Ives improved form continues as Marine beaten in Trophy

St Ives Town 3 v Marine 1

Isuzu FA Trophy 1st Round  28-10-2023

Nigel Howlett Reports

A powerful first half performance, well backed up by an excellent second half defensive display saw back in form Ives despatch the renowned cup fighting Mariners. The side from Liverpool who only four seasons ago hosted Tottenham Hotspur in the FA Cup are up to their exploits again this season and host League Two Harrogate Town in that hallowed competition next Saturday. But make no mistake they made their visit to Cambridgeshire equally determined to progress in the FA Trophy.

But Ives had other ideas and took the lead after only 85 seconds. Michael Richens curled in an early free kick from the left and Jordan Williams ghosted in unmarked to nod past a static Felix Goddard in the visitor’s goal.

That early goal rocked the Mariners and Ives continued to harry them high up the pitch at every opportunity but it wasn’t until 17th minute that they carved out another opportunity for a shot on goal. A powerful run down the left by Aaron Smith allowed him to feed the ball on to Dan Barton his pull back to the edge of the box picked out Peter Abimbola but the youngster snatched at the chance and fired well over.

It was exactly half way through the first period before the Mariners really put any threat onto Ives goal. The speedy Sol Solomon robbed Myles Cowling inside Ives half and drove in on goal, but Paddy Casey was alert to the danger and came across to cover and block the shot. Another half chance followed for the visitors three minutes later when skipper Josh Wardle rose highest at the back post to get on the end of Will Tomlinson’s free kick but he could only direct his header wide under heavy pressure from Ives defenders.

Play quickly swung back to the other end where keeper Goddard was saved from embarrassment by his defenders. Another clever Richens free kick into the box was won at the near post by Jonny Edwards who directed his toe poke on target but Goddard made a comfortable save. Although inexplicably the keeper then dropped the ball leading to a bout of pinball inside the Mariners box. Both Williams and Richens following up had shots blocked before the ball ricocheted to Brandon Njoku by the penalty spot. He hit the ball perfectly on the volley and it was arrowing for the back of the net before covering defender Chris Doyle flung himself along the goal line to head the ball away.

It took more excellent Ives defending to block out another swift Mariners break just before the half hour. The dangerous Finlay Sinclair-Smith got away down the right and delivered a ball to the near post where Louis White was lurking but Josh Tomlinson slid in with a well timed challenge to knock the ball away from goal. That effort was quickly followed by fierce 25 yarder from Will Tomlinson that keeper Eddie Brearey blocked but could not hold fortunately his defenders were alert to the danger and scrambled the ball clear.

But that was the visitor’s final attempt before the break as Ives took control for the remaining fifteen minutes. The pace and direct running style of Ives front men continued to cause the visitors problems and a 33rd minute run from Njoku saw him get into the heart of the Mariners back line. He fed the ball on to Barton who in turn laid it on the Richens cutting in from the right. His powerful first time effort flashed across the face of goal but the wrong side of the far post.

The host’s doubled their advantage from their very next attack two minutes later. A poor defensive header from Doyle fell to Barton 25 yards out but rather than go for goal he ran at the Mariners back line, pulling in defenders before cleverly sliding the ball to the unmarked Edwards who made no mistake from just inside the box.

There was still time for Edwards to get the ball in the net again two minutes before the break again it was a free kick into their box which almost proved the Mariners undoing. A struggling defender only succeeded in half clearing the ball to Cowling just outside the left edge of the box. A clever side step allowed him to drill a ball across the six yard line that Edwards bundled in at the far post only to be denied by an assistants upraised flag.

The visitors were bound to offer more in the second half. Although it was Ives who created the first half chance and what proved to be their last one until the closing stages. Abimbola delivered a dangerous ball in from the right that a stretching Njoku just failed to turn home at the far post.

Then started the Mariners bombardment. A free kick from wide on the right by White was punched away by an under pressure Brearey, the ball fell to Tomlinson 25 yards out but the skipper got it all wrong and sliced his effort well wide. Only seconds later the Mariner’s danger men combined as Sinclair-Smith fed a ball into the well timed run of Solomon but Brearey was smartly off his line to block at point blank range.

Cowling took down White to concede a free kick just inches outside Ives box on the hour. Tomlinson took on the responsibility and did well to get his shot up and down over Ives five man wall but Brearey made good ground across his goal line to claim the ball well. Sinclair-Smith came within inches of pulling a goal back in 68th minute as full back Michael Carberry got forward down the left and picked him out with an inside pass. The Mariners number seven calmly curled his effort over Brearey but it rebounded back into play off the angle of post and crossbar.

The pressure did finally tell fifteen minutes from time and again Sinclair-Smith was involved getting to the bye line on the left before picking out his skipper on the edge of the box with his pull back Tomlinson made no mistake thumping home a low drive through the crowded goalmouth.

With the wind very much in their sails the visitors went in search of an equaliser but unlike in the not to distant past Ives back line admirably lead by Williams stood firm and defended their box well limiting the Mariners to half chances only. Sinclair-Smith, substitute Jordan Lussey and Carberry combined well down the left in 83rd minute but the latter’s driven cross flashed harmlessly across the face of goal. Two minutes later Sinclair-Smith and Solomon combined to set up a shooting opportunity for Manasse Mampala but the visitor’s substitute fired his effort wide from the edge of the box.

The clock ticked into an added five minutes and two minutes into that added time the Mariners final half chance came and went as Carberry and Mampala combined on the left with the formers cross to the edge of the box being met on the volley by White but the effort flew well over the top.

After that Ives looked to be playing out the final few minutes very well, so well in fact that referee Colman O’Meara found another couple of minutes to add and it was in the final one of those when the excellent high pressing of Njoku paid off as he and substitute Tiago Nassunculo harried keeper Goddard into a hurried clearance that went straight to Richens 40 yards from goal. He may have thought about delivering the ball back to the corner flag but the site of a vacant net was just to inviting and he found the back of it with what proved to be the last kick of the game to put the icing on the top of an excellent home win and ensure that Ives are in the hat for Monday lunch times second round draw. The result matches the Club’s best run in the competition which came in the same season when Marine hosted Tottenham in the FA Cup in 2020/21 when both sides had to play their big games behind closed doors courtesy of the Covid pandemic. This time we can hope for a home draw and a big crowd.

Final Score:  St Ives Town    3   Marine  1


ST IVES: Williams 2, Edwards 35, Richens 90+7

MARINE: W. Tomlinson 76

Team Line Ups:

ST IVES: Brearey, Abimbola, Smith, Richens (capt), Williams, Casey, Barton (Hottor 71), Cowling (Harris 90), Edwards (Nassunculo 90), Njoku, J. Tomlinson, Unused subs: Bell-Toxtle, Johnson

MARINE: Goddard, Ferguson, Carberry, W. Tomlinson, Doyle, Wardle (capt), Sinclair-Smith, White, Osei (Mampala 71), Solomon, Nolan (Lussey 46), Unused subs: Hayde, Cowderoy,

Cards:  Yellow:  ST IVES: Smith (52)     MARINE: Solomon (81)


Attendance: 279