St Ives Town U18 v Biggleswade Town U18
FA Youth Cup 1st Qualifying Round 16-09-19
Two half time substitutions, a change of formation and style turned this game on its head as Ives recovered from 2-0 down at the break to progress with a magnificent victory against a very useful Waders outfit.
Two very well taken goals in the first twenty minutes from the classy Muhammed Zilbound looked like they had put the Waders in complete control. But the introduction of Zac Hope and Ben Smith at the break and a change to 4-4-2 made the comeback possible. Goals from Tom Wakley and Ryley McDougald levelled things up with nine minutes to go before added time efforts from both half time substitutes clinched the unlikely victory.
Ives started the tie very positively and Wakley almost caught out Waders keeper Darryl Reid with a 25 yard snap shot in only the third minute, the keeper getting down smartly to his right to just prevent the low drive creeping inside the post. The same player put Reid under more pressure four minutes later as he closed down the keeper on a back pass, managed to block the attempted clearance and was unlucky to see the ball rebound to safety off the outside of the post. Wakley’s third effort on goal in the first ten minutes saw him get on the end of a Connor Gibbs clip over the top but his attempt to lob the ball over the exposed Reid failed as the ball sailed wide of the post.
Having exerted all of the early pressure Ives then fell behind to the Waders first meaningful sortie into the hosts box. Kade Bagge did well to win a corner off Mihayl Mitkov and Kyle Williams floated his flag kick to the back post where Zilbound rose majestically above the crowd to thump home a header that any of the old style centre forward would have been proud of.
Falling behind jolted Ives out of their stride a bit and they were jolted further off the rails six minutes later a Zilbound again showed his class outmuscling Ewan Young to get on the end of a Noah Bradshaw clip through the centre. The big centre forward then showed that he was more than just raw power as he deftly flicked the ball past the exposed Kai Bradley and into the net.
It took a good save from Bradley to prevent the visitors grabbing a third on the half hour as the young keeper leapt high to his left to tip over a rising drive from Alfie O’Dell after the Waders midfielder had been teed up on the edge of the box by Jacob Styles.
Ives had one chance to grab a goal back before the break as a quick Mitkov free kick from the half way line caught out the Waders back line the ball just clearing Adagun Kitan allowing Wakley to bravely challenge Reid for the high bouncing ball. The Ives striker won the clash and knocked the ball goalwards but Jack Allwood was on hand to clear up behind his keeper.
The half time team talk in the Ives dressing room was all about being positive and two positive changes at the break brought reward as wide man Hope and central striker Smith replaced Jamie Stork and Connor Gibbs respectively. The changes and a switch to a more attacking formation allowed Ives to wrestle the initiative from their opponents. Only ninety seconds after the re-start the new twin spearhead almost gained instant reward as Smith and Wakley combined to rob a struggling Kitan deep in his own half allowing Wakley to curl a shot inches wide from just outside the D.
The early goal that was needed to lift the Ives belief in themselves came five minutes later as Ewan Young pinged a perfectly weighted ball out of defence to set the speedy Smith away. He rounded keeper Reid only to see his goal bound blocked on the line by the covering Ellwood. But Wakley was following up and gleefully side footed home the loose ball to start the comeback.
As expected the goal lifted Ives and they set off in pursuit of an equaliser. An excellent break in 57th minute saw Smith weave his way into the box before losing possession. The loose ball ran on to Wakley who saw his shot well saved by keeper Reid. Smith following up was then unlucky to see his effort blocked on the line by a covering defender.
The Waders had one chance to re-wrestle the initiative from Ives in 62nd minute as Zilbound outmuscled Young to win a clip over the top. He then unselfishly laid the ball back into the path of O’Dell who seemed to miss hit his shot firing wide from a good position by the penalty spot.
Having survived that let off Ives returned to pounding their tiring opponents. With twenty minutes to go an excellent ball out of defence by Young gave Smith chance to get the run on Kitan and the Ives striker outpaced the Waders struggling centre back before lashing a shot from the edge of the box that beat keeper Reid but rattled his left hand post. That was the last action for Kitan who limped off with cramp seconds later.
The loss of their best centre back was a blow to the Waders and Ives capitalised on his absence ten minutes later as keeper Reid struggled to push away a Mitkov free kick into the box from the left. Hope pounced on the loose ball and curled it back into the space in the centre where Kitan would have been but instead McDougald found himself unmarked six yards out and he steered his header past the exposed Reid and in off the far post.
The pace and trickery of Joe Cobb, the sheer pace of Hope and the pace and direct running style of Wakley and Smith were proving a real handful for the tiring Waders back line. Hope was coming in for some particularly heavy punishment Ellwood brought him down in a very dangerous position just outside the right hand edge of the box with just seconds of the ninety minutes left. Keeper Reid did just enough to punch away Cobb’s in-swinging free kick on that occasion. But two minutes into added time another Cobb free kick from an almost identical position served up what proved to be the goal to settle the tie. Smith got in front of his man to flick on the in-swinger but the ball hit the inside of the far post. Hope was first to react to the loose ball and swooped to head home from close range and break Biggleswade hearts.
There was still time for Smith to put the icing on a very tasty Ives cake as he grabbed the goal he deserved in the fourth added minute charging down Reid’s attempted clearance after a throw had been hurled back to him to try and deliver the ball long. Having robbed the Waders custodian Smith gleefully rolled the ball into the empty net to ensure it is the hosts who go into the hat for second qualifying round draw.
Final Score : St Ives Town U18 4 Biggleswade Town U18 2
Goals : Wakley 51, McDougald 81, Hope 90+2, Smith 90+4
St Ives team : Bradley, Frans (capt), Mitkov, O’Donovan, Young, Quinsee, Stork (Smith 45), McDougald, Wakley, Gibbs (Hope 45), Cobb
Unused Subs : Darnell, Purse
Attendance : 84
Report by Nigel Howlett
|September 16, 2019
|The FA Youth Cup
|St Ives Town U18
|Biggleswade Town U18