St Ives Town 1 King’s Lynn Town 3
The Evo-Stik League South Premier – 28 August 2017
For three quarters of this game the highly improbable was looking possible as Ives put in a real shift to somehow keep a quality Linnets side at bay. The hosts even had the audacity to pinch the lead courtesy of a fantastic strike from Jimmy Hartley just before the hour. But ultimately order was restored as the Ives tired in the heat of a glorious Bank Holiday afternoon and succumbed to a seven minute brace from Tom Siddons. The final nail in the coffin was a breakaway goal deep in added time as the exhausted hosts pushed everyone forward in search of an unlikely leveller.
The visitors came into this game unbeaten and sitting in third place in the table and in spite of a few injuries they still fielded a side well worthy of challenging for honours this season. With this in mind Ives manager Ricky Marheineke rightly set out to frustrate his opposition with a solid 4-5-1 formation with Dubi Ogbonna being favoured to James Hall and Danny Kelly for the loan striker spot.
It took the Linnets a little while to settle down into their stride and the first shot on goal did not arrive until 9th minute as Craig Gillies took on Lewis Ferrell on the outside and got around him but fortunately rather than try to pull the ball back he tried his luck from a narrow angle and only succeeded in ruffling the side netting.
The Ives back line and midfield were already working very hard to close down the space and Peter Clark picked himself up an uncharacteristic booking in 15th minute as he slid in on Ryan Hawkins 25 yards from goal. Linnets skipper Michael Clunan fired the free kick straight into the Ives wall which held firm.
The classy Ryan Jarvis was strategically sitting in the centre of the park and spraying passes to his two wide men, or trying to thread them through the hard working Ives back line. But in 27th minute he decided to try his luck from fully 35 yards with a cross shot that beat keeper James Goff and thudded the foot of his right hand post, bouncing to safety whilst everyone looked on.
Jordan Jarrold was having a particularly tough time on the right with Lynn full back Cameron Norman acting as a right winger and sticking right on the touchline to spread the play as much as possible. In 31st minute Norman took on and beat Jarrold on his outside before picking out Craig Parker at the far post. Parker skilfully brought down the high ball and hammered his effort inches wide of Goff’s left hand post with the keeper scrambling to cover.
Norman’s fellow full back Frazer Blake-Tracy was also enjoying a chance to roam forward on the left and less than sixty seconds later he delivered a high cross to the back post where Gillies leapt above Charlie De’ath and powered in a header that glanced the outside of the post with Goff beaten.
Blake-Tracy created more danger only two minutes later as he got past Ben Seymour-Shove covering back on the left. This time he chose to drive a low cross into the six yard box that was bravely knocked away by a diving Goff.
Ives luck held out as the Parker twice went close to giving the visitors the lead in added time at the end of the first half. Both shooting opportunities were set up for him by Gillies. For the first Gillies headed down a Blake-Tracy cross to Parker by the penalty spot, but the battling midfielder fired his shot just wide. Then seconds before the whistle Gillies held up a ball into feet just outside the box allowing Parker to run onto it and fire a low drive wide of the same post.
Although Ives were defending like Trojans, they created almost nothing in the first period. Manager Marheineke made the brave decision of making two changes at the break bringing on the hard working James Hall to replace Ogbonna as the lone striker and replacing the strangely ineffective Lewis Hilliard with pace and trickery of Jimmy Hartley.
These changes made an impact as the game evened up a little and the hosts had the first effort on goal with the second period only three minutes old. Tom McGowan won a ball in midfield and fed it into the feet of Phil Draycott fully 35 yards from goal. Draycott decided to try his luck and somewhat fortuitously his low drive was deflected into the run of Hall who took a touch inside the box and tried to flick the ball past the fast closing keeper Alex Street only to be denied by the keeper’s body.
Having gone close to going in front Ives then came within inches of falling behind only seconds later as the Linnets broke out at pace. Clunan threaded a perfectly weighted ball to put Hawkins clear he drew keeper Goff to him and slotted the ball past him low to his left only to be denied by an excellent covering goal line clearance from the evergreen Lee Chaffey.
Ives were now enjoying their best period of the game with the pace and movement of Hartley and Hall giving the Linnets back line something to think about for the first time in the match. Hartley found a bit of space on the right in 52nd minute and picked out Draycott by the penalty spot with his cross. The ball would not quite come down for the Ives wing man and although he got his shot away it lacked power giving Street chance to dive to his right and make a relatively comfortable save.
However the Linnet’s custodian was found wanting six minutes later as Clark fed the ball into the feet of Hartley 20 yards from goal. The tricky winger set off on one of his customary runs across the face of the Lynn back line and managed to work himself just enough space to get away a rising drive that flew into the top corner of the net in spite of Street getting fingertips to the ball.
With the hosts now in an unlikely lead a Linnets bombardment was expected. But to their credit Ives continued to work very hard with Clark and McGowan continually snapping at the Lynn central midfield pair to prevent them getting up a head of steam. Goff was only called into action once in the next fifteen minutes to bravely claim a low driven cross from Blake-Tracy in amongst the flying boots in the six yard box.
But as the game wore on the heat of the afternoon began to take its toll on the gallant Ives back line. It was a tiring Jarrold that allowed Norman to get past him in 76th minute. Having been beaten he was then forced to bring down the flying full back as he bore down on the penalty area. The resulting free kick was delivered low to the near post by Clunan where inexplicably Siddons found enough space to take a touch before hammering the ball home from six yards.
The pressure continued to mount on the Ives as the Linnets with their tails up now went in search of a winner. There were times when the Ives box resembled a shooting gallery as the host’s defenders put their bodies on the line throwing themselves in front of shots from around the box.
The clincher came six minutes from time and not surprisingly it came from another high ball delivered by overlapping full back Blake-Tracy from the left. Substitute Toby Hilliard rose above the defence at the far post and headed the ball down for Siddons to force the ball home from close range.
This knocked the stuffing out of the Ives and it looked like they were going to go down without further fight with the visitors trying to kill the game off in the corners. But to their credit they still tried to push forward and the hard work of Hall won them a corner deep in added time. Everyone, including keeper Goff, came forward to try and force an unlikely equaliser. But Lynn keeper Street helped out his defence by coming and punching the ball away under heavy pressure. The loose ball fell to Parker who sprinted away. Goff showed a remarkable turn of speed to get past the Lynn man and prevent him simply rolling the ball home, but none of his tired colleagues could match his pace allowing Parker to roll the ball square to give Lynn substitute Harry Whayman a simple tap in.
The conclusion on this game is that we were simply beaten by the better side. But no one can question the effort and resolve put in by the entire squad to give the high flying Linnets a fright. Supporters man of the match went to one of the hard working central midfield duo who both covered a remarkable distance for the cause. Peter Clark got the vote just ahead of Tom McGowan.
Final Score : St Ives Town 1 King’s Lynn 3
Goals : Hartley 58
Supporters man of the match : Peter Clark
St Ives team : Goff, Ferrell, Jarrold, De’ath (capt), Chaffey, McGowan, Hilliard (Hartley 45), Clark (Kelly 84), Ogbonna (Hall 45), Seymour-Shove, Draycott
Unused substitutes : Wright
Attendance : 470
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photo by Louise Thompson
Many thanks to our Match Day Sponsor – Andy Slade