Dunstable Town 4 St Ives Town 1
Date: Tuesday 13th September 2016
Kick Off: 3pm
Competition: Southern League Premier Division
Manager Ricky Marheineke must have been a little nervous about how much the unbelievable come back by Chippenham only four days earlier had knocked the confidence of his side.
In the early stages of this game he would not have worried at all as the Ives took the game to their third placed rivals with debutant Danny Kelly very much to the fore. The presence of Kelly alongside him also seemed to rejuvenate Andrew Phillips and the movement and strength of the pair certainly unsettled the Blues defence.
It came as no surprise that the visitors went in front from their third corner on 15 minutes. Jack Higgs swung the kick deep to the far post where Lee Chaffey rose highest to head the ball down into the six yard box. Phillips reacted first just beating home keeper Jack Smith to the ball and laying it back for Kelly to hammer home from eight yards. The corner had been won by the hard work of Phillips in chasing what looked like a lost cause into the corner flag and forcing Jhai Dhillon into an error.
Kelly came within millimetres of adding a second only two minutes later as Phillips and Dawkin again put pressure on the home defence and the loose ball rolled into the feet of Kelly just outside the box. He tried an instant snap shot which came through the legs of a defender and beat the unsighted Smith. The keeper was mighty relieved to see the ball cannon back into play off his left hand upright.
The home side’s first meaningful attack came only sixty seconds later as Zak Reynolds and Jack Hutchinson combined on the right before the latter fired in a low driven cross that Danny Talbot flung himself at and was unlucky to see his deflection fly past Tim Trebes right hand post.
The ebb and flow of this very open game continued and it was Ives turn to go close again on 22 minutes as a flowing move involving Phillips, Kelly and Tom McGowan saw the latter play in Phillips on the right. Rather than go for goal from a narrow angle Phillips tried to pull the ball back for his strike partner on the six yard line, but this gave the covering Dhillon chance to intercept the ball and knock it out for a corner.
Again play swung to the other end and the home side had a strong shout for a penalty turned down four minutes later. Adam Pepero did well to keep in a deep corner from the left by David Keenleyside. The big centre back swung in another very deep cross that cleared all and arrived back at the feet of the corner taker. Keenleyside cut inside Harry O’Malley and fired in a shot from the corner of the 18 yard box which appeared to strike the arm of Jack Higgs as he made a brave attempt to block. Fortunately referee Nicholson deemed any contact unintentional.
The Blues began to build up a head of steam as the game moved towards half time and they grabbed an equaliser ten minutes before the interval. The lively Hutchinson seemed to be finding a lot of space on the right hand side and he delivered a dangerous cross that was flicked on into the middle. The ball fell to the feet of Blues leading scorer Alex Cathline who muscled his way through a couple of attempted challenges before firing past the exposed Trebes for twelve yards.
Hutchinson was again the protagonist as the home side went in front five minutes later. He again tried to cut inside Charlie De’ath only to be brought down on the edge of the box by the covering Higgs. Talbot carefully spotted the free kick before firing the ball over the wall and into Trebes top left hand corner.
Having fallen behind the Ives needed to start the second half well if they were to get back into this game, the other imperative was that they did not concede again. The first objective was at least partially achieved as the visitors took the game to the Blues in the first few minutes and Smith was forced into a routine save from Phillips after 50 minutes.
Unfortunately the second objective was blown out of the water only four minutes later as Ives fell 3-1 behind in spectacular fashion. The ball fell to the feet of Shane Bush fully 35 yards from goal. He was allowed to take a couple of paces forward with it and then tried his luck with a powerful effort that most of us thought was going over the top, but the ball dipped late over Trebes and billowed the roof of the net.
This setback again seemed to knock the fragile confidence of the Ives and Cathline had a golden opportunity to make it four on the hour. Hutchinson was again the provider as he again got past De’ath down the right and delivered the perfect inviting cross to the back post. Cathline rose unchallenged, but somehow manager to direct his header from eight yards over the top.
The ever willing Phillips was still battling away at the other end of the park and his persistence created a chance for Ives to pull one back and perhaps set up a barnstorming finish with 15 minutes to go. He chased a long ball down the left and robbed Reynolds before setting up Ben Seymour-Shove in space. The winger looked up and picked out Dawkin with a pull back. His first time effort rattled the fence inches the wrong side of Smith’s right hand post with the keeper looking on.
Any lingering hopes of a comeback were dashed four minutes later as the visitors again showed a lapse in concentration that cost them dear. Talbot was fouled in the middle of the park and rather than someone stand on the ball whilst everyone else instantly got into position a number of Ives players decided to dispute the officials decision. Whilst they were arguing Talbot got up and quickly took the free kick into the path of substitute Jack Green who took advantage of the freedom of the park he had been offered to cut inside and fire the ball low past Trebes despairing right hand.
Once again the Ives matched a top six team for long periods of the game and were unfortunate to come away with what looks like a hiding. The statistics indicate that this was not the case Dunstable had eight shots and scored four. Ives had eight shots and scored one, corner count was 6 – 4 in favour of the visitors. We are not that far away and whilst the players and management team spent some time after the game trying to work out what has gone wrong.
I will give my humble opinion here in that not much is wrong we have a squad to compete at this level, but we have been caught out by small lapses in concentration and small individual errors. Things we would have got away with at step 4 are now punished at step 3, the final goal in this game was a perfect example of this.
We must all continue to pull together in the same direction and the results will come. Keep the faith, come on you Ives!
St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, De’ath (capt), Chaffey, McDevitt, Higgs, Seymour-Shove (Carden 79), McGowan, Phillips, Kelly (Leavers 65), Dawkin
Unused subs : Sinclair, Jarrold, Harradine
Goals : Kelly 15
Supporters Man of the Match : Andrew Phillips
Final Score : Dunstable Town 4 St Ives Town 1
Attendance : 171