St Ives Town v Hednesford Town
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central 23-10-2021
Lifted by their win on Tuesday evening Ives more than matched their sixth placed opponents in this game and it looked like first half goals from Liam Cross and Ed Hottor were going to take them to what would have been an excellent three points only for the game to be turned on its head as the Pitmen snatched two goals in a minute with just under ten minutes to go.
Getting nothing from the game was extremely harsh on the Ives who had clearly gained confidence from the win and dealt well with early pressure from their visitors. Home keeper Ben Heath was called into action in only the second minute and he held on well to a low drive from the edge of the box from Chay Tilt. The early traffic continued to be all one way with Shaquille Master firing high and Tilt firing wide from good positions in the next ten minutes.
Ives first noteworthy strike on goal came in 18th minute when good battling from Nabil Shariff set up Michael Richens for a 25 yarder that skimmed off the surface and thudded into the fence inches wide of keeper Jonathan Brown’s right hand upright.
It took an excellent saving tackle from skipper Brett Solkhon to deny Andre Brown only ninety seconds later. The Pimen’s number nine had been set up for the shooting opportunity by Tilt after the dangerous winger had been cleverly fed in to the bye line by a reverse pass from Todd Parker.
A long throw from Lewis Ison caused problems in the Ives defence that eventually lead to the visitors being awarded a penalty in 22nd minute. The ball had not been properly cleared and fell to Master who unleashed a powerful effort that hit the arm of Solkhon only about two metres away from him. Referee Emily Heaslip was convinced that the skipper’s arm had prevented the ball going into the danger zone even though it was in what appeared to be a natural position by his side. Not surprisingly there was a long delay before the spot kick could be taken whilst Sokhon and his colleagues attempted to plead their case. It was over two minutes later when Courtney Richards eventually stepped up to take the kick which was well struck and comprehensively beat Heath but some would say justice was done as it thudded the crossbar and bounced away.
As is so often the case a golden opportunity goes begging at one end and the opposition goes virtually straight up the other end and scores. Sure enough Ives did just that with Shariff feeding in Urijah Gordon-Douglas on the right. The young striker did brilliantly getting to the bye line and hanging up a cross to the back post over the head of Brown who back peddled furiously to just touch the ball away from the lurking Shariff but it fell to Liam Cross who gleefully slammed it home to put the hosts in front.
Sadly the lead was short lived and it is not a replay that keeper Heath will want to see again as in 29th minute an Andre Brown shot deflected off Solkhon and looped up into the air. Heath looked favourite to claim the ball but dallied momentarily waiting for a bounce that never arrived as Tilt dashed in from the right to guide the ball home leaving the keeper with his head in his hands.
Unlike recent weeks, losing their lead seemed to spur Ives on to greater efforts and they went close twice before regaining the lead right on half time. In the 35th minute the persistence of Shariff paid off again as he harried Josh Endall into a mistake high up the pitch. The ball was fed inside to Richens who again strode forward before unleashing a low drive that had Brown scrambling across his goal line to cover but again flew just wide of the post. There were sixty seconds left to half time when a fantastic cross field ball from Hotter picked out Dylan Williams on the left, he in turn put in a deep cross that Gordon-Douglas headed down into the mix where Richards just managed to knock the ball away from Shariff.
That looked likely to be the last chance of the first half but further high pressing in the first added minute saw Gordon-Douglas rob Endall by his own corner flag. The ball was pulled back to Shariff on the edge of the box. His attempt on goal was blocked but the ball ran on to Hottor who unleashed a screamer from fully 25 yards that took a deflection off a Hednesford defender on its way past Brown.
The expected pressure from the visitors at the start of the second period did not really materialise as the hard working Ives continued to harry and hassle their opposition all over the park. The first half an hour of the second half produced just one routine save from Heath as he comfortably held a low drive from the edge of the box by Brown in 59th minute.
As their confidence grew the hosts began to create half chances of their own to kill off the game. A 75th minute 25 yarder from Williams skidded just past keeper Brown’s right hand post and a 78th minute screamer from fully 30 yards from Camron McWilliams caused the big keeper much more worry as he sprawled full length across his goal to try and get a touch to it as it just flew past the opposite upright.
The equaliser for the Pitmen when it came in 81st minute was against the run of play as Master found space to roam forward cutting in from the left. He let fly with a low drive from 25 yards that keeper Heath dived low to his left to save, but the ball was pushed back into play and fell straight to the feet of Tilt who fired home his second from a narrow angle.
The goal rattled the Ives who then found themselves behind before they had chance to re-focus and once again the hosts paid the penalty for not closing down the dangerous Master who was allowed to stride forward once more before unleashing a real screamer from 30 yards that flew past the left hand of Heath and entered the back of the net via the post.
Give Ives their due they did not capitulate and Cross came agonisingly close to a deserved equaliser in 88th minute. A flowing move involving Williams and substitute Jack Snelus saw his fellow sub Nathan Hicks feed the ball on to Cross on the right hand corner of the box. His crisp low drive deflected past keeper Brown and was on its way into the net only to be kept out by a last ditch block almost on the goal line from Endall.
With Ives now throwing caution to the wind to try and get something from a game they had looked like winning for so long there was always the likelihood that the visitors would seal their victory with a breakaway goal and sure enough in the first minute of added time debutant Riley O’Sullivan pounced on a woefully short header back from Solkhon to put the icing on the Pitmen’s cake and put a very unfair reflection to the final score.
Despite dropping back into the relegation zone Ives must take further belief from this performance that was one of their best of the season and deserved a full reward. If they can eliminate the individual errors then a move up the table has to be on the cards and with the prospect of talisman Luke Fairlamb returning to fitness in the near future there are definitely positives on the horizon.
Final Score : St Ives Town 2 Hednesford Town 4
ST IVES : Cross 26, Hottor 45+1
HEDNESFORD: Tilt 29 & 81, Master 82, O’Sullivan 90+1
ST IVES: Heath, Agemoh-Davies (Hicks 87), McWilliams (Milne 87), Toseland, Solkhon (capt), Hottor, Gordon-Douglas (Snelus 87), Richens, Shariff, Williams, Cross, Unused subs : White, Nabi
HEDNESFORD: J. Brown, Atkinson, Lycett, Endall, Ison, Richards (capt) (Flanagan 74), Tilt, Parker, A. Brown (O’Sullivan 59), Soleman (Landell 79), Master, Unused subs: Rowley, Williams
Ives Supporters man of the match : Ed Hottor
Attendance : 225
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|October 23, 2021||15:00||Southern Premier Central||2021-22||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||2||2|