St Ives Town U18 v Holbeach United U18
Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division 25-02-19
The young Ives return to action after a three month winter lay off at least partially due to the weather proved to be a successful one as they gained revenge on the Tigers for the mauling they received in the fens in their previous game at the end of November.
Make no mistake this was an excellent hard fought victory against the team sitting third in the table. The performance and result shows just how much these boys had learnt from their previous defeat as on this occasion they managed to match the physicality of their opponents and although they rode their luck at times two well taken goals by Harry Sargent ensured they got their just reward for the considerable effort show by the entire squad.
With the visitors having played two games in the previous two weeks it was expected that they would start the more confidently but manager Lloyd Groves had got the Ives well drilled during their enforced break and right from the off the youngsters were letting their opponents know that they were not going to be a push over.
Neither side created a clear cut opportunity in the first quarter of an hour and the first real action for either keeper went the way of Brad Waters in the Tigers goal in 15th minute when George Cawte returned a half cleared corner back to Billy Garlick wide on the right. His driven low cross was spilled by Waters but the linesman’s upraised flag saved the keeper any embarrassment as Thomas Wakley following in had strayed offside.
Less than two minutes later Shay Griffiths in the home goal was called into his first meaningful action of the evening as he sprinted from his line to hack clear just ahead of Kyle Compton after the big number nine looked like he had been put clear by a clever clip over the top by Alex Richardson.
Compton was constantly looking to get on the shoulder of the last Ives defender and he managed to get away on the right in 20th minute. His low driven cross into the danger zone beat the diving Griffiths but Leon Quinsee covering across from right back did just enough to prevent Josh Balding forcing the ball home at the back post.
The very mobile Harry Sargent was causing the Tigers defence a few problems with his constant harrying and hassling and direct running style when he got the chance. It took the combined efforts of two defenders to stop him illegally in 23rd minute. Billy Garlick and Billy Mobbs both showed a keen interest in the resulting free kick from 25 yards. Garlick won the day and although his well struck effort beat the three man wall it went about a metre wide of Waters left hand post and thudded the boards.
Garlick showed a much more accurate touch with a well executed lob over the Tigers defence to set up Sargent for the opening goal three minutes later. The Ives striker had timed his run to perfection to get onto the ball and keeper Waters rash early departure from his line decided Sargent’s mind on how to finish a perfect lob over the advancing keeper saw the ball land inside the six yard box and bounce up into the roof of the net.
The Tigers only had one chance to get level before half time but it was a good one only two minutes before the break. A long free kick from the right was somehow allowed to travel all the way through to Mikey Bailey inexplicably on his own ten yards out. He had time to take a touch and pivot on the ball before flashing his shot across the face of goal and past the far post.
The only other noteworthy incident before the break was a clash between Ives Louis Bald and Tigers Kieron McConnell which saw both players pick up a yellow card after a spate of handbags right in front of the officials. Both managers made the clever move of substituting the pair at the interval to ensure that they kept eleven players on the pitch. Bald being replaced by Karl Frans and McConnell by Billy Barnes.
Barnes was instantly in the action from the restart taking on the Ives back line before playing in Balding on the left. Balding slid a dangerous ball across the six yard box that covering skipper Mitchell Pillin did well to clear from under his own crossbar.
Only three minutes later Barnes was at it again this time slipping a half cleared corner through to Brandon Andrews on the left his low cross led to a scramble in the Ives goalmouth with the ball eventually rolling back out to Andrews who went for power rather than finesse but powered his effort well wide of the far post from a very good position.
Barnes decided to go for goal himself in 54th minute as he gained possession 25 yards out on the right and burst through into the penalty area before unleashing a powerful low drive that Griffiths did well to save but the ball ran loose and it took an excellent covering block by debutant centre back Ewan Young to prevent Balding forcing it over the line.
Having been under the cosh for the first twelve minutes of the second half Ives then stunned their visitors by doubling their lead in their first meaningful attack of the period and it was all thanks to the never say die attitude of Sargent. He harried the defence into a mistake before taking on Williamson through the middle. Under pressure from the centre back he seemed to lose the ball but it rebounded back into his path off another defender and he grabbed his chance slamming in an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box.
Two in front but far from comfortable the Ives were soon back under pressure. Tigers skipper Liam Scales tried to battle his way through the centre in 59th minute. He got past George Cawte and substitute Connor Gibbs before firing in a rising shot from just inside the box that Griffiths saved well to his left. Scales was again the catalyst five minutes later as played an excellent flick over the Ives back line to put Richardson clear. He looked like he had done everything right as he drew Griffiths to him then clipped the ball past the keeper but also past the post.
Ives were not so fortunate in 66th minute as Richardson picked out Barnes in space inside the box and the big striker showed his ability as he instantly took down the ball before turning and firing low past the exposed Griffiths to make it game on or so we thought.
But Ives are a resilient well organised side and even though Connor O’Donovan and Adam Laker joined Young to put three debutants on the pitch and take the total number of Under 16’s in the hosts side up to five for the last fifteen minutes they still managed to limit the visitors to only two noteworthy efforts at goal in the remaining time. In 80th minute Barnes dragged a 25 yard free kick wide and in the very last minute Will Barnes managed to get to the bye line on the right and pulled the ball back. Billy Barnes completely missed his kick as he tried to finish it and Balding following up blasted his effort well over the top from just inside the box.
Sargent also missed an inviting opportunity for him to claim what would have been a well deserved hat trick. In 89th minute Zac Hope got away down the right outpacing his marker, his low cross struck a defender’s heel and fell perfectly for Sargent twelve yards out but the big striker snatched at the chance and fired well over the top.
Overall an excellent victory and with so many youngsters in the side it bodes very well for next season, or even the latter stages of this one!.
Final Score : St Ives Town U18 2 Holbeach United U18 1
Goals : Sargent 26 & 57
St Ives team : Griffiths, Quinsee, Bald (Frans 45), Purse (O’Donovan 62), Pillin (capt), Young, Mobbs (Laker 75), Cawte, Sargent, Garlick (Gibbs 53), Wakley (Hope 53)
Unused Subs : none
Attendance : 51
Report by Nigel Howlett
|February 25, 2019||19:45||Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division||2018-19||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town U18||1||2|
|Holbeach United U18||0||1|