St Ives Town U18 v Cambridge City U18
Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division 04-03-20
Misfiring Ives missed their chance to move back into second place in the very tight league table as they failed to take their chances and came within seconds of getting nothing from a game that they probably should have won comfortably without ever playing well.
The failure to finish good opportunities started very early as Tom Wakley was unable to make clean contact on a low cross from the right that had been played into him on the six yard line by the pacey Ben Smith after only 35 seconds.
The Lilywhites then proceeded to punish their hosts by getting their noses in front with their very first real attack of the night. A ball over the top by Cam Wolstencroft looked like it was going to be dealt with by Leon Quinsee but the full back slipped on the wet surface allowing Alfredo Martins to sprint clear and finish in emphatic style past the exposed Kai Bradley from just inside the box in 14th minute.
Ives had their keeper to thank for preventing City doubling their advantage only two minutes later as Bradley sprinted from his line to just take the ball off the toe of Casey Heenan as the centre forward looked like he was going to get clear onto a ball threaded through the centre of the hosts back line.
Wakley was again the culprit wasting another golden opportunity to level things up in 24th minute as Connor O’Donovan threaded a ball through the right channel to put him clear one on one with City keeper Matty Wells. But the excellent keeper was off his line sharply to narrow the angle and block the centre forward’s shot on the edge of his box at point blank range. Wells was in action again in 34th minute as he positioned himself well to keep out a crisp low drive from Jack Squire. The early Ives substitute had got on the end of what was probably Ives best move of the evening involving Wakley and Smith.
But with half time approaching play swung back to the other end and Heenan had a miss that will probably haunt him for a long time to come as he somehow found himself all alone in Ives box with the ball at his feet eight yards out. He probably suspected that he was offside but the flag stayed down thus not saving him from embarrassment as he tamely prodded the ball over the top much to the relief of Ives absent back line. Bradley was called into action once more before the break in 41st minute when he had to get down smartly to his left to turn a well struck drive from twelve yards by Finn Wilkinson around the post.
Ives came out for the second half looking much more determined to get back into the contest. But Wakley spurned yet another opportunity to get them level in 51st minute. This time he burst clear onto a ball over the top from Ewan Young outpacing the Lilywhites back line he once again found himself one on one with keeper Wells. Again the brave stopper came out on top spreading himself to block Wakley’s shot at close range.
By now Ives were getting well on top and they were unhappy when play was stopped for a head injury to Smith just as Zac Hope was about to slam home the loose ball following a corner. The re-start drop ball on the edge of City’s box saw Wakley knock the ball sideways to give Hope another chance but this time he drilled his effort into the boards a couple of feet wide of the post.
Having watched his strikers fail to find the back of the net centre back Young thought he would have a go at beating Wells. A 63rd minute Quinsee free kick fell to his feet at the back post, a smart side step found him the space to slam in a powerful drive from ten yards that Wells not only got to but somehow managed to hold in the crowded goalmouth.
Ives got the ball in the net in 74th minute only to be denied by referee Andy Phillips who adjudged that Joe Cobb had unfairly challenged the much larger Brad Gothard as he robbed the City captain inside his own penalty area before teeing up Hope to smash the ball home from just inside the box.
Bradley’s only real save of the second half came four minutes later as he dealt with an in-swinging free kick from the left by Wilkinson in unorthodox fashion keeping the dipping effort out with his feet.
With the clock ticking down Ives pressure continued to mount a typical speedy run and cross from the left by Hope presented Faris Rhaman with a chance at the near post but the young debutant’s contact was a bit to good and he powered his header just over the top from the edge of the six yard box. Rhaman was making his presence felt in the City box and he did well to get on the end of another cross from the left by Mihayl Mitkov in the last of the ninety minutes but again he failed to hit the target.
It looked like Ives were going to get no reward as the added time ticked away but in the last of the added six minutes they won a corner on the right. Mitkov delivered into the near post area where the presence of Squire and Cobb caused confusion. The previously unbeatable Wells made his first mistake of the evening as he like everyone else missed the ball allowing it to sneak in at the far post much to the delight of Mitkov and his colleagues. It was hard on Wells who had otherwise been impeccable in the City goal but it was probably the least that Ives deserved for their hard working second half performance on a heavy and tiring pitch.
Final Score : St Ives Town U18 1 Cambridge City U18 1
Goals : Mitkov 90+6
St Ives team : Bradley, Quinsee, Mitkov (Squire 19), Frans (capt), Young, Darnell, Smith (Rhaman 54), O’Donovan, Wakley, Cobb, Hope
Other substitutions (roll on roll off) : Mitkov for Wakley 62
Unused Subs : none
Attendance : 47
Report by Nigel Howlett
|March 4, 2020||19:45||Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division||2019-20||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town U18||0||1|
|Cambridge City U18||1||1|