Banbury United 1 St IVes Town 0
Date: Saturday 25th February 2017
Kick Off: 3pm
Competition: Southern League Premier Division
Ground Address: The Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium, Station Approach, Banbury, Oxfordshire, OX16 5AB.
Whilst Tim Trebes grabbed the star man accolade for a commanding performance in goal it must also be said that this much improved all round performance saw Ives come within seconds of claiming a point from the home of the sixth placed Puritans and it could have been even better had not Josh Dawkin had a second half penalty saved by home keeper Jack Harding.
The visitors had a big boost ahead of this game as news came through that former fans favourite Peter Clark was bringing his silky skills back to the Pro Edge Stadium having parted company with St Neots. Clark came straight into the centre of midfield alongside Tom McGowan who had missed Tuesday’s defeat to Chesham. Other changes to the line up for that game included Jack Bradshaw moving to right back in place of Scott Sinclair, Danny Kelly replacing Jared Cunniff and Ben Seymour-Shove returning in place of Jordan Jarrold.
Clark was in the action early on as he closed down and blocked an attempted clearance by Jack Westbrook after only four minutes. The ball fell to Josh Dawkin 25 yards from goal. He struck a first time dipping volley that flew just past keeper Harding’s right hand post.
Even this early in the game Tom Winters the man playing wide left for Banbury was looking a threat. Only one minute later he seized the opportunity to take on Bradshaw on his outside and deliver the first of many dangerous crosses into the centre of the Ives box. Lee Chaffey dealt well with this one heading it over his own crossbar to concede a corner under pressure from Ricky Johnson.
Trebes was called upon to make his first save of the afternoon on ten minutes. Winters delivered another cross from the left that was a little deep on this occasion. Zac McEachran kept the ball alive beyond the far post. He laid the ball back to Jack Self 25 yards from goal. Self slid a perfect ball through the channel to put Conor McDonagh clear into the box. Trebes was swiftly off his line to block McDonagh’s well struck effort with his legs and Charlie De’ath completed the clearance.
Peterborough United loanee Kasey Douglas was again showing his pace and tenacity up front and he harried George Nash into a mistake on 21 minutes as he closed down and robbed the Puritans midfielder deep in his own half. Douglas fed the ball into the feet of Kelly on the edge of the box. But his attempt to feed the ball on to Ben Seymour-Shove in space on the left side of the box was cut out by Eddie Odhiambo. The home side broke straight up the other end a Chaffey again showed his experience with a perfectly timed block on a goal bound shot from Johnson from just inside the Ives box.
Banbury’s Oxford City loanee Winters was still causing the Ives defence problems. On 27 minutes he dropped deep to pick up a ball in the centre of the park and then ran at the Ives back line before attempting to play a one two with McEachran. Fortunately Trebes was alert to the danger and sprinted off his line to claim the ball just ahead of the Puritans man.
The home side continued to deliver the ball into the Ives box from wide positions at every opportunity, but they found Trebes in commanding form coming from his line and claiming the high ball confidently at every opportunity. He was unable to come for a well delivered cross from the right by overlapping full back Odhiambo on 37 minutes and although Johnson managed to win the header at the far post he failed to hit the target under pressure from Liam McDevitt.
Ives were playing their part in an entertaining first period and they created a good opportunity of their own four minutes before the break. De’ath and Douglas combined well down the left before the youngster fed the ball into the feet of Seymour-Shove inside the box. His attempt to turn was thwarted by Westbrook, but the centre backs scrambled clearance arrived at the feet of Kelly just outside the D. The big striker hit the ball first time and his on target effort struck the arm of Nash. The excellent referee Tom Reeves was right on the spot and awarded the free kick inches outside the box. Bradshaw went for power with the kick, but failed to find a way through the Puritans five man wall.
The final shot before the break came from the all action Douglas as a De’ath long throw was knocked back to him 25 yards out. The youngster struck his effort well, and although the ball reared up off the turf, keeper Harding made the save look easy.
There was an end to end start to the second period as both sides went close in quick succession. The Puritans first corner of the half on 50 minutes was half cleared to Nash 25 yards from goal. He hit a screamer through the crowded goalmouth that Trebes did well to see and even better to save away to his right. The ball was kept alive by McDonagh and his clip back into the centre was headed over from a good position by Johnson.
