Kings Lynn Town vs St Ives Town
Date: Monday 2nd January 2017
Kick Off: 3pm
Competition: Southern League Premier Division
Ground Address: The Walks Stadium, Tennyson Road, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 5PB
It is always hard to take when a long run of good results comes to an end, twice as bad when you lose a game you have played well enough to win, three times as bad when you are beaten by a fluke so deep into added time that there is only just time to kick off after it has gone in.
Ives went into this first game of 2017 missing two of their most influential players from their excellent end to 2016. Utility player Jack Bradshaw who has been performing so admirably at right back was unavailable and talisman centre forward Danny Kelly was still nursing the groin injury he picked up in the Boxing Day draw with Cambridge City. Harry O’Malley returned to his familiar right back spot and the change up front saw Dubi Ogbonna move into the central striker role with Josh Dawkin moving inside to play off him and young Morgan Penfold returning to the left sided midfield role.
With the home side also on a good run of form this was always going to be a tough game and it was the Linnets who took the game to their visitors in the early stages. The first shot at goal came on six minutes as the tricky Michael Clunan jinked down the right before laying a ball into the feet of Ryan Hawkins who turned his man well but fired over from the edge of the box.
Ives keeper Tim Trebes was forced into the first save of the game four minutes later as Shaun McWilliams robbed Ben Seymour-Shove on the half way line and strode forward before laying the ball off to Hawkins who fired in a 30 yard effort that Trebes had to plunge low to his left to push around the post.
That corner came to nothing. But a second two minutes later was delivered into the centre of a crowded box when Liam McDevitt rose highest to head clear. The ball fell to the feet of McWilliams 30 yards out and he hung the ball up back into the box. Where Lee Chaffey struggled to head clear under pressure. Fortunately the referee spotted a foul on the Ives skipper and awarded a free kick with the ball ping ponging around the visitor’s goalmouth.
At this stage Ives were under some pressure as the corner count rose for the home side. Their fourth corner in only the 14th minute was blocked at the near post, but returned to Clunan who delivered another cross to the back post where Jordan Jarrold put his body on the line to block a close range effort by Sam Gaughran.
However having weathered this early fifteen minute spell the Ives began to come much more into the game and Ogbonna was put clear by a slide rule pass from Tom McGowan on 18 minutes. Unfortunately the powerful striker had gone just to early and was halted by an assistant’s flag.
But Ogbonna was not to be denied for long as Ives stunned the home fans by going in front only six minutes later. O’Malley delivered a long ball out of defence down the right which was misjudged by Jordan Yong. Ben Seymour-Shove was onto the loose ball in a flash and sprinted on into the box before unleashing a low shot across the keeper from 15 yards that looked to be going just past the far post. But Ogbonna showed his goal scoring instincts as he arrived from nowhere to slide in and divert the ball just inside the upright.
The Linnets tried to respond and their most dangerous player Lee Stevenson picked up a loose ball in midfield on the half hour. He drove at the defence before slipping the ball to Sam Warburton in space cutting in from the left. His driven cross came off the body of Chaffey and was acrobatically cleared away from the far post by Jarrold.
That was the home side’s last meaningful attack of the first period as the Ives pairing of Jack Higgs and McGowan took control of the centre of the park for the remaining fifteen minutes. Two minutes later Dawkin and Seymour-Shove combined well on the right before the latter delivered an inviting cross to pick out Penfold arriving at the back post. But the youngster was always stretching and fired his effort high and wide from eight yards.
Ten minutes before the break Ives carved out another opportunity as McGowan fought his way into the box before playing the ball into the feet of Ogbonna on the six yard line. The striker cleverly held the ball up before laying it back into the path of Dawkin who saw his rasping drive from a narrow angle tipped away by keeper Alex Street.
The half ended with Ives well on top and winning four corners in a row. The nearest they came to scoring from these was the third which was knocked down into the box and Chaffey saw his powerful effort deflect off a defender over the bar.
The visitor’s continued on top at the start of the second period and could, and probably should, have doubled their advantage only 71 seconds in. Gaughran made a hash of an attempted clearance and the ball fell to the feet of Dawkin deep in the Linnet’s half. He fed the ball into the path of Ogbonna who was clear, but got a slightly heavy first touch. This gave Street the chance to close him down and make a brave block at the striker’s feet.
Ogbonna continued to be at the centre of the action as only two minutes later he ran onto a perfectly weighted pass from Penfold and looked to be getting clear only to be clipped by Yong. The Linnet’s defender picked up a yellow card for the foul. But Ogbonna needlessly followed him into referee Wayne Porter’s notebook for arguing over the location of the free kick. The kick was eventually taken from about 30 yards out by Higgs who clipped the ball over the wall, but with little power. It looked like a comfortable save for keeper Street, but he was a little slow to move his feet and was eventually forced to tip the ball over.
With things not going his way Linnets manager Gary Setchell boldly made a double change on 55 minutes bringing on Toby Hilliard and Leon Mettam for the ineffective Lee Smith and the struggling Kurtis Revan. This allowed him to shuffle his pack to try to wrest the game away from the visitors.
You could say his changes worked as having failed to take the chances to double their advantage Ives found themselves pegged back just after the hour as the Linnets first effort on goal in the second period found it’s way into the net. Clunan delivered an out-swinging corner to the near post where Tom Ward flicked it on and Stevenson bravely hurled himself in amongst the flying boots to direct home a diving header off the far post.
The next twenty minutes were a fairly even affair with the Linnets enjoying the majority of possession, but struggling to find a way through the rugged Ives back line. The next real opportunity of the game came Ives way eight minutes from time as Ogbonna outpaced Ward to get on the end of a ball over the top. He cleverly turned inside his man and looked to have the goal at his mercy as Ward slipped, but the big defender somehow stuck out a telescopic trailing leg to knock the ball away just as Ogbonna was picking his spot.
Having survived that scare the home side spurred on by a bumper Bank Holiday crowd of over 800 began to pile on the pressure as Ives dropped deeper and deeper. The Linnets won a series of corners and from the third of these Ward managed to get free to power in a header at the far post that Trebes did well to tip over right on 90 minutes.
The visitors had one chance to grab the all important winner two minutes into added time as substitute Jared Cunniff combined well with Dawkin before the latter played in Ogbonna, but the Ives striker had frustratingly wandered offside again.
The hammer blow came four minutes into added time with Ives supporters thinking that they had already got a well deserved point in the bag. Stevenson fed a ball out to substitute Jacek Zielonka wide on the right. Jarrold quickly closed him down and the wide man hurriedly sliced his cross away from his waiting strikers and towards goal. Inexplicably the ball drifted in agonising fashion over a struggling Trebes and went in off the back post to break Ives hearts and send the Linnets supporters, who had been deriding their side’s efforts earlier in the day, into glorious celebration.
Another tough day to pick a man of the match with a few players gaining nominations, but the majority winner was Ben Seymour-Shove for his non- stop efforts up and down the right, his delivery for the goal and a number of other dangerous crosses that troubled the home defence.
St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, Jarrold, Chaffey (capt), McDevitt, Higgs, Seymour-Shove, McGowan, Ogbonna, Dawkin, Penfold (Cunniff 77)
Unused subs : Moyes, Coulson, De’ath, Sinclair
Goals : Ogbonna 24
Supporters Man of the Match : Ben Seymour-Shove
Final Score : King’s Lynn Town 2 St Ives Town 1
Attendance : 821