St Neots Town U18 v St Ives Town U18
Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division 11-03-20
Ives came off worse in this tetchy affair losing Tom Wakley to a serious injury just before the break and having Ewan Young sent off soon after the long delayed restart whilst an ambulance was called for the unfortunate Wakley. Young foolishly reacted after Saints Brad Brown stuck his head in his face and probably deserved his red card although one can only assume Brown escaped with an unblemished record from the incident as it happened out of site of the match officials. This was not the only strange decision from the man in the middle who failed to play the remaining six minutes of the first half after Wakley was carried off!
The game had started in typical local derby fashion with both sides dishing out some meaty tackles. There were only five minutes on the watch when Ben Smith managed to rob Harri Clarke inside his own half only to be unceremoniously taken down by Andrew Howell 25 yards from goal. A clever Zac Hope free kick almost put Wakley through but keeper Dylan Martin was alert to the danger and did just enough to prevent Wakley prodding the ball home.
Hope and Wakley were both to the fore in Ives early attacking play and the two combined again in 18th minute as Wakley got on the end of a low Hope cross from the right but failed to hit the target with his close range effort under pressure from Josh Byrne.
Saints first chance of the evening arrived midway through the first period when centre back Young lost possession to Clarke in wide right position. Clarke fed the ball inside to Brad Matzk who curled his left foot effort from the edge of the box inches wide of the post. From the resulting goal kick the ball was swiftly fed to the other end where Smith was denied by an excellent save low to his right by Martin.
Probably the best move of the evening came from the home side in 25th minute as Jake Wood roaming forward on the left fed a pass into the run of Brown who in turn cleverly fed the ball inside to the well timed run of Matzk. Fortunately Leon Quinsee was alert to the danger and forced the Saints striker wide meaning that when the shot eventually came in it only ruffled the side netting.
Saints got in front on the half hour and full back Wood was the provider as he found a lot of space on the left before delivering a teasing cross to the near post where Marley Edwards rose unchallenged to head home. But the lead only lasted sixty seconds as Saints back line seemed to switch off at a drop ball. Referee Nick Easey got in the way of an intended through ball by Connor Gibbs just outside the box. He correctly restarted the game with a drop ball to Gibbs who knocked it sideways to Hope and his low first time cross was turned home at close range by Wakley.
But Ives parity only lasted five minutes as at terrible back pass by Young fell well short of Kai Bradley in the Ives goal allowing Matzk to nip between them and slot the ball past the exposed keeper.
The injury to Wakley happened in 39th minute as he and Byrne challenged for a bouncing ball the defenders boot clattering into the Ives strikers shin. Rather than simply take the remaining players to the changing room whilst an ambulance was summoned for the unfortunate striker referee Easey blew what he decided was the half time whistle leading some supporters to believe that he had abandoned the game. After a lengthy delay the game finally resumed with the teams now changed ends clearly indicating that the referee had no intention of playing the rest of the first half.
Now playing with the elements Ives were quickly on the front foot. Five minutes after the restart Smith picked up a poor ball out of defence by Howell and ran at the defence before feeding the ball into the run of Hope cutting in from the right but the well positioned Martin was equal to his powerful drive parrying the ball behind for a corner.
The melee which lead to Young’s dismissal followed the delivery of Hope’s flag kick into the box and concluded with yellow cards for Matzk and Hope in addition to Young getting his marching orders. Now down to ten men we feared the worst for Ives but manager Lloyd Groves shuffled his pack and they continued to hold their own. The hard working Smith who was now running a lone furrow up front had a golden opportunity to pull them back level in 66th minute as a slide rule pass through the centre from Gibbs put him clear but Martin quickly came to meet him and did well to block the strikers low driven shot with his legs.
Despite of their numerical advantage Saints were unable to create any real threat as the gallant ten of Ives continued to work like Trojans. But they only managed to carve out one more decent opportunity to get level and that was in the 83rd minute as the cultured right foot of debutant Fayed Rhaman picked out fellow substitute Mihayl Mitkov’s run from the left. The young winger burst into the box but drove his shot wide of Martin’s left hand upright.
As time ticked down manager Groves decided to go for broke replacing two defenders with a winger and another striker with Joe Cobb and Lewis Taylor coming on for Seb Darnell and skipper Karl Frans. But this bold approach was always going to leave gaps at the back and Bradley found himself called into his first real action of the second half three minutes from time as Edwards and Brown combined to work their way into Ives box. The young keeper did well to close down Brown and block his shot at close range.
The final action of the night saw Matzk miss a golden opportunity to double his tally for the evening as a hurried clearance from Bradley landed at his feet 30 yards from goal with the keeper well out of position but he only succeeded in scuffing his effort wide of the post with Bradley scrambling to get back.
These sides meet twice more in the next three weeks and one can only hope that they both worked the tetchiness out of themselves in this first encounter, but that is perhaps just wishful thinking. The worrying thing for Ives is that they will definitely without Young and almost certainly Wakley for those two fixtures. Unlike the infamous Bill Shankley I am going to finish by saying there is more to life than football and wish Tom Wakley a speedy recovery.
Final Score : St Neots Town U18 2 St Ives Town U18 1
Goals : Wakley 31
St Ives team : Bradley, Frans (capt), Darnell, O’Donovan (Gibbs 26), Young, Quinsee, Hope, Faris Rhaman (Squire 63), Smith, Wakley (Taylor 45), Cobb (Mitkov 54)
Other substitutions (roll on roll off) : Fayed Rhaman for Taylor 54, Cobb for Darnell 84, Taylor for Frans 84
Unused Subs : none
Attendance : 60 approx
Report by Nigel Howlett.
|March 11, 2020
|Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division
|St Neots Town U18
|St Ives Town U18