League: Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division

Deeping Rangers U18 v St Ives Town U18

Deeping Rangers U18 v St Ives Town U18    

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  15-10-20

Outgang Road has for many years been a graveyard for the young Ives with some heavy pastings inflicted in the past almost inevitably in awful weather. The omens did not look good pre-match either with Rangers boasting an unbeaten run going into the game and coming into it off the back of a home victory over Peterborough Sports who had recently despatched the Ives.

One thing certainly came true to form as right on kick off the heavy rain swept in to add damp to what was already a cold evening with a North Easterly wind sweeping in all the way from the North sea.

The early stages did not bode well as in only third minute keeper George Driver was beaten to a long ball over the top that held up in the wind by Alton Strachan but the Rangers striker pulled his effort wide with the goal gaping. 

A second chance came the way of the hosts in 14th minute as Jack Squire fouled Archie Richards on the corner of the box. Richards picked himself up and curled the resulting free kick to the back post where Mapalo Mwansa rose above the crowd but steered his header over the top from eight yards. Two minutes later full back Leo Brando broke away down the left before feeding in Aaron Ake who took his time but carefully curled his shot just wide of the far post from the corner of the box.

Ives were battling hard and no one harder than midfield dynamo Squire who won a crunching tackle in the centre of the park before clipping the ball over the top into the run of Ryley McDougald in 18th minute. The Ives centre forward tried to lob out of position keeper James Roberts from 25 yards but only succeeded in drifting his effort wide on the breeze.

By this point the game was evening up into an entertaining contest and the next chance came the way of the hosts as Will Howarth outmuscled Joe Cobb and battled his way into the box before unleashing a left footed effort that keeper Driver did well to block with his body before pouncing on the loose ball.

Back up the other end in 22nd minute Squire again fed in McDougald who did well to hurdle a desperate lunging challenge from Jamie Allen. Had he gone down he may well have won his team a spot kick but he stayed honest and slid his shot past the advancing Roberts but inches the wrong side of the post.

Driver came to his sides rescue twice in quick succession around the half hour as he initially saved the blushes of Fayed Rhaman whose poor square pass along the back line had been cut out by Richards. Driver quickly closed down the striker as he strode into the box and stayed big to block his shot at point blank range. Only seconds later Ake got away down the right and picked out Howarth at the near post. The centre forward struck his effort cleanly from eight yards but a well positioned Driver was equal to it not only blocking but holding the shot.

A clever Ives corner almost saw them get their noses in front in 36th minute. Zac Hope lost his man to get on the end of Faris Rhaman’s corner from the right but his near post effort rattled the upright and rebounded to safety.

Going that close lifted the visitors and they enjoyed a purple patch up to the break with keeper Roberts having to sprint from his line to just prevent Ben Smith getting on the end of a Hope through ball in 40th minute. The ball was almost instantly fed back deep into Rangers territory where Faris Rhaman showed his silky skills as he picked up the ball fully 35 yards out before ghosting past two defenders, drawing keeper Roberts to him but sliding his shot just the wrong side of the post.

Hope managed to hit the woodwork for the second time in ten minutes as the game entered added time striking a 30 yard free kick that dipped late completely deceiving Roberts who looked on as the ball cannoned off the face of his right hand upright and rebounded into play.

They were now playing against the strong breeze but Ives continued where they left off in the early stages of the second half. In 57th minute Smith got away down the right before driving in a cross that keeper Roberts just did enough with to prevent the late arriving Squire getting on the end of.

Ives went in front in classic fashion in the very next attack only ninety seconds later. McDougald wriggled his way out of two challenges on the left before hanging up the type of teasing cross that was crying out to be rammed in the net and Smith obliged in style as he hurled himself at the ball on the edge of the six yard box to emphatically ram the ball home.

It could so easily have been two six minutes later as Smith burst through down the right before cutting inside and trying his luck from a narrow angle but only firing straight at the keeper with Squire and Hope both unmarked and screaming for a pull back in the centre.

Having failed to kill off their opponents Ives found themselves pegged back with fifteen minutes to go. Richards latched onto a ball on the left but he was running away from goal when he was taken down just inside the box by a lunging tackle from O’Donovan. Substitute Jack Brumfield took the responsibility from the spot and sent Driver the wrong way to level things up. 

An exciting last fifteen minutes was promised but as the two sides tired it began to look like a share of the spoils was looking inevitable until the final three minutes. In 87th minute Richards teed up his skipper Ben Baker for a fierce drive from 25 yards that Mihayl Mitkov bravely blocked with his body just outside the box.

Then with only one minute of the ninety remaining the young full back teamed up with Faris Rhaman to produce a goal worthy of winning a Premiership game let alone an under 18 fixture out in the windswept fens. Mitkov picked up the ball inside his own half and exchanged passes with Rhaman at least three times as they played their way through the bemused Rangers defence on the left hand side. The final ball inside from Mitkov put Rhaman into the box and he did the rest prodding the ball past Roberts low to his right to spark wild celebrations amongst the visitors and silence the noisy group of home supporters on the rails.

There were four added minutes and that was just time for Driver to earn his corn as he plunged low to his left to fingertip away a powerful drive from the edge of the box by Baker. The resulting corner was powerfully headed away by McDougald and the referees whistle blew on a very satisfactory performance and an excellent result for Ives. 

