St Ives Town 5 v Leiston 0
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 06-01-2024
Nigel Howlett Reports
A scintillating second half performance saw the Ives blow away previously in-form Leiston. The Blues came to quattro-tech Westwood Road boasting a record of only one defeat in their last eight matches with six of those games gleaning maximum reward. With Ives missing injured talisman Myles Cowling and forced to make a change between the sticks with Eddie Brearey recalled by parent club Oxford United the visitors may have fancied their chances. But manager Ricky Marheineke did an excellent deal late on Friday that saw the return of last season’s successful custodian James Dadge from Northampton Town and drafted the ever reliable Ed Hottor into the centre of the park to replace Cowling.
The game started slowly with both sides testing each other out in the early stages. The first shot on target did not arrive until 17th minute and Dadge dealt with Jack Manly’s 25 yarder comfortably enough. Only moments later though Manly was left holding his head in his hands as the hard working Dan Barton robbed him deep inside Leiston territory and fed in Jonny Edwards to thump Ives ahead with their first on target effort.
Having got in front the hosts then enjoyed a good fifteen minute spell without further testing Sam Donkin in the Blues goal. In 24th minute an excellent ball in from the right by Edwards was skilfully taken down by Greg Kaziboni just inside the box. But the striker took one touch to many allowing Chris Casement to recover and block the shot at point blank range. Three minutes later a teasing Benji Mensah ball in from the right only just evaded Edwards sliding in at the back post.
Having conceded three goals from dead ball situations at Stamford in their previous game it was very good to see Dadge come through the crowd in commanding style to claim Joe Marsden’s dangerous looking corner on the half hour. Back up the other end Ives went close again ninety seconds later. Edwards was brought down wide right by Blues skipper Seb Dunbar. Michael Richens arced the free kick into the danger zone between keeper Donkin and his defenders inviting someone to attack it. Jordan Williams did just that and even though he did not make a clean contact he did enough to force the keeper into a tumbling save low to his right.
Dadge earned his corn for the day with a brilliant save to keep Ives in front ten minutes before the break. Richens was adjudged to have brought down the tricky Jamar Loza just outside the box. Manly’s well struck free kick arced over the five man wall and was heading for the top corner before it was expertly pushed away by the big right palm of the flying keeper. The visitors also spurned a late opportunity to get level when Albie Armin headed Marsden’s free kick from the right wide from a good position.
The visiting Leiston supporters were probably expecting their charges to come out with all guns blazing looking for an equaliser at the start of the second half. But it was the hosts who started the second half like a train. A lot of Ives first half moves had ended on the head of giant Blues centre back Adam Bailey-Dennis but they found a way to take him way out of his comfort zone early in the second period. Kaziboni was the first to take him on and ghost past him in 50th minute. Edwards should probably have done better with the cross that followed but the effort came off his shoulder allowing Donkin to make a comfortable save.
The agile keeper was left a simple spectator five minutes later as Ives doubled their advantage. Mensah got away down the right and delivered the perfect inviting cross to the back post where Richens accepted the invitation and powered home a header from eight yards giving Donkin no chance. Bailey-Dennis got himself in more trouble at that goal picking up a yellow card from referee Elliott Mayer for trying to persuade the official that the ball was out before Mensah delivered the cross. By this point the big Blues centre half was looking very rattled and only moments later he misjudged a Richens free kick into the box from the left allowing the ball to float over his head a drop at the feet of Williams. It took a smart save from Donkin to save his blushes.
A third Ives goal was looking inevitable and sure enough it came just before the hour. Kaziboni was the provider this time he got to the bye line on the right before hanging up a teasing cross to the back post where Williams rose above the crowd and powered in a header that Donkin did brilliantly to keep out. Unfortunately for the keeper the first person to react to the dropping ball was Edwards who forced it home with his knee.
Bailey-Dennis’s tribulations continued three minutes later when his lack of mobility was again found out by a perfectly weighted clip over his head by Richens which set Kaziboni clear through the right channel. The striker unselfishly tried to pick out Edwards with a square pass which just allowed the covering Casement to get a toe in.
During his loan spell from Cambridge United Barton has provided the assists for a lot of goals whilst failing to grab a deserved one for himself. That wait finally ended in 65th minute when Edwards fed him in clear and he emphatically beat Donkin from the edge of the box. That fourth Ives goal was a signal for Blues management duo to end the misery for the struggling Bailey-Dennis replacing him with Mitchell Jackson.
The hosts came within inches of adding a fifth with twenty minutes to go. Torin Ntege who had only just come onto the park to replace Kaziboni delivered the perfect corner to the back post where Williams directed his header goalwards only to be denied by Dunbar’s block on the line.
With the Ives now easing off a little the Blues did enjoy a brief foray into the final third of the pitch at the Green Leys end which brought a little more action for Dadge. But the young keeper proved that his concentration is excellent as he made diving saves to deny Loza and Dunbar in quick succession, plunging to his right to keep out the former’s effort and to his left the latter’s.
The introduction of substitutes Ntege, Khris Oti and George Joyce brought a new impetus to the Ives efforts and they were soon back in search of more goals. Josh Tomlinson got a good flick onto an Aaron Smith long throw with Edwards toe poking the loose ball just wide of the post in 87th minute. Seconds later Richens had a 25 yarder tipped around by the diving Donkin.
The keeper again denied the same player in the final minute of the ninety as he flung himself along the goal line to block the Ives skipper’s close range effort from a corner with his legs. The fifth goal finally arrived in the third added minute in very simple route one fashion. Edwards flicked on a long Dadge punt to put Oti clear and the big centre forward became the second player of the afternoon to open his Ives account comfortably beating the exposed Donkin.
There should have been a third player to open his account as well as with only seconds to go a more trademark flowing Ives move was ended with Oti putting Ntege clear. The Peterborough youngster looked to do everything right drawing Donkin to him before clipping the ball past the keeper but it rolled agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
Quattro-tech Westwood Road is now the place to come to see goals with the rampant Ives boasting a record of twenty four scored and only five conceded in their last six home games. Next opportunity to see them in action is Saturday 13th November against the inconsistent Nuneaton Borough, don’t miss it.
Final Score: St Ives Town 5 Leiston 0
ST IVES: Edwards 18, 59, Richens 55, Barton 65, Oti 90+3
Team Line Ups:
ST IVES: Dadge, Mensah (Joyce 83), Smith, Richens (capt), Williams, Casey, Barton (Oti 83), Hottor, Edwards, Kaziboni (Ntege 71), Tomlinson, Unused subs: Harris
LEISTON: Donkin, Casement, Dunbar (capt), Marsden, Bailey-Dennis (M. Jackson 67), E. Jackson (Dronfield 62), Crane, Armin, Quantrell, Manly, Loza, Unused subs: Jarvis,
Cards: Yellow: ST IVES: Casey (43), Edwards (46) LEISTON: Bailey-Dennis (55), Donkin (59), Armin (75), Loza (89)
SPONSORS MAN OF THE MATCH: Dan Barton