Ives denied by late Telford winner

St Ives Town 2 v AFC Telford United 3  

Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central  09-09-2023

Nigel Howlett Reports

The Bucks claimed their first away victory of the season with an added time winner from a corner, but the result was harsh on battling Ives who I think even the most ardent Telford fan would have agreed deserved at least a point from this pulsating game where the lead changed hands three times.

The hosts suffered a pre-match blow with the news that Brandon Njoku had not recovered from the injury that he sustained in the FA Cup defeat at Leiston to leave Ives without a recognised centre forward. Winger Tiago Nassunculo returned to the starting eleven as the emergency central striker in an exiting front three that also included Dan Barton and Greg Kaziboni.

Kaziboni had the first opportunity of the game after only 50 seconds as he ran onto a long ball from Charlie Johnson and cut inside only to see his well struck effort deflect away off Bucks skipper Jarred Hodgkiss. It was Barton’s turn to carve out another chance for the hosts in the seventh minute as he got past Ellis Myles-Tebbutt to get to the bye line before picking out Nassunculo by the penalty spot with his pull back but the stand in striker miss hit his shot and the ball was scrambled away.

Bucks leading scorer Montel Gibson was also looking dangerous at the other end and in the 12th minute he cleverly found space between the Ives centre backs to get on the end of Myles-Tebbutt’s cross from the right but he steered his header from ten yards wide of the post. Gibson was also involved three minutes later when he fed Remi Walker in through the right channel but the Bucks number ten fired his effort across the face of goal and wide of the far post from just inside the box.

With the temperature touching 32 degrees there was an agreed drinks break midway through each half and Ives almost found themselves caught out on the re-start after the first half one as Gibson managed to gallop away onto a clip over the top down the right. Keeper Eddie Brearey had come a long way to try and get to the ball first but Gibson beat him to it, fortunately the Bucks striker failed to hit the target of the open goal from a very narrow angle.

Kaziboni was still causing problems at the other end and in the  25th minute he got away down the right before driving in a cross that was sliced wide of his own goal by Hodgkiss. The resulting corner came to nothing and it was Ives who found themselves a goal in arrears eight minutes later. Gibson was again the main protagonist as he held up the ball well allowing Jordan Piggott to loop around him and on into the box. Gibson’s lay off found the Bucks midfielder who beat Brearey low to his right with a shot from just inside the box.

To their credit Ives fought back and Johnny Herd was denied by the legs of well positioned keeper Brandon Hall in 37th minute after the overlapping full back had been fed through by Kaziboni. Only two minutes later they levelled things up with a clever short corner routine involving Kaziboni and Barton. The eventual low cross shot from the former was turned home at the back post by Jordan Williams.

Not satisfied with being level Ives tore into their opponents straight from the off at the start of the second half. Richens twice going close with long distance efforts inside the first four minutes. Nassunculo was bundled over just outside the box by Pendley to give Herd a chance to test Hall from the resulting free kick but he to failed to hit the target just skimming the crossbar with his well struck effort.

Richens did manage to hit the target in 54th minute as Barton combined well with Herd down the left before picking him out by the penalty spot with his clip into the box but the skipper’s header was straight into the grateful arms of Hall.

The Ives skipper did much better on the hour as his sheer persistence earned himself the goal that put the hosts in front for the first time. Richens bravely charged down an attempted clearance from Hodgkiss and strode clear onto the loose ball before beating the exposed Hall with a calm finish from just inside the box.

The lead only lasted just over ten minutes as Ives found themselves pushed back and it took a very brave block from Ed Hottor flinging himself in the way of Gibson’s close range effort after the striker had dropped off the back of Johnson and fired in a powerful effort in 70th minute. Sadly the reprieve was only temporary as Pendley rose in the crowd to challenge for the resulting corner at the back post and then could not believe his luck as the ball dropped to his feet six yards out. The big centre back kept his composure lashing it home before Brearey or one of his defenders could react.

To give the players their due, despite the heat, the pace did not drop off as both sides continued to go for the win. Only two minutes later Barton again got around Myles-Tebbutt and delivered a low cross that was blocked by the legs of keeper Hall. Richens was following up but lashed the loose ball into the side netting.

At the other end the tricky Ricardo Dinanga wriggled his way into the box before firing over from a narrow angle in the 81st minute. Gibson was brilliantly denied by Brearey only sixty seconds later after the striker had cleverly run onto his own flick past Johnson and looked to lift the ball over the keeper who did well to stay upright and make the save.

The closest Ives came to winning it was in 84th minute when a rampaging Hottor was taken down by Pendley just inches outside the left hand corner of the box. Richens struck the free kick perfectly curling it around the three man wall but Hall was equal to it leaping high to his left to finger tip the goal bound effort over the top at full stretch.

The game entered an added seven minutes and in the third of those the visitors won the corner that proved decisive. Once more Pendley rose above the crowd at the back post and directed his header back into the mix where Gibson showed his strikers instinct to nod the ball home at close range to take the points back to the West Midlands.

The result sees the visitors move up to the fringes of the early season play off places whilst Ives without a win since the second game of the season still remain in the drop zone. Defending set pieces late in the game is proving to be a costly problem that needs to be resolved quickly to make life feel more comfortable for the battling boys from Cambridgeshire and get their season back on track.

Final Score:  St Ives Town  2   AFC Telford United  3


ST IVES: Williams 39, Richens 59

TELFORD: Piggott 33, Pendley 71, Gibson 90+3

Team Line Ups:

ST IVES: Brearey, Casey, Herd, Richens (capt), Williams, Johnson, Barton (Baker 75), Hottor, Nassunculo (Andoh 75), Bell-Toxtle, Kaziboni (Hickinson 84), Unused subs: Culkin, Harris

TELFORD: Hall, Myles-Tebbutt, Jones (Bood 64), Piggott, Hodgkiss (capt), Pendley, Dinanga, Mitford (Yusuf 78), Gibson, Walker (McQuilkin 64), Moore, Unused subs: Scott, Forsyth

Cards: Yellow:  ST IVES:  Casey (26), Richens (59), Andoh (88)    TELFORD:  Mitford (13), Moore (31), Pendley (83)


Attendance:  248