PitchingIN Southern League Premier Division Central – Saturday 2 December 2023
St Ives Town 5 Long Eaton United 0
Andrew Dunn reports
The transformation in the season for St Ives Town continues as they secured a comfortable 5-0 victory over Long Eaton United.
The visitors arrived bottom of the table having gained promotion last season, but were looking for just their second win of the campaign. To achieve that, they would need to beat a St Ives team who have chalked up successive league victories against Royston, Coalville, Halesowen, Berkhamsted and Barwell in recent weeks. A record breaking run that has hauled the Ives away from the relegation zone.
Manager Ricky Marheineke opted to start with Greg Kaziboni in midfield with Dan Barton named among a full compliment of substitutes which also included new signing, Khris Oti, a centre forward who had signed from Corby Town on Friday.
The Ives started the game where they had left off on Monday night as they got in front after just two minutes. Kaziboni was the provider for Jonny Edwards to fire home from close range.
Edwards was denied a second as the game approached the 10 minute mark. The striker pounced on the loose ball after keeper, Ross Durrant spilled it into his path but it was ruled out for offside.
But the early onslaught from the home side continued and it was no surprise when the Ives got the second of the match on 12 minutes. This time it was Brandon Njoku who went on a fine run and fired an effort into the bottom corner as the Ives doubled the lead.
To their credit, Long Eaton tried to get a foothold on the match, and Jamie Hanson was keeping the Ives defence on their toes with several decent crosses into the box.
But it was the Ives who continued to press and it was Njoku again who was causing the problems. It was one of his trademark runs that so often leave the visiting defence chasing shadows that lead to the third goal. After weaving his way through the Long Eaton defence, his delivery expertly picked out Jordan Williams who headed home the third.
As the temperature plummeted further and with fog beginning to swirl round the Quattro-Tech Westwood Road, the home fans had to wait until the 54th minute to warm their hands for the next goal. This time Luke Harris was the provider and he picked out Edwards who finished well for his second, and Ives fourth of the game.
The Ives kept creating the chances and Durrant was doing well to keep the score relatively respectable with a number of excellent saves. But he was beaten by Khris Oti in the 78th minute. The new signing had been on the pitch only a matter of minutes and he was picked out after an excellent move to head home the fifth for his team.
Ives keeper, Eddie Brearey did well to stop an opportunity towards the end of the game, as Long Eaton looked for a consolation. But the Ives had produced yet another fantastic performance to secure maximum points.
The transformation in the team is remarkable, and after being just one place off the bottom just a few weeks ago, they now sit in 13th place with a massive feel good factor running through the club. The focus now turns to the next batch of games between now and Christmas which starts at AFC Telford United next Saturday. A tough looking game, but on this form, the Ives will be going into the game full of confidence as they look to extend their fantastic run.
IVES: Brearey, Harris (Mensah 89) Smith, Richens, Williams, Casey, Kaziboni (Barton 74) Cowling, Edwards, Njoku (Oti 77), Tomlinson. SUBS: Tessler, Mensah, Hottor, Barton, Oti
IVES: Cowling (35), Edwards (57)
LONG EATON: Johnson (90).
Man of the Match (as nominated by sponsors Cambridge Sensotec) Greg Kaziboni