St Ives Town v Stourbridge
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central 09-04-2022
Revenge was sweet for the Glassboys as they enjoyed their trip to Cambridgeshire an awful lot more than the reverse fixture in the early days of the season when a buoyant Ives comfortably won at the Alfred Hall Memorial Ground. The visitors have moved on a long way since that early game and can boast promotion chasing form in the second half of the season. Three of the four goals that decided this fixture all came from the top drawer of goals that Ives have conceded in a tough season when they have shipped 89 in 37 league fixtures. But to their credit they kept plugging away and managed to score an excellent goal of their own.
After last week’s cracking victory over play-off bound Rushall it was hoped that Ives would go into this game with an unchanged squad. Unfortunately that was not to be with important players Oran Jackson and Nabil Shariff both missing with illness and injury. Michael Richens dropped into the back four with Dylan Williams moving into the centre of the park, Liam Cross and Ethan Johnston forming a previously untried front two. The visitors on the other hand arrived with a virtually fully fit squad to pick from.
Ives new strike pair came close to giving them an early lead as with only ninety seconds on the watch Cross looked to get clear onto a Callum Milne clip over the top, for a split second it opened up for him but rather than shoot he took another touch and got crowded out. The ball ran loose to Johnston following up and it took a brave point black block from Joe Hull to prevent him opening the scoring.
The visitors then went on to gain two early corners both of which were very well defended in dangerous areas by Ives centre backs. The second flag kick was knocked out for a throw and a quick one almost caught them out as Ethan Moran fed the ball into Reece Styche who spun on it and got a shot away from inside the box that was well held by Eddie Brearey.
Brearey was in action again in thirteenth minute as his own hurried clearance fell to Darryl Knights 30 yards out. Knights fed in Styche who again got his shot away but was denied by the Ives keeper who made a good save low to his left. An Ives break four minutes later saw Ben Toseland set up a shooting opportunity for Cross whose powerful effort from the edge of the box was deflected into the side netting.
The visitors opening goal in 21st minute was a moment of pure class from Moran. Glassboys skipper Lee Vaughan lead the swift break down the right before feeding inside to Moran on the edge of the box. His first time right footed clip over Brearey was perfection as the ball sailed over the keeper before nestling just inside the far post. Getting their noses in front seemed to lift the visitors to even greater heights and Ives had to battle hard to stay in touch. Moran was at the heart of a number of the visitors best moves, three minutes later his excellent cross field pass found Jack Wilson in space on the left. It took a last ditch covering tackle from Milne to prevent the full back doubling the advantage.
Ives did have one opportunity to get on level terms in 27th minute. Johnston was upended by Hull 25 yards from goal giving Brett Fairlamb chance to deliver a teasing ball into the box that Brett Solkhon managed to get on the end of but he was always stretching and failed to hit the target with his header from ten yards.
From that point on it was the visitors who really took the game to Ives playing what a number of their supporters highlighted as the best football that they had played all season. Ives struggled to stay in touch and fell further behind to a second goal of the season contender of the afternoon. Another flowing move down the right ended with the ball at the feet of the overlapping Vaughan this time he cut inside and unleashed a screamer from the corner of the box that flew past the despairing dive of Brearey and found the top corner.
Two behind at the break the hosts needed an early route back into the game after the restart. Sadly they were caught out again by another quality goal from the visitors only two minutes after the resumption. Richens brought down Styche inches outside the box and Knights curled a peach over Ives five man wall and into the top corner high past Brearey’s left hand.
To their credit, even though now three goals in arrears Ives continued to believe that an unlikely comeback was possible. Roared on by the bar crew, who were in particularly good voice despite the score line, the host won three corners in quick succession. The middle of those from Dylan Williams squirmed through the hands of Glassboys keeper Charlie Price who was very fortunate to see it deflect over the crossbar.
An unlikely substitution on the hour lead to Ives pulling a goal back. Full back Josh Flanagan replaced winger Tyrone Baker which seemed a strange move when three goals behind. But the management crew knew much more than us mere mortals and a re-shuffle saw Richens released into his more familiar midfield role. The goal when it came in 68th minute involved both of those two with Richens threading a pinpoint pass through to put Flanagan away on the right his low first time cross into the box was met by Johnston who simply rolled the ball home at the far post.
That belief level raised a little more, as did the raucous level of the bar crew. Richens was now at the heart of everything positive from Ives. In 71st minute his powerful run from midfield ended with his 25 yard effort deflected inches wide with keeper Price scrambling across to cover. Four minutes later Lathaniel Rowe-Turner’s pull back on Johnston as the striker tried to burst through earned the Glassboys centre back a booking and gave Ives the chance to get another shot on target. Richens free kick burst through the four man wall but straight into the grateful arms of keeper Price.
Ives had the steam taken out of their push to grab something from the game nine minutes from time when an error from Brearey gifted the visitors a very fortunate fourth goal. A long punt out of defence was being chased by substitute Kieran Cook and the young keeper felt he must come and try to beat the striker to the ball by heading it away. Unfortunately he misjudged the bounce and completely missed the ball allowing Cook the simple task of rolling the it home into the empty net.
There was still time left in the game for Brearey to more than make up for his error and keep the score line just about in the realms of respectability. A fantastic double save to initially keep out a powerful strike from inside the box by Styche and then miraculously recover to deny Cook from point blank range on the follow up was atonement enough. But he topped that in 87th minute as he flung himself to his left to keep out Styche’s well struck spot kick. The penalty had been awarded when substitute Andrew Osei-Bonsu had brought down George Forsyth inside the box.
A day when the performance was probably a little better than the result suggests but with other results generally going Ives way they still have an eight point cushion to the bottom two with games fast running out. Two games next weekend could well decided the season as a whole with a visit to mid table Stratford Town on the Saturday followed by hosting AFC Rushden & Diamonds on Bank Holiday Monday in what will almost certainly be a crucial game for both sides with Diamonds in danger of slipping out of a play-off spots and Ives eager to ensure another season at step three.
Final Score : St Ives Town 1 Stourbridge 4
ST IVES: Johnston 68
STOURBRIDGE: Moran 21, Vaughan 35, Knights 47, Cook 81
ST IVES: Brearey, Milne, Cross, Solkhon (capt), Toseland (Dwumfuo 89), Richens, Baker (Flanagan 61), Hottor (Osei-Bonsu 84), Johnston, Williams, Fairlamb, Unused subs: Egole
STOURBRIDGE: Price, Vaughan (capt), Wilson (O’Hanlon 68), Hull, Rowe-Turner, Rowley, Moran (Cook 75), McQuilkin, Styche, Knights (Smith 83), Forsyth, Unused subs: Solly, Ball
Supporters man of the match : Michael Richens
Attendance : 308
|April 9, 2022||15:00||Southern Premier Central||2021-22||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score||Goals|
|St Ives Town||0||1||1|