St Ives Town v Ilkeston Town
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 21-01-2023
A barnstorming second half comeback saw Ives claim a share of the spoils with the big spending Robins in a hugely entertaining game in front of a bumper crowd which was bolstered by supporters diverted from other games called off late owning to pitches which failed to thaw out following the heavy overnight frost.
Ives manager Ricky Marheineke made one change to the starting eleven following last weeks draw at Hednesford with Kellan Hickinson recalled to the number ten shirt in place of Nabil Shariff who took his place on the bench. By contrast Robins player manager Jamie Ward welcome three experienced new signings into his starting line up goalkeeper Rhys Davies, full back Henri Wilder and hugely experience ex Premier League striker Leroy Lita.
The game started relatively quietly with both sides sizing each other up. The first half chance for either side came in ninth minute when a probing run from Tyrone Baker allowed him to tee up Myles Cowling for a shot from the edge of the box but Cowling failed to hit the ball cleanly and it was scrambled clear. Ives Peterborough United loanee Kellan Hickinson spurned a much better opportunity three minutes later. Kieran Higgs cross from the left was headed down by Jonny Edwards onto the foot of Hickinson in a little bit of space just inside the box but the youngster snatched his first time effort wide.
Lita was already beginning to show touches of his ability at the other end and he cleverly drifted out to the left to set up the opening goal for the visitors in 17th minute. Finding space behind Paddy Casey he got to the bye line before driving a low cross along the six yard line to pick out Remayne Campbell unmarked at the back post. Robins number seven had the simple task of side footing the ball home.
Going in front lifted the visitors and they continued on top for the remainder of the first period. Despite Ives defence battling hard to keep them at bay the Robins started to carve out more chances usually with Lita and Campbell at the heart of things. In 24th minute the pair combined well on the right with Campbell teeing up Dempsey Arlott-John on the edge of the box. But the visitors winger screwed his shot wide of the post.
Arlott-John thought that he had doubled the lead five minutes later as he was fed clean through by ex Peterborough United striker Lee Tomlin but the speedy wide man had gone just a little to soon and Ives were saved by the assistants flag. The visitors then had a very good shout for a penalty turned down by referee Dan Woolley as Johnny Herd got the wrong side of Campbell and gave him a hefty nudge to prevent him getting on the end of Kieran Fenton’s clip into the box.
It took a brilliant sliding block from Jordan Williams to prevent Lita turning home Campbell’s low cross from the right in 38th minute. But then the inevitable second goal for the visitors arrived five minutes before the break. Finn Delap delivered a long ball deep into Ives territory that Lita took down brilliantly and seized the opportunity to surge on into the box where he went down under a combined challenge from Casey and Williams. Referee Woolley took a moment to think about it before pointing to the spot. Campbell coolly sent James Dadge the wrong way from the spot to double his tally for the day and double the Robins lead.
Dadge earned his corn for the day two minutes later by ensuring that Ives went in at the break only two down plunging to his left to keep out Fenton’s 25 yard free kick that beat the hosts three man wall and was heading for the bottom corner. The free kick had been conceded by Myles Cowling who lost possession inside his own half to Jack Thomas and then chased back to bring down the Robins midfield man.
Ives desperately needed an early goal to lift their spirits and give them a potential route back into the game and they got just that as their impressive start to the second half earned reward. A long ball down the park was flicked on by Williams who had stayed forward after an early Ives corner. The ball fell to Edwards who fed in Higgs speeding down the left. Higgs got past Joe Wilson on the outside before pulling the ball back to Cowling on the edge of the box. A side step earned just enough space to allow him to get away a fierce right foot shot that flew high into the net past the outstretched fingers of Davies. Game on!
The Robins went in search of another goal to restore their lead and Arlott-John cleverly turned Casey before firing just wide from 20 yards in 62nd minute. But Ives had now got the bit between their teeth and a very well taken poachers goal from Edwards in 69th minute levelled things up. Hickinson delivered a ball in from the right that Delap looked favourite to win, but Edwards caught the young defender on his heels as he ghosted in front of him to prod the ball home past the startled Davies.
With twenty minutes to go and everything to play for both sides spurred on by the boisterous crowd decided to go for the win. It was the visitors who went close to getting their noses in front first. Only two minutes after Ives equaliser Tomlin got between players at the near post to direct a Wilson cross on target but Dadge held on well.
The closest either side came to finding a winner was in 73rd minute when the tricky Arlott-John turned on a ball just inside the box before unleashing a fierce right footed drive that beat Dadge but rattled the crossbar and rebounded to safety.
A strange incident unseen by anyone in the ground saw Tomlin go down claiming that he had been felled by Higgs in an off the ball incident. The incident had the effect of breaking the momentum of the game just as Ives were beginning to get on top again and it ended with no cards issued and a drop ball to the hosts. Ives were soon back in the ascendency and substitute Enoch Andoh was brilliantly put clear through the left channel by Cowling only to be denied by the assistants flag.
Back at the other end Tomlin was brought down by Ben Toseland just inches outside the box. Fenton got his free kick over Ives four man wall but was just unable to get it down again and it crept inches over the crossbar.
Both sides had chances to win it in the added five minutes at the end. Two chances went Ives way both falling to Williams. In the second added minute he managed to ghost in completely unmarked at the back post to get on the end of Michael Richens clever free kick. But he was stretching to reach the ball and although he directed his effort on target it was deflected out for a corner. The resulting flag kick was taken short by Greg Kaziboni allowing Hickinson to float the ball to the back post where Williams was again the target. This time he got power on his header but could only direct it into the side netting.
The final chance in the open and entertaining game fell to the visitors in the last minute when the two experienced ex-professionals combined. Lita held the ball up well just outside the box and laid it off to Tomlin his low drive was well held at the foot of his left hand post by Dadge to ensure that the points were shared.
Final Score: St Ives Town 2 Ilkeston Town 2
ST IVES: Cowling 51, Edwards 69
ILKESTON: Campbell 17, 41 (pen)
Team Line Ups:
ST IVES: Dadge, Casey, Herd, Richens (capt), Williams, Toseland, Higgs (Kaziboni 88), Cowling, Edwards, Hickinson, Baker (Andoh 63), Unused subs: Hottor, Milne, Shariff
ILKESTON: Davies, Wilson, Wilder, Thomas, Delap, Fenton (capt), Campbell, Ward (Bradley 63), Lita, Tomlin, Arlott-John (O’Grady 85), Unused subs: Dube, Bello, Woodward
Cards: Yellow: ST IVES: Cowling (43) MICKLEOVER: Ward (29), Thomas (55), Tomlin (56), Delap (90+1), Fenton (90+5)
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Myles Cowling
Report by Nigel Howlett. Interview by Andrew Dunn. Video highlights by Ollie Jones. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|January 21, 2023
|Southern League Premier Division Central
|St Ives Town