St Ives Town v Hednesford Town


Match Report

St Ives Town v Hednesford Town

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  26-11-2022

Ives returned to winning ways at quattro tech Westwood Road, but the rock bottom Pitmen proved themselves no push overs and might well consider themselves unfortunate to leave Cambridgeshire with nothing. The visitors looked like a side low on confidence throughout a first half where the hosts ruled the roost going in front thanks a very cleverly taken goal from Kieran Higgs in 27th minute. But a change of personnel and tactics at the break saw the pendulum swing the other way with the visitors now swarming forward and it was only thanks to a very well organised defence and some commanding goalkeeping from James Goff that Ives stayed in front until Nabil Shariff’s goal fifteen minutes from time finally removed the wind from the visitors sails.

There was excellent news for the Ives in midweek ahead of this game as Myles Cowling was announced as returning to the club on loan from Cambridge United after his brief spell at National League South Braintree Town. Another new face to the club was full back Patrick Casey who had joined from Harborough Town 48 hours earlier. Both these new arrivals came straight into the starting eleven.

It was perhaps not surprising that the hosts started the game on the front foot with their visitors, with only one win under their belts in the league all season, looking much more cautious. Keiran Higgs was an early thorn in the Pitmen’s side as he probed down the left causing visitors full back Lewis Ludford-Ison a few problems. Higgs had already got past the visitors skipper twice without end product before he repeated the trick in tenth minute and teed up Jonny Edwards for a shot from the edge of the box that flew over the top.

First shot on target of the game also came from Edwards in 18th minute. Ives skipper Michael Richens, who looked back to his best on his return from suspension, robbed Luke Rowe and fed the ball into the run of Edwards but his shot took a deflection off a defender that took all of the sting out of it and made it a comfortable save for keeper Tiernan Brooks.

Rowe was the first player of the afternoon to pick up a yellow card two minutes later as he took one for the team by taking down Higgs as the speedy winger burst forward leading a fast paced four man Ives break through the centre of the park. Richens tried his luck from fully 35 yards with the resulting free kick but fired well wide.

With no Johnny Herd in the team long throw duties fell to Callum Milne and it was his arcing throw from the right that led to the opening goal. The ball was flicked on at the near post and was only half cleared to the edge of the box where Higgs picked it up. Thanks to some amazing footwork he jinked past two defenders into the box and deftly picked his spot rolling the ball right footed just inside Brooks right hand post with the unsighted keeper rooted to the spot.

Ives leading scorer Edwards almost capitalised on a slip by Pitmen’s experienced centre back Keith Lowe three minutes later. Running clear through the left channel he delayed his shot just a little to long allowing keeper Brooks and the recovering Lowe to close him down and block the eventual effort between them.

The visitors first real foray into Ives box came six minutes before the break when ex Reading and Bristol City striker Leroy Lita managed to get on the end of Ludford-Ison’s deep cross from the right and knocked the ball down to Obinna Anaebonam. But the Pitmen’s number seven snatched at the chance and screwed the ball well wide from ten yards. Anaebonam went a lot closer two minutes later when he picked up the ball 35 yards out and cut in from the left before unleashing a shot from just outside the box that deflected just over the top.

The last action of the half saw Ives come within inches of doubling their advantage in the simplest fashion as Milne met Higgs out-swinging corner from the right at the near post and powered his header at goal only to be denied by Rowe’s header off the line.

Having basked in a very positive first forty five minutes Ives supporters enjoyed their half time cuppa in confident mood expecting a similar second half and a comfortable win. But the Pitmen’s experienced manager Steve Burr had other ideas and showed that there are no easy games in this division. He took off Burton Albion loanee Thomas Hewlett and replaced him with the busy Kyle Bennett and changed his formation to give him more presence in the centre of the park.

Suddenly the momentum had swung in favour of the visitors. The second half was only three minutes old when Adam Livingstone got past Tyrone Baker down the left and drilled in a low cross to the near post where Charlie Johnson did brilliantly to stop Lita turning it home.

