the resolute Ives back line rather than simply over hitting attempted clips over the top.
Nkobi in his roving role was still the main creator for Sports and he cleverly picked out Ethan Atkins in space on the left in 48th minute. Atkins cut in at pace and flicked the ball past the exposed Griffiths from a narrow angle but Mitchell Pillin was on hand to hack the ball away from inside the six yard box.
Alfie Ferguson threaded a ball through the centre in 55th minute that looked like it had put Ryan Pratt free but Griffiths was bravely off his line and spread himself to partially block the effort at point blank range. The ball looked like it was running on towards goal, but Connor Paine was covering behind his keeper to remove the ball from danger.
The pressure continued from the hosts and a probing run down the left from Atkins teed up a shooting chance for Andy Irvine two minutes later. The Sports substitute side stepped his marker but curled his effort just wide from the corner of the box.
The break through finally arrived for Sports just after the hour as Ferguson drove at the Ives back line before sliding the ball through to Pratt cutting in from the right he drilled in a low powerful shot from 15 yards that beat the diving Griffiths and just crept inside the far post.
Griffiths was called into more action four minutes later as Ferguson and Pratt combined well again in a move which finished with the latter unleashing a low right foot effort from the edge of the box that the Ives keeper did well to hang onto low to his right.
In an effort to get back into the game Ives coach Lloyd Groves changed his formation pushing more players forward alongside Harry Sargent who had been ploughing a lone furrow up to this point. The move changed the flow of the game and gleaned a positive reward in 75th minute. Thomas Wakley won a crunching tackle on the half way line against Eunis Lievens and fed the ball down the line where Jamie Stork outpaced his man and delivered a teasing cross to the back post where Sargent stooped to head home the equaliser from inside the six yard box.
Having got level the visitors enjoyed a brief period in the ascendancy and with nine minutes left on the clock Sargent closed down an attempted clearance and battled his way deep into Sports territory before feeding the ball through to Stork who in turn played the ball into the run of Billy Mobbs but his well struck drive from the edge of the box was straight at keeper Veni who held on at the second attempt.
Having enjoyed their brief period on top Ives found themselves back under the cosh as the hosts pushed forward in a desperate search for a winner in the last five minutes. They went close on a few occasions, Seary played in Irvine five minutes from time but Griffiths was equal to his well struck effort from 20 yards tipping the shot over the top. Nkobi rose above the crowd to meet the resulting corner but powered his header over the top.
Two minutes later substitute Ayman Trablesi slid a ball into the feet of Pratt inside the box, but Griffiths did well again blocking the close range shot away with his legs.
It looked like Sports had grabbed a winner sixty seconds into added time as Irvine got clear down the centre. He appeared to do everything right slipping the ball past the exposed Griffiths, but the ball rolled agonisingly wide of the upright and it was a relived Ives that heard the final whistle blow only seconds later.
Final Score : Peterborough Sports U18 1 St Ives Town U18 1
Goals : Sargent 75
St Ives team : Griffiths, Bald, Quinsee (Paine 45), Cawte, Pillin, Locke (capt), Katz (Wakley 67), Garlick, Sargent, Mobbs (Smith 90), Stork (Mitkov 41)
Other subs roll on roll off : Stork for Sargent 50, Sargent for Garlick 67
Unused Subs : Jakes
Attendance : 65
Report by Nigel Howlett
|August 30, 2018||19:45||Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division||2018-19|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|Peterborough Sports U18’s||0||1|
|St Ives Town U18||0||1|