St Ives Town v Lowestoft Town
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central 14-09-2021
A rip roaring second half performance saw Ives halt the losing run and glean some reward from this fixture thanks to a late goal from leading scorer Nabil Shariff but once again they found themselves playing catch up after allowing their visitors to build up a two goal lead. That very quick precis only gives a small part of what proved to be a very entertaining game. But the drama started for Ives even before kick off as their recent run of ill luck continued with three players including Shariff all stuck behind a serious accident on the A421 manager Ricky Marheineke was forced into a late change of plan. Eniola Agemoh-Davies was called back into the starting line up at right back wearing the number nine shirt. Cameron McWilliams was pushed further forward with Dylan Williams playing in a false number nine in a revised Ives formation.
The changes did not prevent the hosts getting the better of the early exchanges with shots from Williams and Liam Cross both skimming off the wet turf and slamming into the fencing either side of keeper Warren Burwood’s goal as the agile stopper scrambled to cover.
The wind was taken out of their sails though as they conceded a poor goal to the visitor’s first real attack in 13th minute. Dylan Ruffles delivered a deep cross into the box from the right forcing a back peddling Callum Milne into a poor defensive header. The ball falling to Sam Johnson just outside the box. The initial mistake was further compounded by nobody closing down the Trawlerboys midfielder giving him time to take the ball down and pick his spot to beat Paul White low to his right.
Ives responded well to falling behind and a barnstorming run through the visitor’s defence almost brought reward for McWilliams in 22nd minute. He got past two defenders and drove on into the box but just as he went to pull the trigger Tai Fleming came sliding in with a goal saving tackle to take the ball off his toe.
The hosts went even closer to getting on level terms on the half hour as Robbie Parker showed fantastic touch to curl a ball off the outside of his boot into the run of Nathan Hicks down the left. Hicks fed the ball inside to Cross who fired off a right footed effort from the edge of the box that took a big deflection off a defender looped past the outstretched fingers of the diving Burwood but thudded the bottom of the post and bounced away.
The pressure on the visitors was building and Cross was delivering some very dangerous balls into the box. A glorious opportunity went begging in 34th minute as keeper Burwood struggled to deal with an in-swinging corner from the left. The ball dropped from his grasp and landed in the six yard box but no Ives man reacted quickly enough and much to his relief it was scrambled clear.
Not for the first time this season, or even in this game, Ives got caught out when they were on top and they fell two behind in 38th minute. A ball delivered into their box from the left was not dealt with and it eventually arrived at the feet of Ruffles on the back edge of the box. Once more the Trawlerboys man was not closed down quickly enough allowing him to fire in a crisp left footer that beat White low to his left.
Forty minutes gone Ives two nil down, their visitors with statistics that read two shots, two goals!. Two goals down could so easily have been three only a minute later as White needlessly played Ed Hottor into trouble rolling the ball out to him just outside the box with Jerrell Barbor bearing down on him. The visitor’s substitute robbed Hottor and fed the ball into the run of Kieran Higgs who slammed the ball home and wheeled away in celebration only for it to be cut short by the raised flag of the assistant on the near side much to the relief of White and his fellow defenders.
Following that fortunate escape Ives rallied again with half time approaching. Route one tactics almost paid off in the last minute of the half as Williams galloped clear onto a long punt from White. The Ives striker’s well struck shot from the edge of the box was pushed away for a corner by keeper Burwood. There was just time for the resulting flag kick to be taken and Cross delivered it in-swinging from the left. Not for the first time in the evening keeper Burwood struggled to deal with it and completely missed the ball. Brett Solkhon tried to force it over the line but it was the unfortunate Jarvis who got the final touch to give the hosts a lifeline.
There was an expected substitution at the break as late arrival Shariff joined the fray. The man he replaced was perhaps a little more of a surprise as centre back Milne gave way and manager Marheineke re-shuffled his back line. As expected the early pressure in the second period came from the hosts Burwood struggled to deal with a McWilliams cross from the left but again his defence came to his rescue scrambling the loose ball clear before Shariff could force it home.
The early pressure failed to bring reward and Ives were almost caught out again in 55th minute as Higgs and Ruffles combined to work a way through the centre of the host’s back line. The move ending with the latter unleashing a shot from just outside the box that the diving White got a hand to but needed the assistance of the covering Josh Flanagan to get it off the line.
The Trawlerboys went close to killing the game off again two minutes later as centre back Travis Cole rose highest to win a deep corner from the right at the back post. It required an acrobatic save from White low to his right to keep out Cole’s powerful downward header.
From the hour mark Ives completely took over and started to build pressure on the creaking Trawlerboys back line. The hosts thought that they had pulled level in 62nd minute as Shariff timed his run to perfection to power home Cross’s out-swinging corner at the near post. But the ball had curved out and back into play on its arc into the box and the assistant’s flag was again upraised much to the dismay of Ives supporters.
The pressure continued to build and visiting defenders were working overtime to get their bodies in the way as shots rained in from around their penalty area. Another heart in mouth moment for the small visiting contingent came in 70th minute when a McWilliams piledriver from just outside the box took a deflection off Shariff that knocked it goal bound but skipper Jarvis was on hand to hack the ball away with his keeper beaten.
The visitors had one chance to kill the game off on the break ten minutes from time. The ball was fed into Johnson just outside the box and it took a full stretch diving save high to his right from White to keep out the rising effort from the Trawlerboys number eight.
At the other end Cross was at the heart of most of Ives penetrating moves delivering teasing crosses into the box from both flanks. With Solkhon also now thrown forward as a powerful aerial presence the visitor’s creaking defence was looking even more stretched. The fingertips of an outstretched Burwood were just enough to take a mouth-watering Cross delivery from the right off the head of the Ives centre back in 85th minute.
Ives finally got some reward for their effort and endeavour as the game ticked into added time. Solkhon climbed high to win a long ball delivered into the box and Shariff was on hand to slide in and guide the ball past the diving Burwood from six yards to raise a huge cheer from the hosts supporters.
There was still time for Cross to almost tease out a winner as he again found space on the right to deliver another inviting ball into the box where Solkhon was lurking at the back post. Keeper Burwood stayed on his line and had to thank his right back Fleming who hurled himself at the ball and did just enough to deflect it away from the Ives centre back and prevent him turning it home.
Overall verdict was another hugely entertaining game but Ives must find a way of not giving themselves a hill to climb by allowing their opponents a start in almost every game. The positive side of the early FA Cup exit is that there is now a ten day break for the Ives which will hopefully give time for the luck to change in their favour, injuries to heal and with Michael Richens suspension also completing there is the rare prospect of manager Marheineke having close to a full squad to pick from for our trip to Banbury on 25th September.
Final Score : St Ives Town 2 Lowestoft Town 2
ST IVES : Jarvis (own goal) 45+1, Shariff 90+1
LOWESTOFT : Johnson 13, Ruffles 38
ST IVES: White, McWilliams, Flanagan, Hottor (Snelus 85), Solkhon, Milne (Shariff 46), Cross, Parker (capt), Agemoh-Davies, Williams, Hicks (Dwumfuo 82) Unused subs : Heath, Toseland
LOWESTOFT: Burwood, Fleming, Jack Wilkinson (Barbor 40), Jarvis (capt), Cole, Smith, Ruffles, Johnson, Higgs, McIntosh (Hawkins 61), Marcus Wilkinson (Bello 69) Unused subs: Tibbles, Murphy
Ives Supporters man of the match : Liam Cross
Attendance : 140
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|September 14, 2021||19:45||Southern Premier Central||2021-22||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||1||2|