St Ives Town 0 Biggleswade Town 1
Date: Tuesday 27th September 2016
Kick Off: 7:45pm
Competition: Southern League Premier Division
Ground Address: ProEdge Westwood Road, St Ives, Cambs, PE27 6DT
This performance was a huge step up from the lacklustre display against Leamington three days early, but the same old problems came home to haunt the Ives. One mistake cost them a goal at the back and then despite a lot of possession and some good movement up front they failed to score for the third game in a row.
Manager Ricky Marheineke made four changes to the starting line up in an effort to shake things up after Saturday’s poor showing and the changes certainly had the desired effect in the early stages as the Ives took the game to their opposition and went very close to going in front after only three minutes. Danny Kelly won a ball in the centre of the park and fed it down the left where Josh Dawkin managed to get to the bye line. His attempted pull back to pick out Scott Sinclair was deflected away. But Tom McGowan picked up the loose ball and teed up Jack Higgs who hit a low shot through the crowded penalty area from 25 yards. Keeper Ian Brown saw it late, but plunged to his right to tip the ball around the post.
Buster Harradine got in on the act two minutes later as he took down a long ball well and clipped the ball into the path of Dawkin who’s first time volley from the edge of the box was well off target.
Having enjoyed all of the play up to this point Ives were stunned to fall behind in the Waders first foray into home territory on eight minutes. Connor Hall picked up a clearance in the centre of the park and as Liam McDevitt stepped up to try and play an offside trap he threaded an inch perfect ball through the channel to spring the trap and put Inih Effiong clear. The big striker did not need a second invitation as he powered into the box, with McDevitt now in his wake, and hammered the ball across the advancing Tim Trebes and into the bottom corner of the net.
To their credit the Ives very quickly got back in the ascendency and Dawkin was unlucky to see a well struck effort from a Kelly cross deflected wide on 16 minutes. Dawkin was involved again seven minutes later as he delivered a cross from the left that was half cleared to Higgs, but his shot from 25 yards lacked power and was comfortably saved by Brown.
The home side maintained their pressure and Kelly went close only one minute later as he got on the end of another Dawkin cross from the left, but he only succeeded in steering his header from eight yards straight at Brown.
Sinclair and Harradine combined well down the right on 36 minutes, but as the speedy winger tried to dance his way through the tightly grouped Waders defence he was unceremoniously brought down by Lucas Perry 25 yards from goal. The usually reliable Higgs wasted the free kick from a good position by firing it straight into the wall.
Having enjoyed a large percentage of the possession, but being unable to create much in the first period Ives had to be thankful to their skipper Charlie De’ath for not falling further behind six minutes before the break. Effiong set off on another of his powerful runs at the heart of the defence and looked likely to burst through only to be halted by a perfectly timed challenge from De’ath.
The home side started the second half exactly as they had played most of the first period as they continued to push forward at every opportunity. The half was only 55 seconds old when Kelly took an opportunity to run at the Waders defence only to be brought down by Russell Short 25 yards from goal. He picked himself up and took the free kick, but did no better than Higgs as his effort failed to beat the wall.
Ives best chance of the second half fell to Kelly only three minutes later as Sinclair went down the right and delivered an early cross into the box that Kelly managed to get on the end of ten yards from goal, but the big striker was always stretching and only succeeded in firing his first time effort well over the top.
Sinclair went for goal himself sixty seconds later as Higgs picked him out on the right with a cross field ball and the flying winger let go a snap shot from the corner of the box that flew across the face of goal and inches past Brown’s right hand upright.
Having enjoyed almost continuous pressure for 20 minutes Ives were almost caught on the break by Effiong on 65 minutes as the big striker again seized an opportunity to run at the home defence and fought his way into the box before going down under challenge from De’ath. But the well positioned referee Nigel Smith turned away the Waders pleas for a penalty.
Having survived that scare the home side had an even better claim for a spot kick of their own turned away on 70 minutes as Harradine got on the end of a cross from the right by Harry O’Malley. As he directed his header goalwards the ball struck the raised arm of Short at very close range. But again the official turned the claims away, possibly as he was unsighted on this occasion.
Manager Marheineke played all of his cards to try and find the elusive equaliser and the Ives ended the game with three central strikers and two wide men on the pitch, but they were still unable to carve out a clear cut opportunity as Waders centre backs the experienced Gavin Hoyte and the rugged Short repelled everything the home side could throw at them and earned their side the three points so effectively that keeper Brown’s only real save of the match was the one in the third minute of the game.
This was a much better display than Leamington and Ives deserved something from the game, but once again at this level they were found wanting at both ends of the pitch. The opposition had one good chance and took it, Ives showed considerable endeavour and effort, but were unable to really create anything in the opposition box. A statistic no one will want to see, but it is 345 minutes since Ives last scored.
But we must stay positive and keep battling away, as we are not far away from picking up more points and we were the better side in this game. Scott Sinclair who picked up the supporters man of the match award showed these battling qualities as well as anyone and these levels of commitment must be maintained to get the results needed in the run of very important games against teams around us in the table that we face over the next few weeks..
St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, Jarrold (Leavers 85), De’ath (capt), McDevitt, Higgs (Seymour-Shove 76), Sinclair, McGowan, Harradine (Phillips 70), Kelly, Dawkin
Unused subs : Chaffey, Carden
Goals : none
Supporters Man of the Match : Scott Sinclair
Final Score : St Ives Town 0 Biggleswade Town 1
Attendance : 259