St Ives Town v Nuneaton Borough
BetVictor League Southern Premier Division Central 05-10-19
Ives ensured that Boro’s miserable run on the road extended to just one point out of a possible fifteen. The complete reverse of their form at Liberty Road where they have picked up fifteen points out of a possible eighteen.
The hosts success was in no small measure thanks to an eye catching goalkeeping performance from Ives Cambridge United loanee stopper Finley Iron who pulled off three brilliant saves in the first half and relieved the pressure on his side in the second half by claiming a number of dangerous long balls into the box.
Ives went into this game with four regulars missing through injury, Jeff Woodward unavailable and Jarvis Wilson serving the third match of his three game ban. To add to their woes they lost Ty Ward in the pre-match warm up as he succumbed to a recurrence of a knee injury picked up in the midweek League Cup defeat to Needham Market he was replaced by Mark Coulson. In contrast their visitors came into the fixture with virtually a full squad to pick from and buoyed by the arrival of recent signing ex Aston Villa, Blackpool and Walsall midfielder Isaiah Osbourne who came straight into the starting eleven.
Not surprisingly it was Boro who were on the front foot in the opening stages. They also had a very dangerous weapon in their armoury as Ives almost found to their cost in the fifth minute. Rhys Sharpe’s huge throw from the left was missed by all and bounced inside the area in trying to clear the danger Coulson only succeeded in directing his header against Iron’s left hand post. Fortunately for him the ball fell to a comrade’s boot and was hacked away.
Iron was called upon to make his first telling contribution in the eight minute as another Sharpe long throw caused problems in the hosts box. Callum Powell clipping the ball back into the centre where Luke Benbow got ahead of his marker and powered in a header that Iron dived full length to his right to palm around the post.
The Ives back line was battling hard to keep their rampant visitors at bay and thanks to the strength and ability of Danny Kelly and his centre back partner Ben Jackson they prevented the Boro creating another clear cut chance until 25th minute when Devon Kelly-Evans played a ball inside to Michael Richens 25 yards from goal. He took a touch before trying his luck with a fierce rising drive that again brought the best of the agile Iron who leapt high to his right to again tip the effort around the post.
Iron’s best save of the afternoon arrived only sixty seconds later and it was far less spectacular as a swift interchange of passes between Powell and Benbow ended with the latter sliding a ball through into the perfectly timed run of Kelly-Evans who was through clear on goal. Iron did not panic but swiftly closed the striker down and stayed big to bravely block the shot when it came at point blank range.
Ives raids down the other end of the pitch could at best be termed sporadic and they had their first effort at goal on the half hour as a long Robbie Parker free kick from the centre circle drifted over everyone allowing Tom Wood who had ghosted in around the back to get on the end of it but the angle was always against him and although he struck his effort well it only ruffled the side netting.
This seemed to lift the hosts though and only five minutes later they could have taken an unlikely lead as Matt Foy fed in the overlapping Coulson who got to the bye line before picking out Dylan Wilson with his clip into the centre. The young striker got in front of his marker to win the near post header but did not make a good contact and the ball flashed across the face of goal to safety. With half time approaching Wilson had another shot on goal in 41st minute and he beat the diving Jordan Wright with his 25 yard effort but the ball flew inches the wrong side of the post.
Ives goal bared a charmed life in the final two minutes of the half as three Boro corners in quick succession all led to efforts on target that were only just kept out by the stretched back line. The first of the corners was delivered to the back post where Towers won the header and knocked the ball down to Benbow on the six yard line his stab at goal was blocked by a spreading Iron and scrambled out. The next two corners lead to almost identical results as Powell’s corner from the right was headed at goal by Towers but blocked on the line by Aaron Phillips. The subsequent flag kick from the left by Alex Henshall was again won by the towering Towers and directed on goal but this time Coulson proved the goal line saviour.
The relief Ives may have felt at reaching the break still level was very much tempered as influential skipper Parker limped out of the game with a recurrence of his knee injury. Replacement Charlie Johnson went into the back line with Wood moving up into Parker’s central midfield role.
The early stages of the second period were a little less fraught for Ives as the visitors seemed to start at a slightly reduced pace from the urgency of the first period. Early shots from distance by Richens and Henshall both flew well off target. In fact the first keeper to be called into action after the break was Wright who was tested low to his right by a powerful left footed strike from 20 yards by Philips.
Boro continued to look for the opener but the makeshift Ives back line well marshalled by Kelly seemed to have quelled their early steam. A half hearted shout for a penalty as Kelly’s attempted clearance cannoned off Ollie Snaith was the closest they came in the next ten minutes.
The opening goal did arrive twenty minutes from time, but not at the end everyone was expecting. A long throw from the right by Phillips was knocked back to him, his follow up delivery was deep beyond the far post where Seymour-Shove was lurking to direct his header back into the mix. A panicked attempt at a clearance by Craig Stanley only got as far as Wood just outside the box. He took a touch to his left to open up the space and cracked in a crisp low drive that beat the diving Wright low to his left and nestled in the bottom corner.
Falling behind lifted the visitors but Ives now really had something to defend and they lifted their defensive resolve to a new level snuffing out any real threat from open play by the visitors. But they still had the howitzer like throws of Sharpe to provide serious threat. In the four minutes after Ives opener Joel Kettle twice won Sharpe throws at the near post but both times directed his header over the top under heavy Ives pressure.
Iron relieved the pressure on his colleagues in 81st minute as he came meaningfully from his line to brilliantly claim a deep swirling cross from the left by Sharpe at full stretch just ahead of the lurking Benbow. Sixty seconds later another Sharpe long throw somehow evaded everyone at the near post and fortunately for Ives it bounced to high for Powell sneaking in at the back post.
The one thing that Ives needed to ease the pressure in the last few minutes was a second goal and they were gifted just that six minutes from time. A long clearance by substitute Dan Clifton was chased down the park by Seymour-Shove but he was always second favourite to win the ball. Kettle decided to pass back to his keeper but hit the back pass a little hard. Wright’s touch was awful allowing the gleeful Seymour-Shove to nip in round him a roll the ball into the empty net to seal a magnificent Ives victory against a side that I will stick my neck out and say will finish in the top six.
There was still time for Boro to rue their luck one final time as in the last few minutes a spectacular attempt by Benbow was blocked on the line by Kelly to earn the centre back the eye of the sponsor to gain him the man of the match accolade on the day.
Next up for the Ives is a visit from former legendary club captain Jimmy Dean and his charges from Peterborough Sports as the Turbines visit Westwood Road for the new step three Cambridgeshire derby next Saturday.
Final Score : St Ives Town 2 Nuneaton Borough 0
Goals : Wood 71, Seymour-Shove 84
Team : Iron, Phillips (Patrick (90+1), Coulson, Wood, Jackson, Kelly, Seymour-Shove, Parker (capt) (Johnson 46), Foy, Dylan Wilson (Clifton 76), Snaith
Unused subs : none
Sponsors (Thomas Quinn) man of the match : Danny Kelly
Attendance : 251
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|October 5, 2019||15:00||BetVictor Southern Premier Central||2019-20||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||0||2|