St Ives Town v Kings Langley
BetVictor League Southern Premier Division Central 17-09-19
Ives have played well on a number of occasions this season but simply not got the breaks and ended up with nothing. Well this game was the complete reverse as a poor first half performance from the hosts could easily have allowed the rampant Kings to be out of sight by the break. Instead of that the visitors gifted their hosts an equaliser in true Keystone Cops fashion nine minutes before the break. Even after Jack Snelus had claimed his first Ives goal to put them in front on the hour it still needed a string of good saves from Martin Conway and a large chunk of good fortune as the visitors hit post and crossbar in the closing stages before the celebration could begin on a first League win of the season.
The exertions put in four days before at Rushall had their effect on Ives starting line up with Mark Coulson, Ben Jackson, Charlie De’ath and George Bailey all falling to injuries picked up in that game. Jeff Woodward and Ty Ward returned to the starting eleven to fill the two full back roles, Ezra Forde came in on the left side of midfield. But a sure sign of how threadbare the squad was came in the presence of a familiar face on the bench where the evergreen Dan Moyes provided the defensive cover he was also joined by a half fit Dan Clifton.
Not only did the efforts from Saturday’s sickening defeat remove a number of players from the team it also seemed to have drained the energy of those who were present on the pitch as Ives were second best all over the park almost from the kick off. Full back Gary Connolly was allowed acres of space on the right hand side before threading a ball inside to Charlie Ruff on edge of the D Ruff side stepped his marker before slotting the ball past Conway low to his right to put Kings in front in only sixth minute.
The traffic was entirely one way as Ives seemed to be chasing shadows in these early stages. Five minutes later Mitchell Weiss was allowed to cut inside from the left and he curled his right footed effort from the corner of the box inches past Conway’s left hand upright with the keeper struggling to get across.
Conway was then almost caught out by a snap shot from fully 30 yards from Ruff as the Kings midfielder tried his luck with a stinging drive in 15th minute. Conway seemed to react late but still managed to get a big left hand in the way and parried the shot away. Jarvis Wilson reacted first to scramble the loose ball to safety.
The Kings racked up five corners to Ives one in the first period and from the second of those in 21st minute they went close again as Matt Campbell-Mhlope delivered his flag kick to the back post where Callum Adebiyi rose highest but the combined efforts of Charlie Johnson and Ward were just enough to prevent his close range header crossing the line.
Ruff went close again in 32nd minute as the visitors carved out an opportunity very similar to the opener. Gary Connolly again delivered a low cross to the edge of the box where Ruff managed to get on the end of it but on this occasion he steered his first time effort just wide.
Ives had barely created any threat to goalkeeper Melvin Minter’s goal in the first period at all the hardest work he had been called upon to do was gather a couple of crosses and deal with the odd back pass. But the giant keeper was beaten in comical fashion by the hosts first threatening ball into the box in 36th minute. Ben Seymour-Shove delivered the in-swinging free kick from the left and although a couple of Ives players were in the vicinity of it neither looked likely to get a touch but this was the point where Ives luck turned as Kyle Connolly seemed to panic and attempt to lash the ball clear somehow managing to fire his attempted clearance straight at team mate Charlie Pattison on the six yard line. Much to the disbelief of Ives players and supporters it cannoned off the unfortunate Pattison and crept into the net past the startled Minter via his left hand post.
Ives manager Ricky Marheineke still went through with the early substitution that he had planned as he instantly replaced the unfortunate Forde with the all action Ollie Snaith. The goal had certainly livened up the proceedings and the next noteworthy action was a clash between Ward and Campbell-Mhlope which brought players and bench staff together in a melee on the touchline. When order was restored the two initial protagonists were rewarded with a yellow card each.
Right on the break Adebiyi rose highest to Kyle Connolly’s corner from the right but he failed to keep his header down under heavy pressure from Ives defenders. So ended a half where Ives did not register a single shot on goal yet still went in level at 1 – 1.
The introduction of Snaith had certainly added some much needed impetuous to Ives and they began the second half well matching their opponents blow for blow. The early part of this second period was played out predominantly in the centre of the park with chances very much at a premium. The first clear cut chance after the break went to way of Ives on the hour and Snelus took it with aplomb hooking home on the volley from 15 yards after Seymour-Shove’s free kick from the right had been knocked down to him by Woodward.
Now in front Ives began to sniff a hint of their opening League victory of the season two minutes later Seymour-Shove almost got away onto an excellent crossfield ball by the hard working Snaith. His breakaway run was clumsily halted by Kyle Connolly who picked up a yellow card for the challenge. But the free kick was wasted as Seymour-Shove delivered it took close to the towering Minter.
As the game entered the final twenty minutes the Kings began to lift their pace again and Ives started to look a little jittery. Substitute Harrison Crawford picked out Gary Connolly cutting in from the right and it took a brave block from Wood to keep out his goal bound drive. Wilson did equally well to prevent Eoin McKeown forcing home the loose ball after it had been turned back into the mix by Campbell-Mhlope.
Conway kept his side in front as he pulled off a fantastic diving save to tip over a curling McKeown effort from 20 yards in 71st minute. The opportunity had been carved out by a burrowing run into the heart of Ives defence by Campbell-Mhlope his lay off falling perfectly for McKeown.
Ives supporters were by now chewing their finger nails to the quick as Kings pressure really started to mount as the clock ever so slowly ticked down. The dangerous Weiss got on the end of a through ball into the box in 82nd minute but Conway made a very brave block to deny him sprinting from his line and spreading himself to block the effort clean in the face at point blank range.
Only ninety seconds later a patient Kings build up down the right ended with Gary Connolly delivering a cross to the near post where the amazingly named Max Hercules got in front of his marker but flashed his header across the face of goal and past the post. Conway again did well in 86th minute as he flung himself to his left to keep out a crashing drive from Crawford. Wilson was again on hand to clear up the bits and pieces and hammer away the loose ball.
Ives had a huge let off with less than two minutes of the ninety remaining on the clock. A Hercules corner from the left was flicked on at the near post by McKeown the ball flashing across the face of goal before cannoning into the far post and then coming back along a return trajectory through the packed six yard box eventually falling to Weiss eight yards out who crashed his first time effort wide of the post.
The corner count for the visitors continued to mount as the game entered added time and there was another scare for Ives as the game entered the fourth of the added five minutes. The time Kyle Connolly’s corner from the right was met by McKeown again and Conway did well to react quickly and block his powerful header at close range. The ball then ricocheted around the packed goalmouth before it came back to McKeown who coolly lifted it over Conway for what looked like it must be a goal but Ives new good luck held out as the ball smacked the face of the crossbar and fell into the six yard box where it was hacked to safety allowing the hosts to claim their first maximum of the season. Let us hope that this result on an evening when the hosts were well below par will be the precursor to a change in Ives fortune for at least a while.
Ollie Snaith was a unanimous winner of the man of the match award for his terrier like input that lifted the previously lacklustre Ives from the moment of his introduction to the fray.
Final Score : St Ives Town 2 Kings Langley 1
Goals : Pattison (own goal) 36, Snelus 60
Team : Conway, Woodward, Ward, Wood, Jarvis Wilson, Johnson, Seymour-Shove, Parker (capt), Foy, Snelus, Forde (Snaith 36)
Unused subs : Moyes, Jackson, Clifton,
Supporters man of the match : Ollie Snaith
Attendance : 120
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|September 17, 2019
|Southern Premier Central
|St Ives Town