St Ives Town v Banbury United


Match Report

St Ives Town v Banbury United   

Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central 04-12-2021

The Puritans came to Westwood Road with an unbeaten league record and according to their supporters “champions elect”. They left with the unbeaten record in tatters as the carefully laid plans of ex Banbury manager Mike Ford and his joint manager at the Ives Ricky Marheineke came fruition in the best possible way. Improved performances in recent weeks had promised much without managing to gain a maximum reward. This performance showed what is possible and got the reward that it deserved.

Debutant goalkeeper Mackenzie Chapman, on loan from League One Oxford United almost had the worst possible start to his time at Westwood Road as he was quickly closed down on a back pass by Jack Stevens in the third minute. The Puritans striker unselfishly fed the ball square to Chris Wreh and it took a brilliant diving save from the young stopper to deny the big centre forward the opener and save his own blushes.

Having survived that big early scare Ives then stunned their illustrious rivals by going in front only three minutes later. Full back Camron McWilliams showed an amazing burst of speed to get to the bye line on the right. His pull back evaded everyone in the centre of the box and arrived at the feet of Ed Hottor on the edge of the box. Hottor was coolness personified as he calmly curled the ball into the top corner of the net past the stunned Ben Taylor in the visitor’s goal.

Falling behind sparked the expected reaction from the Puritans and they started to move the ball around at pace on the 3G surface. But Ives were showing one hundred percent endeavour all over the park to ensure that it was very tough for the visitors to create any real pressure on the host’s goal. Chapman was called into spectacular action once in this period, in 21st minute when Kelvin Langmead rose highest to meet Giorgio Rasulo’s free kick from the right. He met the ball perfectly and powered in a header that looked goal bound only for the agile Chapman to hurl himself high to his right to push the ball away and leave the Banbury centre back shaking his head in disbelief.

The Ives back line were generally well in control and although a little stretched at times did not really look like being breached. Half chances came the way of the visitors in the 29th and 31st minutes. In the first of these Wreh fed in Stevens cutting in from the left but Ives skipper Brett Solkhon was alert to the danger and did just enough to prevent the striker getting his shot away. The second opportunity was carved out by an exchange of passes down the right between Stevens and Rasulo. The latter picking out the well timed run of Wreh but Kyle Davison-Gordon was alert to the danger and slid in to block the shot.

As the half wore on Ives confidence began to grow they carved out four decent chances to increase their lead before the break. In 33rd minute Nabil Shariff held up the ball well before teeing up Tyrone Baker just outside the box. The Ives winger tried to pick his spot but was a little wayward as the effort flew a metre wide of Taylor’s left hand post. There were four minutes left on the watch when Ethan Johnston escaped his marker to get on the end of a well delivered Dylan Williams free kick from the right, he was unlucky to see his header deflect over the top off the head of Langmead. The resulting Williams corner somehow found Davison-Gordon in space inside the box but the Ives defender snatched at the opportunity and failed to make a clean contact.

With half time almost upon us Hottor had a fantastic chance to double Ives lead. Another flowing exchange of passes involving Hicks, Johnston and Shariff saw Williams roll the ball into the run of Hottor on the edge of the box. This time the midfielder went for power and unleashed a rising drive that stung the hands of Taylor as the keeper leapt to his left to palm the ball away.

The expected pressure from the visitors came early in the second period but Chapman was only called into one meaningful piece of action leaving his line quickly to bravely claim a ball in from the right by Connor Roberts just ahead of Wreh in 52nd minute. The same player spurned a good opportunity to test the keeper further five minutes later. The move again involved Connor Roberts who did brilliantly to take down a long diagonal ball from Rasulo and tee up Wreh on the edge of the box. But the striker was quickly closed down and could only fire his effort wide of Chapman’s left hand upright.

Just when it looked like Ives had weathered that early storm and the Puritans were beginning to run out of ideas they were handed a route back into the game in slightly questionable circumstances by referee Ryan Dix. The silky Rasulo threaded a ball through the Ives back line to pick out the well timed run of Stevens. Chapman was off his line in a flash and appeared to beat the Banbury striker to the ball with the number 20 then going down over the keeper’s outstretched arms as the ball rolled away from goal. But referee Dix was certain and Morgan Roberts emphatically drove home the resulting spot kick.

Puritans manager Andy Whing immediately made two changes to freshen up his front line replacing the goal scorer and the unusually quiet Ben Acquaye with Henry Landers and Lewis Johnson respectively no doubt expecting to press on to victory. But the hosts showed no signs of being knocked of course by conceding an equaliser as they continued to show excellent qualities in possession moving the ball around well. A patient build up carved out a shooting opportunity for Baker in 77th minute but his 20 yarder lacked power and presented a comfortable save for Taylor.

The visitors only noteworthy effort on goal in the closing stages arrived in 80th minute and again Rasulo was involved as he fed in Sam Brown down the left. The full back’s deep cross beyond the far post picked out substitute Landers who was in a little bit of space but decided to take on the effort first time and fired well wide from a good position.

The winner arrived with two minutes of the ninety remaining and it was a goal well worthy of winning any game, Ives broke at pace in a flowing move down the left. Baker making the initial burst before feeding into Johnston just outside the box. He was surrounded by three defenders and unselfishly fed the ball into the lung busting run of McWilliams who had charged up from full back losing his marker along the way. In space on the edge of the box the young full back still had a lot to do but he took on the effort first time and hit a rasping drive past the left hand of the diving Taylor to billow the net and lift the roof of Westwood Road.

The remaining time, including an added five minutes was seen out without any real scares including surviving elements which have previously proved their nemesis, a long throw into the box and a corner from the left. 

This victory could be massive and may prove a turning point in what has to this point been a tough season for the Ives. However the result cannot simply be a one off it must be used as a springboard and with three games to follow on the road all against teams in the mix at the wrong end of the table it is vital that a run of results now follows.

Final Score : St Ives Town  2  Banbury United  1        

Goals : 

ST IVES: Hottor 6, McWilliams 88

BANBURY: M. Roberts 61 (pen)


ST IVES: Chapman, McWilliams, Davison-Gordon, Hottor, Solkhon (capt) (Milne 55), Williams, Baker, Hicks, Shariff, Johnston (Manangu 89), Toseland, Unused subs : Rhaman, Dwumfuo, Agemoh-Davies

BANBURY: Taylor, C. Roberts, Williams, Langmead (Reilly 78), Brown, Babos, Rasulo (capt), Acquaye (Johnson 62), M. Roberts (Landers 62), Stevens, Wreh, Unused subs: Osadebe

Ives Supporters man of the match : Camron McWilliams

Attendance : 293

Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.

St Ives Town

1Mackenzie Chapman Goalkeeper
2Camron McWilliams Defender 88'
11Ben Toseland Defender
3Kyle Davison-Gordon Defender
5Brett Solkhon 6 Defender
7Tyrone Baker Winger
14Nathan Hicks Midfielder
8Edmund Hottor Midfielder 6'
16Ethan Johnston 17 Striker
9Nabil Shariff Striker
10Dylan Williams Midfielder
6Callum Milne 5 Defender
17Chris Manangu 16 Striker


Date Time League Season Full Time
December 4, 2021 15:00 Southern Premier Central 2021-22 90'


Club1st HalfFinal Score
St Ives Town12
Banbury United01