Final Score  :  Deeping Rangers U18  1  St Ives Town U18  2 

Goals : Smith 58, Faris Rhaman 89

St Ives team : Driver, Fayed Rhaman, Mitkov, Faris Rhaman, Quinsee, Cobb, Smith (Taylor 78), O’Donovan, McDougald, Squire, Hope (capt)

Other substitutions (roll on roll off) : none

Unused Subs : Sulman

Attendance  : 86


Peterborough Sports U18 v St Ives Town U18

For those wishing to attend the game this evening, the following protocols need to be followed.

Venue: Bee Arena ,Peterborough Sports FC, 651 Lincoln Road, Peterborough PE1 3HA

Please note that there are parking restrictions in place via a parking eye that will require you to enter your car registration at the bar via the tablet provided, when doing so please select the event option which will cover you for the duration of your stay. This will also include any coaches or mini buses.





St Ives Town U18 v March Town United U18

St Ives Town U18 v March Town United U18

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  16-09-20

Once they got over a slow start Ives kept their cool to record a comfortable opening league win against a very young Hares side. The first twenty minutes were fairly even but from the moment that the visitor’s keeper Kye Gilmour needlessly pushed over Ben Smith when the young striker was running away from goal and looking unlikely to keep a bouncing ball in play it became one way traffic. Skipper Zac Hope slotted home the resulting penalty to the left of keeper Gilmour.

Gilmour did much better three minutes before the break when he hurled himself high to his right to deny Hope scoring his second spot kick of the first half. This time the kick had been conceded by centre back Rob Shepherd who unceremoniously upended Fayed Rhaman deep in the box after the enterprising wing back had surged past two struggling defenders down the right before cutting inside and baring down on goal.

Having pulled off such a brilliant save Gilmour then found himself struggling to deal with the resulting in-swinging corner from Hope and under heavy pressure he only succeeded in punching the ball down into the box where Connor O’Donovan cleverly lobbed it back over the pack in the goalmouth to double Ives advantage.

The other highlights of an entertaining first half were Mihayl Mitkov robbing a dallying Riley Holland on the half way line on the half hour. The Ives left wing back raced forward to the edge of Hares box before letting fly with a skimming left foot drive that the diving Gilmour finger tipped around the post at full stretch. The lively Ben Smith had also gone close with an early near post flick to Rhaman’s low cross from the right in ninth minute.

Ives stepped up the pace in the early stages of the second half and it took further heroics from Gilmour to prevent Hope increasing the lead in 53rd minute as he slid in to get on the end of a low cross from the busy Smith. The visiting keeper threw himself full length to just divert the ball away from the Ives skipper on the edge of the six yard box.

Gilmour was busy again three minutes later as he blocked a rasping drive from Rhaman with his legs after the full back had again appeared in the opposition box to get on the end of Kyle Brackley’s cross from the left.

The third goal was looking inevitable and it arrived just before the hour as a flowing move down the right was concluded perfectly with Rhaman feeding through an inviting pass into the perfectly timed run of substitute Lewis Taylor who finished emphatically into the bottom corner past the exposed Gilmour from twelve yards.

Kai Bradley in the home goal had enjoyed a very quiet evening up to this point but he almost had his clean sheet snatched away from him in 69th minute as he was a little slow to come off his line and claim a through ball allowing Josh Williams to get to the ball at the same moment. It continued to roll goal wards but the young keeper was saved by the ever alert winger turned sweeper Joe Cobb who tidied up the danger.

Taylor claimed his second and completed the evenings scoring ten minutes from time. Once more he timed his run through a flat back line to perfection to latch onto a well weighted through ball from O’Donovan and again he gave Gilmour no chance from around the penalty spot.

The final action of the night almost saw Ives claim a fifth as Norton Spring outpaced his fellow substitute Nojus Konceigo down the right before delivering a low cross that bounced off a defender before falling to O’Donovan on the edge of the box. Unfortunately he was unable to match his cool finish from just before the break and only managed to screw his shot wide of Gilmour’s left hand upright with the keeper looking on.

There will be much tougher challenges to come but this game and the result will offer a nice pick up after the heartbreak of exiting the FA Youth Cup on penalties in their only other competitive game to date.  

Final Score  :  St Ives Town U18  4  March Town United U18  0 

Goals : Hope 24 (pen), O’Donovan 44, Taylor 58 & 79

St Ives team : Bradley, Fayed Rhaman (May 75), Mitkov, Cobb, Squire, Sulman, McDougald (Taylor 25), Brackley (Aubin 58), Smith, Hope (capt) (Spring 82), O’Donovan

Other substitutions (roll on roll off) : none

Unused Subs : Driver

Attendance  : 57


St Neots Town U18 v St Ives Town U18

St Neots Town U18 v St Ives Town U18     

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  11-03-20

Ives came off worse in this tetchy affair losing Tom Wakley to a serious injury just before the break and having Ewan Young sent off soon after the long delayed restart whilst an ambulance was called for the unfortunate Wakley. Young foolishly reacted after Saints Brad Brown stuck his head in his face and probably deserved his red card although one can only assume Brown escaped with an unblemished record from the incident as it happened out of site of the match officials. This was not the only strange decision from the man in the middle who failed to play the remaining six minutes of the first half after Wakley was carried off!

