St Ives Town 1 Cinderford Town 0
Date: Saturday 19th November 2016
Kick Off: 3pm
Competition: Southern League Premier Division
Ground Address: ProEdge Westwood Road, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, PE27 6DT
Match Day Sponsor: Marshalls PLC
They say never mind the quality, feel the width and that proverb applied perfectly to this scrappy affair as a single Danny Kelly header claimed a vital three points to lift the Ives clear of the relegation zone for the first time since the beginning of October.
The two team’s fortunes heading into this vital six pointer could not have been more contrasting as the Ives came into it on a three game winning streak with the Foresters on a seven game losing run. But the visitors were likely to be boosted by a new manager and three players he had drafted in all making their first team debuts.
With Dubi Ogbonna unavailable manager Ricky Marheineke was forced into one change from the Ives line up that won so impressively against Dunstable on Tuesday evening. Seventeen year old Peterborough United work experience loanee Morgan Penfold made his first start on the right with Ben Seymour-Shove moved into Ogbonna’s position alongside Kelly up front.
The visitors spurned a golden opportunity to grab an early advantage as new player manager Paul Michael failed to hit the target with a header at the far post having climbed highest to get on the end of Karnell Chambers cross eight yards from goal.
The Foresters kept up their early pressure as Liam McDevitt was adjudged to have pushed Gethyn Hill on the edge of the box three minutes later to concede a free kick in a dangerous position. Callum Mconie curled the free kick over the wall, but also inches over the crossbar.
Having weathered this early storm from the visitors, Ives went in front from their first meaningful attack on 18 minutes. Penfold won a challenge on the right and fed the ball back to Jack Bradshaw who in turn laid it down the line into the feet of Seymour-Shove who curled in an inviting cross that Kelly attacked by the penalty spot and powered his header past a statuesque Cameron Clarke in the visitor’s goal.
The goal knocked a little stuffing out of the Foresters and Ives began to get on top. They came close to a second only two minutes later. Penfold was charged off the ball by Michael 25 yards from goal. Buster Harradine floated the free kick to the far post where Bradshaw rose highest, but he was always stretching and only succeeded in dropping his header onto the roof of the net.
Penfold was involved again on 27 minutes as he played a one two with Kelly that saw the youngster put clear. But keeper Clarke was alert to the danger and rushed off his line to bravely smother the ball at the youngster’s feet.
Ives were now comfortably on top but the suffered a huge blow ten minutes before the break as influential skipper Lee Chaffey was injured in a challenge with Sam Hicks on the half way line and was forced to leave the field in some pain. It has been no coincidence that the return of Chaffey to the back four has coincided with Ives greatly improved defensive performances of late and his lack of presence could prove a massive miss for the home defence. Jordan Jarrold replaced Chaffey and the reshuffle saw the young left back go into an unfamiliar right back spot with stand in right back Jack Bradshaw moving to an even more unfamiliar centre back position.
Chambers made and missed a fantastic opportunity to put the visitor’s level whilst the makeshift Ives back line were still trying to get used to their new roles. The left winger picked up a ball in midfield and somehow managed to jink his way past a number of Ives challenges into the box. As the seas parted he got right through and found himself eight yards out with only keeper Tim Trebes to beat. But at this point he panicked and fired off a shot that was so far off target it resulted in a throw in.
Thanks to the injury to Chaffey and a couple of other lengthy stoppages there were five added minutes at the end of the first half. During this time the Ives won four corners in quick succession and from the last of these McDevitt won a header at the far post that he directed goalwards that beat Clarke but was headed off the line by a covering Hill.
The game became much more disjointed in the second period with both sides struggling to play on any flowing football to warm the crowd, but the Ives faithful still continued to sing home their heroes as they edged closer to the vital victory.
Chances were very much at a premium in the early stages of the second half with the only incidents of note being an in-swinging free kick from Harradine on the right that flashed across the face of goal inches away from McDevitt on 55 minutes and a free kick at the other end that Hicks curled over the top from 25 yards five minutes later.
The Foresters first effort on target arrived on 69 minutes as Bradshaw fouled Hill on the left. Hicks free kick was headed away by McDevitt but visitors skipper Lee Hartshorn pounced on the bouncing ball and fired in a fierce drive from 25 yards that Trebes did well to hang onto at the second attempt.
The tiring Penfold was replaced by Jack Higgs on 64 minutes leading to another Ives reshuffle with Seymour-Shove returning to his more familiar right wing position, Harradine moving up alongside Kelly and Higgs slotting into the defensive midfield role vacated by Harradine.
Harradine’s first opportunity of a strike on goal arrived on 73 minutes and he went for the spectacular as he tried to volley home a clip across the box from Kelly who had carved out the chance with a piece of sheer skill to cut in from the right past a couple of defenders and then have the vision to pick out Harradine in space.
Jared Cunniff should have made the game safe for the Ives with seven minutes to go. They broke out at speed Josh Dawkin picking out Mark Coulson on the left and he delivered an in-swinging cross that beat both Hartshorn and Ben Hands before arriving at the feet of Cunniff eight yards out with the goal at his mercy. He fired in a powerful shot straight into the midriff of keeper Clarke who held on well.
Having failed to sew the game up Ives were fortunate not to immediately be brought back to level terms as The Foresters broke at speed and Hicks got to the bye line before pulling the ball back to the feet of Jaye Bowen who again failed to hit the target from a very good position.
This proved to be the visitor’s final opportunity to get anything from the game as Ives very effectively ran the clock down. Kelly should have grabbed his second deep into the added five minutes as Cunniff robbed a dallying Hands and fed the ball into his feet inside the box. He took a touch and tried to beat Clarke to his left, but the gymnastic keeper flung himself to his left to palm the ball away.
The final whistle sounded on a very hard fought victory for the home side a few seconds later. This win claimed without talisman Ogbonna and defensive kingpin Chaffey for most of the game has moved the home side up to 18th two points above the dreaded red line. The Forester’s on the other hand sit rock bottom twelve points from safety without a single point from nine games on the road and are now in very real danger of dropping straight back into step four.
Danny Kelly claimed the man of the match award for the second game in a row as he led the line magnificently and took his goal very well indeed. His movement off the ball, hold up play and ability to beat players in tight situations make him the perfect foil for Ogbonna and the mouth watering prospect of the two appearing regularly together in the near future makes the prospect of a trip to the Pro-Edge very inviting for all.
St Ives team : Trebes, Bradshaw, Coulson, Chaffey (capt) (Jarrold 35), McDevitt, Harradine (McGowan 83), Penfold (Higgs 64) Cunniff, Kelly, Seymour-Shove, Dawkin
Unused subs : O’Malley
Goals : Kelly 18,
Supporters Man of the Match : Danny Kelly
Final Score : St Ives Town 1 Cinderford Town 0
Attendance : 202