St Ives Town 0 Biggleswade Town 1
Evostik Southern League Premier Division Central – 16-10-18
Two sides both very quick to close down their opponents all over the pitch and an excellent referee willing to allow the game to flow whenever possible lead to an old fashioned game of football where crunching tackles and safety first defending were much more in evidence than cultured passing. Neither manager appears to be a connoisseur of playing out from back and with the break neck speed of the first half it was almost a case of the two sides completely cancelling each other out with their identical playing styles each only registering a single effort at goal in the first 45 minutes.
The pace inevitably slowed a little after the break but chances remained very few and far between throughout the Waders grabbing the victory in a move just before the hour which involved their only two shots on target in the entire evening. Ives battled hard and matched their more illustrious opponents work rate but their lack of fire power was again in evidence as they failed to force a single save out of visiting keeper Sam Donkin in the ninety minutes.
The hosts evening started with good news as rugged centre back Jarvis Wilson came through a pre-match fitness test to take his place in the starting line up allowing Owen Wallis to revert to his more familiar midfield role, Ollie Snaith being the man to make way. The only other changes from Saturday’s defeat at Alvechurch were returns to the starting eleven for Danny Kelly and Ben Baker at the expense of Munashe Sundire and Jordan Patrick.
The Waders had two ex Ives men in their line up and the pair combined to carve out the first opportunity of the evening in ninth minute. Jack Bradshaw delivering a deep cross from the right that evaded Ives defenders and was excellently taken down on the edge of the box by Peter Clark. Fortunately for the hosts Clark’s finish did not match his touch as he fired high and wide from a very good position.
The visitor’s up and at them style was giving them a slight edge in the early exchanges but Ives were equally quick to get in the faces of their opponents and neither side were able to build any real momentum or even enjoy any length of time in possession. The only times the hectic pace of the game slowed were at free kicks hence all of the other attempts worthy of note in the first period came from dead ball situations.
Hosts keeper Sam Wilson had to be alert to move his feet quickly and punch away a dangerous in-swinging free kick from the left delivered by Matt Ball in 15th minute. Ives best chance of the game fell to Wallis two minutes later as he managed to drop off and lose his man at the back post to earn himself space for a free header to a deep Robbie Parker free kick from the right. Caught in two minds whether to head the ball back into the mix or go for goal he tried for the latter but failed to get over the ball and did not trouble Donkin as his powerful header flew a couple of feet over the crossbar.
The pace continued with each side continuing to cancel out the other as referee Tim Donnellan resisted the temptation to go for his whistle unless he had to and allowed the game to flow like a mountain stream in the spring time. One occasion when referee Donnellan did have to resort to his whistle was in 37th minute as Clark very clumsily took down Baker by the left touchline as the young winger looked to get away. Many a match official would have deemed the foul worthy of a yellow card but referee Donnellan simply deemed it a clumsy challenge and allowed Clark to get away with a talking to a decision that was to prove vital to the direction of the game seconds before the break.
Parker delivered the resulting free kick deep again and keeper Donkin was perhaps fortunate to get away with his misjudgement as he got underneath the cross and just managed to palm the ball away from his goal. It fell to Jarvis Wilson beyond the far post but his attempt to clip the ball back into the danger zone struck Lucas Perry and went out for a throw.
Thanks to four quite lengthy periods of treatment for different players there were six added minutes at the end of the first half. Tom McGowan managed to pick himself up the first yellow card of the evening in the fifth of these as he fouled Ball 25 yards from goal and then tried to argue with referee Donnellan over the decision. Ball picked himself up and went for goal with the free kick but his shot ricocheted off the Ives wall and went for a corner. The same player delivered the flag kick into the mix where Cartwright rose above the crowd to head the ball away. The centre back’s under pressure header dropped on the edge of the box where George Bailey went to complete the clearance as he did so Clark came flying in and raked a boot down his shin. Referee Donnellan was right on the spot and after a brief discussion with the offender brandished the yellow card to the Waders midfielder who must have realised how fortunate he was that was his first yellow card of the evening.
The challenge right on half time ended Bailey’s evening with Sundire replacing the Ives striker. The Waders also made an enforced change at the break replacing their skipper Kieron Forbes with Lucas Kirkpatrick. The first chance of the second period fell to the Ives as McGowan drilled a precise cross field pass into the feet of Baker wide left. The Ives winger cut inside at pace running across the face of the visitor’s back line before teeing up a shooting chance for Wallis just outside the D. The Ives midfielder snatched at the chance and only succeeded in dragging his first time effort wide of Donkin’s right hand post.
The only goal of the evening arrived in 58th minute a quick throw in on the half way line picked out Josh Urquhart in space his pass into the feet of Ball saw the midfielder pick out Martell Powell inside the box. Unusually on this evening Powell found just enough space to turn and fired in a low shot through the crowd. Keeper Wilson saw it late and did well to get down to his right to make the save but he could only parry the ball back into play where Joe White pounced to ram it home from close range.
Ives were rocked by falling behind and Waders centre back David Longe-King had an excellent opportunity to double the visitors lead only two minutes later. Long throw expert Perry saw one of his mortars into the box returned to him and teed up Bradshaw to return the ball into the mix. Long-King rose highest at the back post but failed to hit the target with his powerful header from ten yards.
The hosts were still well in the game and continued to work like Trojans to try and find a route through but this Waders back line is a very solid unit and with the rest of their comrades ensuring that no opposition player had any time on the ball it was certainly not going to be easy. The only time that they really came at all close to rattling on the door even a little was a brief sustained period of pressure around twenty minutes from time that saw goal bound shots from Kelly and Baker blocked away defenders.
In spite of changing the tiring Kelly for Dylan Wilson and sacrificing defensive midfielder Wallis to throw on Ben Seymour-Shove Ives were unable to penetrate the Waders fortress sufficiently to force a save out of Donkin in the remaining time.
Just to show how tight this division is this season we had the crazy situation where if this result had gone the other way the Ives would have joined the Waders on fifteen points but as it is the visitor’s leap into a play-off place as the Ives slip further down the table to fifteenth.
Final Score : St Ives Town 0 Biggleswade Town 1
Goals : none
Team : Sam Wilson, Hood, Coulson, McGowan, Cartwright, Jarvis Wilson, Wallis (Seymour-Shove 78), Parker (capt), Kelly (Dylan Wilson 78), Bailey (Sundire 45), Baker
Unused subs : Moyes, Snaith
Supporters Man of the match : Joe Hood
Attendance : 267
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson
|October 16, 2018||19:45||Evo-Stik League South - Premier Division Central||2018-19|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||0||0|