St Ives Town v FC Halifax Town
Emirates FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round 15-10-2022
On an afternoon when their historic cup run came to an end Ives can still hold their heads high as their barnstorming second half display came so close to earning them reward against their National League visitors. Sadly the hosts had shown their higher level opponents a little to much respect in the opening twenty minutes.
All of the early pressure came from the Shaymen. Home keeper James Goff pulled off a smart save low to his left to keep out a Tylor Golden volley in seventh minute and Kian Spence failed to hit the target after being played in by Rob Harker four minutes later. The inevitable looking opener came in 15th minute as Jamie Cooke exchanged passes with Harvey Gilmour to get through the centre of Ives back line and give the visitors a deserved lead. They came close to increasing that lead midway through the first half as Gilmour ran at the defence before laying the ball off to Spence who flashed a drive inches wide of Goff’s left hand post from twenty yards.
Slowly but surely Ives were beginning to work their way into the game with midfield pairing of Myles Cowling and Michael Richens biting in to win a few tackles and lift the big home crowd. Their hosts first attempt on goal came just after the half hour as Jonny Edwards took in Johnny Herd’s cross from the left and found enough space inside the box to turn and get a shot away that visiting keeper Sam Johnson saved low to his right.
The latter stages of the first half saw Ives getting well on top with the all action Cowling again at the heart of the action. In 43rd minute he robbed Gilmour deep inside his own half and fed in Edwards whose shot struck the outstretched arm of Festus Arthur inside the D. Williams lined up the free kick but fired well over the top. But the hosts kept the pressure on and they went close twice in added time. They had a massive shout for penalty turned down as Greg Kaziboni’s in-swinging corner appeared to strike the arm of Arthur on the goal line. The ball bounced around the box and Enoch Andoh chipped it over the keeper but the strong breeze carried it onto the crossbar the rebound just evading Edwards.
Going so close to an equaliser lifted Ives belief to a whole new level and they tore into the Shaymen straight from the start of the second period. An early Kaziboni corner to the back post was won in the air by Andoh and his header back into the centre flicked off Edwards forcing Arthur to again get the ball off the goal line, this time legally.
The Ives front three of Kaziboni, Edwards and Andoh were stretching the visitors defence without quite finding a way through, and when they thought they had, they found keeper Johnston in unbeatable form. The keeper was forced into a good save to his right in 53rd minute as Andoh fed Edwards who managed to turn Jesse Debrah inside the box and get a shot away that Johnson was forced to palm away diving to his right. The pressure from the hosts continued and a 55th minute scramble in the Shaymen’s box saw a shot from Edwards and a follow up header from Kaziboni bravely blocked by desperate defenders.
Man of the match Cowling was running the show in the centre of the park and his powerful run through the centre in 65th minute set up a chance for Andoh who struck the ball perfectly from 20 yards. The crowd were rising to cheer an equaliser when the fingertips of the flying Johnson did just enough to deflect the goal bound effort around the post.
By this stage in the game anyone coming into the ground not knowing the respective levels of these two teams in the football pyramid could have been forgiven for thinking that Ives were the higher ranked team as they were the ones moving the ball around on the deck whilst their opponents were by now resorting to long ball tactics to simply relieve the pressure around their box. This change of style for the visitors was made more obvious as they replaced the smaller Harker with the towering Mani Dieseruvwe as their lone striker.
Ives continued to press their opponents but as the half wore on the effort levels that they had put in began to show as the part timers began to run out of steam a bit. With only six minutes left on the watch manager Ricky Marheineke was lining up a double substitution to bring on some fresh legs and further add to the front three in search of what would have been a deserved equaliser. But with strikers Nabil Shariff and Ethan Johnston waiting on the side line disaster struck for the tiring hosts. A mix up between Callum Milne and keeper Goff allowed Shaymen substitute Angelo Cappello to nip between them and fire the ball into the empty net to effectively kill the tie.
Seconds later the two strikers came into the fray replacing the tiring Andoh and skipper Richens who had picked up a knock but it was to late for any gallant heroics to pull anything from the fire and to rub salt into Ives wounds Dieseruvwe did what he is no doubt very good at getting on the end of Golden’s corner to power home a header from close range deep in added time.
All of those in the 820 crowd, both regulars and the more casual supporters knew that Ives had given it their all and on another day they could so easily have got something from this game. The loud applause as the players left the field certainly showed that we are all proud of their efforts in this record breaking run. We wish the Shaymen all the best in the next round but for Ives it is time to turn our attention back to league action and a run of home games now gives us chance to force our way back into the top six
Final Score: St Ives Town 0 FC Halifax Town 3
HALIFAX: Cooke 15, Cappello 84, Dieseruvwe 90+2
Team Line Ups:
ST IVES: Goff, Lewis, Herd, Richens (capt) (Shariff 85), J. Williams, Milne, Kaziboni (Baker 58), Cowling, Edwards, D. Williams, Andoh (Johnston 85), Unused subs: Sandiford, Sheriff, Hottor, Saka
HALIFAX: Johnson, Golden, Senior (capt), Debrah, Arthur, Hunter, Spence, Gilmour (Cappello 59), Harker (Dieseruvwe 63), Slew, Cooke, Unused subs: Scott, Summerfield, Alli, Minihan, Stott
Cards: Yellow: ST IVES: D. Williams (38) HALIFAX: Senior (36), Spence (71)
SPONSORS MAN OF THE MATCH: Myles Cowling
Match report by Nigel Howlett. Post match interview by Andrew Dunn. Video by Ollie Jones. Photos by Louise Thompson.