St Ives Town 3 Biggleswade Town 0
Date: Tuesday 10th January 2017
Kick Off: 7:45pm
Competition: Southern League Challenge Cup
Ground Address: ProEdge Westwood Road, St Ives, Cambridgeshire, PE27 6DT
Ives marched into the last eight of the League Cup and extended their unbeaten home run to eight games as three second half goals sunk the under strength Waders.
Manager Ricky Marheineke was also able to give some decent game time to long term injury absentees Club captain Charlie De’ath who got through the full ninety minutes and flying winger Scott Sinclair who got through 25 minutes and scored within five minutes of entering the fray. There was also an opportunity for sixteen year old goalkeeping prospect Tom Smith to make his first team debut replacing Tim Trebes for the last fifteen minutes.
Whilst manager Marheineke was able to make four changes without visibly weakening his team. The Waders manager made eight changes and surprised some of his own directors with the team fielded for this game. However things could have worked out very differently had Tony Burnett take a golden opportunity to put his side ahead after only eight minutes. Evan Key got down the right and although De’ath blocked his first attempt at a cross the ball rebounded to the Waders man who picked out Burnett in splendid isolation in the centre of goal on the six yard line. It looked easier to score, but the big striker hammered the ball against the cross bar.
It took Ives until 18th minute to carve out their first opportunity as Jack Bradshaw threaded the ball through a static defence to put the speedy Dubi Ogbonna clear, but Waders keeper Gary Malone sprinted from his line to bravely block Ogbonna’s attempted flick past him at close range.
The remainder of the first half was a fairly quiet affair with Ives enjoying the majority of possession whilst not really carving out much in the way of clear chances. The statistics tell the majority of the story as Ives had four shots, two on target and won five corners. On the other hand Waders only effort at goal was Burnett’s glaring miss on eight minutes and they never won a single corner.
Ives other shot on target came on the half hour as Lee Chaffey fired a magnificent cross field ball out of defence to pick out Harry O’Malley overlapping on the right. Ogbonna tried to bring down his deep cross at the back post. But his shot under pressure from two defenders was a comfortable save for Malone.
The game sparked into life early in the second period. The half was only ninety seconds old when an excellent interchange of passes down the right involving O’Malley and Ben Seymour-Shove saw the latter deliver a cross into the feet of Ogbonna on the edge of the box. He in turn teed up Josh Dawkin who curled his effort inches wide from the corner of the box.
We only had to wait another seven minutes for the opening goal and it came from a little bit of magic from Jared Cunniff. He picked up a ball inside from Seymour-Shove fully 30 yards from goal shimmied past Lucas Perry and sprinted into the box before firing a low shot across Malone and into the far corner of the net. The keeper got a decent touch on the ball, but could not keep it out.
Ives were suddenly in full flow and Cunniff was at the centre of another dangerous attack only two minutes later as he burst through the middle of the park before spraying the ball out to Morgan Penfold wide on the left. He took the ball to the bye line before laying it into the feet of Dawkin inside the box. Dawkin side stepped to find space, but was quickly closed down by Brad Hewitt who managed to scramble the ball away.
Having been at the heart of Ives attacking play Cunniff almost managed to set up the Waders for an equaliser on 56 minutes as he played a short back pass to Chaffey for the defender to clear. Key nipped between them and pinched the ball, but fortunately De’ath was on hand to make an excellent covering tackle and snuff out the opportunity just as the striker shaped to shoot.
Ives remained in control in and both Ogbonna and Dawkin went close to increasing their lead around the hour mark. Sinclair made a welcome return from his broken collarbone in the previous round of this competition in November as he replaced Seymour-Shove on 65 minutes. It took the flying winger only five minutes to double his goal tally for the season although a whole lot of credit must go to the ever willing Ogbonna. The Ives striker picked up the ball in the centre of the park fully 30 yards from goal and ran at the defence, cutting left, before unleashing a left foot thunderbolt from just outside the box. The shot beat the despairing dive of Malone, but bounced back into play off the underside of the cross bar. Sinclair did everything right as he kept the bouncing ball down and hit his first time shot on target, Malone should probably have kept it out, but he was still trying to recover from his dive and the ball entered the net through the legs of the off balance keeper.
Home keeper Trebes made a routine save from a long shot from Waders substitute Connor Vincent on 72 minutes and that was his last action of the evening as he was replaced by young debutant Smith three minutes later. Smith’s first action of the evening came ten minutes from time when he dealt well with an awkward bouncing back pass from Chaffey.
Waders were still looking for a way back into the game and they went close twice in the next six minutes. Jordan Patrick hung up a free kick into the Ives box on 84 minutes. But fortunately Chaffey was on hand to knock the ball out for a corner just ahead of a marauding pack of Waders strikers. The corner came to nothing and the final attempt from the visitors came from left winger Rhys Hoenes three minutes from time as he cut in from the left and fired in a rising drive from 30 yards that just crept over the angle of crossbar and post.
Those of us that regularly watch the Under 18’s know that Smith has a massive kick on him and he showed us all that deep in added time as he fired a howitzer up the middle that Ogbonna flicked on to put Dawkin clear. Dawkin made no mistake slotting the ball past the exposed Malone to send the Ives through to the last eight.
The man of the match award went to Jared Cunniff for that little bit of magic that got the ball rolling.
St Ives team : Trebes (Smith 75), O’Malley, Coulson, De’ath (capt), Chaffey, Bradshaw, Seymour-Shove (Sinclair 65), Cunniff, Ogbonna, Dawkin, Penfold (Jarrold 90)
Unused subs : McDevitt, McGowan
Goals : Cunniff 53, Sinclair 70, Dawkin 90 + 3
Supporters Man of the Match : Jared Cunniff
Final Score : St Ives Town 3 Biggleswade Town 0
Attendance : 105