St Ives Town v Royston Town
BetVictor League Southern Premier Division Central 22-10-19
After Saturday’s poor performance at Alvechurch manager Ricky Marheineke was looking for a reaction from his patched up squad and he got one, but unfortunately it only lasted until two minutes after half time as Ives fragile confidence took a big dent when they fell behind. The goal that put the Crows in front was a little fortunate as Josh Castiglione’s header was going wide until it struck Jeff Woodward and crept inside Finley Iron’s right hand post.
The memory of a fairly even first half was quickly blown away from that point as the rampant Crows took complete control and added a further three goals almost at will to leave Ives teetering only just outside the Premier Central Division relegation places.
Right from the off it was the visitors, still smarting from missing out on a first ever first round proper FA Cup appearance only 72 hours earlier, who took the fight straight to the heart of the hosts. Ives were thankful that their goalkeeper Finley Iron was very much on his mettle. The game was only three minutes old when Iron made the first of many vital saves as he timed his plunge to perfection to slide through taking ball and man to deny Matt Bateman who had burst straight through the centre of the hosts back line.
The young keeper was in action again only sixty seconds later as Claudio Ofosu showed a startling turn of speed to cut inside from the left and fire in a wicked right foot effort from the left corner of the box. Fortunately the powerful shot was straight at Iron who held on well.
The early pressure from the Crows and particularly the dangerous ex St Neots winger Ofusu continued in the tenth minute the little wide man got his head on a driven free kick from the right. His header flew inches wide with Iron scrambling across to cover.
Ofusu continued to wreak havoc and went close again in 20th minute as he picked up the ball on the half way line and quickly left a struggling Jeff Woodward in his wake. Bearing down on goal he was equally impressive in cutting past Danny Kelly on the edge of the box. The only saving grace was that he had at least been forced wide which gave Iron a chance to position himself well and he did just that blocking the fierce drive when it came with his body.
Having survived all of those early scares Ives suddenly created an excellent opportunity of their own thanks to persistence of Matt Foy. The striker hunted down Ben Martin as the big centre back tried to police a ball out of play on the right hand side of his own box. Foy nicked the ball off him leaving him on the seat of his pants and with time to pick out his man. He picked out Tom Wood arriving on the edge of the box. Wood’s first time effort struck a covering defender and deflected inches wide of the post.
This lifted Ives a little and with Wood, Dylan Wilson and Jarvis Wilson all battling hard in the centre of the park and Foy continuing to harry the Crows back line things started to even up for a while but it was still the very mobile Crows front line that looked the more likely. In 27th minute a deep cross from the left by Callum Taylor saw Adam Murray climb above Charlie Johnson at the back post but the Ives centre back did just enough to ensure that Murray could not hit the target with his header.
With half time approaching Ives again had to thank keeper Iron for keeping them level as he made an amazing double save to initially deny Ed Asafu-Adjaye as he dived to his right to keep out the full back’s low drive from the edge of the box. The ball ran loose to Bateman but the agile Iron again showed his bravery plunging in to block the follow up at point blank range.
The ball was initially hacked clear but was quickly pumped back into Ives box where Iron continued his first half heroics as he dropped on the loose ball just ahead of the dangerous Murray. There was still time for Murray to waste another good chance as he sliced his shot wide from a good position after Bateman had headed down a Taylor cross to him inside the box.
Ives supporters went into the break thankful that they were still in the game and hopeful that they may be witnessing something special. The optimism that existed was dented a little as the sides came out for the restart with Dylan Wilson joining the long injury list as he succumbed to a knock he was carrying to be replaced by Josh Dawkin, any remaining hope was then almost instantly extinguished in really unfortunate circumstances. An Asafu-Adjaye cross from the right arrived at the back post at waist height where Josh Castiglione threw himself in ahead of Woodward. The Crows number eleven got a touch but the ball was always going wide until it struck the unfortunate Woodward and crept into the net.
The hosts tried hard to respond and in 53rd minute Wood and Ty Ward combined well down the left before the latter put Dawkin clear to the bye line. The striker cut in along the line before skimming the ball across the six yard box but no one had gambled to get to the back post where they would have had a tap in and the inviting cross rolled to safety.
Having let that opportunity go begging Ives then found themselves two behind only four minutes later Adam Watkins clipped the ball into the box from the left. Castiglione tried to knock it home in spectacular fashion as he went for an overhead kick. The striker failed to make contact but his action caused panic in the defence allowing Murray to prod home the loose ball.
Once more the gallant Ives tried to get back in the game and Dawkin was again at the forefront of that effort as he wriggled his way post Crows substitute Gus Scott-Morriss in midfield before unleashing a fierce rising drive from fully thirty yards that beat the despairing dive of Joe Welsh but flew inches the wrong side of the post.
That was the tiring Ives final opportunity to glean anything from this game as the Crows got back on top and spent most of the remaining half hour camped in Ives territory. Veteran centre back Dan Moyes was the hero in 62nd minute. Iron initially did well to block a Bateman effort but Scott-Morriss looked certain to force home the rebound only for Moyes to come sliding in from nowhere to bravely block his effort at point blank range.
Four minutes later the powerful Bateman burst his way between Moyes and Kelly to power into the box. He could have gone for goal but unselfishly he rolled the ball inside to Murray who really should have scored but wildly screwed his effort wide from ten yards.
As the game entered the last ten minutes the recent rigours were really taking their toll on the tiring Ives with recent injury victim Mark Coulson already replaced by Jordan Patrick, other injury returnees Woodward, and Kelly and Moyes playing his first full game in a long time, all struggling it was a case of damage limitation in these last few minutes.
Unfortunately for the struggling Ives the Crows were in no mood to take pity on them and two more goals killed off the hosts and ensured that they dropped one place in the table. The third goal arrived in 80th minute as Brandon Adams ran at the defence exchanging passes with Bateman before side footing home from close range. The final cope de gras in 89th minute was the best finish of the game as Bateman picked up the ball inside the box finding enough time to turn and curl an exquisite finish over the watching Iron and into the top corner of the net.
The result leaves Ives sitting just one place above the bottom three and now with two cup matches pending which can hopefully give them chance to get a few more players back to fitness ahead of much more vital League fixtures which are looming post those games. There are certainly a lot of players in the squad who look desperately in need of a break so once again physio Jess Guthrie looks like the most vital person in the Club.
Final Score : St Ives Town 0 Royston Town 4
Goals : none
Team : Iron, Woodward, Coulson Patrick 66), Wood (capt), Kelly (Boland 86), Johnson, Moyes, Jarvis Wilson, Foy, Dylan Wilson (Dawkin 46), Ward
Unused subs : none,
Supporters man of the match : Jarvis Wilson
Attendance : 143
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson.
|October 22, 2019||19:45||BetVictor Southern Premier Central||2019-20||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||0||0|