St Ives Town 0 Stourbridge 0
Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Central – 15-09-18
Goalkeeper Sam Wilson was the Ives hero for his superb save to keep out Rob Thompson-Brown’s penalty on the hour. Wilson’s save was the pinnacle of a fantastic rear-guard action from the hosts that claimed another vital point against one of the fancied sides in the Division.
The sun came out for the Glassboys first ever trip to Westwood Road and those of their supporters that remembered the first ever clash between these sides in the FA Cup last season certainly came expecting to claim the full three points. However they quickly discovered that this seasons Ives side is a much more resilient outfit than the team that were bundled out of country’s premier trophy in the west midlands last September.
Just like last season the visitor’s line up boasted more than it’s fair share of muscular six foot plus individuals. But it was lacking the formidable presence of centre forward Luke Benbow and the silky skills of tricky wide man Greg Mills both out with injury. The hosts stuck with an unchanged starting eleven from Tuesdays FA Cup replay success against Saffron Walden.
The Glassboys started well pushing the Ives back right from the off. The first of many important defensive headers was won by Sam Cartwright in the heart of Ives defence as he glanced a Thompson-Brown free kick away from the incoming giants at the back post at the expense of the game’s first corner in sixth minute.
The visitors continued to enjoy the majority of the possession but any attempts to probe a way through were being thwarted by the resilient Ives back line with Owen Wallis just in front of his back four winning a number of important challenges.
Full back Aaron Hayden thought that he had put the Glassboys in front as he rose highest to steer home another Thompson-Brown free kick at the back post in 25th minute. But his celebrations were cut short as referee Abigail Marriott had already ruled that keeper Wilson had been unfairly blocked off in trying to get to the ball and blown for a free kick.
The only other noteworthy effort on goal in the first half came three minutes later as Kaiman Anderson got on the end of yet another Thompson-Brown free kick this time from the right. The Glassboys striker attacked the ball at the near post but failed to hit the target with his powerful header.
Possession stats at the end of the first half would have probably showed that the visitors enjoyed something around 75% of the ball but in spite of that the hard working hosts dealt with everything that was thrown at them so effectively that keeper Wilson did not have a save to make in the first 45 minutes.
The second half continued in similar vein with Ives working like Trojans to keep their visitors at bay. Frustrations were beginning to show in the Glassboys ranks as it began to look like things were not going to go their way. But they suddenly thought that their fortunes had changed on the hour. Brad Birch battled into the box from the right and went down under a combined challenge from Wallis and Ollie Snaith. Referee Marriott was right on the spot and immediately blew for the penalty. Thompson-Brown stepped up to the plate and although he struck the kick well the athletic Wilson had anticipated right and made a brilliant save low to his right.
The flow of the play was not altered by the penalty save, but it clearly lifted the hosts into realising that this could just be their day. Wilson was almost caught out eight minutes later as Anderson beat him to a clip over the top and looked like he was in on goal, but the alert Cartwright came to the rescue covering around behind his keeper to knock the ball away to safety.
Keeper Wilson was called into dramatic action just once more in the game as he pulled off a great double save nine minutes from time. Anderson hit the initial fierce low drive from 25 yards that came through a crowd of players and cannoned off the body of the young keeper. The loose ball rebounded to substitute Darryl Westlake on the edge of the box who hit a first time effort on target but Wilson again showed his agility recovering instantly from the first save to dive to his right and palm away the follow up.
Time was now running down and the frustrations were showing amongst some of the Glassboys players a final opportunity for them came and went two minutes from the end of the ninety as Anderson teed up Leon Broadhurst for shot from the edge of the D but the visitor’s substitute hit his low shot straight at Wilson who held on well to preserve his second clean sheet in three games.
There was still time for Ives to carve out one chance to grab a very unlikely three points. As the game entered added time a long punt down the centre was flicked on by substitute Danny Kelly and fellow sub George Bailey sprinted clear only to be halted by an assistant’s flag as he had set off a split second to early.
A victory in this game would have been just to much to hope for but the point is probably one the majority of us would have taken if it was offered before the kick off.
Once again it was a day when every player that got on the pitch did a fantastic job for the Ives and ran themselves into the ground for the cause. There were many man of the match contenders and on a day like this one has to give a mention to the whole back line in particular and I would certainly include Owen Wallis as the holding midfielder in that group. Eighteen year old centre backs Sam Cartwright and Jarvis Wilson once again showed maturity and strength way beyond their tender years. Full backs Joe Hood and Charlie De’ath did a remarkable job keeping both the Glassboys wide men quiet throughout to minimise the flow of crosses being pumped into the box. The man who takes the accolade with a unanimous vote from the behind the goal club is keeper Sam Wilson for his fantastic penalty stop and smart double save ten minutes from time.
We are back in search of FA Cup glory next Saturday when we host the Gingerbreads of Grantham Town. Come along and support the boys you can be sure every one of them will be putting in 110% for you.
Final Score : St Ives Town 0 Stourbridge 0
Goals : none
St Ives team : Sam Wilson, Hood, De’ath, McGowan, Cartwright, Jarvis Wilson, Wallis, Parker (capt), Dylan Wilson (Patrick 90), Snaith (Kelly 65), Seymour-Shove (Bailey 65)
Unused Subs : Sundire, Baker
Man of match : Sam Wilson
Attendance : 266
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson
|September 15, 2018||15:00||Evo-Stik League South - Premier Division Central||2018-19|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||0||0|