St Ives Town 1 MK DONS 1
Date: Saturday 16th July 2016
Kick Off: 4:00pm
Competition: Pre-Season Friendly
Ground Address: ProEdge Westwood Road, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, PE27 6DT
It is hard to know what to expect when you are second up in a double header against a Football League club. But MK Dons did St Ives Town the great honour of fielding a strong eleven against them with six players with considerable experience in the Football League in their starting line up.
A little early nervousness in the Ives ranks was not helped when the Dons went in front in only the 13th minute. Home skipper Charlie De’ath brought down the speedy Peter Kioso 20 yards from goal. Dons new signing Ed Upson showed his pedigree as he curled a precise free kick over the wall and into Tim Trebes top right hand corner giving the Ives stopper no chance.
However the visitor’s lead was short lived as only two minutes later Jack Higgs slotted an almost identical free kick past keeper Charlie Burns. This time giving the keeper no chance, high to his left. The free kick had been awarded after Scott Sinclair had seized an opportunity to burst through a gap in the Dons defence and been unceremoniously brought to ground 25 yards out.
Home skipper De’ath was perhaps a little fortunate that this game was a friendly five minutes later as he got on the wrong side of Sam Nambe and was forced to pull the Dons striker back to prevent him getting away. In a League game the action would have brought him at least a caution and quite possibly an early bath. The resulting free kick from Ben Reeves was deflected wide by the wall.
Ives were certainly living with their illustrious opponents and making it very difficult for them to break down their defensive shape. The tireless Andrew Phillips was ploughing a lone furrow up front. But was, as ever, working his socks off and causing the Dons defence a few concerns. He came closest to putting the home side in front during the first period when he got on the end of a long Higgs free kick, but headed just wide on 36 minutes.
The Dons were looking the more likely to grab a second and went close twice just before the break. On 38 minutes George Williams played in Kioso down the right and the young striker hit a stinging shot that was well turned away at his near post by Trebes. The resulting corner was delivered deep and kept alive by Hugo Logar. His cross was met at the near post by Nambe who powered a header over the top from close range.
The second chance came right on the break as the overlapping Lewington delivered an inch perfect ball that picked out Upson arriving at the near post, but he inexplicably failed to hit the target with his free header from six yards.
The Dons best chance of the second period came in the opening seconds as Nambe was allowed to run at the defence. He unleashed a powerful swerving drive from 30 yards that Trebes held well diving to his right.
The only other half chance that the visitors managed in the second period came five minutes later when Trebes failed to hold on to a corner under pressure and he was thankful to his defenders by saving his blushes and hacking the ball away.
From this point the Ives began to create a little more and they began to look the more likely winners. On 56 minutes Phillips and Ben Seymour-Shove combined well to allow the Ives winger to deliver a low cross into the box that Upson was forced to turn away for a corner. The resulting corner was delivered deep by Josh Dawkin and Seymour-Shove found space beyond the far post to get a shot away that was comfortably saved by Burns.
Phillips also tried his luck from 25 yards only one minute later having been played into a little piece of space by a clever ball from Buster Harradine, but his rising effort was just inches to high.
The visitors made wholesale changes with 20 minutes to go bringing on a contingent of the youth squad. This might have been the signal for Ives to push forward and snatch the win. But although they continued to enjoy a good share of possession they were still struggling to create clear cut opportunities.
The tricky Guiy Mailacel, who had entered the fray at the same time as the Dons scholars, was as usual causing a few problems down the left. On 81 minutes he ghosted past his marker and delivered a beautifully flighted cross that was only inches over the head of Phillips in the centre.
The final opportunity of the afternoon came with three minutes to go and was created by a powerful run from another substitute Joe Carden. He powered his way down the right and delivered a driven low cross that was just deflected off the toe of Phillips by a stretching defender. The resulting corner came to nothing as did another won by Ives right on the whistle.
So an entertaining game ended with the honours even. This was a result the Ives can be proud of as the once again showed how hard they will be to break down as they matched their illustrious opponents for long periods of this game. The debut making Liam McDevitt looks a more than adequate replacement for Steve Gentle in all aspects of the game power, strength, reading of the game and organisational skills. Overall the Ives can take a lot of positives from this game and a very successful day and move on to the challenges ahead.
Final Score : St Ives Town 1 (Higgs 15) MK Dons 1 (Upson 13)
St Ives team : Trebes, Sinclair, Jarrold, De’ath, McDevitt (Moyes 69), Higgs (O’Malley 61), Seymour-Shove (Carden 61), Harradine (McGowan 61), Phillips, McGowan (Ives 45), Dawkin (Mailancel 69)
Attendance : 369