St Ives Town v Berkhamsted
Emirates FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round – 07-09-19
In spite of dominating possession once again it took two hotly disputed goals to see Ives to their first victory of the season and although it did not glean them any League points it ensured progress and some valuable prize money in the FA Cup.
The opening goal just after the half hour came after referee Dan Woolley correctly insisted that Ives re-take a corner as Ben Seymour-Shove had been a little to keen to take his flag kick before the official had blown for the re-start after he had booked Berko’s Marley Hamilton for a foul in the build up that lead to the corner. The visitors had comfortably cleared the initial kick and were upset when the re-take was ordered. That upset turned to real ire when Charlie De’ath flicked home Seymour-Shove’s second attempt.
The unfortunate match official was also at the centre of further controversy when he was in the correct position to spot a tug on Tom Wood’s shirt by Dan Murphy inside the box and award Ives a penalty fifteen minutes after the re-start. After a long delay during which a few Berko players picked up yellow cards for pushing their questioning of Mr Woolley a little to far Seymour-Shove lashed home what ultimately proved to be the winner.
In between the goals Ives had managed to conjure up one of their poor defensive moments by failing to deal with a long punt down the centre and allowing Hamilton to nip in and level things up five minutes before half time.
This game had all the makings of a potential banana skin for the struggling Ives without suspended influential skipper Robbie Parker and injured pair of Jarvis Wilson and Dan Clifton. Their previously unbeaten visitors sitting atop Division One Central meant there were only three League places between the two sides. But manager Ricky Marheineke had done his homework on his opponents and went with an unusual formation which saw the hardworking George Bailey paired with Seymour-Shove to form a pacey twin spearhead.
Both teams showed good attacking intent in the early stages but it was not until 9th minute that the first real chance arrived and it went the way of the visitors as De’ath struggled to clear a bouncing ball and was robbed by Lewis Toomey who broke into the box and it took a smart save from Martin Conway to block his toe poke at goal from close range.
Ives first effort on target came only sixty seconds later as Bailey forced a diving save out of Berko keeper Xavier Leon Comas who had to plunge to his left to keep out the Ives strikers low 25 yarder.
Ives had a lucky escape as they almost fell behind in 13th minute a long punt by keeper Comas deceived Ben Jackson in the breeze and went over his head letting Jonathan Lacey in one on one with keeper Conway fortunately the Ives custodian came out on top spreading himself well to block the Berko strikers effort with his legs.
Surviving that scare seemed to inspire Ives and they wrestled control of the game from the visitors and enjoyed a real purple patch and started to create chances. In 26th minute keeper Comas was forced to make a good diving save low to his right to keep out a Jack Snelus effort from the edge of the box that went through a defender’s legs. Seymour-Shove thought he had scored only ninety seconds later as he ran onto a Wood clip over the top and hit a rasping first time drive on the volley from the corner of the box that flew past the grasping fingers of Comas but rattled the crossbar.
Ives pressure continued and keeper Comas had to be alert to sprint from his line and hack away a through ball from Wood that looked like it had put Seymour-Shove clear in 28th minute. Only seconds later Bailey fired over from the edge of the box after he had been teed up by Snelus.
The inevitable goal arrived just after the half hour when De’ath flicked home Seymour-Shove corner at the near post and we all thought that would settle the nerves but exactly as last week a momentary lapse of concentration in the Ives back line was punished allowing the visitors to get level only eight minutes later. Ives seventh corner of the first half was cleared at the near post and the ball channelled down the park. Mark Coulson intercepted and tried to play a bouncing ball back to his keeper. Under pressure from Ben Lacey Conway managed to make contact but the ball spiralled up into the air dropping dangerously 25 yards from goal. Darren Locke won the header and knocked it down to Hamilton who steered the ball home past the out of position Conway.
The second half started a little more cagily until the 55th minute when a long De’ath throw was knocked back to him on the left. His first time cross floated over Locke in the centre and Wood tried to take the ball down on the back edge of the six yard box. He was prevented from getting his shot away by a tug on his shirt from Murphy who had got on the wrong side of him. The well positioned referee had no hesitation that the tug warranted a penalty and although it looked like a soft one from my position the call was a correct one. The decision however was hotly disputed by Berko players who claimed that Wood was in fact the offender for leaning in. Needless to say no referee ever changes his mind once he has made the decision and with Parker missing it fell to Seymour-Shove to put Ives back in front when the dust eventually settled.
Not unsurprisingly falling behind again sparked a response from the visitors and Conway did well to claim a dangerous in-swinging Lacey free kick in spite of the close presence of Stephen Hatch in 64th minute. Ryan Kinane should probably have done better three minutes later as he managed to elude his marker and get on the end of another Lacey free kick but he failed to hit the target with his free header from eight yards.
As the game wore on the hosts defence seemed to grow in confidence and tightened their grip on the game. The only half chance that came in the remaining time was in 74th minute when Toomey flung himself at a Murphy cross from the left but the big striker was always stretching and could only direct his header from 15 yards well wide.
Ives very effectively played out time retaining possession well in the opposition end of the park and the only noteworthy item came deep in added time when referee Woolley denied Conway a rare keeper’s goal. With everyone including Comas up for a late, late, Berko corner Conway rose impressively to claim it and with no one at all in the opposition half took the opportunity to go for goal, carried on the breeze the ball was on its way towards the gaping net when referee Woolley called time on proceedings.
Progress in the FA Cup will lift the spirit in the whole camp and hopefully be a kickstart to picking up some League points it also gives us all the added pleasure of looking out from the draw on Monday to see who we pull out in the next round.
Final Score : St Ives Town 2 Berkhamsted 1
Goals : De’ath 32, Seymour-Shove 56 (pen)
St Ives team : Conway, Woodward, Coulson, Kelly, Jackson, De’ath, Wood (capt), Snaith, Bailey (Osei-Bonsu 75), Snelus (Forde 90+4), Seymour-Shove (Ward 90+2)
Unused subs : Johnson & Dylan Wilson
Man of match : George Bailey
Attendance : 151
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|September 7, 2019
|The FA Cup
|St Ives Town