Sunday 23rd August 2015 – Pre-Season Friendly
St Ives Town vs Leicester City Ladies
St Ives Town Ladies enjoyed their inaugural game in front of a bumper Sunday crowd at Pro-Edge, Westwood Road as they entertained a Leicester City Ladies Development side.
The Ives Ladies were a little nervous before the start, but in spite of their short time together they were the first team into their stride and Georgia Rebane had the first shot of the game from the edge of the box after only five minutes, but it flew just wide of keeper visiting Charlie Chamberlain’s left hand upright.
The home side were continuing to push forward and went close twice more before finally taking a deserved lead on 21 minutes as centre forward Sasha Smith strode onto a long ball through the middle and slotted past the advancing keeper from just inside the box.
Holly Knot was winning the battle in midfield against some strong Leicester opponents and pushing forward at every opportunity. She came close to adding to the Ives lead on 27 minutes as she latched onto a loose ball and fired just over from 20 yards.
The Foxes main dangers were coming from their skilful centre forward Katie Smith and tricky right winger Vanessa Bunjako. These two combined on 35 minutes to put Smith through, but she fired just wide from 15 yards as home keeper Kira Markwell closed her down.
Ives doubled their lead five minutes before half time as Rebane picked up a kick out from the keeper 35 yards from goal and fired in a perfectly placed lob that gave the stranded Chamberlain no chance as it sailed over her head and billowed the net.
There was still time for Katie Smith to test Markwell twice more before half time, but the home keeper was equal to both efforts with a sharp save to her right and a good hold of a firm shot straight at her.
The start of the second half was greeted by driving rain and the wind picking up. The Ives found the elements in their faces, but were undaunted by the added challenge and went close to increasing their lead on 50 minutes as Tierney Poore got on the end of a Georgia Stancombe corner, but headed just wide.
The visitors were now starting to get on top and looking likely to get back into the game. Markwell made two good saves in a minute around the 52 minute mark. Firstly doing well to hang onto a powerful shot from the corner of the box by Smith and then blocking bravely at the feet of Beth Herrick only seconds later.
The Ives defensive line were working like Trojans to keep the Foxes at bay. Phoebe Webb did well to block a close range effort from Smith on 58 minutes and centre back Mollie Flack just took the ball off the toe of Bunjako as she shaped to shoot one minute later.
The pressure on the home side continued and a corner from Bunjako was headed just wide by Chloe Dexter on 73 minutes. Two minutes later Smith finally got clear of the home defence and looked sure to close the arrears, but Markwell had other ideas and closed the striker down to make an excellent save.
One minute later Ives got a breakaway as Sasha Smith was put through the middle by Knott, but keeper Chamberlain got down well to her right to turn her low drive from the edge of the box around the post.
Katie Smith got away again for the visitors with five minutes to go, and as Markwell closed her down she slotted the ball past the keeper, but it was just not her day and the ball travelled inches wide of the far post.
The final action of the game saw the Foxes send everyone except the keeper forward for a free kick from the right. But keeper Kira Markwell topped off her day by claiming the ball cleanly as it was delivered into the crowded box.
Overall a good all round performance by the Ives with the whole squad getting a good run out against a strong opposition. The lady of the match award was shared between excellent centre back Mollie Flack and keeper Kira Markwell who between them ensured it was an unusually frustrating afternoon for Leicester striker Smith.
Attendance : 120 approx