St Ives Town v Leiston
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central 27-10-20
A brilliantly taken late goal from Michael Gyasi ensured that Ives maintained their one hundred percent home record but the rock bottom Blues must have spent the entire journey back to the Suffolk coast wondering how on earth they got nothing from this game. The visitors hit the woodwork twice, were twice thwarted by the excellent Martin Conway in the home goal and also spurned at least two other good opportunities. They were without a doubt the better side in the first 45 minutes and only found themselves under any real pressure in the last fifteen minutes but successful sides managed to find ways to win games even when they are not at their best and that is exactly what Ives did in this one.
With Saturday’s trip to Peterborough Sports becoming their third game falling to the pandemic this season there was a little longer for the injured to recover. Marc Richards was deemed fit enough to start and Oran Jackson got through a pre-match fitness test leaving only skipper Robbie Parker missing out of those that had limped out of the previous game at Nuneaton.
Ives got the first effort on goal in only second minute when Brett Solkhon got across in front of his man to direct an effort on target from Dylan Williams early corner. But the shot lacked power and was straight at visiting keeper Sam Donkin who made a comfortable save.
The visitors first chance six minutes later was a much more inviting one and should really have seen them go in front as Finlay Barnes found space on the right to deliver a teasing cross into the centre that evaded Ives defenders and picked out Liam Jackson in the centre of goal eight yards out. The centre forward was stretching and failed to direct his effort on target instead sending the ball high over the crossbar and into the Burgess Hall car park.
The two sides showed high energy and endeavour but little inspiration and vision in the next twenty minutes as both seemed to want to go long ball rather than work their way through their opponents back lines. This seemed particularly the case with Ives who struggled badly to create anything much at all against opponents who were very quick to get everyone behind the ball as soon as they lost possession and had a very immobile man mountain in Adam Bailey-Dennis at the centre of their defence.
The next chance that came along again went the way of the visitors in 29th minute and this time they really could not believe that they did not get their noses in front. Solkhon slipped on the wet turf allowing Dylan Switters to get clear onto a long ball out of defence. The Blues number eight drew Conway to him and clipped the ball past the exposed keeper but to the striker’s amazement the ball struck the base of the far upright and rebounded into play. Jackson was the first to react and scrambled it out of harms way before Jamie Eaton-Collins could poke it home.
The visitors were very much on top during this period of play and two minutes later they spurned another good opportunity to get in front. Jacob Ballinger and Oran Jackson both got pulled inside giving Eaton-Collins chance to feed the ball out to Will Davies in space 25 yards from goal. He took a touch but screwed his effort wide of Conway’s right hand post as Ives defenders struggled to close him down.
Bailey-Dennis had an opportunity to trundle up field into the opposition box in 34th minute and perhaps not surprisingly with his height advantage he got on the end of Switters free kick at the back post. He got power in his header but the direction was poor and the ball flashed harmlessly across the face of goal.
Conway was called into more action three minutes before the break as he held on well to a Robert Eagle effort from 25 yards at the foot of his right hand post. The chance had been teed up by Switters who’s free kick had rebounded to him off Ives four man wall. His ball inside then giving Eagle chance to try and pick out the bottom corner.
With half time looming Ives suffered a blow losing stand in skipper Richards to a recurrence of his groin strain. He was replaced by Ben Seymour-Shove and the change in physical stature meant Ives needed to change the focus of their attack, but also meant a potentially more difficult challenge for the immobile Bailey-Dennis. Ives did have one half chance in added time at the end of the first period as Nathan Hicks was fouled by Matt Richardson giving Williams chance to curl in a free kick from 20 yards. He got it around the wall but straight into the grateful arms of the waiting Donkin.
As anticipated Ives started the second half by changing their tactics and trying to play through and around the Blues back line. The first half chance of the second period came the hosts way courtesy of this change as Ed Hottor got down the right before delivering a ball low to the near post where Hicks got in front of his may but failed to hit the target with his effort.
But two more golden opportunities went the way of the visitors in less than a minute around the hour mark. Initially a quick break gave Davies chance to feed in Barnes, Conway came to meet him and did brilliantly staying big and blocking the effort when it came at point blank range. The opportunity had arisen with Ives vainly appealed for a penalty at the opposite end of the pitch as Gyasi was clipped by Richardson as he wriggled past the centre back on his way into the box. Although Conway did well to keep out Barnes’s effort he was beaten comprehensively only sixty seconds later as Eaton-Collins picked up a loose ball 25 yards out and unleashed a howitzer that thumped the crossbar and rebounded to safety with the fortunate Ives keeper looking on.
A scramble in Ives goalmouth twenty minutes from time saw efforts from Switters and Barnes bravely blocked by Hottor and Jackson respectively as the hosts defenders put their body on the line to preserve the status quo. By that point the visitors must have been beginning to realise that it was not going to be their night and a little more belief seemed to flow into the veins of the hosts. Spurred on by their faithful support the hosts slowly but surely began to get on top and chances began to appear. It was the turn of the Blues defenders to have to put their bodies on the line.
There were 15 minutes to go when Eaton-Collins fouled Hottor wide on the right. Williams free kick was a little to deep but Hottor kept the ball alive and fed it inside into the run of Liam Bateman 20 yards out Switters flung himself bravely across the line of the full back’s first time effort to deflect the ball away. Next it was the turn of George Keys to take one for the team as he equally gallantly threw himself in to block Jackson’s well struck effort from ten yards after a Bateman long throw had dropped at his feet.
There was only just over one minute of the ninety remaining when a desperate Richardson hauled down Seymour-Shove just inches outside the right hand edge of the visitor’s box. A clever Williams free kick teed up Ballinger for a shot from the edge of the box but he was even more unceremoniously hauled down by substitute Marcus Wilkinson giving Williams and opportunity from inside the D. His free kick was not that well struck and the ball hit the Blues four man wall but in ricocheted to the one man that we would want it to fall to inside the box and the on form Gyasi did the rest swinging his right foot through the ball to lash it home through the crowd.
Final Score : St Ives Town 1 Leiston 0
Goals : Gyasi 90+1
Team : Conway, Bateman, Ballinger, Gyasi (Clifton 90+4), Jackson, Solkhon, Hottor, Howell, Richards (capt) (Seymour-Shove 45+2), Williams, Hicks
Unused subs : Toseland
Supporters man of the match : Michael Gyasi
Attendance : 156
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.
Many thanks to Match Sponsor – Ernie of St Ives
|October 27, 2020||19:45||Southern Premier Central||2020-21||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||0||1|