Ives surrender two goal lead to Redditch

St Ives Town 2 Redditch United 3

PitchingIN Southern League Premier Division Central, Saturday 23 September 2023

Nigel Howlett Reports

Struggling Ives extended their run without a win to eight games in all competitions and yet again it was their inability to hold onto a lead which cost them as a second half comeback from the Reds saw them recover from a two goal deficit at the break to claim a 3-2 victory.

There was good news and bad for Ives before the game, the bad being inspirational skipper Michael Richens missing out as he served a one match ban for picking up five yellow cards in the first seven games of the season. The good news was a first appearance amongst the substitutes for talismanic striker Jonny Edwards as he continued his recovery from a pre-season appendix operation. The visitors gave a debut to their new signing from Bromsgrove Sporting with the regal name of Prince Henry.

The hosts started on the front foot as an eighth minute long throw from Aaron Smith caused panic in the visitor’s box but neither Charlie Johnson, nor Greg Kaziboni could make a clean contact with the ball as it ricocheted around. Keeper Adam Harrison was not called into action in that scramble but three minutes later he had to be on his toes to prevent Kaziboni putting Ives in front. Initially Dan Barton closed the keeper on a back pass forcing him into a hurried clearance that went straight to Fernando Bell-Toxtle. His header looked like it had put Kaziboni clear but the recovering keeper just managed to smother the ball ahead of the striker.

The Reds first attempt on goal came in the 16th minute when patient build up was concluded by Aran Soleman playing the ball into the feet of Cameron just inside the box. Despite the close attention of Johnson the Reds striker managed to turn and get away a low drive that the alert Eddie Brearey in the Ives goal did well to hang onto low to his left.

The opening goal from the penalty spot came just before the half way mark in the first period as Ives broke at pace with Tiago Nassunculo being given the chance to take on Liam Armstrong one on one on the edge of the box. The tricky striker got the ball past the Reds full back but then found his run blocked by the defender just inside the box. Referee Gary Connell was right on the spot and instantly awarded the penalty. Despite the protests from the visitors Nassunculo kept his cool and just managed to beat keeper Harrison with his kick. The Reds stopper went the right way and got a good hand on the ball but could not prevent it going in off the inside of the post.

That opener may have had a little fortune about it but Ives second on the half hour was a goal worthy of winning any game. Another Smith long throw was half cleared to Hottor just outside the box. The Ives midfielder was surrounded by yellow shirts but a shimmy to his right created a little bit of space, just enough for him to gently caress a shot with the outside of his boot that curled past the motionless Harrison and found the top corner of the net.

Going two behind seemed to spark a reaction out of the visitors and it did not take them long to pressurise the Ives goal. Two minutes after that second goal Ives defenders found themselves putting their bodies on the line to preserve the cushion. Williams and Johnson each blocked shots deep inside their own box from Musa Ceesay and Cameron respectively. But eventually Ives conceded a free kick on the right corner of their box. Reece Flanagan picked out the run of Henry at the near post with the resulting free kick and it took a brilliant reaction save from Brearey to prevent the debutant halving the arrears.

Brearey was in action again just before the break to parry a fierce drive from Flanagan at his near post after the Reds skipper had created the space cleverly with a well worked short corner routine.

No doubt the visitors got a rocket from manager Matt Clarke at half time and they certainly came out with the bit between their teeth at the start of the second period. The deficit was down to one inside five minutes as Brad Burton got away down the right to deliver a low cross to the near post where the fast arriving Cameron swept it home.

Ives did have half a chance to restore their two goal lead in 57th minute when a quick long throw from Smith gave Kaziboni chance run at the Reds defence and get into the box, but his shot was blocked by a covering defender and the ball scrambled clear. Johnson did get an effort on target as he flicked on the resulting long throw but keeper Harrison made a comfortable save at his near post.

But that was a rare Ives sortie into Reds territory and the ball was soon back at the other end with a shaky looking Ives defence trying to cling on to their slender advantage. Cameron went close again on the hour firing just over from 20 yards having been set up by Rowe.

They could not hang on for long through and sure enough in 68th minute the visitors levelled things up. Once again the breakthrough came down the right where Cameron found space in behind and got to the bye line before picking out Flanagan with his pull back just in front of the near post and the Reds skipper did the rest blasting the ball home from ten yards.

The Reds now sensed blood and went for the jugular piling more pressure on the struggling Ives. Rowe was continuing to cause problems through the right channel and in 70th minute he ran at the defence before firing inches over from just outside the box.

The winner came four minutes later and sure enough it came through that right channel where Johnson and Smith were struggling valiantly to cope with the pace and direct running that was coming at them. Rowe was again the protagonist bursting through into the box before being unceremoniously taken down by Smith. Referee Connell was on hand to award his second spot kick off the afternoon and Flanagan made no mistake sending Brearey the wrong way with his well struck effort.

Edwards was introduced three minutes later along with Tyrone Baker and to give them their due Ives did stem the flow of one way traffic and gave themselves two good chances to grab some reward from the game. An 82nd minute Smith long throw was flicked on by Johnson and clearly hit the arm of a defender. With VAR it was a cast iron penalty but there is no VAR at Southern League level and the claims were waved away. Even then the ball dropped to Williams who mid appeal swung a boot at it to direct it goalwards and was very unlucky to see the effort deflect wide of the outstretched leg of keeper Harrison.

The second and even better chance of a leveller came in 88th minute when substitute Enoch Andoh managed to win a header to flick the ball into the box. Baker bustled in between two defenders to win the ball and as it dropped to him by the penalty spot and keeper Harrison came to meet him he dragged his shot agonisingly wide of the post.

There were an added eight minutes so there was still hope and Ives did manage to win two corners in the last few seconds and with keeper Brearey up Williams was unfortunate to see his header aimed back into the mix from beyond the far post deflect wide of the shoulder of team mate Johnson.

Ives still find themselves sat in the bottom four and now face a trip to third placed bogy side Needham Market on Tuesday evening while the Reds consolidated themselves in the play off places with their third win on the road this season and face bottom of the table Long Eaton on Monday night.

Final Score:  St Ives Town  2  Redditch United  3


ST IVES: Nassunculo 21 (pen), Hottor 30

REDDITCH: Cameron 50, Flanagan 68, 74 (pen)

Team Line Ups:

ST IVES: Brearey, Casey, Smith, Bell-Toxtle (capt), Williams, Johnson, Barton, Hottor, Nassunculo (Edwards 77), Harris (Andoh 86), Kaziboni (Baker 77), Unused subs: Hickinson,  

REDDITCH: Harrison, Burton, Armstrong (Howell 46), Mussa, Rowe, Wollacott, Flanagan (capt), Ceesay, Cameron (White 87), Henry (King 74), Soleman, Unused subs: Meynell

Cards: Yellow:  ST IVES: Barton (61), Johnson (70)     REDDITCH: Burton (90+5)  


Attendance:  257