The game had started in typical local derby fashion with both sides dishing out some meaty tackles. There were only five minutes on the watch when Ben Smith managed to rob Harri Clarke inside his own half only to be unceremoniously taken down by Andrew Howell 25 yards from goal. A clever Zac Hope free kick almost put Wakley through but keeper Dylan Martin was alert to the danger and did just enough to prevent Wakley prodding the ball home.

Hope and Wakley were both to the fore in Ives early attacking play and the two combined again in 18th minute as Wakley got on the end of a low Hope cross from the right but failed to hit the target with his close range effort under pressure from Josh Byrne.

Saints first chance of the evening arrived midway through the first period when centre back Young lost possession to Clarke in wide right position. Clarke fed the ball inside to Brad Matzk who curled his left foot effort from the edge of the box inches wide of the post. From the resulting goal kick the ball was swiftly fed to the other end where Smith was denied by an excellent save low to his right by Martin.

Probably the best move of the evening came from the home side in 25th minute as Jake Wood roaming forward on the left fed a pass into the run of Brown who in turn cleverly fed the ball inside to the well timed run of Matzk. Fortunately Leon Quinsee was alert to the danger and forced the Saints striker wide meaning that when the shot eventually came in it only ruffled the side netting.

Saints got in front on the half hour and full back Wood was the provider as he found a lot of space on the left before delivering a teasing cross to the near post where Marley Edwards rose unchallenged to head home. But the lead only lasted sixty seconds as Saints back line seemed to switch off at a drop ball. Referee Nick Easey got in the way of an intended through ball by Connor Gibbs just outside the box. He correctly restarted the game with a drop ball to Gibbs who knocked it sideways to Hope and his low first time cross was turned home at close range by Wakley.

But Ives parity only lasted five minutes as at terrible back pass by Young fell well short of Kai Bradley in the Ives goal allowing Matzk to nip between them and slot the ball past the exposed keeper.

The injury to Wakley happened in 39th minute as he and Byrne challenged for a bouncing ball the defenders boot clattering into the Ives strikers shin. Rather than simply take the remaining players to the changing room whilst an ambulance was summoned for the unfortunate striker referee Easey blew what he decided was the half time whistle leading some supporters to believe that he had abandoned the game. After a lengthy delay the game finally resumed with the teams now changed ends clearly indicating that the referee had no intention of playing the rest of the first half.

Now playing with the elements Ives were quickly on the front foot. Five minutes after the restart Smith picked up a poor ball out of defence by Howell and ran at the defence before feeding the ball into the run of Hope cutting in from the right but the well positioned Martin was equal to his powerful drive parrying the ball behind for a corner.

The melee which lead to Young’s dismissal followed the delivery of Hope’s flag kick into the box and concluded with yellow cards for Matzk and Hope in addition to Young getting his marching orders. Now down to ten men we feared the worst for Ives but manager Lloyd Groves shuffled his pack and they continued to hold their own. The hard working Smith who was now running a lone furrow up front had a golden opportunity to pull them back level in 66th minute as a slide rule pass through the centre from Gibbs put him clear but Martin quickly came to meet him and did well to block the strikers low driven shot with his legs.

Despite of their numerical advantage Saints were unable to create any real threat as the gallant ten of Ives continued to work like Trojans. But they only managed to carve out one more decent opportunity to get level and that was in the 83rd minute as the cultured right foot of debutant Fayed Rhaman picked out fellow substitute Mihayl Mitkov’s run from the left. The young winger burst into the box but drove his shot wide of Martin’s left hand upright.

As time ticked down manager Groves decided to go for broke replacing two defenders with a winger and another striker with Joe Cobb and Lewis Taylor coming on for Seb Darnell and skipper Karl Frans. But this bold approach was always going to leave gaps at the back and Bradley found himself called into his first real action of the second half three minutes from time as Edwards and Brown combined to work their way into Ives box. The young keeper did well to close down Brown and block his shot at close range.

The final action of the night saw Matzk miss a golden opportunity to double his tally for the evening as a hurried clearance from Bradley landed at his feet 30 yards from goal with the keeper well out of position but he only succeeded in scuffing his effort wide of the post with Bradley scrambling to get back.

These sides meet twice more in the next three weeks and one can only hope that they both worked the tetchiness out of themselves in this first encounter, but that is perhaps just wishful thinking. The worrying thing for Ives is that they will definitely without Young and almost certainly Wakley for those two fixtures. Unlike the infamous Bill Shankley I am going to finish by saying there is more to life than football and wish Tom Wakley a speedy recovery.   

Final Score  :  St Neots Town U18  2  St Ives Town U18  1   

Goals : Wakley 31

St Ives team : Bradley, Frans (capt), Darnell, O’Donovan (Gibbs 26), Young, Quinsee, Hope, Faris Rhaman (Squire 63), Smith, Wakley (Taylor 45), Cobb (Mitkov 54)

Other substitutions (roll on roll off) : Fayed Rhaman for Taylor 54, Cobb for Darnell 84, Taylor for Frans 84

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : 60 approx

Report by Nigel Howlett.


