St Ives Town vs Aylesbury United
Date: Tuesday 14th March 2017
Kick Off: 7:45pm
Competition: Southern League Challenge Cup Semi-Final
Ground Address: ProEdge Westwood Road, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, PE27 6DT
Match Day Sponsor: David Smith St Ives
A thoroughly professional all round performance saw the Ives keep their season very
much alive as the advanced to the Southern League Challenge Cup Final at the
expense of the gallant Ducks.
Ives performance was punctuated by moments of brilliance from the little maestro
Peter Clark and topped off by two cracking first half goals from winger turned goal
machine Josh Dawkin. The Ives ever reliable defensive set up was also tested out in
the final twenty minutes as the home side were reduced to ten men with Jack
Bradshaw limping off with a knee injury only moments after manager Ricky
Marheineke made his third, and final, substitution of the evening.
Higher ranked Ives were the favourites going into this game against their lower
division opponents, but it was the visitors who took the game to their hosts in the
opening exchanges. Tim Trebes was the first keeper called into action after only four
minutes as Lea Coulter got the wrong side of returning Ives skipper Charlie De’ath
and fired in a crisp low drive from the right hand corner of the box that Trebes did
well to hang onto ahead of the fast closing Sonny French.
Ives first meaningful attack of the evening came four minutes later as Jordan Jarrold
delivered a dangerous ball into the box from the left that picked out Danny Kelly in
the centre. But the big striker was always stretching for it and could only direct his
header well wide from ten yards.
The ebb and flow of the game continued and De’ath atoned for his earlier slip on ten
minutes as delivered a well timed challenge deep inside his own box to prevent
Coulter getting on the end of a low cross from the left from Bruno Brito.
The first real injection of class from Clark arrived in 17 th minute as his central midfield
partner, the ever willing Tom McGowan, won the ball and fed it to him 40 yards from
goal. Clark took on the Ducks defence at pace jinking his way past three defenders
before unleashing a rising drive from the edge of the box that forced keeper Jack
Sillitoe into a diving save to push the ball around his right hand post. The resulting
corner was delivered deep beyond the far post by Ben Seymour-Shove who picked
out Bradshaw arriving late, but his attempted volley flew well wide of the target.
Clark’s run and shot seemed to lift the home side and they started to enjoy a spell
where they began to get on top and stretch the Ducks defence. Sillitoe was forced
into another diving save only two minutes later as Dawkin flicked on a long clearance
down the middle. Kelly skilfully brought the ball down on the edge of the box and
fired in a shot that Sillitoe again had to dive to his right to palm away.
The effervescent Clark was proving a real handful for the visitor’s defence during this
period and it was no surprise that he was involved in the Ives opening goal only
seconds later as he again picked up the ball in the centre of the park and created
himself a bit of space before feeding the ball into the feet of Dawkin on the edge of
the box. The Ives striker cleverly turned his marker before drilling in a low shot that
beat keeper Sillitoe low to his right to nestle in the bottom corner.
The Ducks responded well and went close to an equaliser on 25 minutes as Reece
Cameron found a bit of space in Ives half and slid a perfect ball through the right
channel to put Coulter clear he cut in on goal and fired in a cleanly struck effort from
15 yards that a well positioned Trebes did well to block with his legs.
The Clark and Dawkin show resumed six minutes before the break as once again
Clark belied his stature to win the ball in central midfield. He exchanged passes with
Dawkin as they worked their way towards the Ducks goal. The shot when it came
was perfectly struck by Dawkin from fully 25 yards and flew like a arrow into the top
corner beating the despairing dive of Sillitoe high to his right to put the home side
two in front.
Once more the Ducks proved that they were not out of this contest as only two
minutes later they won a corner on the right and executed a clearly pre rehearsed
routine as Cameron delivered a low corner that was met in front of the near post by
Coulter who was unlucky not to halve the arrears as his well struck, first time, effort
beat Trebes but rattled the crossbar and bounced back into play. Jake Bewley
pounced on the loose ball, but hammered it well over the top from a good position
inside Ives box.
The half time break arrived without further scares and Ives came out for the second
period looking to keep things tight defensively and possibly grab a third on the break
to kill off the game. The home side were quite effective in keeping their visitors quiet
for a large part of the second half with the only noteworthy effort of the first thirty
minutes being a brave block by De’ath to deny Jordon Frederick on 50 minutes. The
chance had arrived as Bewley overlapped down the left and played in a low cross
that had been stopped by De’ath’s initial intervention, but Frederick pounced on the
loose ball inside the Ives box and De’ath had to put his body on the line to block the
strike at point blank range.
Manager Marheineke made two substitutions just after the hour and played his final
card by bringing on Dubi Ogbonna on his return from injury with twenty minutes to
go. However this understandable early introduction of all three replacements almost
backfired on the Ives boss as Jack Bradshaw picked up a knee injury only seconds
after Ogbonna’s introduction. After lengthy treatment the tough full back was forced
to limp out of the fray reducing the home side to ten men. A quick reshuffle saw
Charlie Day go to right back and Ives reshape with a back four, five in midfield and
Ogbonna up front on his own.
The Ducks may have thought that this was their opportunity to build up a head of
steam and get back into the contest. But it was the home side who almost increased
their lead fifteen minutes from time as the quick thinking Ogbonna took a quick throw
on the left which was flicked on into the middle by Dawkin, Young Kasey Douglas
was arriving at pace ten yards from goal, he struck his effort well only to be denied
his first Ives goal by a reaction save from Sillitoe who hurled himself to his left to
knock the ball around the post.
Ogbonna continued to be at the centre of the action in the following five minutes as
he twice almost put Dawkin clear for runs on goal only for Ollie Hogg to cut out the
chances on both occasions. The all action Ives man then almost inadvertently
allowed the Ducks a route back into the contest as ten minutes from time he thought
himself fouled and inexplicably caught the ball inside the centre circle. The well
positioned referee awarded the free kick against him and a quickly taken kick saw
Cameron get past Liam McDevitt to get a clear run on goal, but fortunately for the
Ives the visitors finishing let them down again as Cameron blazed well over from the
edge of the box.
The Ducks were probing to try and find a way past the Ives back line, but were
finding very few gaps. Hogg did try his luck from 25 yards to force Trebes into a save
high to his left four minutes from time and the visitors did hit the frame of the goal for
the second time in the evening as the game entered added time. A deep corner
beyond the far post by Bewley was met by a unmarked Jack Wood who had ghosted
in unseen, but rather than head the ball back into the middle he went for goal and his
effort from a narrow angle stuck the outside of the post and bounced to safety.
The remaining few minutes of the match saw Ives comfortably defending their lead to
advance to the final of this historical cup which has been won in the past by a
number of sides on their step up into the Football League. Watch out for
announcements about details of the final which is normally a two leg affair.
The man of the match award was between two players who combined well to cut
apart the visitors defence on a number of occasions in the first half. Unusually the
vote went the way of the creator who just nudged out the goal scorer. Well done
St Ives team : Trebes, Bradshaw, Jarrold, De’ath (capt), McDevitt, McGowan (Higgs
61), Seymour-Shove (Ogbonna 71), Clark, Kelly (Douglas 65), Dawkin, Day
Unused subs : Chaffey
Goals : Dawkin 20, 39
Supporters Man of the Match : Peter Clark
Final Score : St Ives Town 2 Aylesbury United 0
Attendance : 117