Slough Town 3 St Ives Town 0
Date: Saturday 26th August 2017
Kick Off: 3pm
Competition: Southern League Premier
Ground Address: Arbour Park, Stoke Road, Slough, Berkshire, SL2 5AY
Ives first ever trip to the soulless grandeur of Slough’s new home Arbour Park ended in the probably anticipated defeat. But the visitors were far from disgraced and would consider themselves extremely unlucky to go into the break two goals down after what was arguably their best first half of the season.
In spite of enjoying the majority of possession and creating a number of good chances they found themselves punished twice for losing possession deep in opposition territory.
With regular keeper Tim Trebes still unavailable awaiting the arrival of his second child and on loan keeper Kai McKenzie-Lyle injured manager Ricky Marheineke found it necessary to do some urgent business late in the week. A deal with Northampton Town brought in another loan stopper in 18 year old James Goff.
Goff was almost called into action inside the first sixty seconds as Lee Togwell won the ball in the centre of the park and threaded through a pass which put Chris Flood away down the left. Flood hung up a cross to the far post where Warren Harris got above Jordan Jarrold, but he failed to hit the target with his header from eight yards.
Having survived that very early scare Ives started to take the game to their opposition and in the eighth minute James Hall drifted out to the right to pick up the ball and delivered a perfectly weighted cross into the centre that picked out Jimmy Hartley arriving between the centre backs. Unfortunately his header lacked power and proved a comfortable save for home keeper Jack Turner.
Two minutes later Turner was called upon again this time to pull off a much more difficult save. Peter Clark tried to wriggle his way through the centre only to be brought down on the edge of the D by Mark Nisbet. Lewis Hilliard curled his free kick around the Rebels four man wall and in spite of his initial movement being in the wrong direction Turner managed to get down low to his right to fingertip the effort around the post.
Ives keeper Goff was called into even more spectacular action on the quarter hour as the dangerous James Dobson was allowed to roam forward in the left channel and Goff was forced to fling himself across his goal to tip over Dobson’s rising drive from 30 yards.
Having been struggling from early on when his previous groin problem had flared up again Ives lost their very solid right back Brett Longden as he limped out of the game two minutes later. The experienced Lee Chaffey replaced him with skipper Charlie De’ath moving across to fill the right back slot.
Ives continued to press forward at every opportunity and on the half hour a quick break forward by Clark saw him feed the ball into the feet of Hartley deep in opposition territory. The tricky striker chose to run across the Rebels defence to try and work a shooting opportunity. But when the right foot strike came from the edge of the box it lacked venom and proved a comfortable catch for Turner.
The opening goal for the hosts arrived in 38th minute and came as another Ives move broke down inside the hosts half of the pitch. The ball was fed out to the right where Harris found himself in acres of space as Jarrold had gone forward to support the attack. The Ives defence failed to cover across and with Jarrold in his wake Harris charged on into the box. Rather than shoot from a narrow angle he cleverly got his head up and picked out the late arriving Flood who gave Goff no chance side footing home with power from eight yards.
Ives came close to a deserved equaliser only three minutes later. De’ath took a quick throw on the right and Hall knocked the ball into the path of Ben Seymour-Shove inside the box. He hit a first time volley from a narrow angle that stung the hands of keeper Turner as he pushed the ball away at his near post.
To add insult to injury Ives were caught out again by another quick break from the hosts right on half time. George Wells won a tackle against Seymour-Shove on the Ives right and launched the ball long down the flank. Inexplicably De’ath decided to step up and try to play offside, but Flood timed has run to perfection and got clean away. Chaffey came across to cover, but slipped at the vital moment allowing Flood to turn inside him. As keeper Goff came to close him down Flood unselfishly slid the ball sideways giving his strike partner Manny Williams a simple tap in.
Having gone in two behind Ives knew that they had to get the next goal and Jarrold came within inches of grabbing that all important goal back only 48 seconds after the re-start. Lewis Hilliard got down the left and laid the ball back into the feet of the young full back on the edge of the box. Rather than simply hammering it, he took a touch and curled his effort inches outside the far post with Turner beaten.
Keeper Goff was called into action again on 50 minutes as Harris again sped down the right before turning the ball inside. Simon Dunn wriggled his way into the box before unleashing a low drive from 15 yards that Goff did well to block with his legs.
Ives went close to the all important goal back again three minutes later as the hard working Clark won the ball in the centre circle and set Seymour-Shove away down the right. His teasing low cross was just inches away from the boot of Hartley arriving in space at the far post.
Dunn was getting more involved for the Rebels and he set up a shooting opportunity for Williams on the hour. The striker’s powerful effort from the edge of the box took a deflection off an Ives defender for corner. The resulting flag kick was hung up on the six yard line by Dobson where Goff did very well under severe pressure to punch the ball away off the head of Williams.
Despite the introductions of Phil Draycott and Dubi Ogbonna and changes to the formation the Rebels continued to look more likely to add to their lead than Ives to reduce the arrears as the half wore on. Goff made another comfortable save from Dunn on 77 minutes.
The third Rebels goal arrived two minutes later in similar circumstances to the others. Clark was robbed on the edge of the host’s box and the ball fed out wide to Dobson who took it right to the sideline, and out of play according to the Ives management team, but not the assistant referee. Dobson fed the ball down the line where Flood had found space. He in turn got to the bye line before laying the ball across the box to substitute Gavin James who side footed home into the roof of the net over the spreading body of the exposed Goff from eight yards.
With the game now out of reach we might have expected Ives heads to go down and there was a brief dip during which James should have probably have given an even greater imbalance to the score sheet. Harris delivered a cross from the left that found James in space by the penalty spot. But the big striker miss hit his attempted volley so badly that the ball did not even go out of play.
To their credit Ives did pick themselves up again at the death and twice went close to a consolation goal. One minute from time Ogbonna found himself in space 35 yards from goal and tried a snap shot that rose inches over Turner’s cross bar, but the keeper looked to have it covered.
Deep in added time Hall out muscled Wells to a long ball and created himself enough space to cut inside, but curled his effort from the corner of the box just past the far post.
A harsh lesson for the Ives from this game and that is that they must protect the ball at all times all over the pitch as their more positive approach this year, although it is creating chances, is also making them vulnerable to the fast counter attack. The Rebels are masters of this tactic and will probably feel that they had a comfortable win. But the visitors must stay positive the thing that they are lacking at the moment is a finish to their build up play it is time for the strikers to show a little composure in the box, get in where it hurts, and start knocking the ball into the net.
The man of the match vote from the behind the goal club was won by the debutant James Goff who looks a very confident and capable young keeper. He had no chance for all three efforts that beat him and not only did he pull off a couple of excellent saves he also dominated his box well at all times and showed excellent distribution to boot.
Final Score : Slough Town 3 St Ives Town 0
Goals : none
Supporters man of the match : James Goff
St Ives team : Goff, Longden (Chaffey 17), Jarrold, Ferrell, De’ath (capt), McGowan (Ogbonna 76), Hilliard, Clark, Hall, Hartley (Draycott 64), Seymour-Shove
Unused substitutes : Wright
Attendance : 618