First Team Result St Ives Town 0 Basingstoke Town 1

St Ives Town 0 Basingstoke Town 1

Date: Saturday 25th March 2017
Kick Off: 3pm
Competition: Southern League Premier Division
Ground Address: ProEdge Westwood Road, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, PE27 6DT
Match Day Sponsor: Laser SOS Group
Match Ball Sponsor: Miracle Clinic

This was a true end of the season game between two middle of the table teams played out on a hard pitch with a strong breeze blowing to make it difficult to play much flowing football. The game in which both goalkeepers between them only had one save to make from open play was always likely to be decided by a dead ball situation and so it proved as Matt Partridge reacted quickest to stab home the loose ball after Joe Gater had headed Sam Deadfield’s free kick onto the crossbar after 65 minutes.

With leading scorer Josh Dawkin away Ives manager Ricky Marheineke was pleased to welcome back a hopefully fit again Dubi Ogbonna. Unfortunately the talisman striker played little part in the action as his knee injury recurred on the hard ground. He was limping after fifteen minutes, but continued for a further twenty minutes before being replaced by Jack Higgs.

Although only one place separated the two sides in the table prior to this fixture the visiting Dragons started off with the motivation of a side in a much more perilous position and took the game to their hosts from the outset. But as has been so often the case this season Ives back line held firm and goalkeeper Tim Trebes was only called upon to collect three high balls into the box during a first ten minutes dominated by the visitors.

Ives first real sortie into Dragons territory came after ten minutes as Ogbonna and Tom McGowan exchanged passes with the latter bursting into the box only to try and pick out a team mate in the centre rather than taking on the shooting opportunity. The intended square ball was cut out by Dragon’s skipper David Ray and the chance was gone.

Ives skipper Charlie De’ath almost caught out his opposite number three minutes later as he took a long throw that drifted over Day’s head to give Ben Seymour-Shove chance to get a run on goal. He took the opportunity to go for goal, but his rising drive from a narrow angle was held by a well positioned visitor’s keeper Kieran Greene.

In spite of Ives forays into the Dragon’s box it was the visitors who continued to look more threatening with Sam Deadfield the man pulling the strings in the centre of the park and delivering some dangerous dead ball kicks into the home box. His 15th minute in-swinging free kick from the left was flicked on by Aaron Jarvis and only just evaded team mates arriving at the back post.

Deadfield also delivered an in-swinging corner on 21 minutes that deflected off Jordan Jarrold at the near post and presented a chance for Gater who made good contact inside the six yard box, but only succeeded in clearing the crossbar with his header.

Home keeper Tim Trebes was his side’s saviour two minutes later as he stayed big and bravely blocked a fierce drive from Jarvis who had capitalised on a slip by Lee Chaffey who had allowed a high ball down the centre of the park to bounce over his head leaving the Dragon’s centre forward a run into the Ives box.

Ives were still struggling to create much from open play, but did create a half chance from a free kick in 26th minute. Seymour-Shove delivered the kick deep beyond the far post where Liam McDevitt kept the ball alive. He side stepped Marcus Johnson-Shuster to get in a cross that keeper Greene acrobatically pushed away. Seymour-Shove picked up the loose ball and clipped it back to the far post where the ball rebounded off a defender and fell at the feet of McDevitt. But the big centre back snatched at his chance and fired high and wide.

Trebes was again forced into action to preserve the parity in the score line six minutes from the break. Nana Owusu tried to go past McDevitt just outside the box forcing the Ives defender into a rash challenge that brought the offender a yellow card and gave the visitors a free kick in a very dangerous position. Owusu picked himself up and went for goal with the kick. The ball took a big deflection off the wall and looked to be heading for the top corner only for Ives stopper to hurl himself full length to his left to finger tip it to safety.

Ives started the second period with a strengthening breeze at their backs. This breeze almost created an opportunity for the home side only three minutes in as a long Trebes punt slid off the head of a fast retreating Gater and just bounced wide of Greene’s left hand post with the keeper scrambling to cover the ball. The resulting corner was headed clear to Jack Bradshaw 25 yards from goal and he hit a crisp goal bound effort that was bravely blocked by a Dragon’s defender.

The home side enjoyed probably their best period of the game for the next twenty minutes as they built up some pressure on the visitor’s goal, but were still unable to force Greene into a real save. The Dragon’s stopper put some pressure on himself as he struck a poor goal kick straight to Danny Kelly 35 yards from goal on 56 minutes. Kelly cleverly picked out a run from Jarrold cutting in from the left. The speedy wide man struck a shot from 20 yards that was deflected for a corner. This was the first of three Ives corners in quick succession, all delivered into the danger zone, but all kept out by the resolute Day and his colleagues.

Just as Ives were looking capable of building up a head of steam they fell behind on 65 minutes. A free kick was needlessly conceded deep in Ives territory wide on the left. Deadfield seized the opportunity to deliver a dangerous cross into the Ives box which somehow evaded everyone and arrived on the head of an unmarked Gater at the far post. He beat Trebes with his header back across goal, but the ball bounced down off the crossbar. Time, and the Ives defence, all seemed to freeze as Matt Partridge reacted first to slam home the loose ball from close range.

Manager Marheineke shuffled his cards to try and find a route back into the game quickly sacrificing the hard working Tom McGowan for the pace of Kasey Douglas, moving Charlie De’ath forward to join the attack and going three at the back. But even with extra players forward Ives were still struggling to create any real opportunities.

The nearest to another goal in the following period came at the other end on 74 minutes as Owusu got away on the left and delivered a low cross to the near post where Jarvis arriving at pace made good contact, but side footed his close range effort inches wide.

Marheineke’s final throw of the dice came with twelve minutes to go as he threw on scholars leading scorer Matt Wright for the tiring Kelly and Ives best chance in the remaining time fell to the young striker as De’ath challenged Day for a corner from the left and the ball fell at the feet of Wright on the six yard line. But he is lacking game time at this level and his reaction to the loose ball was a split second slower than the Dragons defenders and the chance was gone.

The final play worthy of note on the day was a decent shout for a penalty from the Dragons as tricky substitute Aaron Redford managed to wriggle his way past Jarrold cutting in from the right only to be hauled down by the young Ives defender as he entered the box. Referee Darren Knox was right on the spot and waved away the strikers claims.

The visitors played out the remaining time without further scares to claim some revenge for a defeat at Ark Cancer Charity Stadium in December. Manager Marheineke now has the seemingly tough task of motivating his players as the season begins to wind down. But they must remember that there is a Cup Final to be played at the end of April and places for the side must still be fought for. Jack Bradshaw won the supporters man of the match accolade for showing the required fighting spirit throughout this encounter. The other contenders were his three fellow defenders, goalkeeper Tim Trebes and Tom McGowan all of whom showed similar character.

St Ives team : Trebes, Bradshaw, De’ath (capt), Chaffey, McDevitt, McGowan (Douglas 69), Seymour-Shove, Clark, Kelly (Wright 78), Ogbonna (Higgs 36), Jarrold

Unused subs : Short

Goals :  None

Supporters Man of the Match : Jack Bradshaw

Final Score :  St Ives Town 0 Basingstoke Town 3

Attendance  :  248