Chippenham Town 2 St Ives Town 0
Date: Saturday 22th April 2017
Kick Off: 3pm
Competition: Southern League Premier Division
Ground Address: Hardenhuish Park, Bristol Road, Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN14 6LR
The Ives came to the home of League Champions Chippenham for their final League game of the season with two aims in mind. Firstly to be the fly in the ointment at the Bluebirds championship party and second to keep a clean bill of health ahead of next week’s cup final.
Sadly they failed on both counts falling behind to an early David Pratt strike and then conceding a second on 25 minutes. But both goals and unfortunately the entire occasion was completely overshadowed in the worst possible sense by a horrendous injury to Josh Dawkin three minutes before half time. The double leg fracture received by Dawkin occurred in a reckless challenge from Chippenham’s skipper Greg Tinkle that the referee somehow did not even deem a foul.
Ives medical team of Liam Peaks and Gemma Smith, ably assisted by Marina Howlett and Jack Bradshaw made things as comfortable as possible for the unfortunate Dawkin during the 50 minute wait for an appropriate ambulance to arrive. When the game eventually restarted the heart had gone out of both sides and the remaining 48 minutes were little more than a training game with a number of players understandably looking like they did not want to be on the pitch.
The day had started on a much more upbeat note as the Ives formed a guard of honour for their hosts to acknowledge their status as champions. The home side then set off at a high tempo in their quest to achieve a record points haul for the Division. Pratt was quick to close down an attempted clearance from keeper Tim Trebes after only three minutes and the rebound off the speedy Bluebirds striker went only inches wide of the post with a much relieved Trebes looking on.
However the lively Pratt was not to be denied for long and he scored a spectacular opener only five minutes later as a Jake Andrews long throw was flicked on at the near post and acrobatically knocked past Trebes by Pratt’s overhead kick.
To their credit Ives responded well taking the game to their lofty opponents. An in-swinging Ben Seymour-Shove free kick on 12 minutes caused concern as it curled across the host’s goalmouth. But unfortunately the ball evaded all three Ives players arriving at the back post and floated to safety.
Home keeper Darren Chitty was called into his first action of the day four minutes later. Danny Kelly was clattered by Will Richards 25 yards from goal. The big striker picked himself up and fired the free kick over the wall. But Chitty was alive to the effort and held the stinging drive at the second attempt.
The Bluebirds are the divisions leading scorers and a lot of their goals have come from good dead ball delivery into the opposition box. Ives were undone for the second time in the afternoon in just such a fashion on 25 minutes. Ives defence failed to deal with a long free kick from just inside the home half. The ball fell on the edge of the box. Matt Smith was onto it in a flash worked himself a little space and fired a low left foot drive into the bottom corner of the net past an unsighted Trebes.
Once again Ives tried to find a route back into the game and a slip on the half way line by Richards allowed Kelly to rob him and get clear with Peter Clark alongside him. Unfortunately the final ball to try and put Kelly in for a shot on goal was a little too heavy and keeper Chitty was smartly off his line to claim the ball.
Kelly was proving a handful for Richards and the Bluebirds defender again bundled him over to concede a free kick 35 yards from goal ten minutes before the break. Bradshaw carefully lined up the free kick, but only succeeded in blasting it into the host’s four man wall.
The home side had a shout for a penalty on 40 minutes as Smith robbed Jordan Jarrold in the middle of the park and sprayed the ball out to Pratt who had drifted into space on the right. Andrews was attacking his low driven cross into the box when he appeared to run into Charlie De’ath by the penalty spot and the pair went down in a heap with the Bluebirds fans screaming foul. The ball ran on to James Guthrie who fired well over the top from a good position.
Two minutes later the unfortunate injury to Dawkin occurred as he tried to wriggle his way into the home box in a central position. The challenge was heavy and it was instantly clear from the reaction of players close to the incident that the injury was serious. The medical team’s reaction was brilliant with all three physios present on the scene in seconds and Bradshaw equally quick to comfort his colleague. Senior medical cover Howlett was also very quickly present and an ambulance summoned within minutes.
Unfortunately the ambulance service reaction was not as good and it was an hour before the unfortunate player was transferred to hospital and the game resumed. We then had the very odd situation of playing three minutes before the half time whistle.
However this break did give both sides a little longer to reflect on what had occurred and although both sets of players returned to the field for the second half it was clear that the game had understandably almost become a non contact sport.
Ives were not really switched on at the restart and had an assistant’s flag to thank for saving them from conceding a penalty only thirty seconds after the kick off. Andrews went down under a tackle from De’ath and referee Simon Wales blew for the spot kick before realising that his assistant had his flag up against the Bluebird’s striker.
As previously stated there was little incident in the entire second half with only few items worthy of note. The first was an Andrews strike from 25 yards on the hour that deflected off Bradshaw and needed a good catch high to his left from Trebes.
Ives responded with a break down the right eight minutes later that saw Seymour-Shove deliver a teasing cross into the box which was only half cleared to Jarrold who hit a rasping drive from just outside the box that was unfortunately straight at Chitty who held on well.
Trebes had to pull off another save to keep out a low drive from Pratt on 75 minutes.
Substitute Jamie Short did very well to bravely put in a blocking tackle on Pratt as he got on the end of a low Smith cross from the right nine minutes from time.
Charlie Day went close to grabbing a late consolation goal as the game entered added time. He picked up the ball in the centre of the park and sprayed a well weighted pass out to Seymour-Shove on the right. His cross into the centre was knocked down by young Tiago Dias and Day who had continued his run got in a snap shot which was blocked by Jon Beeden.
The Bluebirds went on to collect the impressive League Champions trophy on the pitch after the final whistle. But I am afraid that none of the Ives contingent felt like celebrating with them as our thoughts were very much with Dawkin in his hospital bed. News came through during the return journey that the break may be even worse than was hoped and will require pinning and plating. Josh is looking forward to a long period on the sidelines and the Club will I am sure be looking to put on a number of events to help him out. Watch out for these and please give generously.
St Ives team: Trebes, Bradshaw (Short 78), Jarrold, De’ath (capt), McDevitt, McGowan, Seymour-Shove, Day, Kelly (Dias 65), Clark, Dawkin (Ogbonna 42),
Unused subs: none
Supporters Man of the Match: Whole team for just getting through the day
Final Score: Chippenham Town 2 St Ives Town 0