St Ives Town U18 v Cambridge City U18

St Ives Town U18 v Cambridge City U18    

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  04-03-20

Misfiring Ives missed their chance to move back into second place in the very tight league table as they failed to take their chances and came within seconds of getting nothing from a game that they probably should have won comfortably without ever playing well.

The failure to finish good opportunities started very early as Tom Wakley was unable to make clean contact on a low cross from the right that had been played into him on the six yard line by the pacey Ben Smith after only 35 seconds.

The Lilywhites then proceeded to punish their hosts by getting their noses in front with their very first real attack of the night. A ball over the top by Cam Wolstencroft looked like it was going to be dealt with by Leon Quinsee but the full back slipped on the wet surface allowing Alfredo Martins to sprint clear and finish in emphatic style past the exposed Kai Bradley from just inside the box in 14th minute.

Ives had their keeper to thank for preventing City doubling their advantage only two minutes later as Bradley sprinted from his line to just take the ball off the toe of Casey Heenan as the centre forward looked like he was going to get clear onto a ball threaded through the centre of the hosts back line.

Wakley was again the culprit wasting another golden opportunity to level things up in 24th minute as Connor O’Donovan threaded a ball through the right channel to put him clear one on one with City keeper Matty Wells. But the excellent keeper was off his line sharply to narrow the angle and block the centre forward’s shot on the edge of his box at point blank range. Wells was in action again in 34th minute as he positioned himself well to keep out a crisp low drive from Jack Squire. The early Ives substitute had got on the end of what was probably Ives best move of the evening involving Wakley and Smith.

But with half time approaching play swung back to the other end and Heenan had a miss that will probably haunt him for a long time to come as he somehow found himself all alone in Ives box with the ball at his feet eight yards out. He probably suspected that he was offside but the flag stayed down thus not saving him from embarrassment as he tamely prodded the ball over the top much to the relief of Ives absent back line. Bradley was called into action once more before the break in 41st minute when he had to get down smartly to his left to turn a well struck drive from twelve yards by Finn Wilkinson around the post.

Ives came out for the second half looking much more determined to get back into the contest. But Wakley spurned yet another opportunity to get them level in 51st minute. This time he burst clear onto a ball over the top from Ewan Young outpacing the Lilywhites back line he once again found himself one on one with keeper Wells. Again the brave stopper came out on top spreading himself to block Wakley’s shot at close range.

By now Ives were getting well on top and they were unhappy when play was stopped for a head injury to Smith just as Zac Hope was about to slam home the loose ball following a corner. The re-start drop ball on the edge of City’s box saw Wakley knock the ball sideways to give Hope another chance but this time he drilled his effort into the boards a couple of feet wide of the post.

Having watched his strikers fail to find the back of the net centre back Young thought he would have a go at beating Wells. A 63rd minute Quinsee free kick fell to his feet at the back post, a smart side step found him the space to slam in a powerful drive from ten yards that Wells not only got to but somehow managed to hold in the crowded goalmouth.

Ives got the ball in the net in 74th minute only to be denied by referee Andy Phillips who adjudged that Joe Cobb had unfairly challenged the much larger Brad Gothard as he robbed the City captain inside his own penalty area before teeing up Hope to smash the ball home from just inside the box.

Bradley’s only real save of the second half came four minutes later as he dealt with an in-swinging free kick from the left by Wilkinson in unorthodox fashion keeping the dipping effort out with his feet.

With the clock ticking down Ives pressure continued to mount a typical speedy run and cross from the left by Hope presented Faris Rhaman with a chance at the near post but the young debutant’s contact was a bit to good and he powered his header just over the top from the edge of the six yard box. Rhaman was making his presence felt in the City box and he did well to get on the end of another cross from the left by Mihayl Mitkov in the last of the ninety minutes but again he failed to hit the target.

It looked like Ives were going to get no reward as the added time ticked away but in the last of the added six minutes they won a corner on the right. Mitkov delivered into the near post area where the presence of Squire and Cobb caused confusion. The previously unbeatable Wells made his first mistake of the evening as he like everyone else missed the ball allowing it to sneak in at the far post much to the delight of Mitkov and his colleagues. It was hard on Wells who had otherwise been impeccable in the City goal but it was probably the least that Ives deserved for their hard working second half performance on a heavy and tiring pitch. 

Final Score  :  St Ives Town U18  1  Cambridge City U18  1 

Goals : Mitkov 90+6

St Ives team : Bradley, Quinsee, Mitkov (Squire 19), Frans (capt), Young, Darnell, Smith (Rhaman 54), O’Donovan, Wakley, Cobb, Hope 

Other substitutions (roll on roll off) : Mitkov for Wakley 62

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : 47

Report by Nigel Howlett


St Ives Town U18 v Deeping Rangers U18

St Ives Town U18 v Deeping Rangers U18    

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  05-02-20

A well taken early goal from Joe Cobb decided this tight encounter to see the Ives return to the top of the table with their second win and equally importantly second clean sheet in a row. The way the Ives managed this game against a resilient Rangers was particularly impressive after they had attracted some negative comment a few weeks earlier for failing to see out games when in winning positions.

