St Ives Town v Stratford Town
BetVictor League Southern Premier Division Central 30-11-19
Ives missed out on an opportunity to move out of the bottom three as they squandered a two goal advantage to allow Town to pick only their second point on the road in eight games away from Shakespeare’s birthplace.
With new players coming in and others returning to full fitness manager Ricky Marheineke made six changes from last weekends gallant defeat at Bromsgrove out went Shay Griffiths, Cameron McWilliams, Ty Ward, Tom Wood, Charlie Johnson and Ben Seymour-Shove to be replaced by Finley Iron, debutants Ben Toseland and Alfie Powell, Dan Clifton, Jarvis Wilson and Dylan Wilson respectively.
The changes seemed to have the desired effect as Ives tore at their visitors straight from the off and grabbed an early lead with Dylan Wilson finishing well following excellent build up play and a flash of brilliance from Matt Foy. The move started as Joe Curtis won the ball in the centre of the park feeding it to Clifton who clipped the ball forward to Foy twenty yards from goal a very good touch and clever turn left Kyle Rowley on his backside and Foy away into the box. He then drew keeper Harvey White towards him before unselfishly sliding the ball sideways for the unmarked Wilson to slot it home from eight yards.
Ives kept the pressure on and came within millimetres of doubling their lead four minutes later. Their fourth corner in quick succession was knocked out to Jarvis Wilson on the edge of the box and he hit a rasping drive that deflected off a Town defender before clipping the top of the crossbar on its way over the top.
Perhaps fortunate to only be one behind the visitors slowly began to work their way back into the game with the busy Ravi Shamsi at the centre of all their creative moves. He was twice involved in setting up opportunities at around the half way point in the first half setting up Chris Wreh for a shot from just inside the box that Jarvis Wilson blocked away in 18th minute. Four minutes later he slid through the perfect slide rule pass to put Matthew Campbell-Mhope clear it took a brave point blank block from Iron to keep out his initial effort and a block on the line from Powell to deny the same players follow up shot.
The rest of the first half was much more evenly fought out in the centre of the park where the energy of Curtis and Robbie Parker backed up by the silky skills of Clifton was being cancelled out by the similar industry of Courtney Richards and Foday Nabay and the equal skills of Shamsi who was wearing number nine but kept popping up all over the park.
The second half started in identical fashion to the first with Ives well on top and looking to add to their advantage. Dylan Wilson curled an effort just wide of White’s right hand post with the keeper struggling to get across only four minutes after the re-start. Only seconds later Foy missed a golden opportunity to increase the lead as he broke through the centre of the Town back line skipping past the pedestrian Matt Bower to get through one on one with White. But the big striker fluffed his lines as he slid the ball past the advancing keeper but just the wrong side of the post.
The threatened second goal did arrive in the very next attack in the 52nd minute. A long Iron free kick was knocked down to the feet of Foy who fed the ball out to Curtis on the left. The busy midfielder got around the outside of Daniel Vann to get to the bye line before lifting his head and picking out Foy with his pull back. This time the Ives striker made no mistake beating the static White from fifteen yards.
Stratford manager Paul Davies boldly made an instant double change replacing Nabay and Campbell-Mhope with Kyle Macfarlane and Jordan Clement only minutes later. Those changes may have swung the tide of the game but two enforced changes for Ives in the next five minutes were equally influential as first Dylan Wilson limped out with an injury to be replaced by Ollie Snaith and moments later Toseland succumbed to a knock to be replaced by Ward.
The goal that got the Town back into the game in 67th minute came from the right hand side where Toseland had been keeping things very quiet prior to his departure. Shamsi delivered a hanging cross that Iron may have come and claimed but the keeper hesitated allowing Wreh to challenge Jackson for it at the back post. The loose ball fell perfectly for the lurking Macfarlane who had the simple task of prodding it home from close range.
Town’s back line had looked fragile throughout the game and they appeared to switch off again straight from the re-start as Clifton flighted a perfectly weighted ball through the centre to put Snaith clear. A match fit Snaith would have buried the chance but he has only just returned from injury and that rustiness showed as he failed to make clean contact allowing White to plunge to his left to keep out the effort. Three one at that point would have knocked the stuffing out of the visitors and almost certainly been decisive but it was not to be and as the match wore on the heavy pitch began to take its toll on Ives recent returnees from injury.
Even with that said one man was still clocking up the hard yards for the hosts and he was very unlucky not to win a penalty fifteen minutes from time as a cross from the right looked like it was going to be bundled home at the back post by a late arriving Curtis but as he tried to chest the ball down he was clattered from behind by Richards and the referee’s whistle blew. But it was not for the spot kick we were all hoping for instead the eagle eyed official had spotted that Curtis had used his arm in trying to bring the ball under control seconds before Richards took him down.
That decision ensured that Ives went into the final stages with only a slender single goal lead and as they began to tire Town sensed the opportunity to improve their meagre away record. They began to build up pressure although did not manage to create a clear cut opportunity until two minutes before the end of the ninety when another excellent move down the right involving Vann and Shamsi ended with the latter feeding Wreh into the box. He cleverly turned Ward before delivering a low cross along the six yard line to pick out Macfarlane who made no mistake firing home his second close range finish of the game.
As the game entered an added six minutes there was only one likely winner as the visitors sensed a possible first maximum return of the season on the road and they came within inches of claiming it in the fourth of the added six. Shamsi raced almost fifty yards with the ball at his feet before feeding in Wreh on the right his low driven cross only just evaded Macfarlane sliding in at the back post.
A defeat would have been extremely harsh on the battling Ives who played well for long periods and the two debutants fitted in well but yet again injuries robbed the team of vital players who could well have made the difference. Every game is now becoming vital as is every point and this game felt like a missed opportunity to claim all three.
Final Score : St Ives Town 2 Stratford Town 2
Goals : Dylan Wilson 9, Foy 52
Team : Iron, Jackson, Toseland (Ward 62), Clifton (Seymour-Shove 90+3), Powell, Jarvis Wilson, Bailey, Parker (capt), Foy, Curtis, Dylan Wilson (Snaith 61)
Unused subs : Johnson
Supporters man of the match : Joe Curtis
Attendance : 118
Report by Nigel Howlett
|November 30, 2019||15:00||BetVictor Southern Premier Central||2019-20||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||1||2|