St Ives Town v Leiston
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central 05-02-2022
Another highly entertaining game that took supporters of both sides through the full gambit of emotions and that was only in the seven minutes of added time. Ives who had spent the entire second half knocking on the door and squandering a series of golden opportunities against the ten man Blues looked to have won it when Nabil Shariff pounced on an error from visiting keeper Sam Donkin in the first added minute. They then made the cardinal error of switching off allowing centre back Jake Hutchings to level things up before raising the roof when Callum Milne arrived at the far post to power home Ben Toseland’s free kick in the ninety fifth minute. There was then still an agonising wait whist referee Luke Scott discussed the implications of a raised flag with his assistant on the far side. When the final verdict was that Shariff who was the man in an offside position was not interfering with play the roof came off the quattro tech Westwood Road.
Ives made one enforced change from the side that won so comprehensively in the county cup at Yaxley on Tuesday evening. With keeper James Goff testing positive for Covid seventeen year old Eddie Brearey was signed on loan from Oxford United and came in for his debut in senior football. The visitors kept an unchanged starting eleven from their Tuesday evening local derby defeat at Needham Market.
The game started in open fashion with both sides looking to move the ball around swiftly on the excellent surface. First effort on goal came from the visitors in only the third minute when Finlay Barnes curled an effort inches wide from the edge of the box having been set up by George Quantrell. Less than sixty seconds later Shariff had Ives first attempt a left footer from just inside the box that required a save low to his left from Donkin. The chance had been created by a perfectly weighted through ball from Victor Aiyelabola.
At this early stage Aiyelabola was creating problems down the left and Tyrone Baker was also causing problems for the Blues back line on the opposite flank. Baker got past his marker and got to the bye line in fifth minute his low cross would have been turned in at the near post by Ethan Johnston but for a lunging interception from centre back Adam Bailey-Dennis. Only three minutes later the two Ives wingers combined to rattle the crossbar. Baker again got down the right before picking out Aiyelabola on the edge of the box. His first time effort beat the diving Donkin but slammed into the crossbar and away.
The Blues defenders decided to resort to thuggery in a desperate effort to try and slow the pace and trickery of Baker and Aiyelabola. In 14th minute Bailey-Dennis rightly picked up his first yellow card of the game for a lunging tackle on Baker and three minutes later Joe Marsden was perhaps a little lucky to only receive a yellow for a scissor tackle on Aiyelabola that put the Ives wide man out of the game and on his way to hospital.
Despite losing one of their more influential players Ives still continued to push forward at every opportunity and they rattled the woodwork again in 25th minute. This time the effort came from Baker who cut inside beat a couple of players on the edge of the box before unleashing a powerful left footed effort that Donkin did brilliantly to keep out hurling himself high to his right to fingertip the ball onto the crossbar.
After that effort the Ives just lifted their foot off the gas a little and the game evened up for the remainder of the first half. Brearey was called on to make his first real save of the game in 33rd minute as he hurled himself low to his left to push away a well struck effort from Adam Mills who had dispossessed Baker just outside his own box to set up the shooting opportunity.
The hard working Michael Richens won a ball in the centre circle to set up a swift Ives break in 39th minute. He fed Dylan Williams who in turn laid the ball into the run of Shariff on the edge of the box his first time effort just skimmed the crossbar on its way over the top.
Having enjoyed the majority of possession and carved out most of the chances in the first period Ives could so easily have found themselves a goal in arrears at the break. Will Davies picked up the ball fully 30 yards from goal and decided to try his luck. His howitzer like effort flew past the despairing dive of Brearey and thumped into the underside of the crossbar. Quantrell was first to react and got onto the loose ball but Brearey was equally quick to close him down and the Blues number ten screwed the chance wide.
After an early 25 yarder from Davies was saved by Brearey in 51st minute Ives lifted themselves up a gear again and started to get well on top. It looked like it was only going to be a matter of time before they got their noses in front. Johnston was denied by an offside flag in 58th minute. Two minutes later Baker now operating on the left got away again and cut inside before carefully picking out Williams on the edge of the box. His side footed effort crept inches wide of the post with Donkin scrambling to get across.
The pressure continued to mount and Ives went close three times in a minute around the 65th minute. Initially Johnston got clean away as he capitalised on an error from Bailey-Dennis. He drew keeper Donkin but slotted the ball inches wide of the post. In the very next attack both Baker and Shariff had shots from inside the box blocked by the bodies of defenders who had bravely thrown themselves in.
The tetchy Bailey-Dennis had spent most of the afternoon disagreeing with the decisions of referee Scott and he perhaps foolishly presented the official with the simple task of giving him his second yellow card of the day as he lunged in on Johnston in 73rd minute. Leiston manager Darren Eadie instantly sacrificed striker Spencer Keller to bring on a replacement defender Iuri Fernandes. Now against ten men surely Ives could find a route through.
As ever skipper Richens was leading by example and two minutes later he strode forward to get on the end of a pull back from Baker on the edge of the box. His powerful drive looked destined for the bottom corner but deflected off the foot of Marsden and went wide. Shariff looked like he was going to be the man to win it in 84th minute and again Richens was at the heart of the move as he robbed Hutchings before putting Shariff completely clear down the centre. Once more he drew Donkin and slotted the ball past him but again it bobbled inches the wrong side of the post.
We got the unusual site of a substitute being replaced by a substitute as the early replacement for Aiyelabola Nathan Hicks was replaced by the extra pace and trickery of Liam Cross and Cross showed why he had been thrown on as he set up the opening goal, and what we all thought was going to be the winner, in the first minute of added time. He cut inside Marsden before firing in a low right footed effort from the edge of the box which looked like it was going to be a routine save for Donkin low to his left. But the keeper somehow spilled the ball and to compound his error then lost where it had gone. In the seconds before his recovery time seemed to stand still giving the ever alert Shariff time to dart in and prod the loose ball home.
Surely that was it but no, the Blues had other ideas and almost immediately from the restart Quantrell fed in skipper Hutchings who had somehow found a little bit of space inside Ives crowded box. The big centre back did the rest giving Brearey no chance from twelve yards.
The feeling now was oh no we have thrown two points away, but for once the gods were shining on quattro tech Westwood Road. Baker was taken down wide on the right giving Toseland chance to deliver an in-swinging free kick which he duly did to the back post where Milne arrived completely unmarked to power home his header and send the crowd into raptures. But the linesman on the far side had his flag raised. Players from both sides wanted to have their say but the officials had a discussion that lasted a full sixty seconds before the verdict went Ives way and the celebrations could begin.
Final Score : St Ives Town 2 Leiston 1
ST IVES: Shariff 90+1, Milne 90+5
LEISTON: Hutchings 90+3
ST IVES: Brearey, Flanagan, Davison-Gordon, Richens (capt), Milne, Toseland, Baker (Kettle 88), Aiyelabola (Hicks 21, Cross 70), Shariff, Johnston, Williams, Unused subs : Fayed Rhaman, Manangu
LEISTON: Donkin, Marsden, Dunbar (Davies 28), Saunders (Tugman 87), Bailey-Dennis, Hutchings (capt), Barnes, Eagle, Keller (Fernandes 75), Quantrell, Mills, Unused subs: none
Ives Supporters man of the match : Callum Milne
Attendance : 271
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|February 5, 2022||15:00||Southern Premier Central||2021-22||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||0||2|