The hosts caught their visitors napping as they tore into them straight from the off and were unlucky not to get their noses in front even before Cobb found the net. The tricky winger showed his threat two minutes before the goal when he chased down a ball which looked like it was rolling out of play, kept it in and then ran towards goal along the bye line before picking out Connor Gibbs with his pull back. Gibbs struck his effort well and was unfortunate to find the back of a defender with the shot from ten yards rather than the back of the net. 

Not disheartened from that failure to get in front Ives continued to tear at the somewhat disjointed Rangers and got the all important goal in their very next attack in sixth minute. Julinho Gomes harried a defender to win possession high up the pitch then raced down the right before delivering a dangerous low cross that Cobb coming in at pace between static defenders turned home past the startled James Hogg in the visitor’s goal.

Tom Wakley had a golden opportunity to double the advantage four minutes later as he chased down a long ball down the middle of the park from Jack Squire. Wakley outmuscled Laurence Wood to earn himself a shooting opportunity but rather than go for goal he tried to turn the ball inside to Gibbs arriving at pace but only succeeded in laying it behind him and the chance was gone.

As the first half wore on things began to even up and the visitors slowly worked their way into the game but thanks to the combined efforts of the hard working Ives side they were restricted to only one clear opportunity before the break. That came in 26th minute when Rangers skipper Ryan Olbromski found just enough space on the left corner of Ives box to step inside and fire off a rasping right foot drive that brought the best out of Kai Bradley in the home goal as he leapt high to his left to palm the shot away and preserve the Ives lead.

The remainder of the first half was fought out in a sticky midfield where the busy Connor O’Donovan, Squire and Gibbs were holding their own against the battling Rangers midfield three and thanks to the quality of both defences neither keeper was forced into dramatic action again before the break.

The visitors came out for the second half determined to find an equaliser and the second of two early corners did create a half chance as Ewan Young’s under pressure clearing header fell to Braden Henson on the edge of the box. The Rangers number four took a touch before firing well over the top as he was quickly closed down by Ives defenders.

Ives best chance to give themselves a two goal cushion came in 55th minute as Young timed his run to perfection to get on the end of Gibbs in-swinging corner at the near post but he seemed to meet the ball a little to cleanly when it just needed a glance and the effort flew just over the top.

The visitors were by this point enjoying the majority of possession but were finding it really tough to find a way through the solid Ives ranks and were generally restricted to speculative long range efforts. In 56th minute Harry Tidswell went close with a well struck effort from fully 30 yards that appeared to go close but an unconcerned Bradley was happy to wave it by.

The closest Rangers came to an equaliser was on the hour when Tidswell just managed to beat Bradley to a ball into the box by Oscar Benson, the centre forward managed to get around the struggling keeper but Bradley was saved by a well positioned Seb Darnell who got around behind his custodian to initially block Tidswell’s effort on the line and then hack the ball away to safety.

Rangers half chances continued to arrive sporadically but they were unable to take any of them. In 71st minute when an under pressure Bradley punched an Olbromski free kick down to the feet of Joe Burborough on the edge of the box but the shot from the Rangers substitute, who had only been on the field for seconds, lacked pace and Bradley recovered well to save low to his right. Ten minutes from time another Olbromski free kick evaded everyone to pick out Tidswell in space at the back post but his header sailed wide and with it went the visitors last chance of getting something out of the game.

The final half chance of the night went the way of the hosts in 82nd minute as Jamie Stork put fellow substitute Zac Hope away down the right. Hope showed his pace to get away from his pursuers but with no one to aim at in the centre he went for glory and fizzed a shot past the far post from a very narrow angle.

Perhaps not the most entertaining game but learning how to manage games and preserve a lead is a vital part of learning how to become a winning team and the second very controlled and well managed performance in a row has shown that the Young Ives have learned just how to do that quite effectively. There are certainly sterner tests to come and those will begin with a visit from title favourites King’s Lynn to Westwood Road next Wednesday (12th February)    

Final Score  :  St Ives Town U18  1  Deeping Rangers U18  0 

Goals : Cobb 6,

St Ives team : Bradley, Frans (capt), Mitkov, O’Donovan, Young, Darnell, Julinho Gomes (Hope 46), Squire (Quinsee 67), Wakley, Gibbs (Smith 70), Cobb (Stork 53) 

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : 44

Report by Nigel Howlett


Wisbech St Mary U18 v St Ives Town U18


St Ives Town U18 v Peterborough Sports U18


Godmanchester Rovers U18 v St Ives Town U18


St Ives Town U18 v Holbeach United U18

St Ives Town U18 v Holbeach United U18    

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  20-10-19

The young guns came to the fore as a depleted Ives side comprehensively dispatched the Tigers to gain their revenge for defeat at Carters Park in their previous game almost exactly a month before.

With a number of regulars missing sixteen year olds Ollie Daniel and Jack Squire both came into the starting line up Daniel initially at centre back alongside the ever reliable Ewan Young and Squire in the centre of the park in a midfield three with Mihayl Mitkov and Connor Gibbs.

Ives should have gone in front only seconds from the kick off as the ball was fed out to Ben Smith on the left flank, he sprinted past Michael Bailey leaving the full back in his wake before delivering an inviting cross to the edge of the six yard box that a full stretch Jake Gadsden just turned past his own post. The resulting corner somehow found Tom Wakley unmarked by the penalty spot but rather than hit it first time the powerful number nine tried to take a touch allowing keeper Danny Kimber to bravely dive in and claim the ball.

