St Ives Town v Biggleswade Town


Match Report

St Ives Town v Biggleswade Town  

Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central 27-12-2021

The first half of this game must have left Ives supporters amongst the large Bank Holiday crowd wondering how on earth their team had scored five at Barwell the previous Saturday. The second half performance showed those that did not travel up to Leicestershire last weekend exactly what they had missed as a rejuvenated hosts tore into their visitors from the off and although on paper this looks like a narrow victory if the even half of the chances that were created in that exiting second period had been taken Ives could have run away with this game.

The starting line up for Ives showed three changes from the win at Barwell with recent signing James Goff making a welcome return to Westwood Road replacing Ben Heath between the sticks, Callum Milne and Tyrone Baker returning in place of the injured Ben Watt and rested Nabil Shariff respectively. The Waders made a similar number of changes from their previous game a home defeat to high flying Banbury. Joe Howe and Shane Bush returning in defence in place of Stevan Shaw and Russell Short and Oxford United loanee Will Owens coming in on the wing for Ben Stevens.

The game started tentatively although a quick free kick almost caught out visiting keeper Josh Hill in fourth minute. Dylan Williams got away down the left and floated up an inviting cross to the back post where unfortunately there was no one to force the ball home as the struggling Hill completely missed his attempt to punch it away.

Goff in the home goal had a scare of his own four minutes later as he slipped trying to deal with a back pass and looked to have gifted a goal to the lurking Joe Neal but fortunately for Ives Goff had the presence of mind to pounce on the loose ball as it rebounded off the shins of the startled Waders striker.

The next opportunity for a strike on goal came in 13th minute when a wayward pass inside by Kyle Davison-Gordon was cut out by Howe who strode forward before unleashing a powerful drive from 25 yards that was deflected inches wide of Goff’s right hand post with the keeper struggling to get across.

Michael Richens was having an excellent game in the centre of the park and he picked out Baker cutting in from the right with a perfectly weighted ball in 21st minute. The speedy Ives winger was forced wide by Kane Farrell and although he got his shot away it only flew into the side netting. In response to that effort Waders struck back at the other end with Ronan Silva getting in a cross from the left that the skilful Joe Neal took down well pivoted on and got a shot away from 15 yards that Goff did well to hold onto low to his left. Goff needed to be similarly alert five minutes before the break as he held on well to a 25 yard free kick from the same player that had burst through Ives five man defensive wall. 

The closest either side came to breaking the deadlock in the first period came three minutes from half time when a well worked Ives corner saw another teasing Williams cross to the back post put Hill into all sorts of trouble. The struggling keeper was hugely fortunate not to score an own goal as his attempted clearing punch rattled into the upright and deflected wide off a defender just before Brett Solkhon could prod it home.

A change of personnel and formation and a completely new level of endeavour from Ives saw them take the game to the Waders straight from the kick off. The personnel change was the introduction from the bench of Shariff who replaced Hottor. He joined Ethan Johnston in a two pronged attack with Williams moving wide left. Williams it was who should have put the hosts in front only ninety seconds from the resumption. Nathan Hicks threaded a ball through the Waders back line to put Williams completely clear one on one with Hill. The keeper quickly closed him down and blocked his low shot with his legs.

That chance was quickly forgotten as Johnston found the net to put Ives in front in their very next attack four minutes later. Shariff showed brilliant close control to take in a ball into the box and lose his man before unselfishly picking out Johnston arriving at pace inside the six yard box. An excellent back heeled flick from the striker did the rest giving Hill no chance.

It was almost two in 54th minute as the struggling Waders were again almost caught out by the Shariff, Johnston combination. Once more it was Shariff the provider as he showed his pace to get on the end of a ball threaded in from the right by Baker. His low cross along the six yard line was only millimetres away from the boot of Johnston sliding in at the back post.

Having looked in complete control Ives suddenly found themselves back on level terms as the Waders caught them on the break from their own corner in 62nd minute. A throw from Hill picked out Howe in a bit of space and his crossfield ball fell perfectly into the run of Luca Cardines who outpaced Callum Milne before slamming the ball home past the exposed Goff to level things up.

Ives were not to be jolted out of their stride and they were quickly back on the ascendency. Only two minutes later Williams cut inside before firing over from 25 yards. Johnston spurned a much better opportunity in 69th minute. Baker continued to terrorise Farrell down the left and he went past the struggling left back yet again before picking out Johnston who had got in front of his marker six yards out but steered his header just wide of the near post.

The pressure continued to build and a winner for the hosts was looking more and more likely. Hicks teed up Richens for 25 yard screamer in 71st minute but keeper Hill was just equal to it leaping athletically to tip the dipping ball just over the top. It was full back Gordon-Douglas’s turn to spur an opportunity from the resulting corner. The initial kick was half cleared to Baker just outside the box and he cleverly clipped it back into the mix where it ricocheted around before falling to Gordon-Douglas six yards out but he snatched at the chance and fired well over. Solkhon was next to go close as he got on the end of a well flighted Richens free kick in 74th minute. But the Ives skipper was always stretching and could not keep down his header from eight yards out.

The goal that had been threatening to arrive finally came eight minutes from time as Hicks played a superb ball from the centre of the park to pick out Baker cutting in from the right at pace. He took a touch before unleashing a fierce drive that would probably have beaten Hill even without the slight deflection it got off a desperate defender.

Now with their noses in front again Ives had to make sure that they stayed there. They suffered two scares in the remaining time. In 85th minute James Peters found just enough space on the edge of the box to take down a dropping ball and tee up Neal who curled his effort inches wide with Goff struggling to get across and cover. The final opportunity for the Waders to grab an unlikely point came two minutes into the added four. Cardines delivered a cross from the left that arrived at the feet of substitute Ben Stevens at the back post. His initial shot was blocked but the ball rebounded to Neal who stabbed his shot through the crowd but straight into the arms of the grateful Goff who hung on well.

Believe it, or not, this is the first time that Ives have managed a win on Boxing Day since the United Counties League days but their scintillating second half performance thoroughly earned the reward and the result moves them up to twelfth in what is still an amazingly tight bottom end to the table where twelve teams are separated by just seven points. The Waders will be left looking nervously over their shoulders as they now sit just one place above the bottom three albeit with three games in hand on two of those below them. 

Final Score : St Ives Town  2   Biggleswade Town  1        

Goals : 

ST IVES: Johnston 51, Baker 82

BIGGLESWADE: Cardines 62


ST IVES: Goff, Milne, Davison-Gordon, Richens, Solkhon (capt), Toseland, Baker, Hicks, Hottor (Shariff 46), Johnston, Williams, Unused subs : Rhaman, Dwumfuo, Manangu

BIGGLESWADE: Hill, Howe, Farrell, Peters, Hall, Bush (capt) (Shaw 58), Owens (Stevens 76), Silva (Vasey 69), Neal, Parker, Cardines, Unused subs: none

Ives Supporters man of the match :  Tyrone Baker

Attendance : 326

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

St Ives Town

1James Goff Goalkeeper
6Callum Milne Defender
3Kyle Davison-Gordon Defender
4Michael Richens Midfielder
5Brett Solkhon Defender
11Ben Toseland Defender
7Tyrone Baker Winger 82'
14Nathan Hicks Midfielder
8Edmund Hottor 9 Midfielder
16Ethan Johnston Striker 51'
10Dylan Williams Midfielder
9Nabil Shariff 8 Striker


Date Time League Season Full Time
December 27, 2021 13:00 Southern Premier Central 2021-22 90'


Club1st HalfFinal Score
St Ives Town02
Biggleswade Town01