Chesham United vs St Ives Town
Date: Tuesday 9th August 2016
Kick Off: 7:45pm
Competition: Southern League Premier Division
Ground Address: The Meadow, Amy Lane, Chesham, HP5 1NE
The Ives first road trip at step three proved very much a learning experience for the newcomers as they met a Generals side who have been at this level for six years and looked very much a club and a team that every new boy at this level can hope to aspire to.
The visitors started slowly and were punished after only eight minutes as a high cross from the right by Brett Longden was spilled under pressure by Oli Sutton. The ball was scrambled out to the left, but was instantly delivered back into the middle by Dave Pearce. The dangerous Ryan Blake had found a little space and that was all he needed as he powered home a well directed header from eight yards giving Sutton no chance to redeem his error.
Prior to this point the home side had been looking very sharp and moving the ball around quickly using the full width of the pitch with Pearce and captain Bruce Wilson both sticking to their respective touch lines. They provided a guaranteed out ball for the Generals every time. But despite this pressure the Ives back line looked like weathering the early storm until the unfortunate mistake.
Strangely enough conceding the goal seemed to settle the Ives a little and they began to come more into the game as the half progressed. Josh Dawkin was looking dangerous on the left and on 18 minutes he tricked his way past Longden only to be pulled back by the struggling defender. Ben Seymour-Shove delivered a curling free kick to the far post where Harry O’Malley rose highest, but failed to direct his header on target under pressure from Darren Purse.
Ives came closest to an equaliser only three minutes later as a clip forward by O’Malley was skilfully chested down into the path of Tom McGowan by Buster Harradine. McGowan’s first time crack from 25 yards arrowed inches past Ashlee Jones left hand post with the tall custodian looking on.
Having enjoyed a good period through the middle of the first half the visitors suddenly found themselves under pressure again for the last six minutes of the period as the Generals camped around the Ives box and clocked up four corners in quick succession. The first corner on 39 minutes was scrambled away at the expense of a second. The second was well met at the near post by Jordan Jarrold, but his headed clearance fell to the feet of Wilson 25 yards from goal. The tricky winger sidestepped the attempt to close him down a rattled the boards with a well struck drive just outside Sutton’s left hand post.
The Generals went even closer to increasing their advantage from the next corner only one minute later. Charlie De’ath’s headed clearance fell to Benji Crilley just outside the box. Crilley steered a low drive through the crowded goalmouth that was heading just inside an unguarded post and was only just turned around by the outstretched fingertips of Sutton who had seen it late and plunged to his left to produce an excellent save.
The final corner of the half only one minute from the break produced another shaky moment for Sutton as he again spilled the ball under heavy pressure. Once again his defence rallied around and hacked the ball clear as far as Pearce who hit a rising drive from 25 yards that Sutton was pleased to see clear his crossbar.
The second half started in almost identical fashion to the first with Ives conceding a second in needless fashion only four minutes in. O’Malley pulled back Drew Roberts just outside the box on the left to concede an unnecessary free kick with Liam McDevitt covering. Pearce delivered the perfect hanging free kick beyond the far post where Sam Youngs arrived at pace to power home a header past the helpless Sutton.
Ives manager Ricky Marheineke made a double change on the hour with Sam Ives coming on as a straight replacement for the somewhat lacklustre Andrew Phillips who had not looked match fit after his lay off. The second part of the change was a little bolder as centre back Lee Chaffey replaced wide man Seymour-Shove. This allowed the visitors to go three at the back pushing forward full backs O’Malley and Jarrold.
This had the instant effect of nullifying the Generals wide men who now had to cover back to help out their defenders. The Ives now began to enjoy better possession in the home half of the pitch with Jarrold and Dawkin particularly combining well on the left to cause the home side a few worries. Dawkin was brought down 30 yards from goal on the left on 66 minutes and picked himself up to curl in the free kick. McDevitt won the ball in the air at the far post, but his header was blocked. Ives latched onto the loose ball and fired in a goal bound effort from just inside the box that was similarly blocked away.
Dawkin was again involved three minutes later as he linked up with O’Malley on the right before delivering another teasing cross that the towering Purse won in the air, but this time Jarrold latched onto the loose ball on the edge of the box. However the young full back snatched at the effort and fired over from a good position.
Jarrold and Dawkin continued to probe on the left and in another bold move Marheineke replaced the tiring O’Malley with winger Joe Carden. But despite huffing and puffing the visitors never looked like blowing down the General’s house in the remaining 20 minutes. Their closest effort was a curled shot over the top from De’ath after a corner had been headed out to him.
Verdict on the first away trip and first defeat of the season was that we ran into a very well organised, powerful, side who had a game plan and executed it well. Two pacey wide men who were always available as an out ball. If they fail to pick up the ball a throw in was equally acceptable as they had a thrower who could deliver to the six yard box. This was topped off by a quick and powerful centre forward who will be a handful for anyone. A very simple, but effective, style of football.
On the positive side the Ives coped well with the majority of what was thrown at them and looked pretty solid at the back. If Tom McGowan’s strike had flown in mid way through the first half it may have been a different story. But sadly on the evening we failed to force the keeper into a single save. A little more composure around the opposition box looks essential.
Josh Dawkin claimed the supporter’s man of the match award as he was constantly involved and looked the most likely threat throughout.
St Ives team : Sutton, O’Malley (Carden 79), Jarrold, De’ath (capt), McDevitt, Higgs, Seymour-Shove (Chaffey 61), McGowan, Phillips (Ives 61), Harradine, Dawkin
Unused subs : Sinclair, Clayton
Goals : none
Man of the Match : Josh Dawkin
Final Score : Chesham United 2 St Ives Town 0
Attendance : 302