St Ives Town 1 (2) Hayes and Yeading 1 (4)
Date: Saturday 29th April 2017
Kick Off: 3pm
Competition: Southern League Challenge Cup Final
Ground Address: ProEdge Westwood Road, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, PE27 6DT
Ives excellent first season at step 3 of the non-league football pyramid just failed to produce them a piece of silverware as they lost out in a shootout to fellow first time finalists Hayes & Yeading United.
For the first time in living memory the League had decided that the final should not be a two leg affair, but simply be one single game played at the venue of one of the finalists. Ives won the toss of a coin to bring the match to the Pro-Edge Stadium and hence start the game as favourites against the already relegated Handy United.
However to balance that up the hosts were without leading scorer Josh Dawkin and much as the whole Club wanted to win the trophy for him his creativity was going to be sorely missed and worst still the psychological effects of the serious injury suffered by Dawkin at Chippenham last week were going to still be lodged in the minds of some of the players.
In the early exchanges the psychological sway seemed to be with the Ives as they set off at a cracking pace taking the game to their visitors. Danny Kelly forced an early save from United keeper Danny Boness in only 5th minute as he rose highest to Charlie Day’s corner from the right and powered in a header which keeper Boness did well to parry away.
The host’s early pressure continued and they took a deserved lead only ten minutes later. Another corner was delivered from the left by Ben Seymour-Shove, Kelly again rose highest at the back post to power in a header that this time beat Boness and rattled the upright. The ball rebounded into the six yard box where skipper Charlie De’ath reacted first to ram home a close range header.
But falling behind seemed to spark the Handy United into action and they suddenly seemed to wrestle control of the centre of the park from their hosts. Three chances of an equaliser were carved out in the next four minutes. On 17 minutes Anthony Edgar was allowed space on the right to cut inside and unleash a fierce dipping drive from 25 yards that bounced just in front of keeper Tim Trebes forcing him into an unorthodox save with his knees. The resulting corner was delivered to the back post by Ritchie Whittingham where Mitchell Weiss rose highest and powered a header towards the top corner that Trebes did very well to palm away.
Quick thinking by Whittingham two minutes later saw him spot a free kick in the centre of the park and play the ball through a large gap in a disorganised Ives back line to put Sahr Kabba completely clear. Trebes was quickly off his line to close down the striker blocking his first effort. But the ball rebounded to Kabba who unselfishly teed up Whittingham on the edge of the box, the tricky winger seemed to pick his spot, but only succeeded in curling the ball wide with only a covering De’ath to beat on the line.
Trebes was called into action again on 23 minutes as he hurled himself full length to his right to turn away a powerful drive from 25 yards by Josh Chamberlain. However the pressure was building on the Ives who were struggling to keep the mobile Handy United front line at bay. An equaliser was beginning to look likely and it arrived only two minutes later. Kabba picked up a ball just outside the box and took on Jordan Jarrold on his outside forcing the Ives full back into a rash challenge that forced the flying winger to the ground giving referee Paul Johnson little option but to point to the spot. Edgar placed the ball and calmly sent Trebes the wrong way to level up the score.
Ives raised their game briefly to try and get back in front and only ninety seconds later Tom McGowan picked out the fired up Dubi Ogbonna wide on the left. The speedy striker outpaced Frankie Jones and got to the bye line before pulling back a ball that dissected three Ives players coming into the box and ran to safety.
However that Ives raid was sporadic as the visitors continued to dominate and twice went close to going in front before the break. The lively Edgar was involved in both moves. On 34 minutes he fed a ball from the right into the feet of Kabba who hit a first time effort from 20 yards that flew inches past Trebes right hand post. Eight minutes before the interval Weiss managed to get in front of his marker to get on the end of a corner from the right by Edgar, but he failed to hit the target with his first time effort from ten yards.
It was hoped that manager Ricky Marheineke may manage to get a little more from his tired charges with a rousing half time team talk. But in spite of his best efforts the flow of play continued in the same vein at the start of the second period. The half was only three minutes old when Edgar again managed to get past Jarrold on the right. This time he drove on into the box before unleashing a powerful low drive that Trebes did well to tip around.
The closest Ives came to regaining the lead was on 51 minutes as Day picked out Seymour-Shove to perfection with a clip into the box. The skilful winger took the ball down well and unleashed a left foot effort from just inside the box that required an excellent diving stop from Boness high to his right.
