St Ives Town v Needham Market
Southern League Challenge Cup – 1st Round 01-10-19
The highlight as a scratch Ives side exited the League Challenge Cup was a well taken debut goal for exiting sixteen year old prospect Zac Hope. With a whole host of players still missing through injury physio Jess Guthrie was the hardest working member of the team ahead of this game as she patched up a number of the walking wounded to get them through what was probably in reality a bit of unwanted game.
The number of players missing did mean a perhaps earlier than expected opening game for first year scholar Hope who was joined in the squad by two of his colleagues from the successful programme striker Tom Wakley who has already made a first team appearance in the FA Cup and under 18 skipper Karl Frans who were both on the bench.
This game was only on as the microclimate around St Ives had ensured that Westwood Road had missed out on the monsoon conditions that had plagued virtually every other town in the area in the previous 24 hours as autumn arrived with a bang. But thanks to the excellent work which has gone into the pitch over recent years the playing surface was in almost perfect condition.
The opening exchanges of the game in front of a very sparse crowd who had braved the elements were played out almost as one expects in a pre-season friendly with both sides happy to knock the ball around and keep possession but very little activity in either penalty area.
The first noteworthy action at either end came in 19th minute when a deep cross from the right by Marketmen’s Dan Morphew was knocked down to Jamahl Godward who rather snatched at his opportunity and fired well over from a good position.
The visitors continued their spell of pressure and another Godward shot from the edge of the box was deflected wide two minutes later. Ives were caught out by a training ground move from the resulting corner as movement around the box allowed Joe Neal to lose his man and arrive at the near post to slam home Callum Sturgess’s low delivery from the right.
Having got their noses in front the Marketmen continued to apply pressure but Ives patched up back line remained firm limiting their visitors to a couple of half chances in the next ten minutes. Noah Collard fired a low drive inches wide having picked up a poor clearance from Charlie Johnson in 25th minute and good work by Godward set up an opportunity for Jospeh Marsden two minutes later but he to fired his effort from the edge of the box into the boards just wide of Finley Iron’s left hand upright.
Despite conceding quite a bit of possession Ives were still looking dangerous on the break and the equaliser on the half hour came from one of those speedy break outs. Ben Seymour-Shove and Ty Ward combined to put Matt Foy through the centre but goalkeeper Finlay Shorten was out to meet the hosts striker quickly and blocked his initial shot at close range. Foy remained alert and was first to the loose ball he then showed his composure as he carefully picked out the lurking Hope at the back post and to great delight the debutant did the rest clinically side footing home.
Having their lead taken away seemed to lift the visitors again and they quickly returned to pressurising the Ives back line. In 33rd minute a flowing move down the left involving Sam Squire and Collard ended with the latter feeding Marsden who cut inside Ben Jackson and unleashed a low drive which keeper Iron did well to hold onto.
The visitors were attacking from all angles and went close again six minutes before the break as Luke Ingram found space down the right before delivering a low cross to the near post where Collard arriving at pace smashed his first time effort against the crossbar from ten yards out.
Danny Kelly’s return from injury ended at the break but the removal of the ball playing centre back may well have been a case of preserving him for another important League game on Saturday. Kelly was replaced by midfielder Ollie Snaith and the inevitable reshuffle followed.
Despite of the changes it was the hosts who carved out the first chance of the second period as Seymour-Shove threaded a ball into the run of Foy who was then in a foot race with Marketmen’s skipper Kieran Morphew. The big centre back did just enough to block the striker’s effort on goal but the ball ran loose to Hope just outside the box. He seized the opportunity to take on Russell Short at pace and was unceremoniously taken down inches outside the box. Ward tried to get the free kick up and down over the wall but it was one of those which was just a little to close and he could not quite get it back down the ball skimming the crossbar on its way over the top.
The game became more even with both sides searching for the all-important next goal. The Marketmen were presented with a chance in 53rd minute as stand in right back Tom Wood miss kicked a low driven cross from Dan Morphew straight to the feet of Marsden 25 yards out. The winger took a touch before firing in a rising drive that brought the best out of Iron as the Cambridge United loanee leapt high to his left to palm the ball away.
Iron was called into action again nine minutes later as another Sturgess corner was knocked around the Ives box before being fed back to the taker in space on the right. He fired in a low drive that the Ives keeper did well to hold onto in amongst the crowd of players around the six yard line.
Ives continued to soak up the pressure and look dangerous on the break and an excellent touch from Dylan Wilson set up a chance for Snaith in 66th minute. The substitutes initial effort was blocked but the loose ball fell to Ward 25 yards out although he struck his effort cleanly it was always rising and failed to trouble Shorten in the visitor’s goal.
Two good opportunities came Ives way in less than sixty seconds in 73rd minute. Wilson was clumsily brought down by Kieran Morphew on the left edge of the box giving a perfect opportunity to deliver the ball into the danger zone but Ward’s free kick failed to beat the first man and was instantly thumped clear. Iron was in an excellent starting position to make sure that he beat Neal to the clearance and his repost flew high into the night sky before being taken down brilliantly by Snaith on the edge of the opposite box but with the prospect of a goal of the season finish on the cards the young midfielder fluffed his lines as he wildly smashed his volley way over the crossbar.
With time running down it was looking like the brave makeshift Ives side were going to earn themselves the lottery of a penalty shoot out and the prospects of unlikely progress to the last 32 of this competition. That chance looked almost a certainty as Ben Jackson bravely slid in to block a close range effort from substitute Callum Page in the last of the ninety minutes. But fortune does not always favour the brave and there was still a cruel twist for the battling hosts when in the last of the added four minutes Page squirmed his way down the left and got past the tiring Jackson before pulling the ball back to pick out Ingram who gleefully slammed home from ten yards to ensure it was the Marketmen who progressed.
The few who had braved the elements witnessed an entertaining game played in a good spirit. For Ives the positives come from the highly promising debut of young Hope which must give a big boost Lloyd Groves, Bully Adams and all of the lads on the scholarship programme and the reappearance of a few of the walking wounded who got in some minutes and hopefully get no adverse reaction from them as their presence will be needed with the run of vital League fixtures now coming up.
Final Score : St Ives Town 1 Needham Market 2
Goals : Hope 30
Team : Iron, Jackson, Coulson, Wood (capt), Kelly (Snaith 46), Johnson, Hope (Phillips 71), Ward (Clifton 80), Foy, Dylan Wilson, Seymour-Shove
Unused subs : Frans, Wakley
Supporters man of the match : Ty Ward
Attendance : 63
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|October 1, 2019||19:45||Southern League Challenge Cup||2019-20||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||1||1|