Godmanchester Rovers v St Ives Town
Huntingdonshire FA Senior Cup Final played at St Neots Town FC 26-04-2022
At times Goddy belied the 39 places between these two sides in the football pyramid but one always felt that having got an early two goal cushion courtesy of two well worked short corner routines Ives were doing just enough and so it proved as they unseated the holders to claim the Hunts FA Senior Cup for the first time since 2016.
Goddy started well and a dangerous early ball into the box by Alfie Warman was won in the air by Ross Munro and it took some quick feet from Ives keeper Eddie Brearey to just take the ball away from Mohammed Akhtar who was lurking by the penalty spot.
Having started their previous three games at break neck pace it should have been no real surprise that Ives got their noses in front early on. Goddy were caught napping in ninth minute as Dylan Williams played a quick short corner back to Luke Fairlamb and his low driven cross was thumped home from eight yards by Josh Flanagan.
Ives continued to press forward and Ed Hottor skimmed a 25 yarder inches wide three minutes later. The shooting opportunity had been carved out by a little bit of trickery from Williams cutting in from the left and drawing in defenders before laying the ball into the path of Hottor.
The opening goal had come courtesy of one of Ives Northampton Town loanees and the second in 21st minute came courtesy of the other. Once again it was a short corner routine that caught out Goddy. Fairlamb was again involved, this time taking the corner himself on the left. Ethan Johnston came short to receive it and exchanged passes with Fairlamb who the picked out Liam Cross in a little bit of space 25 yards out. A little sidestep then a brilliant curling shot that found the top corner giving Jamie Greygoose in the Goddy goal no chance.
For the remainder of the first half Ives played keep ball moving it around throughout the team and forcing Goddy players all over the park to work very hard to win it back. Only sporadically did Ives really threaten Greygoose’s goal again before the break and when they did Cross was usually involved in the move. In 23rd minute he got away onto a Callum Milne ball down the line and seemed to get caught in two minds as he cut inside onto his left foot. His clip to the back post may have been an ambitious attempt to curl the ball into the corner from a narrow angle or set up a simple header for Nabil Shariff who had ghosted in but in the end the ball proved to be just to high for Shariff as it drifted just wide of the upright with Greygoose beaten.
It took an excellent save from Greygoose to prevent Ives increasing their advantage only seconds later. Cross was again the provider teeing up his skipper Michael Richens for a thunderous drive from 25 yards that the Rovers keeper did very well to keep out plunging low to his left to get a good solid hand behind the ball.
There were a couple of controversial incidents as the half wore on. In 32nd minute Greygoose appeared to handle the ball outside has area as he slid in to just beat Johnston to a ball through the left channel. But excellent referee Neil Hair was perfectly positioned to see and immediately waved away Ives appeals, maybe the contact was on the line and the hands came off the ball as he slid out.
The second incident two minutes before the break also involved Johnston as he showed an excellent turn of pace to rob a dallying Frank Nzeh just outside the box. The Goddy centre back reacted swiftly to cynically chop down the Ives striker just inches outside the area. The fact that the incident occurred in a wide position with other defenders coming around to cover saved the struggling number four from a card. The free kick came to nothing and so ended a first period dominated by the men in black and white.
The visitor’s man of the match Greygoose pulled off an even better save than his one in the first half to deny Johnston five minutes after the restart. Flanagan threaded a ball down the right that once again put the speedy Cross away his low ball to the near post was met perfectly by Johnston arriving at pace and the Ives striker was left sat on the turf in disbelief as Greygoose produced a brilliant reaction save to deflect the ball onto the crossbar from where it was scrambled away by his colleagues.
Having barely threatened all evening Goddy then missed a golden opportunity to put themselves back in the game in 57th minute. Simon Unwin’s corner from the right was met cleanly by CJ Lewis who was somehow unmarked eight yards out. The big number ten should have buried the chance but perhaps he was as surprised as the rest of us that he was completely un-challenged and he directed his header about a foot over the top much to Ives relief.
That chance lifted Goddy to even greater efforts and another Unwin corner eight minutes later also produced an effort on goal. This time Milne won the first header but the ball fell to Lewis on the edge of the box. Fortunately for Brearey the striker’s shot struck Nzeh on it’s way towards goal taking all of the sting out of it and making the save a lot easier for the young keeper.
Those two near misses for Goddy seemed to make Ives realise that they could not quite coast through the remainder of the game as they appeared as if they were intending to and the dangerous Cross continued to threaten a third goal to kill the game off at the other end. He was twice denied that all important killer goal by Greygoose in 67th minute. The young winger created the first chance for himself cutting in from the right past Jack Dickinson before testing the Goddy keeper with a fierce low drive that he did well to keep out. But the ball rebounded to the edge of the box where Hottor won it back and again fed in Cross with the same result again keeper Greygoose reacted well to push the shot away low to his left.
Ives did get the ball in the net again in 73rd minute as Richens burst through the right channel from midfield and clipped the ball to the near post where Shariff side footed home. But his celebration was cut short by the assistant’s raised flag.
To give Goddy their due they continued to go in search of an unlikely route back into the game and it took an excellent double save from Brearey fifteen minutes from time to keep them at bay. Toseland’s poor ball out of defence was cut out in midfield by Unwin who fed in substitute Danny Baulk down the right. His low cross into the box picked out Lewis in a central position but Brearey once again showed his reactions and agility to keep out not only the striker’s initial effort but also his follow up at point blank range.
That was battling Goddy’s last real opportunity of the evening as Ives sensibly opted to see out time. The only opportunity in the remaining time came at the other end with eight minutes left on the watch. The most influential player on the park went close to grabbing his second of the evening. A speedy burst across the park from substitute Tyrone Baker ended with him feeding in Cross who just beat the fast approaching Greygoose to the ball and dinked it over him. The effort was net bound but did not manage to cross the line thanks to a gallant last ditch effort by covering defender Reece King who scooped it away at the expense of a corner.
As the gallant Goddy began to run out of steam Ives were able to retain possession and run the clock down to claim this worthy piece of silverware and give them a fitting reward to the end of an excellent second half to the season. Their sixth season at step three has seen them finish fourteenth in a particularly tough and unforgiving division. They claimed some excellent scalps along the way and saved the best until last. Unbeaten in their last four games played over only eleven days where they scored seven and only conceded a solitary goal. They well deserved their post match celebrations on St Neots’s excellent surface.
Final Score : Godmanchester Rovers 0 St Ives Town 2
ST IVES: Flanagan 9, Cross 21
GODMANCHESTER: Greygoose, R. King, Dickerson, Nzeh, Warman, M. King, Allan (Dear 78), Unwin (capt), Munro (Baulk 46), Lewis, Akhtar (Hammond 66), Unused subs: Moss, Butler
ST IVES: Brearey, Flanagan, Fairlamb, Richens (capt), Toseland, Milne, Cross, Hottor, Shariff (Osei-Bonsu 87), Johnston (Baker 54), Williams, Unused subs : Goff, Solkhon, Faris Rhaman
Ives Supporters man of the match : Liam Cross
Attendance : 257
Report by Nigel Howlett.
|April 26, 2022||19:45||Hunts Senior Cup||2021-22||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||2||2|