St Ives Town v Lowestoft Town
Southern League Challenge Cup – Preliminary Round 07-09-2021
Shot shy Ives exited their second cup competition in three days as their failure to find the net saw their FA Cup exit on Saturday at Needham Market followed by a home defeat in the Southern League Challenge Cup to Lowestoft Town.
With League games the more important to both sides it was no surprise to see wholesale changes to the starting line ups for both sides. Ives made seven changes to their starting eleven from Saturday’s FA Cup tie and their visitors trumped them by making one more.
Followers of both clubs showed they do not really like this competition either as it was played in front of a meagre crowd on a balmy September evening more akin to mid summer than early autumn. Those that chose not to attend missed a game full of enterprise but little inspiration.
Any late comers would have missed what could so easily have been one of the quickest goals ever seen at Westwood Road as the visitors kicked off and fed the ball down the left an in-swinging cross was delivered to the near post where Louis McIntosh got in front of his man and steered his header onto the base of the far post. Marcus Wilkinson following up looked like he must score but debutant keeper Ben Heath did magnificently to spread himself and block the effort from point blank range. There were still only 14 seconds on gone on the watch at the conclusion of that.
Ives also showed that they were capable of carving out chances and in 14th minute tricky winger Liam Cross delivered a teasing free kick from wide left that flicked off the head of Trawlerboys Sam Johnson and with everyone looking on the ball rebounded off the base of keeper Warren Burwood’s left hand upright and the loose ball was hacked clear by a covering defender.
Ives almost went in front in controversial fashion in 23rd minute as Ed Hottor won a crunching tackle on the half way line to rob Kieran Higgs. With Higgs in a heap and the Lowestoft bench screaming for a free kick the ball was fed down the left and the move finished with Ryan Robbins and Nathan Hicks exchanging a one two on the edge of the box. Hicks eventual effort was well saved low to his right by keeper Burwood.
The open game continued to swing end to end the next chance falling the way of the visitors and this time Heath’s agility was called upon to prevent his own defender Callum Milne from putting the Trawlerboys in front. Jack Wilkinson’s in-swinging free kick from the right deflected off the head of the Ives centre back and looked goal bound until the outstretched fingers of the diving Heath tipped it over the top.
More controversy in 39th minute as referee Lee Hartley stopped play just outside Ives box after Jack Wilkinson and Hottor had collided accidentally and both ended up in a tangled heap. The re-start was an uncontested drop ball to the visitors which allowed Wilkinson to pick his spot with the delivery into the box. He picked out Harry Knights who had sneaked around the back unseen just beyond the far post. Fortunately for Ives the big centre half got it all wrong and screwed his effort from eight yards well wide.
The only goal of the game came somewhat fortuitously for the visitors only ninety seconds after the re-start an innocent looking cross from the right by Jerrell Barbor was slightly misjudged by Prudence Anaele who allowed the ball to skim off his head at the near post. A surprised Johnson in the centre of goal was not expecting the ball to arrive at his feet but as all good strikers do he found a way to divert it goal wards. It struck his shins and looped up in the air deceiving an equally surprised Heath to end up nestled in the back of the net.
It took the brilliance of visiting keeper Burwood to prevent Ives getting level four minutes later. The enterprising Camron McWilliams strode forward down the right and delivered a low driven cross that bounced off Michael Harding perfectly into the path of Cross. A fierce left foot drive from the edge of the box was arrowing in the bottom corner of the net before the solid hand of the diving Burwood did just enough to deflect it past the post.
Cross went close to getting Ives level again in 57th minute as Hicks was brought down just outside the D. The young wingers free kick found a way through the Trawlerboy’s four man wall but flashed inches the wrong side of keeper Burwood’s right hand post.
Having gone close to getting level Ives should have found themselves two behind in 68th minute as substitute Samson Bello wriggled his way to the right hand edge of the box and beat Heath with a low drive but McWilliams was on hand to block the ball on the line. McIntosh following up somehow managed to scoop his effort over the top from six yards to keep Ives in the game.
On another day McIntosh could easily of had a hat trick but having failed to hit the target with two efforts from close range he finally got things right with a rasping drive from the edge of the box after being set up by substitute Bello in 76th minute. This time keeper Heath was equal to his effort leaping spectacularly to his left to finger tip the effort over the top.
That proved to be the final noteworthy action of the evening as Ives continued to show plenty of endeavour but little flair to find a way through the visitors rugged back line. The early season promise is fast drying up and three blanks in the last four games suggests that the inspirational Luke Fairlamb is proving a huge miss since limping off just after half time against Stratford. In early season the goals were coming from all over the team but now the question appears to be where is the next one coming from?.
Final Score : St Ives Town 0 Lowestoft Town 1
ST IVES :
LOWESTOFT : Johnson 47
ST IVES: Heath, McWilliams, Toseland, Hottor, Anaele (Shariff 81), Milne, Harding, Parker (capt), Robbins (Snelus 46), Cross, Hicks (Flanaghan 71) Unused subs : Solkhon, Williams
LOWESTOFT: Burwood, Ruffles, Jack Wilkinson (Jarvis 62), Smith, Cole (capt), Knights, McIntosh, Barbor, Higgs, Marcus Wilkinson (Bello 62), Johnson Unused subs: Tann, Harvey, Murphy
Ives Supporters man of the match : Ben Heath
Attendance : 63
Report by Nigel Howlett
|September 7, 2021||19:45||Southern League Challenge Cup||2021-22||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score||Goals|
|St Ives Town||0||0||0|