St Ives Town v Redditch United
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central 17-10-20
Two well taken second half goals from Nathan Hicks ensured a winning return for the Ives following their Covid enforced lay off. However the previously unbeaten Reds made life very difficult for themselves right from the off as full back Kieren Donnelly petulantly pushed Marc Richards in the face to earn himself a straight red card in only the third minute.
The visitors quickly reshuffled their team to leave just a lone striker up front allowing Ives plenty of possession but the hosts struggled to find a route through the Reds tight back line. The only real opportunity for a shot on goal that they managed to work in the first twenty minutes came in 19th minute when Michael Gyasi cut in from the left past Tom Rankin and although he was clipped by the stand in full back just inside the box he kept going but only succeeded in firing has shot straight at keeper Kieran Boucher.
The Reds first real penetration into Ives territory two minutes later brought them reward as Jordan Clement picked up a loose ball 25 yards from goal and tried his luck. The ball took a wicked deflection off an Ives defender and crept past Martin Conway low to his left. That was Clement’s last action of the game as Reds manager Matt Clarke decided to go for shoring up his back line immediately by replacing the striker with a genuine defender in Ioan Richards thus releasing his skipper Rankin back into his more familiar midfield role.
The game quickly reverted to its previous pattern with Ives enjoying a lot of possession and trying patiently to find a way through the massed ranks of the Reds. Gyasi spurned a golden opportunity to even things up on the half hour as a surging run through the centre by Oran Jackson opened things up a little. He fed the ball out to Hicks on the right who got to the bye line before picking out Gyasi by the penalty spot with his pull back but the young striker miss hit his shot past the post when he probably should have done better.
But the youngster redeemed things only five minutes later as he was fed into the box by a clever little ball from Ben Seymour-Shove this time he felt the contact from struggling centre back Aaron Davies and went to ground. Referee Daniel Todd was right on the spot and awarded the spot kick. Richards made no mistake with the penalty sending Boucher the wrong way to level things up.
The Reds supporters certainly thought that things were not going their way and only three minutes later that feeling was reinforced a little more as referee Todd waved away their appeals for a penalty when Gyasi clattered into the back of Matt Dodd as the right winger was battling his way into the box. But Ives survived that scare to go into the break all square at one a piece.
Gyasi had spent most of the first half causing the Reds defence problems with his pace and trickery. But not only did he catch the visitors defence napping he amazed virtually everyone in the ground as he set up the goal that put Ives in front nine minutes after the re-start. A long punt up field by an Ives defender looked like it was going to run harmlessly out of play over the goal line, everyone had stopped, even keeper Boucher had not yet moved to collect it no doubt hoping to waste a little more time. But Gyasi did not give it up the rocket propelled striker managed to get to the ball and keep it in play then had the presence of mind to get his head up and pick out Hicks in the centre who duly obliged by side footing the ball in the bottom corner past the bemused keeper.
The trickery of Gyasi continued to terrorise the Reds back line and in 65th minute he drew a foul out of Ioan Richards on the left allowing Dylan Williams to float a free kick to the back post where Jacob Ballinger, who had only replaced a limping Seymour-Shove seconds earlier rose above his marker but he planted his powerful header over the top from eight yards.
A sickening clash by the touch line four minutes later left both Gyasi and Rankin needing lengthy treatment as both misjudged a spinning ball and clattered into each other. The loose ball was fed across the edge across the box by Hicks allowing Ballinger to get in another snap shot that deflected inches wide off a defender.
The goal that finished off any lingering resistance from the Reds arrived 15 minutes before the end. Patient build up from Ives eventually saw the ball fed into the feet of Williams 30 yards from goal in the centre of the pitch. He strode forwarded before unleashing a powerful drive that ricocheted off a defender and arrived at the feet of Hicks just outside the box. He showed fantastic composure getting his head up before curling a left footer into the top corner of the net past the grasping fingers of a diving Boucher.
Now two in front the hosts chose to preserve their lead rather than look to add to it and were very effective in keeping the ball and moving it around forcing their opponents to work very hard to simply gain possession of the ball. Throughout the remainder of normal time and the added six minutes Ives looked very comfortable restricting the Reds to a couple of half chances. In 78th minute substitute Ethan Johnstone ran onto an Alex Cameron flick but fired over from a narrow angle. Four minutes later Toseland bravely blocked a pile driver from the edge of the box by the same player. The final chance for the visitors to cut the arrears came in 88th minute when Kieran Day was brought down just inches outside the box by debutant Luke Howell but Kyle Copp could not get his free kick past Ives five man wall.
That is two wins out of two at Westwood Road for the classy new look Ives and if they can build on those results and pick up points from the games in hand caused by their enforced break then a very promising season beckons provided that the dreaded Covid-19 does not get in the way of us all.
Final Score : St Ives Town 3 Redditch United 1
Goals : Richards 35 (pen), Hicks 54 & 75
Team : Conway, Howell, Toseland, Gyasi, Oran Jackson, Solkhon, Seymour-Shove (Ballinger 66), Parker (capt), Richards, Williams (Seth Patrick 84), Hicks (Clifton 89)
Unused subs : Jordan Patrick
Supporters man of the match : Nathan Hicks
Attendance : 156
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|October 17, 2020||15:00||Southern Premier Central||2020-21||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||1||3|