Bennett was involved on the hour when Anaebonam came within millimetres of levelling thigs up. The substitute threaded a ball through Ives back line to pick out the run of Anaebonam into the box. Keeper Goff was off his line in a flash to close down the Pitmen’s striker but he deftly chipped it over the Ives custodian but also much to the relief of the Ives faithful just over the crossbar. Goff had to be alert to come to Ives rescue again only moments later. This time he had to sprint off his line to hack the ball away from Anaebonam as the striker looked like getting clear onto a clip over the top by Rowe.

The visitors pressure continued and a 68th minute run from Rowe saw him create another shooting opportunity for Bennett but the substitute fired well wide of Goff’s left hand post from 25 yards.

Just when it began to look like the pressure on Ives defence may tell the hosts found a way to kill the game with fifteen minutes left. As so often happens with one side pushing men forward to try and find an equaliser gaps will appear in their defence and that is exactly what happened as Higgs burst out of his own half with the ball he had support to both left and right, he chose right and fed the ball right into the run of Dylan Williams, he in turn fed the ball on into the feet of substitute Nabil Shariff who did what he has always done keeping his cool to calmly clip the ball over the advancing keeper to double Ives advantage from ten yards.

The visitor’s fragile confidence was not entirely shattered but it had certainly taken a heavy blow. They did try a few more ventures into Ives territory and it took an excellent Milne block on the line to deny Lita a consolation goal six minutes from time. But once that chance had gone the Pitman seemed to accept their fate and Ives had two good chances to put icing on their cake in the closing moments. Debutant Casey fed the ball down the right to Enoch Andoh and the substitute got past James McQuilkin before cutting inside and firing straight at keeper Brooks from a narrow angle with better placed colleagues screaming for him to lay the ball across the six yard line.

Shariff came even closer to making it three deep in added time when another Andoh run into the box saw him set up Cowling who unselfishly fed it on to Shariff, his shot from 15 yards beat Brooks but Todd Parker was covering behind his keeper to hack the ball off the line.

The win takes Ives up one place to twelfth whist their thirteenth defeat of the season leaves the Pitmen firmly rooted to the bottom of the table now eleven points from safety.

Final Score:  St Ives Town  2  Hednesford Town  0


ST IVES: Higgs 27, Shariff 76


Team Line Ups:

ST IVES: Goff, Milne, Casey, Richens (capt), J. Williams, Johnson, Higgs, Cowling, Edwards (Andoh 79), D. Williams, Baker (Shariff 62), Unused subs: Lembikisa, Kaziboni, 

HEDNESFORD: Brooks, Ludford-Ison (capt), McQuilkin, Rowe, Lowe, Redfern, Anaebonam, Parker, Lita, Hewlett (Bennett 46) Livingstone, Unused subs: Portman, Akinwe, Hartley, Clayton

Cards: Yellow:  ST IVES:    none     HEDNESFORD:   Rowe (20), Bennett (76), Ludford-Ison (90+2)


Attendance:  190

Report by Nigel Howlett. Interview by Andrew Dunn. Match highlights by Ollie Jones. Photos by Louise Thompson.

St Ives Town

1James Goff Goalkeeper
3Patrick Casey Defender
2Callum Milne Defender
4Michael Richens Midfielder
5Jordan Williams Defender
6Charlie Johnson Defender
7Kieran Higgs Winger 27'
8Myles Cowling Midfielder
9Jonathan Edwards 14 Striker
11Tyrone Baker 12 Winger
10Dylan Williams Midfielder
12Nabil Shariff 11 Striker 76'
14Enoch Andoh 9 Winger
Yellow Cards
Red Cards


Date Time League Season Full Time
November 26, 2022 15:00 Southern League Premier Division Central 2022-23 90'


Club1st HalfFinal Score
St Ives Town12
Hednesford Town00