Tamworth v St Ives Town
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division Central 23-04-2022
The fact that the home sponsors gave their man of the match award to Lambs keeper Jas Singh gives a big indication that Ives could, and probably should, have ended their league season with a third win in a row and into the bargain ended host’s thirteen game unbeaten run. Two excellent saves from the home stopper in the first eleven minutes prevented the visitors making a similar start to that at Stratford seven days previously and two more one either side of half time ensured that his performance caught the sponsor’s eye.
The hosts playing their fourth game in eight days might have been expected to rest a few players, but manager Andy Peaks likes to keep a tight squad and stick to a winning formula. Their only change from Thursday evenings home win over Biggleswade was an enforced one with Lucas Yeomans coming in for the injured Cameron Howkins. Ives management duo of Mike Ford and Ricky Marheineke went with similar principles and stuck with the side that played the majority of Easter Monday’s home victory over Diamonds and the victory over Stratford 48 hours earlier.
As has become their trait of late Ives were very fast out of the traps and should have got their noses in front in fifth minute. A perfectly weighted clip over the Lambs back line by Michael Richens put Ethan Johnston clear one on one with keeper Singh. The big stopper got everything right closing the angle quickly, staying upright and making himself big to deny the Ives striker with a vital close range block.
Singh was the Lambs saviour again six minutes later as a quick exchange of passes between Nabil Shariff and Johnston just outside the hosts box was concluded with the former sliding the ball into the run of Liam Cross cutting in from the right. His powerful first time strike from the corner of the box was spectacularly tipped over the top by the flying keeper.
Ives continued to press in search of the vital opening goal and they almost found it via an unusual route one move in 14th minute. Keeper Eddie Brearey’s long clearance carried on the breeze deceiving Ben Bailey and Johnston was quickly onto the bouncing ball looking likely to get clear again. But the big centre back belied his size to recover quickly and do just enough to nudge Johnston as the striker unleashed his shot. The challenge was sufficient to ensure that the shot skimmed the crossbar on its way over the top rather than billowing the net.
The two Ives centre backs combined in the opposition penalty area to create the next chance in 21st minute. Dylan Williams deep free kick was kept alive beyond the far post by Callum Milne. His header back into the mix caused panic in the Lambs box the ball falling to the feet of Ben Toseland eight yards out but his goal bound effort struck Yeomans and deflected wide.
Having completely run the first quarter of the game Ives were stunned to fall behind to the visitors first meaningful attack in 23rd minute. An visionary cross field ball from Jack Concannon picked out Dexter Walters in space on the left. His excellent first touch gave him the opportunity to run at Josh Flanagan, jinking right then left he managed to get past the Ives full back before drilling a low cross to the back post where Wahib Tahra gleefully spanked it home into the bottom corner of the net giving Brearey no chance.
Although stung by falling behind Ives quickly responded and Richens twice tried his luck from distance without troubling Singh. But Ives continued to probe in search of parity before the break. Singh was almost caught out by an in-swinging corner from Luke Fairlamb in 41st minute. The effort was going to dip under the crossbar and it took some very quick footwork and a flying leap to get the necessary touch to divert the ball onto the crossbar and over. But the resulting corner did bring about Ives equaliser. The initial flag kick was half cleared to Flanagan who curled it to the back post where Toseland rose above his marker to knock the ball down into the path of Johnston who directed his header past Singh from six yards.
There was still time before the break for Johnston to miss a golden opportunity to put the visitors in front. A flowing move down the right ended with Cross floating an inviting ball into the centre where Johnston had ghosted in between the Lambs centre backs. Clean contact and it was 2-1, but the Ives striker only managed to get a glancing header onto the ball which flashed wide of the upright much to Singh’s relief.
The second half started in similar vane to the first with Singh again being called into spectacular early action to keep the scores level. Another excellent interchange of passes between Shariff, Williams and Johnston down the left ended with the former teeing up the latter for a well struck shot from the edge of the box that was bound for the bottom corner until the outstretched palm of the diving Singh appeared to knock the ball away.
Ives keeper Brearey had been enjoying a fairly quiet afternoon up until the hour mark when Lambs skipper Ryan Beswick managed to dispossess Cross in the middle of the park. He found the willing run of Eoin McKeown down the left. The big number nine fed the ball back inside to Concannon who took a touch and unleashed a curling effort from the corner of the box that forced Brearey into a flying save high to his left to tip the ball away.
Having been called upon for his first piece of spectacular action of the afternoon Brearey very quickly found that he needed to be on his toes again four minutes later. Walters decided to try something very unexpected and almost caught the young keeper out. The Lambs left winger picked up possession in a wide left position fully forty yards from goal and decided to step inside on his right foot and go for goal. The ball arced unerringly on the strong breeze heading for the top corner and it took some excellent footwork and a full length dive from Brearey to prevent it sneaking in.
With the two sides having played a lot of football in the last eight days and mid table positions already assured for both there was always likely to come a point in the second half where the game went off the boil. The hosts came within inches of grabbing the winner in 69th minute as a corner was half cleared to Concannon just outside the box and he seized his chance to hit the dropping ball on the volley meeting the effort as sweet as a nut. With Brearey beaten he thought that he had scored only for the ball to thud into the inside of the post but somehow stay out. With everyone else inside the box watching the ball Concannon was first to react to the rebound but this time snatched at it a screwed the ball horribly wide. That proved to be the final noteworthy effort of the afternoon as both sides used their full compliment of substitutes to try and get fresh legs out onto the park but neither could create any real opportunities in the remaining twenty minutes and both seemed equally happy to settle for a share of the spoils. The Lambs went on to their end of season presentation evening immediately after the game whilst Ives still have the small matter of a County cup final to look forward to on Tuesday evening.
Final Score : Tamworth 1 St Ives Town 1
TAMWORTH: Tahra 23,
ST IVES: Johnston 41
TAMWORTH: Singh, Yeomans, Wilder, Beswick (capt), Bailey, Hurst, Concannon (Griffin 86), Mussa, McKeown (Whittingham 69), Tahra, Walters (Parker 84), Unused Subs: Fallows, Howkins
ST IVES: Brearey, Flanagan, Fairlamb, Richens (capt), Milne, Toseland, Cross (Solkhon 90), Hottor, Shariff (Richard-Noel 59), Johnston (Baker 74), Williams, Unused subs: Goff, Osei-Bonsu
Supporters man of the match: Ed Hottor
Report by Nigel Howlett.
|April 23, 2022
|Southern Premier Central
|St Ives Town