Royston Town v St Ives Town
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central 29-01-2022
This well deserved point shows just how far the Ives have come since their October battering from the Crows at Westwood Road. Substitute Victor Aiyelabola takes the plaudits for his well taken goal seven minutes from time but make no mistake this was not a snatched point it was very much deserved as the visitors matched and at times outplayed their mid table rivals.
With skipper Brett Solkhon still not recovered from his injury picked up at Nuneaton early in the New Year there was a cleverly worked shuffle of the pack following the success of an experiment trialled in the recent County Cup win over Eynesbury Rovers with Michael Richens dropping into the centre of defence alongside Callum Milne. Kyle Davison-Gordon also got a recall at full back replacing the injured Ty Ward. Dylan Williams dropped back into Richens usual position in front of the back four with the shuffle completed by Ben Toseland reverting to his early season wide left role.
Ives lost the toss and started the game against the elements, playing up the slope into a stiff breeze and with the low winter sun into their eyes but if was the visitors who started best. An early cross from the right by Josh Flanagan was almost spilled by home keeper Joe Welch who just recovered to claim the ball before it dropped to the lurking Nabil Shariff.
The first real chance of the game also went Ives way in 6th minute when Richens got on the end of an of Toseland’s in-swinging free kick on the edge of the six yard box but failed to make a clean contact and was in any case adjudged to have fouled Dan Newton in his efforts to force the ball home.
Ives continued to press and Ethan Johnston failed to test keeper Welch with a golden opportunity in eleventh minute. Ed Hottor robbed a dallying Isaac Galliford 30 yards from his own goal and fed the ball into the feet of Shariff on the edge of the box. A clever flick sideways from Shariff found Johnston in a little bit of space just inside the box but he failed to make a clean contact with his attempt to find the corner of the net and only succeeded in rolling the ball into the grateful hands of the waiting Welch.
Having failed to get in front in the first quarter of an hour when they were well on top Ives had their keeper James Goff to thank for keeping them on level terms as the Crows almost opened their account from their first real chance in 17th minute. A long throw into the box from Newton was allowed to bounce and as the visitors struggled to clear the ball was fed into the feet of Galliford twelve yards out on the left side of the box. Goff was alert to the danger and bravely closed him down deflecting the effort wide with his body at point blank range.
From this point the game evened up with the Crows probably just shading possession but both defences well on top. Centre forward Brandon Adams was generally being kept in check by Richens and Milne but he did escape the Ives centre backs once on the half hour mark and Newman picked out his run through the left channel with perfection. The finish was not so perfect as Adams blazed the ball into the grandstand behind the goal from 15 yards.
Ives remained patient retaining possession when possible and it was from a very patient build up that they carved out the final half chance of the first period just seconds before the whistle. The tireless running of Shariff saw him gain possession from Toseland on the left but his powerful shot from a narrow angle was comfortably held by the well positioned Welsh.
The hosts made a change at the break replacing the ineffective Makai Murray with Spyros Mentis but it was Ives now playing with the elements who created the first half chance of the second period in 54th minute. Toseland and Gordon-Douglas combined well down the left with the latter finding Shariff eight yards out with his low cross. But the usually deadly striker was undone by a bobble and did not make clean contact and the chance was gone.
At the other end Finlay Titchmarsh did no better as he got on the end of a deep cross from the left by Adams in 56th minute. But the little number seven blazed his first time volley high and wide from a good position. But the Crows wide man did a whole lot better three minutes later as he became provider for the opening goal. Given a little to much space wide on the right Titchmarsh delivered a teasing cross to the far post where Newman had ghosted in unmarked. He directed his powerful header downward but Goff will probably be a little disappointed to be beaten low down to his right as he got hands on the ball but could not keep it out.
Tyrone Baker had been causing problems with his direct running style down the right and he almost served up an equaliser only four minutes later. Bursting past his marker to get to the bye line he hung up a cross to the back post where Titchmarsh just did enough to prevent Toseland forcing the ball home.
The game was now opening up as Ives continued to go in search of the equaliser and started to leave a few more gaps at the back. Newman forced a good save low to his right from Goff with a 25 yarder in 66th minute. Four minutes later at the other end an Ives corner caused panic in the Crows box as Flanagan flicked on Dylan Williams in-swinger at the near post and a better contact from Milne at the back post would have seen the scores levelled up.
The in form Aiyelabola was brought into the game with twenty minutes to go replacing Davison-Gordon meaning a return to left back for Toseland with Aiyelabola coming in on the right and Baker moving to the left. But it took fantastic double save from Goff to keep Ives in the game eight minutes later Adams took on and beat Richens cutting in from the left. Goff came to meet him and blocked the initial effort but the ball ran on to Titchmarsh who looked like he must score but a brilliant recovery save from Goff hurling himself to his left somehow kept the ball out.
Buoyed by the keeper’s heroics the visitors went straight down the other end and forced a series of three corners all of which stretched the Crows defence to the limit but it did not break. They were however undone only moments later as with seven minutes still remaining on the watch Aiyelabola grabbed his second very well taken goal in two games. Williams had run at the host’s defence cutting in from the left and fed a low ball into the near post picking out the perfectly timed diagonal run of the speedy striker his first touch was immaculate and his second flicked the ball left footed past the exposed Welch to level things up.
The hosts frustrations at losing their lead showed and a dreadful late tackle from Mentis on Hottor saw the Crows substitute a little lucky to only pick up a yellow card. Toseland failed to hit the target with the resulting free kick from just outside the box. There was still time for the hosts to spurn a great opportunity to grab all three points deep in added time as with Adams initial shot well blocked by Milne the ball fell to Matt Bateman eight yards out but his effort lacked any power and Goff comfortably made the save to ensure Ives went home with another valuable point from their travels.
Final Score : Royston Town 1 St Ives Town 1
ROYSTON: Newman 59
ST IVES: Aiyelabola 83
ROYSTON: Welsh, Henry (capt), Brighton (A. Murray 57), Newton, Mensah, Adams, Titchmarsh, Galliford, M. Murray (Mentis 46), Bateman, Newman (Brown 77), Unused subs : Gouldbourne, Garrett-Douglas,
ST IVES: Goff, Davison-Gordon (Aiyelabola 71), Flanagan, Richens (capt), Milne, Toseland, Baker, Hottor, Shariff, Johnston (Cross 77), Williams, Unused subs : Fayed Rhaman, Kettle, Manangu
Ives Supporters man of the match : Tyrone Baker
Attendance : 404
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|January 29, 2022||15:00||Southern Premier Central||2021-22||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||0||1|