Stourbridge v St Ives Town
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central 21-08-2021
Ives ensured that the Glassboys tough start to the season continued with a thoroughly professional all round performance that could easily have seen them win even more emphatically than the 3 – 1 score line. Unlucky to go in one down at the break, three well taken goals in an eleven minute spell just after the hour saw them cruise to victory and heap more early season pressure on the hosts manager Mark Yates.
Once again Ives manager Ricky Marheineke made his usual changes to keep the side fresh. This time fit again Ben Toseland returned at left back with Josh Flanagan moving across to his more familiar right back spot. Flanagan’s fellow Northampton loanee Liam Cross joined him on the right side replacing Michael Harding and Nabil Shariff returned at centre forward with Ryan Robbins dropping to the bench.
Most of the early pressure came from the in-form visitors and Samir Nabi saw two early pot shots fly well wide. The first real chance arrived in the seventh minute when Luke Fairlamb robbed a dallying Lee Vaughan before racing away to the edge of the box and unleashing a powerful drive that beat home keeper Charlie Price’s dive but flashed the wrong side of the post.
Ives should have gone in front in 16th minute as Nabi cut out a poor ball from Glassboys debutant winger Nick Clayton deep inside his own half. Nabi played a one two with Shariff on the edge of the hosts box and the return ball put him clean through one on one with keeper Price. As the hosts stopper came to meet him it looked like the Ives midfielder had got everything right rolling the ball past the exposed keeper but it went agonisingly wide of the upright.
Even this early in the game the home supporters were already starting to get on the backs of their players and this cannot be an easy ground for any home player to play in at the moment. Clayton was one who was trying hard to lift his team mates and he had a big hand in creating the hosts first opportunity of a sight of goal in two minutes later as he cut out an intended clearance from Callum Milne and played in Montel Gibson who ran onto the edge of the box before letting fly with an effort that was bravely blocked at point blank range by the flying body of skipper Brett Solkhon. The ball ran loose to Jason Cowley who was taken down 25 yards out by Nabi just as he was about to shoot. Ives keeper Paul White was called upon to make his first save of the afternoon plunging to his left to hang onto Cowley’s free kick.
As the half wore on the game evened up with Ives just about shading possession and moving the ball around well. Their hosts trying to match them but generally being a bit more direct in trying to get the ball from one end to the other. Both keepers were called into action within sixty seconds of each other in 39th minute firstly Fairlamb managed to cut inside his marker before firing in a low 20 yarder that Price saved comfortably low to his left. The ball was delivered out to the left then pumped into Ives territory where for probably the only time in the game Gibson found enough space to bring it down swivel and shoot from just inside the box. Fortunately the cleanly struck effort was straight at White who held on well.
Just when it looked like the two sides would go in goal less at the break Ives switched off as a free kick was delivered into their box by James McQuilkin. Cowley got across in front of his marker and looped a header over White from 12 yards to keep up his record of scoring in every game this season.
Considering themselves unlucky to be behind Ives supporters got a boost even before the whistle blew for the restart as long time injury absentee Robbie Parker returned to the centre of midfield replacing Nabi.
However it was the hosts, buoyed by their goal just seconds before the break, who started the second half strongest. Ethan Moran wasted a good shooting opportunity as he fired over the top from just inside the box having been fed through by Cowley in 48th minute. The Glassboys followed up with three corners in quick succession all well defended by Ives with Solkhon’s head always to the fore. Clayton was still trying his best to impress at his new club and he showed excellent touch as he wriggled his way through three Ives defenders to get through on goal in 55th minute. But the excellent White was alert to the danger and quickly off his line to block the young wingers shot at point blank range.
Not to be outdone by the hosts tricky winger Ives own version Fairlamb came within millimetres of putting Ives level only two minutes later his jinked his way inside and out to get past three defenders into the box before cutting inside and firing past keeper Price only to be denied by the head of Liam Daly on the line as the big centre back had got around behind his keeper.
But going this close to getting on level terms seemed to lift the Ives and they went very close again only two minutes later as Cross hung up a teasing ball just beyond the back post where Dylan Williams rose above his marker to head it back into the mix. Daly was again the hosts saviour as he did just enough to knock the ball away as Shariff arrived at pace ready to knock it over the line.
The deserved equaliser duly arrived in 62nd minute and it came from an unexpected quarter. Williams brilliantly sprayed a ball out from the centre to pick out Flanagan galloping forward into space on the right. Inexplicably the hosts failed to close him down and the youngster showed great composure as he strode on into the box before unleashing an unstoppable shot across the face of Price and into the far corner of the net.
Two substitutions by Yates immediately after the goal failed to change the course of the afternoon and from the moment Flanagan’s effort hit the back of the net only one side looked likely to win this game. Sure enough five minutes later Ives went in front Solkhon seized an opportunity to stride forward and picked out Fairlamb in space on the left. The winger again showed his pace and trickery to get to the bye line before picking Ed Hottor on the edge of the box with his pull back. The midfielders first effort was blocked on the line but he was not to be denied and followed up to slam home the loose ball.
The icing on the cake arrived in 72nd minute as Fairlamb was again put clear down the left this time by an excellent cross field ball from Flanagan. On this occassion the winger cut inside and went for goal himself. His initial cross shot was parried by keeper Price but once more an Ives player reacted first as Cross pounced on the loose ball to fire it home from inside the six yard box.
One might have expected a reaction from the hosts but it did not materialise and Ives were fairly comfortable in playing out the remaining eighteen minutes with only one scare well into added time. The Glassboys cause was not helped as they went down to ten men for the final seven minutes with Kieran Morris limping off after all three substitutes had already been used by Yates in a desperate effort to find a way back into the game. The one scare in 91st minute came as a curled ball into the box from the left by Daly somehow evaded everyone and arrived at the feet of Cowley at the back post for what looked like a tap in. But to sum up the hosts afternoon their leading scorer got it horribly wrong on this occasion the ball skimming off the wet turf hitting his shin and rolling wide.
Every player that got on the pitch for Ives today was worthy of a shout for man of the match particularly Brett Solkhon who was immense, Ed Hottor who got through a tremendous amount of work in the middle and Luke Fairlamb who gave the Glassboys defenders nightmares. But I don’t think that any of them could deny the accolade going to the man who got the ball rolling with an early goal of the season contender Josh Flanagan
Final Score : Stourbridge 1 St Ives Town 3
STOURBRIDGE : Cowley 44
ST IVES : Flanagan 62, Hottor 67, Cross 72
STOURBRIDGE: Price, O’Hanlon (Rowe-Turner 63), Vaughan, McQuilkin, Daly (capt), Morris, Moran (Okafor 73), Bushaj, Cowley, Gibson, Clayton (Bustin 63) Unused subs: King, Knights
ST IVES: White, Flanagan, Toseland, Nabi (Parker 46), Solkhon (capt), Milne, Cross (Seymour-Shove 75), Hottor, Shariff (Robbins 84), Williams, Fairlamb Unused subs : Anaele, Heath
Ives Supporters man of the match : Josh Flanagan
Attendance : 494
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook.
|August 21, 2021
|Southern Premier Central
|St Ives Town