St Ives Town U18 v Holbeach United U18
Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division 20-10-19
The young guns came to the fore as a depleted Ives side comprehensively dispatched the Tigers to gain their revenge for defeat at Carters Park in their previous game almost exactly a month before.
With a number of regulars missing sixteen year olds Ollie Daniel and Jack Squire both came into the starting line up Daniel initially at centre back alongside the ever reliable Ewan Young and Squire in the centre of the park in a midfield three with Mihayl Mitkov and Connor Gibbs.
Ives should have gone in front only seconds from the kick off as the ball was fed out to Ben Smith on the left flank, he sprinted past Michael Bailey leaving the full back in his wake before delivering an inviting cross to the edge of the six yard box that a full stretch Jake Gadsden just turned past his own post. The resulting corner somehow found Tom Wakley unmarked by the penalty spot but rather than hit it first time the powerful number nine tried to take a touch allowing keeper Danny Kimber to bravely dive in and claim the ball.
After that early excitement the game settled down with the hosts enjoying the majority of possession without really creating much until 27th minute when they thought they had gone in front. Smith flicked on a ball through the centre to give Wakley chance to lift it over the exposed Kimber where it looked like it was going to bounce up into the roof of the net only for Jack Forster to acrobatically hook it back into play. Many were convinced it had crossed the line before Forster’s heroics but with neither the referee or his assistant in position to confirm that and no goal line technology the Tigers breathed a sigh of relief. They had another let off immediately as the loose ball fell back to Wakley on the penalty spot and he hammered in a real pile driver that beat everyone but rebounded high into the frosty night air off the crossbar. To just compound his feeling of injustice Wakley was then adjudged to have fouled keeper Kimber as the pair went for the dropping ball.
Fortunately Ives kept their cool and went in front with the simplest of goals five minutes later. Zac Hope was fouled on the half way line allowing Seb Darnell to deliver a deep free kick into the box that cleared everyone only for Daniel to appear at the back post to simply guide the ball over the exposed Kimber and into the net.
Kai Bradley in the home goal had rarely been troubled in the first period apart from a few smart dashes from his line to hack away, or claim, attempted balls over the top. The only moment that he looked like being beaten before the break came in 35th minute as James Clark threaded a perfect ball through the Ives back line to feed in Jordan Elston inside the box. Bradley was sharply off his line to narrow the angle but Elston deftly flicked the ball over the spreading keeper only to be denied by Daniel who had astutely covered around behind his keeper.
Four minutes before the break Ives got their second thanks to the persistence of Wakley he chased down a long bouncing ball and robbed Gadsden before calmly teeing up Hope on the edge of the box and the trusty left foot of the Ives wide man did the rest as he arrowed his shot past the outstretched fingers of Kimber and into the bottom corner of the net.
Two down at the break the lack lustre Tigers took a tongue lashing from their management team and we all expected them to come out for the restart fired up but it was young Squire who came within inches of increasing Ives lead only ninety seconds after the resumption. He picked up a flick inside from Hope and burst through the visitors back line into the box before unleashing a rising drive that beat the diving Kimber but just scraped the top of the crossbar on its way over.
The hosts continued to rule the roost as the tired looking visitors struggled to create anything with the tenacious Squire and Daniel making life very difficult for them in the centre of the park. Tigers skipper Will Barnes who had been the star of the show a month earlier at Carters Park was barely getting a kick against the two youngsters in that busy middle ground.
It was looking like just a matter of time before Ives added a third Gibbs went close just after the hour as Hope raced past Josh Balding before sending in a teasing cross that Kimber just managed to knock away from Wakley the loose ball falling to Gibbs inside the box but his low drive was deflected wide off a desperate defensive block.
The third goal did arrive just after midway through the second half and it was a just reward for the battling Squire as he harried Bailey into a mistake robbing the struggling full back deep in Tigers territory before bustling into the box and burying his right foot drive low past the diving Kimber.
An excellent advantage by referee Paul Gregory lead to Ives final goal of the evening eight minutes from time. Wakley was clattered by Bailey just inside Tigers half but Smith took possession of the ball and sped away down the left before cutting inside and calmly rolling the ball along the eighteen yard line to set up Hope who made no mistake firing the ball home low past the right hand of Kimber.
With the game now over as a contest preserving their clean sheet became number one priority for Ives in a division that is so tight that it could eventually come down to goal difference at the end. With that in mind the flying save that Bradley made to his left to deny substitute Josh Ling a consolation goal deep in added time could prove more crucial than it looked on the night.
So ended a thoroughly professional performance from the young Ives which saw them move up five places in the amazingly tight league table. There is still a long way to go but the aim has got to be to get into the shake up at the end of the season.
Final Score : St Ives Town U18 4 Holbeach United U18 0
Goals : Oliver 32, Hope 41 & 82, Squire 72
St Ives team : Bradley, Frans (capt), Darnell, Squire (Paine 86), Young, Daniel (Shirley 76), Hope, Mitkov, Wakley (Stonnell-Fitzgerald 83), Gibbs (Stork 62), Smith
Unused Subs : none
Attendance : 41
Report by Nigel Howlett
|November 20, 2019||19:45||Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division||2019-20||90'|
|St Ives Town U18||4|
|Holbeach United U18||0|