After that early excitement the game settled down with the hosts enjoying the majority of possession without really creating much until 27th minute when they thought they had gone in front. Smith flicked on a ball through the centre to give Wakley chance to lift it over the exposed Kimber where it looked like it was going to bounce up into the roof of the net only for Jack Forster to acrobatically hook it back into play. Many were convinced it had crossed the line before Forster’s heroics but with neither the referee or his assistant in position to confirm that and no goal line technology the Tigers breathed a sigh of relief. They had another let off immediately as the loose ball fell back to Wakley on the penalty spot and he hammered in a real pile driver that beat everyone but rebounded high into the frosty night air off the crossbar. To just compound his feeling of injustice Wakley was then adjudged to have fouled keeper Kimber as the pair went for the dropping ball.

Fortunately Ives kept their cool and went in front with the simplest of goals five minutes later. Zac Hope was fouled on the half way line allowing Seb Darnell to deliver a deep free kick into the box that cleared everyone only for Daniel to appear at the back post to simply guide the ball over the exposed Kimber and into the net.

Kai Bradley in the home goal had rarely been troubled in the first period apart from a few smart dashes from his line to hack away, or claim, attempted balls over the top. The only moment that he looked like being beaten before the break came in 35th minute as James Clark threaded a perfect ball through the Ives back line to feed in Jordan Elston inside the box. Bradley was sharply off his line to narrow the angle but Elston deftly flicked the ball over the spreading keeper only to be denied by Daniel who had astutely covered around behind his keeper.

Four minutes before the break Ives got their second thanks to the persistence of Wakley he chased down a long bouncing ball and robbed Gadsden before calmly teeing up Hope on the edge of the box and the trusty left foot of the Ives wide man did the rest as he arrowed his shot past the outstretched fingers of Kimber and into the bottom corner of the net.

Two down at the break the lack lustre Tigers took a tongue lashing from their management team and we all expected them to come out for the restart fired up but it was young Squire who came within inches of increasing Ives lead only ninety seconds after the resumption. He picked up a flick inside from Hope and burst through the visitors back line into the box before unleashing a rising drive that beat the diving Kimber but just scraped the top of the crossbar on its way over.

The hosts continued to rule the roost as the tired looking visitors struggled to create anything with the tenacious Squire and Daniel making life very difficult for them in the centre of the park. Tigers skipper Will Barnes who had been the star of the show a month earlier at Carters Park was barely getting a kick against the two youngsters in that busy middle ground.

It was looking like just a matter of time before Ives added a third Gibbs went close just after the hour as Hope raced past Josh Balding before sending in a teasing cross that Kimber just managed to knock away from Wakley the loose ball falling to Gibbs inside the box but his low drive was deflected wide off a desperate defensive block.

The third goal did arrive just after midway through the second half and it was a just reward for the battling Squire as he harried Bailey into a mistake robbing the struggling full back deep in Tigers territory before bustling into the box and burying his right foot drive low past the diving Kimber.

An excellent advantage by referee Paul Gregory lead to Ives final goal of the evening eight minutes from time. Wakley was clattered by Bailey just inside Tigers half but Smith took possession of the ball and sped away down the left before cutting inside and calmly rolling the ball along the eighteen yard line to set up Hope who made no mistake firing the ball home low past the right hand of Kimber.

With the game now over as a contest preserving their clean sheet became number one priority for Ives in a division that is so tight that it could eventually come down to goal difference at the end. With that in mind the flying save that Bradley made to his left to deny substitute Josh Ling a consolation goal deep in added time could prove more crucial than it looked on the night.

So ended a thoroughly professional performance from the young Ives which saw them move up five places in the amazingly tight league table. There is still a long way to go but the aim has got to be to get into the shake up at the end of the season.   

Final Score  :  St Ives Town U18  4  Holbeach United U18  0 

Goals : Oliver 32, Hope 41 & 82, Squire 72

St Ives team : Bradley, Frans (capt), Darnell, Squire (Paine 86), Young, Daniel (Shirley 76), Hope, Mitkov, Wakley (Stonnell-Fitzgerald 83), Gibbs (Stork 62), Smith 

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : 41

Report by Nigel Howlett


Holbeach United U18 v St Ives Town U18

Holbeach United U18 v St Ives Town U18   

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  17-10-19

With this result achieved on a very heavy pitch the battling Tigers leapfrogged the Ives into top spot in what is proving to be a very open Western Division this season. Looking at the surrounding Fenland fields on the way to the ground there was serious doubt that the game would take place as a day of heavy rain had left huge puddles everywhere, but so eager were the full strength hosts to have a crack at the League leaders that they were willing to sacrifice their pitch to do so. Ives were also very close to full strength with only keeper Kia Bradley missing allowing young George Driver to make his debut between the sticks. If the pitch held up a cracking game was in prospect.

Ives started the game confidently and grabbed the lead in only the eleventh minute as high pressing forced an error from Charlie Parkes losing possession inside his own penalty area allowing Connor Gibbs to fire home the loose ball.

