Tamworth v St Ives Town
BetVictor League Southern Premier Division Central 04-01-20
These two clubs have enjoyed hugely contrasting fortunes since sharing the points at Westwood Road on the opening day of the season way back in sunny August and the gulf in class showed through in this fixture as the table topping Lambs comfortably claimed the three points against the battling Ives on a clear but cold early January return.
The big spending Lambs set out their stall early as they tore into the Ives straight from the off and Finley Iron in the visitors goal had to make his first save of the game in the third minute denying Bilal Yafal after the hosts number ten had cut inside Tom Wood and unleashed a fierce right foot drive from the corner of the box.
Iron was called into action again in ninth minute as ex Kettering maestro Rhys Hoenes got around the outside of Ben Toseland and delivered a dangerous low cross that Iron bravely claimed at the feet of centre forward Dan Creaney.
The hosts should have gone in front from a corner only ninety seconds later as good movement in Ives box meant Yafal managed to lose his marker to get himself a free header at the back post but fortunately for the visitors he inexplicably failed to hit the target from eight yards.
With the hosts enjoying in excess of eighty percent possession in these early stages and zipping the ball around on their 3G surface it was simple hard work which was keeping the Ives on level terms but it was beginning to look inevitable that a goal would come. Sure enough it happened in 21st minute as failure to clear their lines allowed Hoenes to pick up possession wide on the left and he managed to get to the bye line before picking out Creaney with his pull back and the big striker made no mistake beating the diving Iron with a well struck right footed effort from 15 yards.
It should have been two only two minutes later as Hoenes got put clean through cutting in from the right. Iron came to close him down but rather than lay the ball across to the waiting Creaney, Hoenes went for goal from a narrow angle only to be denied by a well positioned Iron. The Ives keeper kept them in the game again only seconds later as he flung himself to his right to palm away a fierce drive from Tyrell Waite. The resulting corner was won at the near post by Creaney but his flicked header flew just wide.
The very busy Iron was beaten again in 29th minute but was thankful to his goalpost for keeping out Beswick’s curling free kick from 25 yards that had arced over Ives three man wall and got past the diving keeper low to his left.
The Ives goal continued to lead a charmed life and had a double let off in 31st minute. Overlapping full back Aaron Forde got down the right and picked out Creaney with his cross. Keeper Iron did well to parry his blistering header into the air but the loose ball fell back to the striker who was brilliantly denied by Alfie Powell as the centre back slid in to deflect the close range effort wide.
Having been under the cosh for so long Ives players could have been forgiven for simply trying to hang on until half time to re-group but to their credit they managed to take the game to their illustrious opponents for a brief period with the break approaching. In 36th minute Robbie Parker won a ball in midfield and fed Joe Curtis who let fly with a snap shot from fully thirty yards that almost caught out Jas Singh in the hosts goal but the big keeper just managed to get down low to his left to save by the foot of his left hand post.
Ives did get the ball in the net two minutes later only to be denied by an assistant’s upraised flag. A poor clearance from Singh fell to Parker 40 yards from goal, he fed the ball into the feet of Matt Foy just outside the box. Foy clipped the ball over the back line where Curtis who was in an offside position having initially closed down the keeper to create the error made the mistake of moving towards the ball. To late he realised that Ollie Snaith who had made his run from an onside position was steaming in behind him. Snaith slammed the ball home but the flag was already up.
The same assistants flag came to Ives rescue a few times in the opening stages of the second half. Twice in the first five minutes Hoenes was caught by the upraised flag both were obviously close calls as they brought shouts of protest from the Tamworth bench and supporters who were level with the incidents. Their displeasure with the officials was increased in 50th minute as referee Matt Scholes turned down an appeal for handball after Waite’s low cross appeared to strike the arm of Powell inside the box.
The flag again came to Ives aid in 52nd minute as Creaney battled his way into the box before unleashing a fierce drive that was deflected onto the post by the combined efforts of Powell and his goalkeeper. Yafal was on hand to roll home the loose ball but once again the assistant referee came to Ives rescue.
The next fifteen minutes was all Lambs pressure as Ives goal continued to lead a charmed life with the hosts going close four times in that period without forcing another save from Iron. In 57th minute a corner from left by Forde was met cleanly at the near post by Yafal but he powered his free header over the top. Creaney was equally wasteful a minute later as he got on the end of Beswick’s in-swinging free kick from the right, he also met the ball well but similarly directed it over the top.
Hoenes reputation still goes before him and just after the hour he was quick to go to ground inside the box under challenge from Toseland when if he had stayed on his feet he may well have got a shot away. Referee Scholes was in the perfect position to see the lack of contact and quickly waved away the appeals. The best chance of the four fell to Creaney in 66th minute as Beswick’s cross from the left deflected off an Ives defender to present him with a free header eight yards out. Rather than placement he went for power and only succeeded in directing the ball straight into the hands of the grateful Iron.
The inevitable second goal did eventually arrive twenty minutes from time as substitute Chris Lait was allowed to range forward unchallenged to the left edge of the box from where he let fly with a low right foot effort that beat the diving Iron low to his left. There were a few moments of controversy as the ball rebounded back into play off the stanchion in the back of the net but after a quick consultation with his assistant correct order was quickly restored as referee Scholes awarded the goal.
The third and clinching goal arrived only four minutes later as Hoenes finally managed to time his run right to beat the offside trap. Yafal gained possession inside the centre circle and quickly fed the ball into the run of Hoenes who rounded the exposed Iron before rolling the ball home.
To their credit Ives continued to work hard but in spite of the tireless running of Matt Foy they were unable to create a clear cut opportunity to test Singh in the remaining period. There was however one more opportunity for Iron to show his abilities as substitutes Jordan Clement and Lait combined down the left to work a shooting opportunity from the edge of the box for the latter that Iron did well to palm away to his right.
There seems little doubt that the Lambs will be in the promotion shake up come the end of the season and they can look forward to a six pointer against nearest challengers Bromsgrove next Saturday whilst relegation threaten Ives can look forward to a six pointer of a different kind as fellow strugglers Lowestoft visit Westwood Road.
Final Score : Tamworth 3 St Ives Town 0
Goals : none
Team : Iron, Ward, Toseland, Wood, Powell, Jarvis Wilson (Clifton 46), Bailey (Seymour-Shove 68), Parker (capt), Foy, Curtis, Snaith (Dylan Wilson 75)
Unused subs : none
Supporters man of the match : Finley Iron
Attendance : 638
Report by Nigel Howlett
|January 4, 2020||15:00||BetVictor Southern Premier Central||2019-20||90'|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||0||0|