The hosts almost gifted their visitors the lead on the hour as a square pass by McGowan in the centre circle was cut out by Chamberlain who went on to get past Liam McDevitt, but fortunately De’ath was alert to the danger and sprinted across to hack the ball away just ahead of the United man.
Even without any help from their opponents Handy United continued to create, and squander opportunities. Two minutes later an Edgar corner from the left was knocked down to the feet of skipper Tom Broadbent. But he was slow to react and only succeeded in prodding the ball wide from close range as he was closed down.
Hayes last good effort on goal of the afternoon arrived 20 minutes from time as Chamberlain strode onto a bouncing ball in the centre of the park and unleashed a wickedly dipping effort from fully 30 yards that required a push over the top by the ever alert Trebes.
As often happens in these games the pendulum slowly begins to swing and having survived a long period of the game with their opposition looking the better side Ives slowly began to get a foothold back into the game and started to enjoy some better possession in good areas of the park. They won a corner on 73 minutes that Seymour-Shove delivered from the left. The ball was cleared straight back to him by a United defender giving him time and space to set up a shot on goal from a narrow angle that he curled millimetres wide.
Ives should have picked up a free kick just inches outside the box on 75 minutes as Kelly was brought down by a clumsy challenge as he tried to put Seymour-Shove clear on the left. But referee Johnson deemed that challenging defender Broadbent won the ball cleanly and he waved away the Ives protests.
The final opportunity to decide the game before the dreaded shootout fell to a centre back eight minutes from time as McDevitt flicked on a Bradshaw long throw. Ogbonna got a foot to the ball inside the box, but it would not come down for him. He cleverly tried teeing up the turning McDevitt and the big defender managed to get a dipping volley away that flew well over the top of keeper Boness’s goal.
There was little more action in the ninety minutes and so, under the rules of the competition the game moved straight to a penalty shoot out. Hayes won the toss of the coin and chose to take the kicks at the Green Leys end.
Danny Kelly stepped up first for the hosts and placed his kick to the left of keeper Boness, but the ball was not struck with real conviction and was at a nice saving height. Boness guessed right and pushed the ball away. Kabba was first for the visitors and emphatically beat Trebes with a well placed spot kick low to his right as the keeper went left.
McDevitt was next for the Ives and powerfully fired the ball past Boness high to his left giving the keeper no chance. Leo Donnellan took an identical penalty to Kabba with exactly the same result to put Handy United 2-1 in front.
Full back Bradshaw levelled things up firing his effort high to the right of keeper Boness who did well to get a hand to it, but could not keep the ball out. Substitute Dylan Kearney brought on five minutes from time with just this moment in mind kept his cool to send Trebes the wrong way and put United back in front at 3-2.
The pressure was now on Day as he stepped up. His left footed effort was well struck, but again at a nice saving height and Boness did well to keep it out diving to his left to push the ball away. So the chance to finish things off fell to Edgar and he took the cup back to Hayes with a calm finish in identical fashion to his spot kick in the first half as he sent Trebes the wrong way and found the opposite bottom corner of the net.
Overall a disappointing finish to an very successful season. But just missing out after going so close to adding the name of St Ives Town onto this magnificent historical trophy was gutting. However looking at the bigger picture consolidation at step three was the stated aim at the start of the season and this was achieved with a few weeks of the season still to go. The Cup run was a bonus it could so easily have ended in the first round when we scraped past King’s Lynn in a shoot out.
Our aim next season must be to continue to push on and look to move up the Southern League Premier Division with a top half finish a laudable goal. A bucket collection for the unfortunate Josh Dawkin held at the game raised a fantastic £ 528 and we all wish him a speedy return to full fitness as he starts on the long road to recovery from his horrific injury.
However we must end by congratulating the deserved victors on the day. Well done to Hayes & Yeading, we wish you a speedy return to the Premier Division.
St Ives team : Trebes, Bradshaw, Jarrold, De’ath (capt), McDevitt, McGowan (Libertucci 65), Seymour-Shove, Clark, Kelly, Ogbonna, Day
Unused subs : Chaffey, Short, Dias, Wright
Goals : De’ath 15,
Supporters Man of the Match : Liam McDevitt
Final Score : St Ives Town 1 Hayes & Yeading United 1 (Hayes & Yeading won 4-2 on penalties)
Attendance : 385