Play swung straight to the other end where pressure by Douglas won Ives a corner. Seymour-Shove’s corner was delivered to the near post where McDevitt rose to power in a header that struck a defender and was scrambled away. Again play swung to the opposite end of the pitch where Winters played the ball down the right to McDonagh and his clip into the centre found Johnson who directed his header on target only to be denied by an excellent one handed save low to his right by Trebes.
Ives spurned a huge opportunity to get in front just after the hour. Dawkin found space on the left and fed the ball into the feet of Kelly inside the box. He dummied to go one way and then turned the other only to be brought down by a clumsy challenge from Westbrook. Referee Reeves had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Dawkin stepped up to take the penalty and hit the ball well to Harding’s right, but the young keeper guessed correctly and flung himself low to palm the ball away. McDevitt again won the resulting corner at the near post, but this time directed his header just over the top.
The home side made a substitution on 63 minutes replacing McDonagh with Manny Duku and Duku almost made an instant impact as within ten seconds of entering the park he got on the end of a deep free kick by Winters. His free header at the back post was blocked by Trebes who completed the save by smothering the loose ball just ahead of Johnson. Trebes made a more comfortable save three minutes later as Johnson got on the end of a McEachran cross but directed his header from eight yards straight at the Ives stopper.
Although the home side were enjoying the majority of the possession in the second period the Ives defence remained resolute and the visitor’s also looked dangerous on the break. Kelly took in a clip into the box by Bradshaw on 70 minutes and turned well away from his marker to create a shooting opportunity, but failed to make a clean contact with his left footed effort and Harding made a comfortable save.
McGowan took one for the team on 75 minutes picking up a yellow card as he was forced to pull back McEachran as the midfielder looked like sprinting into space. The resulting free kick was delivered to the back post by Winters where McDevitt did well to stretch and head the ball off the head of Johnson. The resulting corner was Banbury’s thirteenth of the afternoon and it almost proved unlucky for Trebes as he just failed to cling onto the ball under heavy pressure, but he recovered well to bravely drop on the loose ball amongst the flying boots.
Ives last chance of the afternoon was created by the body movement of Kelly ten minutes from time as he received a throw in from De’ath on the left edge of the Puritans box. He cleverly twisted and turned past Westbrook and arrived at the bye line with the ball at his feet. His attempted pull back was blocked by a defender, but the ball ran onto McGowan who struck a first time effort from 25 yards that flew inches wide of keeper Harding’s right hand post.
It seemed that Ives were going to hold out to claim a valuable away point as the clock ticked into the last minute of the ninety, but Puritans man of the match Winters had other ideas. An Ives break away was broken up at the edge of the home box and the ball was quickly fed out to the wide man. Once more he delivered an early teasing cross to the back post which was just to far out for Trebes to come and claim. Johnson timed his leap to perfection and rose highest at the far post to direct his header down and just inside Trebes left hand post past the despairing dive of the keeper to break Ives hearts and send the home fans away happy.
This defeat was cruel on an Ives side that played well, defending solidly and creating chances at the other end. The performance shows how far we have come this season as the disappointment at not taking a point from a visit to a side who may yet get into the play off shakeup really showed. Tim Trebes claimed the man of the match award for his commanding goalkeeping display topped off by a number of excellent saves. But he was pushed close by centre backs Lee Chaffey and Liam McDevitt and both full backs who coped well with tricky wide men. The midfield pairing of Tom McGowan and Peter Clark also looked likely to work well. The only thing lacking on the day was a finish, but Danny Kelly improved as the game went on and the sheer tenacity of Kasey Douglas looks certain to bring reward soon.
St Ives team : Trebes, Bradshaw, De’ath (capt), Chaffey, McDevitt, McGowan, Seymour-Shove, Clark, Kelly, Douglas (Cunniff 85), Dawkin
Unused subs : O’Malley, Jarrold, Higgs
Goals : none
Supporters Man of the Match : Tim Trebes
Final Score : Banbury United 1 St Ives Town 0
Attendance : 334