Kettering Town 1 St IVes Town 1
Date: Saturday 11th March 2017
Kick Off: 3pm
Competition: Southern League Premier Division
Ground Address: Latimer Park, Polwell Lane, Burton Latimer, Kettering, Northants, NN15 5PS
When these two teams met in the reverse fixture earlier in the season the Poppies handed out a thumping to their then struggling rivals. However since that dramatic low point in the Ives season their performances and their results have gone from strength to strength and only a late equaliser from Aaron O’Connor prevented the visitors from taking a deserved three points home with them from Latimer Park in this return fixture.
During the weather enforced two weeks break Ives squad has seen a few changes of personnel and one of the newcomers Charlie Day made his debut on the left side of midfield in this fixture. He cleverly won the first corner of the game off his marker Liam Bateman after twelve minutes. Ben Seymour-Shove delivered an in-swinger which was flicked off Liam McDevitt’s head by a Kettering defender inside the six yard box to concede another corner which came to nothing.
The home side’s first opportunity of the game did not arrive until 19th minute when Rene Howe managed to muscle Lee Chaffey off the ball inside Ives half. He slid through a perfectly weighted pass to put ex Ives man James Hall clear. Jordan Jarrold arrived with a last ditch challenge which forced Hall to hurry his shot and allowing keeper Tim Trebes to make an excellent stop with his legs. McDevitt was on hand to clear up the loose ball.
Trebes was called into action again only seconds later as the skilful O’Connor found space just outside the visitor’s box and hit a dipping drive from 20 yards through a crowd of players that the Ives keeper saw late and just managed to get down to block. The ball spun loose, but Jarrold was first to react and hack it clear.
Having survived those two scares Ives started to enjoy a spell in which they got on top and created a number of good opportunities. Kettering conceded two free kicks around their own box in quick succession around 22 minutes. The second of these was delivered from the left hand side and he almost surprised home keeper Liam Gooch by going for goal. The keeper had to move his feet very quickly to punch the ball back into the crowded box. He got enough height on it to give himself time to get up and catch Jack Bradshaw’s follow up header.
Keeper Gooch had to make another smart save on the half hour mark as Tom McGowan won a ball in midfield and ran at the Poppies defence before playing in Danny Kelly on the right. Kelly cut inside his marker before firing in a low left foot effort that was bound for the bottom corner before the outstretched hand of the diving Gooch just managed to turn it around the post.
The resulting corner lead to an amazing double save from Gooch as Chaffey flicked on Day’s near post delivery. Josh Dawkin met it well eight yards out but Gooch made a fantastic reaction block. The loose ball fell to Jack Bradshaw who hit his effort just as well only to be similarly denied by Poppies stopper who also had the presence of mind to drop on the loose ball inside his six yard box.
The final opportunity of the first period then fell to the home side four minutes before the break as James Brighton pinged out a cross field ball that found Nathan Hicks in space wide right. He hit a first time cross to the near post where Howe arriving at pace turned his volley inches wide.
As the first half wore on a contingent of the home fans started to get on the players backs. With this in mind we probably anticipated that the Poppies would come out and tear into the Ives at the start of the second half. We could not have been more wrong as the home side started slowly and Ives enjoyed their best spell of the game. The half was only three minutes old when Kelly cleverly kept alive a ball down the line from Bradshaw. He found space on the right and delivered a low cross which McGowan dummied at the near post and Dawkin arriving from the left was unlucky to see his first time effort deflected wide off Bateman.
Only six minutes later Ives went in front as Dawkin seized on a slip by Dominic Langdon to put Seymour-Shove clear. The speedy winger took a heavy first touch, but the keeper stayed on his line inviting Seymour-Shove to shoot which he did from the edge of the box giving Gooch no chance as the ball flew past his despairing dive and nestled in the bottom corner of the net.
There were only two more minutes on the clock when the rampant Ives went close to a second as Seymour-Shove curled in a free kick from the left which was knocked down in the box and Bradshaw was unlucky to see his low drive from twelve yards go inches wide of the post.
The home side had made one enforced substitution midway through the first half. With the fans now even more on his back home manager Marcus Law gambled by throwing on his two remaining replacements on the hour. This did have an effect of changing the flow of the game as the Poppies began to stem the Ives flow and started to create a few opportunities of their own. One of the substitutes, Jorrin John delivered a cross into the near post on 66 minutes that was flicked on by Howe only for Lewis Hornby to head wide under heavy pressure from Chaffey.
John and fellow substitute Jack Kelly were combining well with Brighton on the left to try and create something for the home side, but all of their crosses were being very effectively dealt with by the Ives solid centre back pair of McDevitt and Chaffey.
The visitors continued to look dangerous on the break and went close twice in sixty seconds around the 75 minute mark. First Peter Clark fired in a rising shot from twelve yards that was deflected over the top. The chance had been set up for him by Dawkin. The resulting Day corner was flicked on at the near post by Chaffey. His effort beat Gooch, but was headed off the line by Brett Solkhon.
Just when it was looking like the Ives were going to come away with all three points and the home crowd roaring for the manager’s head up popped O’Connor to grab the equaliser with six minutes to go. He was fortunate to get on the end of a long hopeful punt into the Ives box which Howe managed to prevent Chaffey getting a clean header on. The ball dropped in the box and O’Connor was first to react skilfully clipping the loose ball past the exposed Trebes.
The Poppies enjoyed a lot of possession in the remaining time, included five minutes added for a number of injuries, but were unable to create anything more as the Ives heroes all maintained their level of commitment right to the end and justifiably earned themselves a share of the spoils.
Man of the match vote was won by Liam McDevitt, but this was a day the whole team put in a real shift and every one of the eleven deserved the round of applause they got from the Ives faithful as they trudged from the bumpy turf at the end.
St Ives team : Trebes, Bradshaw, Jarrold (De’ath 88), Chaffey (capt), McDevitt, McGowan, Seymour-Shove (Higgs 76), Clark (Douglas 89), Kelly, Dawkin, Day
Unused subs : Ogbonna
Goals : Seymour-Shove 54
Supporters Man of the Match : Liam McDevitt
Final Score : Kettering Town 1 St Ives Town 1
Attendance : 483