It could have been 2-0 three minutes later as a corner from the left arrived at the feet of Gibbs at the back post his low drive beat keeper Daniel Kimber but Parkes was in position to redeem himself clearing off the line to keep Ives advantage to just a single goal.

Debutant keeper Driver was called into meaningful action for the first time only sixty seconds later as play swung to the other end where James Clark picked out Jordan Elston on the left edge of the box. He stepped inside and unleashed a fierce rising drive that Driver was forced to parry away.

At this point in the first half both sides were looking to attack at every opportunity and chances were arriving at both ends of the park. In 17th minute Tom Wakley chased down a poor back pass from Tigers skipper Will Barnes, he beat Kimber to it but the big keeper spread himself well to block the toe poke with his body.

Back up the other end only two minutes later Barnes carved out an opening for himself and almost finished it as he picked up a loose ball in the centre of the park and let fly with a fierce drive from fully 35 yards that Driver was forced to tip over in spectacular fashion.

The 24th minute saw Ives carve out, but fail to finish, another good chance. The hard working Wakley held the ball up well 25 yards from goal and fed in Zac Hope cutting in from the right. Hope struck his shot cleanly but the well positioned Kimber deflected the ball behind with his legs.

As the half wore on both defences seemed to get a bit more of a grip of the opposition attackers and the game settled down into more of a midfield battle which was being fought out in the heaviest part of the pitch where it was becoming more a survival of the fittest. Each side carved out one more opportunity before the break. Barnes tried his luck from distance again in 40th minute but his effort from 25 yards was always rising and did not trouble Driver on its way over the crossbar. Ives went closer to doubling their advantage with their chance as Wakley flicked on a long ball to put early substitute Ben Smith in on Kimber. He rounded the keeper on the edge of the box but Jake Gadsden covering around behind his keeper did just enough to dispossess the Ives man before he could get his shot away.

Ives had one more opportunity to increase their lead early in the second period before the strength sapping surface and some determined opponents began to wrestle control away from them. That chance came in 51st minute as Wakley got on the end of a long Driver free kick and knocked it down to Hope just inside the box but he rather snatched at his shot and fired wide from a good position.

The equaliser arrived four minutes later in a way that will disappoint the Ives management crew as Jack Forster lost his man to arrive unmarked at the back post and head home a Barnes corner from the right.

From this point the hosts started to get on top although it took until 72nd minute before they went close to going in front. Tricky winger Elston had changed across to the right where he used his speed to cut inside before firing in a stinging low drive that Driver did well to hang onto at his near post.

Impressive centre back Leon Quinsee limped out of the action only a minute later to be replaced by Connor Paine and the unfortunate Paine had only been on the field a couple of minutes when he was involved in the incident that lead to the Tigers winner. Josh Balding fed substitute Luke Scampion into the box on the left. Scampion’s attempted cross struck the arm of Paine and referee James Marsden instantly pointed to the spot. Parkes sent Driver the wrong way with the resulting penalty to turn the game around.

Barnes continued to run the game in the centre of the park and in 81st minute he laid a ball into the feet of Elston on the edge of the box, an excellent touch and a clever turn saw the winger create just enough space for the shot which he fired inches wide of Driver’s right hand upright.

Ives continued to battle and carved out one opportunity to get something from the game in 85th minute when young substitute Oliver Daniel picked out the run of Hope cutting in from the left. The Ives winger hit his shot well, but Kimber was again in the right place and blocked with his legs.

The final action of the game two minutes later saw young Driver again show his agility as he plunged full length to his right to keep out a well hit shot from the edge of the box by Elston. Skipper Karl Frans helped out his keeper by sliding to knock the loose ball away before Scampion could force it home.

The result justified the Tigers pre-match efforts to get the game on as it saw the hosts leapfrog the Ives to return to the top of the table but with six team all separated by three points and Deeping and Peterborough Sports both with games in hand sat just behind them this division looks likely to go all the way before a likely winner materialises this season. 

Final Score  :  Holbeach United U18  2  St Ives Town U18  1  

Goals : Gibbs 11

St Ives team : Driver, Frans (capt), Darnell, O’Donovan, Quinsee (Paine 73), Young, Hope (Mitkov 65), McDougald (Smith 33), Wakley, Gibbs (Squire 65), Cobb (Daniel 73) 

Other subs used roll on roll off : Hope for Mitkov 83

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : Approx 55

Report by Nigel Howlett


St Ives Town U18 v Wisbech St Mary U18

St Ives Town U18 v Wisbech St Mary U18   

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  07-10-19

Two well taken Ben Smith goals ensured that Ives claimed the three points despite a strangely low key performance during which they never seemed to get out of second gear. Apart from the goals the highlights could almost be summed up as very promising debuts for young central midfielders Oliver Daniel and Jack Squire and one highly controversial moment six minutes from time when Wisbech were convinced that they had snatched a route back into the game only to be denied by an apparent hole in the net.

The game started well for the hosts as they took the lead in tenth minute. Good high pressing from the youngsters saw Connor Gibbs seize upon a poor pass from Josh Gear 25 yards from goal. He grabbed his opportunity to get his shot away forcing keeper Alex Bishop into a diving save low to his right. The resulting corner was only half cleared to Daniel just outside the box his crisp low drive may have been on its way into the net anyway but Smith reacted in the way of a true striker and deflected it home from point blank range to claim the goal.

