St Ives Town 3 Soham Town Rangers 1
Date: Friday 14th July 2017
Kick Off: 7:45pm
Competition: Pre-Season Friendly
Ground Address: ProEdge Westwood Road, St Ives, Cambs, PE27 6DT
The Ives opened their per-season with a Friday night encounter against the Rymans League North, Greens and unlike last season’s pre-season encounter with the same opposition it proved a very entertaining evening.
Thanks to the new watering system and the hard work of the ground staff it was a lush, green, pitch that awaited both sides with the Pro-Edge playing surface looking as good as it has probably ever done at this time of year in spite of a dry spring and early summer.
As is always the case at this time of year these games are seen as an opportunity to improve the player’s fitness and get them some useful pitch time. With that in mind manager Ricky Marheineke took the opportunity to use all 21 fit players in his squad and played out the last fifteen minutes with probably the youngest first team side the Ives have ever fielded. This included a sixteen year old keeper and four outfield players under the age of eighteen.
With the visitors already having played a pre-season game it was expected that they would be first into their stride. However the first shot of the game was delivered by Ives debutant Lewis Hilliard who was played into space on the edge of the box by a clever back heel from Danny Kelly after only two minutes. Hilliard chose to take his shot on early, but only succeeded in firing it straight in the arms the grateful keeper.
However the hosts repeated a failing that they had on a few to many occasions last season as the gifted their visitors an opening goal only five minutes later. Peter Maina got down the left and delivered a low cross which keeper Tim Trebes only succeeded in parrying straight into the path of Ashley Bankole eight yards out and he could not believe his luck as he simply rolled the ball into the empty net.
Ives were quick to react to this setback and went close to an equaliser on ten minutes as they broke at pace following a Soham corner. Tom McGowan picked up the ball just outside his own box and strode forward before threading a perfect ball through the right channel to put James Hall clear. The keeper came to meet him and blocked his initial effort. Jimmy Hartley following up was unlucky to see his goal bound effort deflected wide by a covering defender.
The home side were getting well on top and winning a series of free kicks deep in the Greens half. The closest they came from one of these was a Kelly effort from 30 yards on 17 minutes that dipped viciously over the wall, and beat the keeper, but only scraped the crossbar on its way behind.
Ives new strike force were looking very mobile and creating holes in the visitors back line. Only two minutes after Kelly’s effort a swift interchange of passes involving Hartley and Hilliard on the left saw the latter play overlapping full back Jordan Jarrold into an excellent position to deliver a cross. The young full back’s driven effort took a wicked deflection and dipped over the keeper, but bounced off the top of the cross bar to safety.
Hartley went close again midway through the half as he won a battle with his marker to get to a McGowan clip to the corner of the box. He cut in and curled his right foot effort inches wide of the far post with the keeper again scrambling to cover.
It seems that this season Ives have a whole host of people keen to get on free kicks around the box and on 28 minutes it was Hartley’s turn. He fired his effort from the left corner of the box over the wall and hit the target, but the effort proved a comfortable catch for the agile keeper.
Just as it was beginning to look like the visitor’s would go to the break in front Ives carved out a leveller from another flowing move at pace this time down the right. Tiago Dias played the ball into the feet of Kelly who in turn played it into the path of Hall racing away down the touchline. He got to the bye line before cutting in and laying back the perfect ball into the path of Hilliard arriving at pace in the centre. The classy Hilliard did the rest slamming the ball home from six yards.
Having got level seven minutes before the break the Ives were almost undone again just seconds before the half time whistle. The Greens centre forward chased a hopeful ball down the centre and managed to get to it ahead of skipper Charlie De’ath and his keeper. The striker’s toe poked effort looped over the stranded Trebes, but fortunately drifted just wide of the far post.
Manager Marheineke made seven changes at half time whilst their opponents only made a couple. But it the hosts who continued to enjoy the majority of possession and move the ball around well. The returning Phil Draycott almost put Ives in front five minutes after the break as he delivered a low free kick into the near post where De’ath cleverly dummied it. The Greens keeper only managed to block the ball with his legs right on the goal line and as a defender went to hack the ball clear it rebounded off Ben Seymour-Shove straight into the grateful arms of the prone custodian.
However Draycott was not to be denied just after the hour as he served up the goal of the night firing the hosts in front with a thirty five yard pile driver that arrowed into the top corner of the net before the keeper moved a muscle.
Marheineke continued to ring the changes introducing two more seventeen year olds for their first team debuts and sixteen year old Shay Griffiths came on to replace Tim Trebes between the sticks. Young Griffiths was called into action to preserve Ives lead eight minutes from time as he had to plunge to his left to smother a low drive from a Greens substitute cutting in from the left.
Dubi Ogbonna put the result beyond doubt three minutes from time with an excellent turn and shot into the bottom corner of the net after he had skilfully taken down a cross from the left from hard working triallist Grant Robins.
This is very early days, but the new squad showed tremendous promise, especially going forward and those that missed out tonight should seize the opportunity to get along and see this new look side as soon as possible, they will not be disappointed.
Final Score : St Ives Town 3 Soham Town Rangers 1
Goals : Hilliard 37, Draycott 62, Ogbonna 87
St Ives team : Trebes (Griffiths 75), Longden (Short 45), Jarrold (Markham 66), De’ath (capt), Moyes (Polhos 61), McGowan (Torkornoo 45) , Dias (Seymour-Shove 45), Hilliard (Clark 45), Hall (Ogbonna 45), Kelly (Robins 45), Hartley (Draycott 45)
Attendance : 101
Match Report by Nigel Howlett