St Ives Town v AFC Rushden & Diamonds
BetVictor League Southern Premier Division Central 01-01-20
Three very well taken goals frustratingly brought Ives no reward as their old rivals Diamonds exploited defensive frailties to claim all three points from this hugely entertaining encounter played out before a bumper New Year’s Day crowd.
Manager Ricky Marheineke decided to mix things up a little after the Ives battling point from their Boxing Day trip to Needham Market with Edmund Hottor coming in for his first start in a defensive midfield roll and both Dylan Wilson and Matt Foy returning to the starting eleven at the expense of Ty Ward, George Bailey and Ollie Snaith respectively. Diamonds also gave a start to their midweek loan signing from Tamworth Greg Kaziboni who came in for Jordan Macleod.
It was the visitors who were first out of the gates with Kaziboni to the fore as he showed his pace and trickery to get past Ben Toseland down the right in only third minute. The Ives left back did his best to recover and block the intended cross but was adjudged to have handled the ball inches outside the box. The hosts just managed to survive the resulting free kick as the ball cannoned around the box before being thumped clear. The first shot of the afternoon also went the way of the visitors four minutes later as referee Luke Scott played a good advantage allowing Jesse Akubuine to rampage forward before unleashing a 25 yarder that thudded into the boards just outside Finely Iron’s left hand post.
But the wind was taken out of the Diamonds sails as Ives went in front from their first meaningful attack in ninth minute. The goal owed much to persistence and never say die attitude of Aaron Phillips who won the ball on half way and stormed forward through a couple of challenges. The second of these saw the ball rebound to the feet of Joe Curtis who cleverly side stepped Jack Ashton before planting a left foot shot from the edge of the box low past the left hand of Ben Heath.
It was not long before the visitors got back into their stride and it took an excellent recovery tackle from Alfie Powell to prevent Kaziboni getting a shot away from the edge of the box after he had again got past Toseland in eleventh minute. An assistant’s raised flag prevented Nabil Shariff getting away onto a Nathan Hicks flick five minutes later.
Ives back line were being stretched by the mobile Diamonds front line, but they were not quite breaking. Iron was called into spectacular action to preserve the lead in 21st minute. Tom Wood was outmuscled by Hicks who seized the opportunity to unleash a stinging drive from fully 25 yards that Iron plunged full length to his right to parry away. The loose ball fell to Ben Acquaye and Iron was thankful for help from Toseland as the young full back got around behind his keeper to clear the winger’s effort off the line.
An equaliser was beginning to look likely but Ives defence will be very disappointed with the way it arrived in 27th minute. Phillips brought down Acquaye wide on the left. Matt Slinn delivered the resulting free kick deep beyond the far post where Kaziboni found space enough to direct the ball back into the centre for Shariff to slam home from close range.
With the scores now level the game evened up and became more of a midfield battle with Hottor, Robbie Parker and Curtis matching the Diamonds trio of Akubuine, Slinn and Hicks tackle for tackle. Curtis perhaps went in for one to many just before the break as he picked up a yellow card for clattering Zack Reynolds right in front of the referee. Certainly no one could fault the effort and energy levels of all on the pitch.
So ended a very entertaining first half with the promise of much more to come. Unfortunately for Ives they suffered a serious blow at the break as classy right back Phillips succumbed to a knock and had to be replaced by a fit again Jarvis Wilson who came in alongside Powell at centre back with Wood moving across to full back.
The Diamonds were quick to take advantage before the reshuffled back four could settle. Only five minutes after the restart a clip into the box from the left by Acquaye lead to confusion at the back post as Powell and Toseland got in each other’s way. The loose ball fell to Kaziboni and it took a remarkable point blank save from Iron to prevent the debutant putting the visitors in front. But the relief for Ives was only momentary as the resulting throw was hurled into the box by Sam Brown and somehow the ball was missed by all in the centre before rolling into the net off the toe of a startled Hicks at the back post.
Now in front for the first time the visitors tried to go for the jugular to kill the game off quickly and went close three times in the next eight minutes. Iron was called into action two minutes later as Acquaye got past stand in full back Wood before firing in a low drive from just inside the box that Ives keeper did well to keep out. Wilson was on hand to hack the loose ball away. Kaziboni was keen to get in on the action on the opposite wing and in 55th minute he battled his way past Toseland before firing into the side netting when he should probably have done better.
The third goal for the visitors should have arrived in 58th minute as Diamonds broke swiftly from an Ives corner and ended up three against one with two players queuing up at the back post. Acquaye drew in the last defender before feeding the ball towards Shariff and Hicks both unmarked at the back post. Hicks took on the responsibility and inexplicably fired wide with only Iron to beat.
That miss proved costly as Ives levelled things up again only three minutes later. Although Dylan Wilson claimed the goal the hard work was all done by Foy. The centre forward picked up the ball on halfway and ran at the visitor’s defence. He jinked left and right past defenders then cleverly used Ben Seymour-Shove as a decoy before going on into the box and driving the ball across the face of goal for Wilson sliding in forced it home at the back post.
Unfortunately for Ives the parity only lasted seven minutes when they were undone down the right again. Hicks and Reynolds worked the move well together interchanging passes from half way. Hicks eventually trying to deliver a low cross into the box that rebounded off Toseland back into the path of Reynolds who swept the ball home off the back post.
Diamonds effectively killed the game off in the simplest fashion with fifteen minutes to go as Acquaye won a corner on the left. Slinn delivered the ball into the near post area where the powerful Liam Dolman rose between Ives defenders to power home a header from eight yards.
To their credit Ives did not fade but lifted themselves again to try and set up a grandstand finish. Substitute George Bailey who had replaced the tiring Dylan Wilson battled his way into the heart of the Diamonds defence before feeding Seymour-Shove cutting in from the right. The Ives winger beat Heath with his crisp low drive from just inside the box but it flashed across the face of goal past the far post.
The hosts continued to push forward and with two minutes of the ninety left Ben Toseland got them back in it with a contender for goal of the season. Captain fantastic Robbie Parker won yet another tackle in the centre of the park and laid it off to Seymour-Shove who kept the ball rolling out to overlapping full back Toseland he took on the shot first time from at least 25 yards out and the ball curved dramatically as it curled into the top corner with the disbelieving Heath rooted to the spot.
Despite clawing their way back into the game the hosts were unable to create another decent opportunity in the remaining minutes and Diamonds effectively saw out time to claim the three points. Although a little harsh on Ives this result along with wins for two of their fellow strugglers sees them drop into the bottom two. Every game must now become a cup final and every point must be fought for if they are going to pull themselves out of the mire.
Final Score : St Ives Town 3 AFC Rushden & Diamonds 4
Goals : Curtis 9, Dylan Wilson 61, Toseland 88
Team : Iron, Phillips (Jarvis Wilson 46), Toseland, Hottor (Snaith79), Powell, Wood, Dylan Wilson (Bailey 74), Parker (capt), Foy, Curtis, Seymour-Shove
Unused subs : Ward, Clifton
Supporters man of the match : Robbie Parker
Attendance : 377
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|January 1, 2020||15:00||Southern Premier Central||2019-20||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||1||3|
|AFC Rushden & Diamonds||1||4|