St Ives Town v Redditch United
BetVictor League Southern Premier Division Central 14-12-19
Ives can thank their hardworking ground staff for the opportunity to complete their first double of the season but it was a hard fought victory against the battling Reds who belied a side without a League point since the balmy heat of August Bank Holiday Monday.
After more than 24 hours of rain through Thursday and into Friday few would have expected this game to be on but the wise purchase of a bowdry and a some fantastic work from Dave Missledine and Gareth Chapman ensured that the pitch although heavy passed a morning inspection and even survived a lunch time shower to be on whilst other local games were not.
Redditch were probably wishing the game had not survived the weather when they got stuck in traffic on the A14 and eventually arrived so late that the kick off was pushed back fifteen minutes.
When the game eventually got underway it was no surprise that the visitors were a little slow off the mark and they were caught cold after only three minutes as Ben Seymour-Shove seized on a loose ball in the centre of the park and took notice of shouts from the crowd to try his luck and it proved to be his day as his rasping drive from fully 30 yards flew past the grasping fingers of the diving Kieran Boucher and billowed the back of the net.
Having got in front so early most people in the ground probably thought that Ives were going to cruise their way to a comfortable victory against a side who had shipped nineteen goals in their last three fixtures. But Reds manager Dwayne Darby had strengthened his squad in the week and that new resilience soon showed through as the visitors shocked their hosts by drawing level just seven minutes later. The tricky Gratias Katega found a bit of space on the right and delivered a low cross into the feet of Jamie Lucas just inside the box. The Reds centre forward found a few inches to turn and fire in a low left foot effort that beat Finley Iron low to his right and crept in the bottom corner.
Following that early excitement the game began to settle down with Ives just about shading the possession but both sides carving out chances. Joe Curtis and Robbie Parker were working very hard in the boggy midfield for the hosts. The former of these picked out George Bailey in space on the left in 19th minute. Bailey managed to cut inside his marker and get his shot away but the effort took a deflection off Ben Birch which took all of the sting out of it allowing Boucher to make a comfortable save.
The hosts came much closer to going back in front only sixty seconds later as Parker picked out Seymour-Shove on the right. His deep cross was kept alive beyond the far post by Bailey whose low ball back into the middle from the bye line picked out Ollie Snaith at the near post. With his back to goal Snaith cleverly tried a back heel, the effort was blocked but the ball rebounded to Matt Foy by the penalty spot. Ives usually deadly centre forward was leaning back and could only succeed in firing his effort high over the top.
The Reds best opportunity to get their noses in front came in 25th minute when Lucas showed good vision to pick out Rhys Hilton with a perfectly weighted cross field ball that allowed the left winger to get past Ben Jackson and cut into the box. Iron quickly came to meet him and did well to spread himself and block Hilton’s effort at point blank range.
Play quickly swung back to the other end and Seymour-Shove came close to doubling his tally in 32nd minute. Curtis and Ben Toseland combined well on the left before the latter delivered an inviting low cross to the near post where Seymour-Shove managed to get across in front of Ronnie Hendricks but his contact was not quite good enough and his effort flew beyond the far post.
Iron was perhaps a little fortunate to get away with a bit of indecision only ninety seconds later Katega fought his way past Bailey and Toseland before delivering a hanging cross from right on the bye line. Iron seemed convinced that the ball out before the cross was delivered but the officials were of a different opinion and Iron was fortunate indeed as the ball rebounded into play off the top of the crossbar with the keeper looking on with his arm up. Jackson reacted first to the loose ball to hack it away.
His opposite number Boucher was called into spectacular action in 37th minute. Toseland pounced on a poor clearance and sprinted forward to the edge of the box where he was unceremoniously upended by Birch sliding in. The Reds debutant centre back picked up a yellow card for his pains and had to thank his keeper that his punishment was not greater as Boucher flung himself high to his right to palm away Toseland’s curling free kick that was destined for the top corner.
Ives applied some early pressure in the second half and won a series of corners in the first fifteen minutes but the only one that created any real danger for the Reds was the fourth when the ball was knocked down to Jackson inside the box but his snap shot from 15 yards was straight at Boucher who held on well.
The heavy pitch was beginning to take its toll and the pace of the game dropped off as the game wore on with defences generally getting on top. Katega was still provide a danger on the right for the Reds and in 59th minute he managed to get away from Toseland but no nonsense defender Alfie Powell is quickly fitting into the Ives back line and he got himself into the right position to turn Katega’s dangerous cross away at the expense of a corner.
Iron kept his team level with a brilliant diving save in 63rd minute as he denied Katega after the skilful winger had picked up a poor clearance and stepped inside his marker before curling in a left footed effort from the edge of the box that looked like it was arrowing for the top corner before the outstretched hand of Iron tipped it away.
With twenty minutes to go it was Ives turn to go within millimetres of going in front as keeper Boucher oddly fired an attempted clearance from his hands against the back of Foy standing just outside his box. The ball looped into the air and dropped to Parker 40 yards from goal. His pass put Seymour-Shove away down the right, the wingers first time low cross into the danger zone picked out Dylan Wilson sliding in at the back post but the young substitute was stretching and only succeeded in firing his effort onto the crossbar.
The winning goal arrived twelve minutes from time as a corner was half cleared to Parker on the right he curled the ball back into the box where it was knocked down into the crowd of players by the penalty spot. Powell reacted quickest and was just about to get his shot away when Birch clumsily took him down as he took an ill-judged swing at the ball trying to clear it. Much to the annoyance of the Reds well positioned referee Tom Danaher instantly pointed to the spot. Skipper Parker maintained his cool as he waited for the arguments to subside before emphatically beating Boucher with the resulting penalty..
To many times on recent occasions Ives have conceded late goals to drop important points so there was some anxiety amongst the home fans when they chose to try and play out the last eight minutes by keeping the ball in the corners rather than attempting to kill the game off with a third goal. Fortunately on this occasion they were successful although the visitors did have one opportunity to snatch a point deep in added time when a late corner fell to the feet of Josh Endall at the back post but the centre back screwed his effort wide.
Ives first victory in twelve games in all competitions moved them out of the bottom three and can hopefully give them momentum going into the second half of the season. With most of the squad not back to full fitness and the new recruits fitting in well things could just be on the up but some tough Christmas fixtures could test that growing confidence.
Final Score : St Ives Town 2 Redditch United 1
Goals : Seymour-Shove 3, Parker 78 (pen)
Team : Iron, Jackson, Toseland, Snaith (Dylan Wilson 65), Powell, Jarvis Wilson, Bailey, Parker (capt), Foy (Wood 84), Curtis, Seymour-Shove
Unused subs : Ward, Hottor
Supporters man of the match : Ben Seymour-Shove
Attendance : 126
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|December 14, 2019
|Southern Premier Central
|St Ives Town