St Ives Town v Nuneaton Borough
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 05-11-2022
Ives poor run of home form in the league continued as they made it just one point collected from five home games since they defeated AFC Rushden & Diamonds at quattro tech Westwood Road on August Bank Holiday Monday. They had no one but themselves to blame for this latest defeat gifting their second placed visitors a two goal lead inside the first seventeen minutes. The Boro had already gone close twice through Matt Stenson and Charlie Dowd before Ryan Beswick put them in front with a perfectly flighted chip from 35 yards in thirteenth minute. The midfielder took the chance to beat out of position keeper James Goff but the opportunity was gifted to him by a poor pass out of defence by Charlie Johnson.
The second goal four minutes later was equally poor from an Ives point of view as Kane Lewis allowed Dowd to get past him into the left hand side of the box before taking down the Boro number eight from behind for a cast iron penalty. Veteran striker Luke Benbow made no mistake from the spot beating Goff low to his left as the keeper went the other way.
But as the half wore on the hosts slowly began to get themselves into the game. Michael Richens had their first shot at goal midway through the 45 minutes. His powerful free kick from 25 yards was on target but it hit Benbow in the wall and ricocheted away.
Jonny Edwards should probably have done better with his header having got on the end of Enoch Andoh’s teasing 27th minute cross after the tricky winger had cleverly got past Chris Cox to set up the opportunity to deliver the ball to the back post. Six minutes later Ravi Shamsi provided the hosts first shot on target as his free kick from 30 yards out beat the wall but a well positioned Tony Breeden in the visitor’s goal made a comfortable save.
Ives continued to go in search of a route back into the game before the break and another half chance went begging in 40th minute as Jordan Williams won a Johnny Herd long throw at the near post and his flick bounced through the six yard box without anyone able to get a touch. Andoh was also brilliantly denied by keeper Breeden only seconds later as he timed his run to perfection to get on the end of Shamsi’s threaded through ball. He made excellent contact just inside the box but Breeden was equal to the effort plunging to his right to push the goal bound shot around the post.
A substitution at half time by manager Ricky Marheineke saw the debut of winger Kieran Higgs signed on loan from Lowestoft on the morning of the game, he replaced skipper Michael Richens who had presumably picked up a knock. Higgs almost made an instant impact as within ninety seconds of coming on he almost got on the end of another Andoh cross from the left with only a very timely intervention from Isaiah Osbourne preventing him poking the ball home at the back post. The resulting corner fell to Edwards on the edge of the box and his first time effort struck a defender and deflected just wide with everyone looking on.
Higgs introduction down the right side gave more freedom to Shamsi and he was the architect of a lot of the hosts early second half pressure. In 51st minute his excellent through ball put Andoh away down the left. The speedy winger’s rising drive from the edge of the box was palmed over the bar by Breeden. The Boro again struggled to deal with the resulting corner with the ball falling to Dylan Williams on the edge of the box but his effort was always going over the top.
There was controversy only moments later as Stenson thought he had increased Boro’s lead. Johnson misjudged a long ball which bounced off him to Stenson who was away. The assist’s flag on the far side instantly went up and everyone except Stenson stopped but referee Jack Bloxham’s whistle did not sound. Stenson put the ball in the net prompting Ives players to surrounded the referee pleading their case. After a long conversation between Mr Bloxham and his assistant the verdict was that Stenson was offside when the initial ball was played and the “goal” was disallowed much to Ives relief.
After that let off Ives resumed their siege on the Boro goal. A 56th minute Shamsi free kick beat the visitor’s four man wall and the diving Breeden but cannoned to safety off the outside of the post. Ten minutes later another of Herd’s long throws caused further danger for Breeden and his team mates. This one landed on the six yard line where initially Williams and then Johnson tried to force it home, both efforts being blocked by the bodies of defenders throwing themselves across the line of the shots.
Johnson was delivering a few telling balls out of defence and one such ping in 71st minute put Andoh away down the left. His tempting cross into the middle was just inches to high for Edwards arriving at pace ahead of his marker. With time ticking down the Boro defence continued to look stretched but it did not break. Another Herd long throw set up a chance for Dylan Williams in 80th minute. As the attempted clearance fell to him on the edge of the box he went for the spectacular but he could not keep his powerful volley down.
The goal that had been threatening to arrive since the start of the second half finally arrived with five minutes of the ninety left. Shamsi delivered a dangerous corner from the left. Johnson got above his marker at the back post to head the ball down and Edwards fired home through the crowd from eight yards.
Now with their tails up Ives really upped the momentum in search of what would be a dramatic equaliser. Shamsi would be disappointed not to do better with an 88th minute free kick which he fired well over the top from 20 yards. The board went up indicating an added seven minutes to lift Ives hopes and they did manage to carve out two further opportunities during that time. Two minutes in Shamsi set off on one of his trademark runs into the heart of the Boro back line. Cutting in from the right he got past two men and burst into the box but his powerful shot from a narrow angle was straight at Breeden who battered the ball away. The final chance and it was no more than half a chance came in the final added minute when Higgs came oh so close to getting on the end of Herd’s deep cross from the left.
When the final whistle eventually came the relief on the faces of Boro players and supporters alike was plain to see as the Ives players slumped to the ground from both exhaustion from their effort and disbelief that they had got nothing from the game. However they must look back to their start to see why they got no reward for their efforts. They must learn from this reverse and quickly. If they are to arrest their slide down the table a full ninety minute performance is required from everyone in the side.
Final Score: St Ives Town 1 Nuneaton Borough 2
ST IVES: Edwards 85
NUNEATON: Beswick 13, Benbow 17 (pen)
Team Line Ups:
ST IVES: Goff, Lewis, Herd, Richens (capt) (Higgs 46), J. Williams, Johnson, Andoh, Hottor (Shariff 83), Edwards, D. Williams, Shamsi, Unused subs: Milne, Lembikisa
NUNEATON: Breeden, Cox (Forde 77), Richards (Brogan 86), Beswick, Magunda, Osbourne (capt), Benbow (James 67), Dowd, Stenson, Rowe-Turner, Mancinelli, Unused subs: Noble, Mcmanus
Cards: Yellow: ST IVES: J. Williams (24), Hottor (73) NUNEATON: Stenson (89)
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Ravi Shamsi
Report by Nigel Howlett. Interview by Andrew Dunn. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|November 5, 2022
|Southern League Premier Division Central
|St Ives Town