Redditch United v St Ives Town
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central 05-03-2022
One moments loss of concentration cost Ives what would have been a hard earned but well deserved point. That fatal loss came late on as Ben Toseland lost possession to Kieren Donnelly on half way and then failed to follow his opposite number as the full back burst forward, fed the ball to Aram Soleman on the right and continued into the box to get on the end of the midfielders low cross and sweep the ball home off the far post.
That shot was the hosts first on target of the entire game which had otherwise been a very even encounter in which defences had ruled the roost throughout on both sides and chances had been very much at a premium with little to write home about.
The game had not started well for Ives as influential skipper Brett Solkhon limped off after only three minutes. The injury appeared to be self inflicted as he tripped when attempting a clearance. His replacement was Ed Hottor who slotted into an unfamiliar role at centre back alongside Oran Jackson and Callum Milne in a three man back line.
The first shot of the game, and the only one on target in the first 45 minutes came from Liam Cross in the eleventh minute as he cut inside from the right past Lewis Hudson and fired in a low drive from 20 yards that was straight at Reds keeper Kieran Boucher who made a comfortable save.
The other noteworthy items from a first half full of energy and endeavour but low on attacking quality were at 29th minute booking for Hottor as he clumsily upended Dan Sweeney on the right hand corner of Ives box. But as so much of the first period Ryan Edmunds’s free kick failed to get past Ives defensive wall.
An error in the Reds back line almost presented Ives with an opportunity in 32nd minute as Michael Richens pounced on a loose ball after an attempted Calum Flanagan clearance had hit Bernard Mensah. Richens burst away down the right and got to the bye line his attempted pull back found Cross but his well struck effort was deflected away for a corner.
The best chance for either side came deep into time added on for Solkhon’s injury when Donnelly overlapped down the right and fired in a low cross that was met at the near post by Mensah who was unlucky to see his flicked effort flash inches past the opposite upright.
The same pattern of the game continued after the break with attempted through balls either being over, or under hit, or simply misplaced. Tyrone Baker showed a perfect example of that when he spurned an early second half opportunity. He picked up the ball fully forty yards from goal and ran at the host’s defence which opened up ahead of him. But rather than go on and get his shot away he tried to thread a pass into the run of Nabil Shariff but overhit it allowing Boucher to comfortably gather.
A moment of unusual excitement occurred in 51st minute when keeper Boucher inexplicably picked up an obvious back pass from Jack Byrne. Referee Ben Cooke spotted the infringement and awarded Ives an indirect free kick twelve yards from goal. With all eleven Reds players behind the ball getting a sight of goal was always going to be difficult and sure enough when the kick was touched sideways to Toseland his fierce effort was bravely blocked at point blank range. The ball ricocheted to Baker on the edge of the box who blazed well over the top.
Long range shots from Edmunds and Byrne in the 57th and 68th minutes respectively flew well off target as both sides continued to work hard to prevent their opposition venturing to far into staunchly defended territory.
Having gained relief from the FA who chalked off his previous booking in the county cup quarter final as not a first team booking Richens did clock up his fifteenth of the season in needless fashion in 70th minute going down theatrically inside the box under challenge from Flanagan and earning an instant yellow for simulation from referee Cooke.
The roving Donnelly gave another glimpse of his threat in 83rd minute as he attacked the box from the right before delivering a low cross that rebounded around with Ives struggling to clear. The ball falling to Sweeney who fired wide from a good position just inside the box. Only seconds later the same player almost got onto a clip over the top through the left channel. Callum Milne and keeper Brearey doing just enough between them to prevent him doing so.
Ives had half a chance at the other end with three minutes to go but Josh Flanagan wasted it as he fouled Edmunds as he tried to bustle his way to the far post to get onto the end of Dylan Williams clip from the left.
Then with only seconds of the ninety remaining came the fatal mistake that undid all of Ives hard work and made sure that the in-form Reds extended their unbeaten league run to nine games. There was still time for Victor Aiyelabola to pick up one of the quickest yellow cards in history, within five seconds of entering the fray as a late attacking replacement for Hottor. He clattered into Edmunds who had received the throw in taken to re-start the game following his introduction to the game.
With other sides at the bottom end of the table also dropping points this was not as bad a result as it might have been which is at least something of a positive. To counteract that the talismanic Richens will now miss three of Ives vital remaining eight games as he serves his upcoming suspension. They also face the prospect of being without skipper Solkhon for some of those games as well should he take longer than hoped for to get over his latest injury setback. A hugely important period in Ives season is approaching and it will start with a true six pointer against fellow strugglers Nuneaton Borough at quattro tech Westwood Road on 19th March. Make sure that you are there to get behind the boys and be that vital twelfth man.
Final Score : Redditch United 1 St Ives Town 0
REDDITCH: Donnelly 89
REDDITCH: Boucher, Donnelly, Hudson, Soleman, C. Flanagan, Wollacott, Rankin (Hewlett 49), Sweeney, Mensah, Edmunds (Digie 88), Byrne, Unused subs: Rowbottom, Dawes, Charlton
ST IVES: Brearey, J. Flanagan, Solkhon (capt) (Hottor 7, Aiyelabola 89), Richens, Milne, Toseland, Baker (Johnston 82), Jackson, Shariff, Cross, Williams, Unused subs: Kettle, Goff
Ives Supporters man of the match : Oran Jackson
Attendance : 365
Report by Nigel Howlett
|March 5, 2022
|Southern Premier Central
|St Ives Town