Ives beat Barwell in seven goal thriller

Barwell 3 v St Ives Town 4

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  06-04-2024

Nigel Howlett reports from Kirkby Road

Ives continue to entertain as they claimed their eighth away win of the season grabbing another four goals in the process in a game that was full value for any neutral in the crowd with seven goals, a penalty, two red cards and an injury time winner all included in the admission price. There were some quality goals particularly a Michael Richens free kick just before the break and a screamer from the hugely promising Amaru Kaunda to open his account for Ives. But to balance that there were also some moments of poor defending from both sides which on occasions lead to a few more grey hairs for those on the benches.

With a gale force wind blowing diagonally across the pitch from corner flag to corner flag the general consensus from all prior to kick off was this was likely to be a game ruined by the weather. That theory was blown out the window very early thanks to the lightning start from both sides. The hosts opened the scoring from almost their first threatening attack in only fourth minute. The evergreen Leroy Lita tempted Paddy Casey into a rash challenge just inside his own box. The clumsy tackle took down Lita and with referee Lewis Mountain with a perfect view of the incident the verdict was penalty. Canaries skipper Brady Hickey calmly waited for Sam Bentley to hurl himself to his right before rolling the ball down the centre.

Undaunted Ives got themselves back level only seven minutes later with a flowing move. Ed Hottor burst through the centre of the park before feeding the ball on to Dan Barton who in turn fed the ball into the run of Richens down the right. His first time cross picked out Jonny Edwards in space at the back post. Ives leading scorer took the ball on the volley, and it was destined for the bottom right corner of the net before deflecting off a defender and ending up going in the opposite corner.

Play settled down after that early burst with the hosts doing most of the pressing with the wind at their backs. But Ives were defending resolutely to keep them at bay. Aaron Smith did very well to prevent MJ Kamara getting on the end of Deen Master’s 18th minute cross from the left. Bentley was called into action two minutes later as he got down smartly to his right to smother Hickey’s low drive from the edge of the box after Lita had cleverly teed up another Master ball in from the left.

The hosts forced nine corners in the first half and Ives dealt well with almost every one of them but they were caught out by a short one just after the half hour as the ball was fed back to ex Ives man Josh Flanagan who drove into the box before delivering a low cross into the mix that Lita fired against the post. Isiah Osbourne reacted first firing home the loose ball from eight yards to put the Canaries back in front.

Once more Ives reacted well to falling behind. A half chance came and went only three minutes later as Edwards did well to keep alive a Smith long throw that had got right through the goalmouth and out the other side. The striker clipped the ball back across goal where a stretching Josh Tomlinson won the ball but could only fire it into the side netting.

Sure enough Ives did get back on level terms before the break. Dan Barton burst through the centre on one of his trademark jinking runs and was crudely taken down by a clumsy challenge from Kamara to earn the hosts number seven his first yellow card of the afternoon and set up an opportunity for skipper Richens. Despite the Canaries setting up a five man wall Richens managed to get the ball up and down over it to find the top corner just beyond the desperate clutching fingers of diving goalkeeper Will Brook.

Both sides made changes at the break with Ives forced to replace the injured Barton with Kaunda and Canaries manager Jimmy Ginnelly replacing wing back Master with Micah Edwards and the ineffective Tristan Dunkley with Jahvan Davidson-Miller at centre forward.

Now with the wind in their favour it was Ives turn to look to get their noses in front. The first half chance came four minutes after the restart from a simple wind assisted dink over the top. Keeper Brook came to try and deal with in outside his box but was beaten by the bounce only being saved by Osbourne covering behind him. The centre back’s hook away from goal dropped to Theo Alexandrou 30 yards out and with the keeper still out of position he went for goal first time but the effort drifted wide.

Ives first corner of the second period in 55th minute almost brought reward as Richens flag kick curled perfectly to the back post where Williams rose above the crowd but thudded the crossbar with his close range header. The power of the effort took the rebound clear of the box and Alexandrou’s half volley to the dropping ball flew over the top.

The game was by this point very much end to end and the hosts enjoyed a good fifteen minutes going close on a few occasions during that time without getting back in front. Bentley did very well in 57th minute as he battled his way through the crowded box to punch Kamara’s clip from the right off the head of Lita just as the striker was looking to steer the ball goalwards.

