St Ives Town v Redditch United
Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division Central – 13-04-19
Ives first home win since mid-January kept them on track for a record breaking best ever finish in the Club’s history. The win came courtesy of a deflected Andrew Osei-Bonsu strike ten minutes after half time. However the home supporters also need to compliment their, as ever, mean defence who kept their sixteenth clean sheet of the season and debutant eighteen year old goalkeeper Shay Griffiths who played his part in ensuring the back line was not breached.
Owen Wallis who has been exemplary since his return to the side at Stourbridge once again showed his quality and rightly took the supporters man of the match award. The young centre back showed excellent composure as early as the eighth minute when Danico Johnson bustled his way into Ives box and threatened to get clean through. Wallis initially held him up and then timed his tackle to perfection to take the ball off his toe and move it away to safety.
Griffiths heroics started six minutes later with two excellent saves in less than sixty seconds. Robbie Bunn was initially allowed to much space to run at the Ives defence and he seized his opportunity to go for goal unleashing a fierce drive from 25 yards that the young keeper did very well to keep out hurling himself low to his left to push the ball away. But the hosts struggled to get the ball clear and it almost immediately came back into the box with Josh Hawker getting a snap shot on target from fifteen yards that Griffiths did well to get a hand to low to his right. The young stopper rode his luck a little as the ball ricocheted off his right hand upright before it was eventually scrambled clear.
The in form Reds continued to press forward at every opportunity and Griffiths was Ives saviour again in 28th minute when a flowing visitors move was completed by Rob Evans playing the ball into the feet of Bunn on the edge of the box. He in turn teed up Richard Batchelor for a strike from 20 yards that the number eleven hit well but again Griffiths was equal to it plunging to his right to turn the ball around the post.
The Ives keeper was perhaps a little more fortunate in 31st minute as he somewhat miss timed a sprint from his line to try to claim a bouncing ball through the right channel and was always struggling to get to it ahead of Bunn. Both players collided just inside the box and went down in a heap, with Reds players all appealing for a penalty it was with much relief to Ives supporters and players alike that referee Thomas Cooke deemed that Griffiths had just won the race and had thus been fouled by the Reds midfielder.
In spite of the hard work of Ives front players throughout the first half it took until 39th minute before the hosts carved out a real opportunity to test visiting keeper Reece Francis. Ollie Snaith won the ball in the centre of the park and picked a pass to Ben Seymour-Shove in acres of space on the right. With an opportunity to sprint for the bye line and try to pick out a colleague in the centre or cut in and go for goal the usually decisive wide man seemed to get caught in two minds and did neither eventually simply rolling a tame cross into the hands of the grateful custodian.
Having battled hard to stay in the game without much possession in the first period Ives needed to lift themselves to ensure that they could turn another potential home draw into their fifth home win of the season. They did just that wrestling control of the game away from their opponents straight from the off. Osei-Bonsu set the pace tricking his way past James Brown down the right wing in 49th minute. The striker got to the bye line before picking out the run of Snaith on the front edge of the six yard box. The young striker had his back to goal but carefully rolled the ball back to Robbie Parker on the edge of the box. The Ives skipper tried to pick his spot in the bottom corner but just missed the target with the ball eluding the diving Francis but rolling inches wide of the post.
The goal that settled it came five minutes later thanks to a flash of individual brilliance from Osei-Bonsu. The silky striker picked up the ball on the right hand edge of the box, shimmied past Brown before opening his stride and unleashing a fierce drive that took a wicked deflection off the luckless Hawker and completely deceived Francis flying into the net to the keepers left as he moved to his right.
The hosts continued to push forward in search of another and Morgan Penfold was very unlucky not to claim his elusive first Ives goal in 59th minute. A Seymour-Shove corner from the left was half cleared to Osei-Bonsu inside the box. The off balance striker hit a bobbling first time shot from fifteen yards that Francis spilled, Penfold reacted instantly to prod the loose ball home only to have his celebration cut short by an assistant’s flag.
Osei-Bonsu’s pace, strength and movement continued to cause problems for the Reds back line and he set up another opportunity for Penfold in 63rd minute as his break a pace down the right gave him the opportunity to deliver a low cross that Penfold looked favourite to force home at the back post only for the Peterborough United loanee to allow Lewis Wright to get back and take the ball off his toe.
In a desperate effort to get back into the game the Redditch manager Paul Smith made a double substitution in 64th minute Throwing on Leam Howards and Harry Franklin to replace the strangely ineffective Shaquille Leachman-Whittington and Batchelor. The move almost worked as within thirty seconds of entering the field Franklin rose highest to Bunn’s right wing corner but failed to keep his header down under pressure from Wallis.
Griffiths had had a relatively quiet second half but he needed to be on his toes in 80th minute as Ives struggled to clear another Bunn corner, this time from the left. An attempted clearance rebounded off Johnson and fell to Andrew Parsons deep inside the box, the Reds skipper looked like he had the goal at his mercy eight yards out. But Griffiths was on him in an instant narrowing the angle and forcing the centre back to snatch at his effort and fire across the face of goal.
With the clock ticking down Ives did not sit back but instead continued to go in search of the second goal to kill off the contest. An 86th minute corner was fed back to Munashe Sundire by Seymour-Shove, rather than simply deliver the ball into the centre the right back cleverly got his head up and spotted George Bailey inside in space 25 yards from goal. The substitute took a touch before rifling off a stinging effort that forced Francis into a spectacular diving save as the big keeper leapt to his right to fingertip the effort over the top.
Referee Cooke somehow found five added minutes in a half with six substitutions but otherwise barely a stop. The final of those minutes brought a flurry of noteworthy action as initially a long Brown throw was knocked down inside the box to Hawker who saw his well struck shot deflected for a corner. This allowed Francis to join the pack of players inside Ives box. Wood rose highest to head the corner away and the ball was fed out to Penfold who was breaking over the halfway line with the open goal looming only to be halted by the referee blowing for time.
Overall an entertaining game that those put off from attending by the hailstorm in the run up to kick off will be disappointed to have missed. Make sure that you do not miss out on the record breaking Ives final home game of the season at 3.00pm on Easter Monday when struggling local rivals St Neots will be the visitors.
Final Score : St Ives Town 1 Redditch United 0
Goals : Osei-Bonsu 54
Team : Griffiths, Sundire, Coulson, Wood, Wallis, Jarvis Wilson, Penfold, Parker (capt), Osei-Bonsu (Newman 84), Snaith (Bailey 79), Seymour-Shove (Baker 90)
Unused subs : Patrick, Ward
Supporters man of the match : Owen Wallis
Attendance : 179
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson
|April 13, 2019||15:00||Southern League Premier Division Central||2018-19||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||0||1|