St Ives Town v Rushall Olympic
BetVictor League Southern Premier Division Central 08-02-20
Those present at this game witnesses a rare, if not unique, feat as Pics centre back Sam Whittall helped himself to a hat trick with all three goals coming from the penalty spot. Not content with awarding three spot kicks to the visitor’s referee Stephen Ross also found the opportunity to give Robbie Parker chance to get himself back on track from the spot as he also awarded one to the Ives. How many people can say that they have witnessed a game where four penalties are awarded and all four find the back of the net (shoot outs don’t count).
Hoping to take the momentum from last week’s excellent win at Coalville Ives suffered a disappointing pre-match blow as they lost influential defender Ben Jackson to illness on the morning of the match, warrior Tom Hamblin was also under the weather but came through a pre-match test to take his place in the starting eleven. Jordan Patrick was recalled from his dual registration at Soham to make a surprise reappearance and he was joined by another well know face who has been missing for a while as Martin Conway made a surprise return between the sticks replacing Brad Lashley whose loan period from Northampton Town had expired. Interestingly Conway’s previous appearance had been in the reverse of this fixture when Ives were unlucky to fall to a late goal in the West Midlands in September.
Conway was called into early action in only the third minute as he was forced into a save to keep out a well struck effort from Jon Letford after the Pics leading scorer had worryingly burst through the centre of Ives back line. Fortunately, the shot was straight at Conway who held on well.
After that early piece of action the game settled down with Ives holding their own well without creating much in the opposition box and dealing well with a series of long throws from the Pics Lee Smith. The real action then started in 27th minute as Kieran Cook and Isiah Bazeley combined well down the right with the latter going past Ben Toseland on the outside and cutting in towards goal along the bye line. Moving at the pace that he was it was only going to take the slightest touch to send him tumbling and in his efforts to recover Toseland made the mistake of making that contact. He picked up a yellow card for his troubles and Whittall claimed his first of the afternoon beating the diving Conway low to his left with the resulting spot kick.
Falling behind knocked a little of the confidence out of the Ives and Conway was called upon to make another smart save nine minutes later as he plunged low to his left to keep out a low drive from the left corner of the box by Letford after he had been set up by a ball inside from Daniel Waldron. Conway’s clearance was knocked down to George Bailey who bustled his way past a defender to get into the box and go down under challenge from veteran centre back Asa Charlton. Much to Charlton’s chagrin referee Ross was on hand to blow for his second penalty of the afternoon. Parker stayed cool to send Jonathan Flatt the wrong way from the spot and level things up.
Bailey was taking something of a battering from the rugged Pics centre back pairing and two minutes later Charlton fouled him again, this time just outside the right edge of the box. Toseland delivered a deep free kick that picked out Hamblin in a little bit of space beyond the far post. The big centre back powered his header at goal from a narrow angle but keeper Flatt was well positioned and held on well.
Conway was almost caught out by virtually the last kick before the break as Waldron seized the opportunity to try his luck from fully 35 yards forcing the keeper to fling himself low to his left to palm the ball away.
So honours even at the break but it did not take long after the restart to realise that the visitors had changed their tactics, they were no longer looking to play the ball around but had now adopted a much more direct approach probably in lieu of the underfoot conditions. The half was only two minutes old when Waldron got away onto a long ball down the right and cut inside before unleashing a fierce drive from just outside the box which flashed across the face of Conway’s goal.
Waldron was also involved in 49th minute when referee Ross awarded his third penalty of the afternoon. The tricky striker played a ball into the feet of Letford on the edge of the box, as the striker tried to turn and get his shot away he went down under challenge from Parker the whistle blew and we all knew what was coming. This time Whittall went to Conway’s right as the keeper went left.
Falling behind again was a blow to the Ives and the Pics long ball style started to create opportunities for them. In 55th minute Waldron chased down a long Flatt punt down the left and managed to cut inside before letting go with a screamer that just crept over the crossbar. Four minutes later Charlton managed to get on the end of a deep Alex Moore corner from the right but he only succeeded in directing his header into the side netting. On the hour a long Whittall free kick somehow evaded everyone to arrive with Moore ghosting in at the back post but he directed his free header wide when he probably should have done better.
A third Pics goal was beginning to look inevitable and it arrived in the same manner as the first two in 68th minute. The otherwise impeccable Joe Curtis misplaced a pass inside his own half that was cut out by Richard Batchelor he in turn fed a perfectly weighted ball into the run of Cook who was emphatically wiped out by keeper Conway as he shaped to shoot giving referee Ross his easiest penalty decision of the day. Now on a rare hat trick Whittall went for power and was perhaps a little fortunate to find the net as his shot beat Conway low to his right and cannoned off the inside of the post and along the goal line before nestling just inside the opposite post.
Game over, but to their credit Ives continued to battle with the back line standing up well to the aerial bombardment which continued. The midfield trio of Parker, Curtis, and Edmund Hottor continued to snap into tackles with Hottor particularly to the fore winning a series of headers to help his defensive colleagues repel the missiles being fired their way.
There were just three minutes of the ninety left when Ives just let their guard down for a few seconds to allow Smith to get on the end of Moore’s deep corner and power home a header to give a disproportionate look to the score line and increase the visitor’s lead to three. But that three goal cushion lasted only 45 seconds as substitute Dylan Wilson once again showed his huge promise as he picked up a poor pass on the edge of the box from the probably still celebrating Smith and smashed a low drive into the bottom corner of the net past the diving Flatt.
Seeing their lead reduced seemed to induce a nervousness into the Pics but the closest Ives came to increasing that anxiety level in the remaining time was a Ben Seymour-Shove dipper from 20 yards that forced Flatt into scrambling action but flew just past his left hand post much to the beaten keepers relief.
A defeat, but perhaps a not unexpected one as the Pics have become something of a bogy side for the Ives with a zero return from four meetings with their West Midlands opponents and the least goals conceded in one of those contests standing at three. The bigger games are still to come starting with a massive six pointer next Saturday at Westwood Road against Leiston who sit one place and six points above Ives at present.
Final Score : St Ives Town 2 Rushall Olympic 4
Goals : Parker 37 (pen), Wilson 88
Team : Conway, Patrick, Toseland, Hottor (Osei-Bonsu 83), Hamblin, Powell, Snaith (Seymour-Shove 75), Parker (capt), Foy, Curtis, Bailey (Wilson 71)
Unused subs : Clifton
Sponsors man of the match : Robbie Parker
Attendance : 133
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson. Video by Dave Hook.
|February 8, 2020||15:00||BetVictor Southern Premier Central||2019-20||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||1||2|