St Ives Town 1 Tamworth 0
Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Central – 11 August 18
After a season of struggle last year and a stuttering pre-season few would have predicted this performance or result against one of title favourites. Although Munashe Sundire’s well taken goal just after the break was the only goal the hosts were never under any sustained pressure and could easily have added to their tally. Their well fancied visitors who were a Conference National team only two years ago were completely blown away by the Ives organisation, energy and endeavour so much so that Ives keeper Tim Trebes did not have a single save to make in the entire ninety minutes.
The rain of the previous two days had ended the drought and ensured that the grass that had previously looked decidedly yellow was looking a reasonable shade of green. The precipitation had also given the surface just enough give to take a stud and although not perfect it was ready for the season opener.
Right from the off Ives were looking very busy all over the park and ensured that their opponents were given no time to settle. With both defences well on top early on the first effort on goal did not arrive until 16th minute. Peterborough United loanee Sam Cartwright timed his run to perfection to get on the end of Declan Rogers corner to the near post. But under heavy pressure from a Lambs defender he only succeeded in directing his flicked header just over the top.
The visitors first half chance arrived two minutes later as Ollie Snaith brought down Lewis Wright 35 yards from goal on the left. Kyle Finn’s deep free kick picked out Lambs skipper Joel Kettle beyond the far post but his header down into the six yard box was hacked away from danger by the covering Jarvis Wilson just ahead of Charlie Shaw.
The Lambs suffered a blow in 24th minute as their powerful ex Grimsby Town striker Asante Akwasi limped off to be replaced by seventeen year old Junior Mpofu. The game continued to be a midfield battle where Ives combative central pairing of Tom McGowan and skipper Robbie Parker were more than holding their own. Forays into the opposition box by either side were very limited as both back lines continued to look very solid.
The best chance of the first period came four minutes from the interval. An in-swinging Rogers free kick from the right flicked off a defender’s head and arrived at the feet of George Bailey inside the six yard box. Unfortunately the young striker was deceived as the ball skipped off the turf and bounced up onto his shins rebounding into the grateful hands of Lambs keeper Jasbir Singh.
Singh was not so fortunate in his first action after the break as it was his error that lead to the only goal of the game. The big keeper chose to take a free kick approximately 30 yards from his goal on the left but he did not get the required elevation as his kick failed to clear a leaping Bailey and rebounded from the Ives striker across the park straight to the feet of Sundire fully 35 yards from goal. The young wide man showed immaculate composure as he took a touch before curling the ball into the vacant net much to the chagrin of Singh who could only look on in horror.
Having got in front Ives now really had the bit between their teeth and began to get on top. Charlie De’ath should have done better in 63rd minute as he got completely clear beyond the far post to get on the end of a Rogers free kick from the left. Rather than head the ball back into the mix he rather tamely directed his free header straight into the waiting hands of Singh.
Ives went even closer to adding to their lead from an almost identical move three minutes later. Once more De’ath ghosted around the back and got on the end of a Rogers free kick, this time from the right. This time he did put his header into the danger zone and Cartwright got on the end of it only to be denied by an amazing reflex save at point black range by Singh. All of which proved pointless as the assistant’s flag had gone up with De’ath ruled offside from the initial kick.
The Lambs continued to battle, but the Ives formation continued to prove resilient and they were limited to hopeful long balls into the box which were generally well claimed by Trebes or headed away effectively by De’ath, or Jarvis, or long range shots that were well off target.
Parker had an opportunity to test Singh in 87th minute as he ran onto a ball inside from Sundire. He cut across the face of the Lambs back line before unleashing a drive from 25 yards that was always rising and ended up clearing the crossbar.
The only real scare for Ives arrived two minutes from the end of the ninety as Trebes came a long way to try and claim a hanging free kick into the box. He got caught in traffic and failed to cling onto the ball as he fell. The ball dropped at the feet of Lambs substitute Tyrone Ofori inside the box, but two Ives defenders hurled themselves bravely across the line of the youngsters shot to block the ball away.
There were to be an added four minutes, but thanks to a substitution and a couple of other stoppages that turned into five. A corner to the visitors in the last few seconds gave Singh a chance to venture into the opponent’s box to try and atone for his earlier error. Much to the relief of the Ives faithful Finn’s corner was a poor one and as Parker headed it away from in front of the near post referee Rob Evans blew the final whistle.
This was a hard earned, but well deserved three points. Manager Ricky Marheineke has recruited a squad of players that will all battle until they drop for the Ives. The planning and hard work put in on the training field in pre-season by assistant “Bully” Adams was also clear to see in the discipline and concentration throughout by every single player. These players were drawing the support from the fans and the Ives faithful responded in kind singing home their heroes to this excellent success.
We will not get carried away by one result as we all remember what happened last season after an opening day victory. But the difference this time is that we now look very hard to beat and the thought that we can make it fortress Westwood Road can hopefully be a lot more than just a dream.
Final Score : St Ives Town 1 Tamworth 0
Goals : Sundire 51
St Ives team : Trebes, Cartwright, Coulson, McGowan, De’ath, Jarvis Wilson, Snaith (Seymour-Shove 80), Parker (capt), Bailey (Dylan Wilson 89), Rogers (Moyes 90+3), Sundire
Attendance : 306
Match report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson
|August 11, 2018||15:00||Southern League Premier Division Central||2018-19||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||0||1|