Biggleswade Town 3 St Ives Town 1
Date: Saturday 28th January 2017
Kick Off: 7:45pm
Competition: Southern League Premier Division
Ground Address: Langford Road, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, SG18 9JT
On paper this looked like a good time to visit the Waders with leading scorer Inih Effiong having just departed to take up a professional contract at Barrow and the Ives on a good run of results. But the prerequisite to getting a result in any game is that you must play well and unfortunately this was a game where Ives allowed their standards to drop. When that happens you expect to get punished and they were suitably put to the sword by an excellent second half come back from the home side.
The first half was a fairly turgid affair as both sides struggled to come to terms with the heavy pitch and tended to either leave passes short in the centre of the park, or over hit them in wide areas.
The first shot of the game did not arrive until 16th minute and then Rhys Hoenes’s effort from the edge of the box had all of the string taken out of it by Lee Chaffey to present a comfortable take for keeper Tim Trebes.
The only real action of the half came in a brief two minute spell just before the break. In 39th minute Dubi Ogbonna picked up a yellow card for leaving his foot in on Robbie Parker as the Waders defender attempted to clear. This perceived injustice suddenly sparked Ogbonna into life as he sprinted after a ball down the right and out muscled Evan Key before being pulled back by the Waders man who joined him in the book.
The resulting free kick was delivered into the box by Jack Higgs, Ogbonna got a flick on and the ball dropped into the box off a defender. The home side struggled to clear and the ball bounced around before arriving at the back post where the usually reliable Josh Dawkin failed to hit the target slicing his effort into the side netting from a narrow angle.
This near miss seemed to lift the visitors and they went in front from their next attack less than sixty seconds later. Danny Kelly was played in down the left by Mark Coulson and took the ball to the bye line before cleverly getting his head up and finding Dawkin in space by the penalty spot. Dawkin again miss hit his shot as the ball came to him through the mud. But this time he got lucky as the ball bobbled on to the feet of Ogbonna just inside the six yard box and with the Waders defenders vainly appealing for offside he calmly scooped the ball over keeper Ian Brown as the custodian tried to spread himself across the shot.
Having got themselves in front without really getting out of second gear we were all hoping that Ives would now have settled and could lift themselves out of their malaise and take the game to their opposition. However it was the home side who came out fired up for the second half and it only took them three minutes to get level. Connor Hall, Parker and Craig Daniel combined down the right. Before the latter played a one two with Callum Lewis on the edge of the box before beating Trebes on his near post with a powerful low drive.
Ogbonna who had picked up a knock in the first half was soon limping badly again and was replaced by Jack Bradshaw who had the unenviable distinction of picking up a booking less than sixty seconds after his introduction as he pulled back the dangerous Hall as he went past him in the centre circle.
The home side continued to look dangerous with Hall prominent in the middle of the park. Another foul on him in just inside the Ives half in 57th minute allowed Parker to deliver a free kick into the visitor’s box which they struggled to clear. The ball fell to Key who turned and hit an effort from the edge of the box that Trebes had to leap to his left to palm away.
At this point Ives had got a very low sun behind them and Higgs tried his luck with an effort from 30 yards that the capless keeper Brown did well to pick out and hold onto. Higgs was involved again three minutes later as he delivered another free kick into the Waders box that was half cleared to Chaffey on the edge and keeper Brown again did well clutching onto the Ives skipper’s low left foot drive.
Kelly was still battling hard and on 65 minutes he won the ball just inside the home sides half and played a ball down the left side for Ben Seymour-Shove to chase. Keeper Brown was quickly off his line, but his hurried clearance fell to ex Wader Coulson fully 40 yards from goal. He was on target with his effort which also came out of the sun. But keeper Brown was quick enough to deny his ex colleague and aided to see the incomer by the cap he had now acquired.
Having enjoyed a brief spell in the ascendency Ives were caught out by the pacey Waders front line and fell behind on 67 minutes. Hall was again involved as he picked out Jordan Patrick wide on the left. He sped down the line before delivering a ball to the far post where Hoenes had the freedom of the park and time to take a touch before hammering the ball past the exposed Trebes from twelve yards.
The home side should have doubled their advantage on 70 minutes as quick thinking by Patrick saw him catch out Ives defence again. A quick throw in from the left picked out Connor Vincent in space just inside the box. He played in a low cross to the feet of Daniel ten yards out. Fortunately for Ives the Waders skipper went for a first time finish and failed to hit the target when he probably had time to take a touch.
Having already brought on Scott Sinclair to replace a tiring Higgs on 73 minutes, manager Ricky Marheineke played his final card ten minutes from time as he brought on Club captain Charlie De’ath for defender Coulson and pushed him up front alongside Kelly and Dawkin in a 3-4-3 formation in an effort to chase the game.
This move almost worked only seconds later as Bradshaw and Sinclair combined on the right before the former delivered a low cross that was turned away for a corner at the near post by Lewis. The resulting flag kick was flicked on by Bradshaw and as the ball bounced into the box De’ath took a swing and missed it. It finally arrived at the back post where Liam McDevitt also failed to get a good contact and only succeeded in knocking it into the side netting.
The entertaining second half continued to swing end to end and the home side should probably have sewn up the points two minutes later as Hoenes and Patrick again combined well on the left before the latter picked out his skipped Daniel at the far post in space. The pin point cross picked him out perfectly and Daniel hit his effort well, but unfortunately for him straight at keeper Trebes who held on well at the second attempt.
Ives final opportunity to grab an equaliser came two minutes from time as a deep free kick by Seymour-Shove was only half cleared by Gavin Hoyte. The ball fell to Chaffey just outside the box and he hit a crisp low drive that fizzed through the crowd, but just brushed the outside of the post and thudded the fence with the unsighted keeper Brown no-where near it.
Having survived that scare the home side went straight up the other end and settled the issue as the speedy Hoenes was put clear by a ball over the top from the classy Hall. Chaffey made a valiant attempt to get the ball, but unfortunately coming in from behind he was always unlikely to get it cleanly and Hoenes went tumbling. Referee Ryan Whitaker was on the spot to award the penalty and give Chaffey a yellow card to add to his woes. Hall made no mistake from the spot sending Trebes the wrong way with a low shot to his right.
The Waders showed they knew how to kill the game from this position making two substitutions to break things up and keeping the ball by the corner flag to run down the remaining time and gain themselves a deserved victory.
The man of the match award was a tough one with no one playing up to the level they have performed over the recent good run. The heavy pitch and a lot of tough games may be taking their toll. But the award went to Danny Kelly who as always gave 100% and was involved in most of Ives good moves on what can be said was a bad day at the Office.
St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, Coulson (De’ath 80), Chaffey (capt), McDevitt, Higgs (Sinclair 73), Seymour-Shove, Cunniff, Ogbonna (Bradshaw 52), Kelly, Dawkin,
Unused subs : Jarrold
Goals : Ogbonna 41
Supporters Man of the Match : Danny Kelly
Final Score : Biggleswade Town 3 St Ives Town 1
Attendance : 225