Lita’s greatest asset, apart from his guile, is his ability to hold the ball up and he did that brilliantly to tee up a shot for Davidson-Miller in 63rd minute but Williams was alert to the danger and flung himself bravely across the line of the close range effort to deflect the ball away. Keeper Bentley made probably his best save of the game in 64th minute as Edwards cross from the left to the back post area was challenged for by both Davidson-Miller and Lita. The ball dropped to Sid Kerr 15 yards out and he hit a crisp low drive through the crowd that he thought was going in only for Bentley to hurl himself full length to his right to get a hand on the ball and turn it away.

During the Canaries purple patch Hottor had picked himself up a 61st minute yellow card for a clumsy tackle of Ethan Hill and foolishly he slid in on Kerr right in front of the referee only ten minutes later to give referee Mountain an easy decision and take Ives down to ten men.

But it was the ten men who got their noses in front for the first time in the game courtesy of a brilliantly taken 75th minute solo goal from Kaunda, his first, and on this performance not likely to be his last, for the club. Bursting onto a clip over the top through the centre of the park he still had a lot to do as he was under challenge from both Osbourne and Kamara. It would have been easy to go down but the youngster battled on and took the ball away from both players before turning inside and thrashing the ball his shot past the startled Brook from just inside the box.

Things were looking even brighter for Ives where Kamara showed his frustration to foolishly pick up his second yellow card of the game to even up the numbers ten minutes from time. The Canaries defender had been struggling with the all action Kaunda and the youngster’s goal celebration had probably raised the stakes thus he seized an opportunity to block the Ives substitute as he went to go around him again. The verbal tirade aimed at referee Mountain by Kamara when he was pulled up for the foul simply ensured his second yellow of the afternoon.

With the game now ten a side Ives would be hoping to see it out and it took an excellent block from Brook to prevent Richens from sewing the game up two minutes later. Put through by a brilliantly weighted ball from Myles Cowling, Richens just beat the onrushing keeper to the ball but Brook spread himself well to block the effort.

There were still more twists to come in the tail of this game yet. Five minutes from time Flanagan showed his pace to get around the outside of Smith down the right and his pinpoint cross picked out Lita who made no mistake beating Bentley with a well placed header from close range.

Rather than lift the hosts the equaliser seemed to reinvigorate Ives who tore at their hosts in search of a winner. Kaunda almost found it in 88th minute as he worked like a Trojan to cut out a throw from keeper Brook but he was unable to hit the target as he was quickly closed by the intended recipient of the throw Osbourne.

A 90th minute Richens corner was stabbed wide at the near post by Williams with Edwards lurking just behind him waiting to force the ball home. But Ives leading scorer was not to be denied as Brook’s resulting goal kick hung up in the strengthening wind and only made it to half way where an Ives head forced it forward down the centre. Edwards was on to it in a flash outpacing Osbourne before clipping the ball home past the fast advancing Brook to spark wild celebrations amongst the Ives travelling contingent.

Final play of the game was an excellent call and claim under heavy pressure from Bentley who did the perfect job of taking all of the pressure off his defenders and claiming a swirling free kick pumped into the box from half way by Brook.  

Final Score:  Barwell   3   St Ives Town   4    


BARWELL: Hickey 4 (pen), Osbourne 31, Lita 85

ST IVES:  Edwards 11, 90+1, Richens 41, Kaunda 75

Team Line Ups:

BARWELL: Brook, Master (Edwards 46), Flanagan (Obeng 86), Kerr, Osbourne, Ward, Kamara, Lita, Dunkley (Davidson-Miller 46), Hickey (capt), Hill, Unused subs: Castle, Freeman,

ST IVES: Bentley, Casey, Smith, Richens (capt), Williams, Hutchings, Barton (Kaunda 46), Hottor, Edwards, Alexandrou (Harris 78), Tomlinson (Cowling 66), Unused subs: Kaziboni

Cards:   Red: BARWELL: Kamara (2 x yellows 38 & 80)   ST IVES: Hottor (2 x yellows 61 & 71)

Yellow:  BARWELL:  none    ST IVES: Edwards (79)


Attendance: 278