Tamworth v St Ives Town
Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division Central – 22-12-18
The Ives kept their good run of form going making it four wins from the last six games and they did something even the most optimistic of Ives fans probably would not have believed possible as they completed a double over one of the pre-season promotion favourites in the once mighty Lambs.
Manager Ricky Marheineke surprised a few of the travelling faithful with three changes that left us all guessing on the formation prior to the start. None of us got it right as Marheineke chose to nullify the aerial threat from the Lambs centre forward Gregg Smith and his new strike partner Michael Taylor by going with a flat back five that saw Owen Wallis come in at right back with Ben Jackson rested and Danny Kelly also dropping back into the centre of defence. Both regular wide men in Ben Baker and Ben Seymour-Shove also missed out as George Bailey returned on the right and Ty Ward made his first start in Ives colours on the left in a narrower midfield formation.
Ward made an almost instant impression as he created the opening goal for Jake Newman after only ten minutes. Ward perfectly cushioned a long ball into the path of the predatory Newman and the big striker grabbed the opportunity slamming in a first time left footed effort from just inside the box that beat home keeper Jas Singh at his near post to silence the big home crowd in the 4,000 plus capacity stadium.
Ives new formation was dealing with everything that the hosts could throw at them in these early stages and a swift counter attack could easily have led to a second goal in 17th minute. Wallis bravely won a header against the high foot of Chris Lait inside his own half. Referee Ollie Williams played an excellent advantage as Bailey threaded a pass inside the full back to put Newman away again on the right. The striker outpaced the struggling Lambs back line and cut in on goal only to be denied by Singh as this time the keeper got his angles right and blocked the effort with his legs.
Having looked fairly comfortable up to the half way point of the first half Ives suddenly found themselves pegged back as the hosts grabbed a leveller in unfortunate circumstances in 22nd minute. A Jack Concannon corner from the right was cleared to Joe Magunda who put a hopeful ball back into the box Jarvis Wilson inexplicably put his arm up in the air as he went in with Taylor to try and win the header. A nudge from the Lambs striker ensured that there was contact between arm and ball and referee Williams who had an excellent view of the incident immediately blew his whistle and pointed to the spot. Martin Conway was unable to match his heroics of Wednesday evening at Hitchin as Smith went down the middle with his kick whilst Conway went to his left.
Singh in the home goal was looking rather jittery throughout the first half and he came close to making a massive clanger only two minutes later as he was almost deceived by a long Conway free kick into his box. The ball landed on the 3G surface just inside the box and with no one near him Singh completely misjudged the bounce only just getting enough of a touch to prevent the Ives keeper claiming an unlikely goal. The resulting corner was safely cleared.
Having almost gone back in front with what would have been a fluke Ives then did put themselves back in the lead with an excellent goal in 29th minute. Bailey won the ball back deep in Lambs territory and laid it into the path of Robbie Parker on the edge of the D he in turn laid the ball back to Wallis with everyone expecting a lofted clip into the box Wallis caught them out by playing a low ball that Newman stepped over on the edge of the box allowing the ball to run on to Ward. Fifteen yards out he tried to go for a first time right footed effort but only made poor contact the ball rebounded off Lambs skipper Joe Kettle and dropped onto the left foot of Ward who showed great composure to side foot the ball into the bottom corner past the despairing dive of Singh.
Now back in front and good value for their lead Ives returned to their solid formation and invited the Lambs to try and break them down but with little creativity in the home side they were predominantly looking to deliver long balls into the box towards the big figures of Smith and Taylor hoping to pick up some scraps from knock downs. This was however meat and drink to the trio of Ives centre backs who made sure that they competed and won every ball and when they were put under a little more pressure full backs Wallis and Charlie De’ath were always on hand to snuff out any lurking danger.
Ives did create one more chance to increase their lead just before the break as Parker hounded his opposing skipper into a mistake robbing him high up the pitch and setting off for goal forcing Kettle to pull him back. The Lambs skipper picked up a yellow card for his professional foul although his team escaped further punishment as Parker did not allow for the slick 3G surface and overhit his well planned free kick.
Ex St Neots manager Dennis Greene who is now in charge of the Lambs made a change at half time to try and get his side back into the game taking off defensive midfield man Aman Verma and replacing him with a more forward thinking player in Tyrell Waite. He no doubt also gave his charges a rigorous half time team talk and not surprisingly they came out determined to take the game to their visitors. But all they had to show for some good possession in the first fifteen minutes after the break were two very wayward efforts from Concannon. This all changed on the hour when keeper Conway was forced into spectacular action to keep his side in front. Lait got a run at the Ives defence and wriggled his way through to the edge of the box before being stopped by a solid challenge from Wilson. The loose ball fell perfectly for Smith who thought he had scored as his side footed effort looked to be arrowing into the top corner of the net only for Conway to hurl himself high to his right and twist spectacularly in the air to tip the ball over the top.
Five minutes later Conway once more proved to be Ives saviour as again the dangerous Lait ran at the Ives defence from the left before laying the ball inside to substitute Waite who struck a powerful rising drive from 25 yards that Conway had to hurl himself to his left to punch away.
Having survived those two scares Ives then set about ensuring that they saw out the rest of the game in a fully professional manner all working like Trojans to ensure that the Lambs had no time on the ball once they got near the half way line. Still lacking the necessary creativity to break down the visitor’s solid ranks the hosts soon returned to their favoured approach of trying to deliver long balls into the box and they continued to get no more reward than they had in the first period from that tactic.
Ives had only one more scare in regulation time when Concannon got around the back in 84th minute and delivered a clip into the box that Conway did well to punch away under pressure Magunda pounced on the loose ball 25 yards out but Munashe Sundire was quick to close him down and block his effort. The closest the hosts came to claiming an equaliser was in third minute of added time after Wilson had limped out of the fray. His replacement Ben Jackson was muscled out of a challenge by Smith beyond the far post. Smith’s downward header into the path of the incoming Taylor gave the debutant chance to grab his side a share of the spoils but he got it all wrong and skied his close range volley over the top.
The final whistle blew on another memorable Ives away performance a few minutes later and once more it was the small group of travelling fans in the corner that were applauding their heroes from the pitch at the conclusion whilst the hosts players were leaving the arena to critical comments from their less than complimentary home support.
The Christmas and New Year games continue to come thick and fast with four more to come in the next twelve days the players fitness will be tested and I am sure that every fit player in the squad will get game time but this group are all a tight knit team with a never say die attitude that will ensure that every side that comes up against them will certainly know that they have been in a game.
Final Score : Tamworth 1 St Ives Town 2
Goals : Newman 10, Ward 29
Team : Conway, Wallis, De’ath, Sundire, Cartwright, Jarvis Wilson (Jackson 89), Bailey (Baker 79), Parker (capt), Newman (Dylan Wilson 71), Kelly, Ward
Unused subs : Seymour-Shove
Supporters man of the match : Ty Ward
Attendance : 593
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Gemma Thompson
|December 22, 2018||15:00||Evo-Stik League South - Premier Division Central||2018-19|
|Club||1st Half||Final Score|
|St Ives Town||2||2|