St Ives Town vs Bedford Town
Date: Tuesday 8th November 2016
Kick Off: 7:45pm
Competition: Southern League Challenge Cup Second Round
Ground Address: ProEdge Westwood Road, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, PE27 6DT
After Saturday’s disaster against Kettering this quick return to action against lower division opposition was just what the doctor ordered for the Ives. So it proved with the much changed home team turning in a vastly improved performance and comfortably progressing to the last sixteen of the League Challenge Cup.
With six changes of personnel and a number of positional changes only three players started this game playing in the same positions as in the previous fixture. The return of Danny Kelly and Dubi Ogbonna as a strike partnership instantly gave the Ives a much greater presence and threat in the opposition half.
Another returning threat for the home side was tricky winger Josh Dawkin and he created the first real opportunity on nine minutes as he jinked past three defenders on a mazy run into the heart of the Eagles defence. The run was only halted by a clumsy challenge from ex Ives man James Peters inches outside the box. Ogbonna carefully lined up the free kick, but it was probably a little close to goal and although he cleared the wall the effort also cleared Ashley Harris’s crossbar.
The Ives were now well on top and stretching the Eagles defence at every opportunity. New man Jack Bradshaw was getting very involved in the centre of the park and he fired in a cross from the left that picked out Kelly on 17 minutes. But the big centre forward was always stretching and headed just wide.
Kelly got an even better opportunity five minutes later as Ogbonna jinked past Ollie Swain and delivered the perfect cross from the right that drifted over Peters and arrived at the feet of Kelly on the penalty spot. Unfortunately Kelly tried to take a touch and it was just heavy enough to allow Peters to recover and nick the ball off his toe.
Ives were rampant by now and the Eagles defence was creaking, but not quite breaking. Ogbonna came within millimetres of putting them ahead on 23 minutes as Harry O’Malley put a back to form Jared Cunniff away down the right and he outpaced the defenders before delivering an inviting low cross along the six yard line that Ogbonna met at pace, but his first time volley rattled the underside of the crossbar and bounced down and away.
The eccentric Bedford keeper Harris was called on to make his first real saves three minutes later as punched away a crisp drive from Bradshaw. That lead to a few seconds of pinball in the Eagles box. The rebound fell to Ben Seymour-Shove who put it straight back at goal where Harris even more acrobatically parried the ball away again. This time it fell to the feet of Ogbonna in the middle who was only denied the opener by an assistant’s flag as he had wandered into an offside position in the melee.
The Eagles only real venture into Ives territory came two minutes before the break as Devante Stanley found space on the right to deliver a cross that picked out Jemale McKenzie-Lowe in space at the near post. But like Kelly earlier in the game he was always stretching to make contact and only succeeded in directing his effort over the top from eight yards.
There was still time before the break for Harris to have another jittery moment as he knocked away a Jordan Jarrold cross from the left out to Dawkin who hit his first time effort straight back at the wandering custodian who was at least twelve yards from his goal.
The Ives half time team talk must have been a little more cultured than Saturday’s. However it went it certainly worked as within five minutes of the restart the home side went in front. Jarrold danced down the left past two defenders to create space to play the ball inside to Dawkin who hit a crisp low drive from just inside the box that beat Harris at his near post.
To their credit the Eagles did not lie down and created another half chance to grab a leveller only five minutes later. Stanley broke down the centre at pace and played a one two with Matt Clifford that almost got him clear. Skipper Lee Chaffey arrived in the nick of time to bravely block Stanley’s effort with a sliding challenge.
Ives doubled their advantage just before the hour with a simple goal as their front two combined well. Kelly flicked on a ball out of defence and Ogbonna again showed his goal scoring instincts as he powered clear of the covering defenders and calmly slotted the ball past the advancing Harris from the edge of the box.
The pair almost repeated the feat just after the hour as this time Kelly skilfully brought down another ball out of defence and fed the through ball into the run of Ogbonna whose touch just let him down on this occasion and he allowed Harris to narrow the angle a little more. His final shot beat the keeper, but only ruffled the side netting.
Again the Eagles responded by breaking at pace and a dangerous cross from the left by Clifford was headed away by Liam McDevitt, but the ball fell to George Boland just outside the box. His first time effort warmed the hands of home keeper Tim Trebes who held on well.
The goal that made the game safe arrived on 66 minutes and came in somewhat controversial circumstances as Kelly tried to jink his way out of a crowd of Bedford defenders right on the edge of the Eagles box. A number of challenges came in on him, but the referee deemed that the one from Swain had been illegal and immediately pointed to the spot. The Bedford defenders lead by their skipper, ex Ives man Luke Knight argued long and hard with the official that the contact was outside the box. But after brief consultation with his assistant the decision stood and Ogbonna stepped up to fire home the spot kick.
With the game now decided the home side relaxed a little and Bedford came into the game a little more. Nathan Tshikuna was allowed space to run at the Ives defence on 71 minutes and hit a low drive that rattled the boards a couple of feet wide of Trebes left hand post.
The Eagles best chance of the night came two minutes later as Stanley threaded a perfect ball through the left channel to put McKenzie-Lowe clear. Trebes was very quickly off his line to close the striker down and his presence forced him into a hurried effort that failed to hit the target.
Trebes was called into action once more as he made a routine catch from a header from Peters who had got on the end of a Hammed Lawal free kick from the left seven minutes from time. The keeper’s clearing punt from this catch was allowed to bounce deep in visitor’s territory and the dangerous Ogbonna pounced on the loose ball, but fired his effort from the edge of the box just wide of the near post.
Ives had two excellent chances to put a real gloss on their victory in quick succession as the game entered added time. The first of these arrived seconds after the 90 minute mark as three Ives substitutes combined. Scott Sinclair broke at pace down the right and played a crisp ball into the feet of Tom McGowan who in turn knocked the ball on into the run of Buster Harradine. Rather than go for goal as Harris came to close him down he chose unselfishly to try and pick out Dawkin in the middle, but this allowed Swain chance to cut out the ball.
The final opportunity deep in added time proved a painful one for Sinclair as he again broke at pace in a three against one situation but with players in space either side of him he failed to make the pass allowing only covering defender Lawal to make a perfectly timed sliding challenge that resulted in Sinclair hitting the deck and sustaining an injury to his shoulder that could keep him out for a few weeks.
Unlike Saturday the supporters behind the goal had a number of nominations for man of the match and the man who won it was the same man that got the award on that dismal day. Jordan Jarrold much more back to his old self marauding up and down the left was a worthy winner.
St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, Jarrold, Chaffey (capt), McDevitt, Bradshaw, Seymour-Shove (Sinclair 63), Cunniff (McGowan 80), Kelly (Harradine 86), Ogbonna, Dawkin
Unused subs : Coulson, Higgs
Goals : Dawkin 50, Ogbonna 58, 66 (pen)
Supporters Man of the Match : Jordan Jarrold
Final Score : St Ives Town 3 Bedford Town 0
Attendance : 102