Basingstoke Town 0 St Ives Town 2
Date: Saturday 3rd December 2016
Kick Off: 3pm
Competition: Southern League Premier Division
Ground Address: The Ark Cancer Charity Stadium, The Camrose, Western Way, Basingstoke, Hampshire, RG22 6EZ
Ives came to the Dragons lair where the home side had recorded six wins on the bounce and put in probably their best performance of the season to extinguish the Dragons fire to take home a deserved three points.
The visitors struck early as Dubi Ogbonna bundled home the first corner of the game after only three minutes. Jack Higgs delivered his flag kick head height at the near post where it evaded everyone and Ogbonna reacted like the natural goal scorer he is to knock it home off his thigh at the back stick.
The home side tried to return the compliment with their first corner four minutes later, but David Ray’s near post flick to Michael Atkinson in-swinger flashed across the face of the goal to safety without anyone able to get a decisive touch.
The Dragons again came close to a leveller on 20 minutes as a Charlie Kennedy free kick from the right was flicked on into the goalmouth and headed over from close range by Joe Gater. Nana Owusu was proving a handful on the left for the home side and he played in Atkinson on 34 minutes, but the striker failed to hit the target from a good position inside the box.
Having survived this scare unscathed the Ives went straight down the other end and doubled their advantage as Ogbonna, Danny Kelly, Tom McGowan and Josh Dawkin all combined in an excellent move down the right that ended with Dawkin playing in an inviting low cross that Kelly side footed home at the far post.
In an effort to wrestle the initiative back the home side made one substitution on the half hour and another at half time. One of these substitutes Aaron Redford wasted a golden opportunity to get the Dragons back into the game as he failed to hit the target from 30 yards with goal keeper Tim Trebes stranded outside of his box having misjudged a run for his line to try and cut out a through ball on 51 minutes.
Again Ives responded well to this scare as Morgan Penfold, who arguably had his best game for the visitors, won the ball in the middle of the park and cut in from the left. He played a one two with Ogbonna and should really have gone for the shot, but he tried to play the ball back to Ogbonna and the chance was gone.
Kelly bravely created another opportunity for the visitors on 56 minutes as he challenged the home keeper Alex Tokarczyk for a high ball as a punt from Trebes was allowed to bounce into the Dragons box. The keeper managed to paw the ball off Kelly’s head but it fell to Ogbonna on the edge of the box and he was only denied by a last ditch block on the line by covering defender Ray.
The Dragons were enjoying a lot of possession, but were not hurting the Ives as their passes lacked penetration and were mainly being played across the face the visitors defence. On the other hand the Ives looked dangerous every time they broke McGowan was another man having an excellent match in the centre of the park and he came within inches in sewing up the game 20 minutes from time. He won the ball on the half way line and strode forward playing a one two with Ogbonna that saw him clear into the box. He beat the keeper to the ball but his flick past the diving Tokarczyk rolled inches wrong side of the post.
The visitors came close to the elusive third again two minutes later as substitute Ben Seymour-Shove curled in a deep free kick from the left that picked out Harry O’Malley at the far post. His powerful headed beat the keeper but cannoned to safety off the cross bar.
This was a golden period for the Ives as they again went close to increasing their lead on 74 minutes. McGowan won yet another challenge and fed the ball down the right to Seymour-Shove who floated in a cross over the head of Ray that Ogbonna skilfully brought down. The keeper bravely plunged in at his feet to block the effort, but the ball rebounded to Higgs on the edge of the box. He tried to pick his spot, but Ray was in the right place to head the shot of the line.
Following this escape it was the Dragons turn to break at pace and Redford played in Owusu cutting in from the left. Admirable Ives skipper Lee Chaffey put his body on the line as he hurled himself in to block the tricky winger’s shot at point blank range.
Again play swung to the other end where Ogbonna was denied the second time in quick succession by a brave block from Tokerczyk. Seymour-Shove was again the provider delivering a floated cross from the right that Ogbonna brought down on his chest, but the keeper plunged in bravely to block the effort in almost identical fashion to two minutes earlier.
Having failed to grab the important third Ives anticipated heavy pressure from the home side in the remaining 15 minutes, but thanks to the all round hard work of every visiting player this did not really materialise and the Dragons efforts became more desperate as the game wore on.
Their only chances to grab a life line into the game came on 82 minutes when Robert Atkinson forced his way down the left before pulling the ball back to Sam Deadfield whose crisp shot beat Trebes but was headed off the line by well positioned covering defender Jordan Jarrold. Their home side’s final effort came two minutes from time as Marcus Johnson-Schuster sprayed a cross field ball to the dangerous Owusu who fired in an effort from the edge of the box which forced Trebes into his first real save of the second period low to his right. Ives played out the remaining time without further scares to claim and excellent three points on the road that moved them up four places in the table to 16th.
This was a day when every player put in a huge shift and stand-in manager Jack Cassidy (with Ricky Marheineke at the wedding of a close family member) must also take a lot of praise. There were many contenders for the man of the match accolade, but the behind the goal group picked out a deserved winner who covered every blade of grass and was still going strong at the end. Step forward Tom McGowan
St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, Jarrold, Chaffey (capt), McDevitt, Higgs, Dawkin (Seymour-Shove 63), McGowan, Kelly, Ogbonna (Bradshaw 78), Penfold (Coulson 82)
Unused subs : Cunniff, Moyes
Goals : Ogbonna 3, Kelly 35,
Supporters Man of the Match : Tom McGowan
Final Score : Basingstoke Town 0 St Ives Town 2
Attendance : 377