St Ives Town v Lowestoft Town
Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division Central – 29-12-18
Defences won the day at both ends of the park as a game high on endeavour but lacking the little bit of quality that could have won it for either team ended in a hard fought stalemate that rewarded both teams with a single point in their vital quest to remain in this division next season.
The heavy Christmas and New Year schedule is taking its toll on the Ives squad as this was their fourth game in eleven days whilst their opponents were only playing their second in the same period. With a few players carrying knocks and others simply in need of a little recuperation time manager Ricky Marheineke made four changes of personnel and two positional changes in his starting eleven. Owen Wallis, Ben Seymour-Shove, Ben Baker and Jake Newman all dropped to the bench with Mark Coulson, George Bailey, Tyler Wilson and Ty Ward all stepping up. A fit again Joe Hood also joined the other four on the bench.
The visitors started on the front foot and won a very early corner they also had a long thrower in Jack Wilkinson who was willing to hurl the ball into the box from anywhere inside thirty yards from goal. Towering centre forward Shaun Bammant was usually the target for these howitzers but Ives had their own figures of strength in the back line in Sam Cartwright and Charlie De’ath and the early aerial bombardment was repelled without any real scares.
The first real action for either keeper came in 13th minute and saw the visitor’s stopper Elvijs Putnins spectacularly keep out a Danny Kelly effort. The classy Ives striker had cleverly taken down a long ball forward from Ben Jackson on his right foot before turning inside his marker and firing in a rasping left foot drive from the corner of the box but Putnins was equal to it leaping to his left to turn the ball over the top.
Ives enjoyed a good period after this without testing Putnins again. The closest they came was in 21st minute when Kelly put Dylan Wilson away down the left. His dangerous low cross along the six yard line was just scrambled to safety by Wilkinson just ahead of Bailey sliding in.
The Trawlerboys best effort of the afternoon came in 24th minute when Kieran Higgs found some space on the left and picked out substitute Danny Pinheiro deep beyond the far post. He climbed above Coulson and directed the ball down to the feet of Bammant on the edge of the box but with his back to goal. The big striker belied his size as he cleverly spun on the ball and unleashed a looping effort that had Ives keeper Martin Conway scrambling to get back on his line. The keeper may have had the shot covered but he may well have been relieved as us when the ball bounced on top of the crossbar and went over.
Ives also have their own long thrower in the side and De’ath has a throw to match Wilkinson. One of his deliveries into the box from the left caused consternation in 36th minute. Shots from Wilson and Jackson were charged down before the ball was finally scrambled clear.
There was almost an explosive start to the second half as Ives kick off routine almost brought them a goal. The ball was channelled back from the centre Wilson rose highest to the long ball and flicked it on to Kelly who clipped it inside into the run of Ward putting him clear into the box. Although most of the Trawlerboys had been caught napping keeper Putnins was on his toes and rushed from his line to instantly close down Ward bravely blocking his shot with his body at point blank range.
Kelly was still causing the visitors problems with his trickery and probing runs. He jinked his way into the box in 50th minute and side stepped to earn himself a little space before flashing his low shot from the corner of the box across the face of goal. That was his last action of the day as a striker as before the resulting goal kick was taken Cartwright succumbed to an injury he had picked up late in the first half and limped off to be replaced by Jake Newman who went in alongside Wilson up front with Kelly joining De’ath in the centre of defence.
As is often the case Munashe Sundire seemed to be getting stronger as the game wore on and his driving runs from midfield were starting to cause the visitors a few problems. One of those runs was ended in unceremonious fashion 25 yards from goal by Henry Pollock in 63rd minute. The Trawlerboys midfielder picked up the only yellow card of the afternoon. But although Newman managed to get on the end of Robbie Parker’s in-swinging free kick he failed to keep his header down.
Both sides continued to press hard for a winner but chances still remained few and far between. A quick free kick almost caught out Ives in 68th minute as Armani Schaar was put away down the right. He managed to cut inside covering defender Coulson and get his shot away from the edge of the box but a well positioned Conway held on well at his near post.
The Trawlerboys thought that they should have had a penalty in 73rd minute as Bammant managed to drop off deep beyond the far post to get on the end of a hanging free kick. He directed his free header towards the six yard box but the ball struck the raised arm of Kelly and was cleared. It was hearts in mouths time for a split second as visitor’s players and supporters all appealed in unison. The match officials looked at each other with referee Stuart Cheek hoping that his assistant may have had a better view of the situation. A shake of the head from the assistant and a wave of play on from the referee allowed us all to breath again.
To almost pile injury onto insult for the visitors the ball was instantly channelled down the other end by Parker with Wilson getting away from his marker looking like he might get a clear run on goal only to be just beaten to the ball by the ever alert Putnins who was perhaps a little lucky as having nicked the ball off Wilson he was instantly closed down by Newman and was fortunate to see his attempted clearance cannon off the Ives substitute out of play.
The two teams continued to jab away at each other like tiring heavyweights but both sides defences remained solid to the end with each side only carving out a single half chance in the remain time in 86th minute Bammant curled an effort just wide from 25 yards for the visitors and two minutes into added time the ever willing Wilson almost got put through by Sundire only for Adam Tann to come in with a crunching saving tackle that saw the young Ives striker stretchered out of the game with a suspected fractured ankle.
Overall a point each was probably a fair result and five points from their four seasonal fixtures to date is not a bad return. Even more importantly only one defeat in the last eight games has moved Ives away from the danger zone and towards the middle of a very compact League table. We all wish young Wilson a speedy recovery but he is likely to be out for a while and Cartwright must also be a doubt for Tuesdays game, but overall Marheineke’s idea of resting a few players for this game means that we will have a number of fresh eager faces ready to take their places in the Cambridgeshire derby at St Neots on New Years Day.
One final very positive comment on the day was the friendly rivalry between the two sets of supporters with each group gathered by the bar in the second half cheering on their players to greater effort and plenty of friendly banter between the two sets. At the end each group was exchanging genuine good wishes with both hopefully looking forward to meeting up again in this division next season. Non-League football as it should be!
Final Score : St Ives Town 0 Lowestoft Town 0
Goals : none
Team : Conway, Jackson, Coulson, Sundire, Cartwright (Newman 51), De’ath, Bailey (Seymour-Shove 72), Parker (capt), Dylan Wilson, Kelly, Ward (Baker 83)
Unused subs : Hood, Wallis
Sponsors man of the match : Munashe Sundire
Attendance : 221
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson
|December 29, 2018
|Southern League Premier Division Central
|St Ives Town