It was all Ives in these early exchanges and they went close twice more in the next few minutes. The lively Smith continued to trouble the visitors defence and his hard work carved out a good opportunity for Zac Hope in 16th minute as he used his pace to burst past two defenders on the right and get to the bye line. His pull back picked out Hope on the edge of the box in space but the usually clinical wide man seemed to snatch at the chance and fired high and wide. 

Two minutes later centre back Ewan Young tried to show him how it should be done as he picked up a loose ball in the centre of the park before striding forward and unleashing a screamer from 35 yards that was to hot for Bishop to hang onto but the athletic keeper was alert and brave enough to plunge onto the loose ball just ahead of Hope and Smith who both closed quickly to try and prod it home.

After that early excitement the game seemed to enter a long lull period where Ives seemed content to knock the ball around as if to try and tire their opponents but to their credit Wisbech kept up their work rate all over the park to ensure that the service was not getting through to pick out the runs of Smith, Hope or Joe Cobb.

So effective were the visitors in their efforts that the next noteworthy effort on goal from either side did not arrive until three minutes before the break when Connor O’Donovan and Cobb combined well on the left before the latter threaded a pass into the feet of Smith on the left corner of the box. He cleverly side stepped his marker and curled in a right footed effort that may well have been on its way into the far corner of the net but deflected just over the top off the shoulder of Ben Porter.

The final effort of the first half came ninety seconds later when O’Donovan showed a good touch to tee up Gibbs who slammed in a rising drive from 25 yards that Bishop did well to hang onto.

The game livened up a little in the early stages of the second half and Smith was perhaps a little unlucky not to double Ives lead in 51st minute as he bravely went in with keeper Bishop to get a flick onto Seb Darnell’s cross from the left. The flick was enough to beat the keeper who clattered into Smith a split second later but unfortunately for the Ives striker the ball roll agonisingly the wrong side of the post.

Kai Bradley in Ives goal was called upon to make his first save of the game two minutes later but it was very much a routine one. Wisbech substitute Billy Barnes was upended by a combination of Young and Darnell just outside the box and picked himself up to take the free kick. He cleverly fired it under the leaping Ives wall but Bradley had read it well and gathered the ball comfortably.

Gibbs and Smith were probably the two outstanding players on the park all evening and the pair combined to double Ives lead just before the hour. Gibbs winning a tackle in the centre of the park before surging forward and feeding the ball into the run of Smith who showed enough strength and composure to hold off Harry Paul before curling a shot around Bishop with the outside of his right boot from just inside the box.

Now two in front and looking very comfortable Ives seemed to go back into their shell returning to their passing game without really showing much further threat. The battling Wisbech boys never gave up and continued to defend solidly and harry their hosts at every opportunity but thanks to the discipline and concentration of Young and centre back partner Leon Quinsee they were unable to create any real threat on Bradley’s goal.

There were occasional moments when that concentration lapsed a little and Quinsee was almost caught out by a long ball down the centre fifteen minutes from time as Willis Wright out muscled him to get a shot in from 25 yards but it did not trouble Bradley as the shot flew well over the top.

Substitutions rolled on and off for both sides as the game seemed to be drifting towards the inevitable conclusion when the moment of high drama and controversy arrived with six minutes to go. A harmless looking ball bouncing around in Ives half was seized upon by Jaden Carter who slammed in a low skimming drive from fully 25 yards that beat the despairing dive of Bradley and appeared to creep in the bottom corner but unbelievably the ball found a hole in the net and skimmed on into the boards. Referee Shaun Gray was instantly surrounded by Wisbech players but even after examining the net and holding a brief discussion with his assistant he decided that the ball had glanced the outside of the post on its way through and awarded a goal kick much to the bemusement of all in the ground. 

It could have been a very different last few minutes if the “goal” had stood but as it was Ives were able to coast through that remaining period with only one further scare when Quinsee was almost caught out on an under hit back pass which Wright looked like he had managed to get onto but the telescopic leg of Ives centre back did just enough to curl around the ball and nick it back off the Wisbech striker.

The win jumped Ives to the top of the early season table in what looks like a very open division but if the boys want to stay in that position they are going to need to up their game for the tougher challenges that are looming. 

St Ives Town U18  2  Wisbech St Mary U18  0  

Goals : Smith 10 & 59

St Ives team : Bradley, Frans (capt), Darnell, O’Donovan (Bond 89), Quinsee, Young, Hope (Stork 70), Daniel (Squire 62), Smith, Gibbs (McDougald 90), Cobb (Mitkov 80) 

Other subs used roll on roll off : none

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : 45

Report by Nigel Howlett


St Ives Town U18 v Godmanchester Rovers U18’s


Deeping Rangers U18’s v St Ives Town U18

Deeping Rangers U18 v St Ives Town U18   

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  12-09-19

Outgang Road is always a tough place to come particularly for Ives U18’s who have taken a hiding almost every time they have travelled to this Fenland market town in recent times and the hosts shaped up as if they will prove to be a very competitive outfit in this competition again this season so make no mistake this well deserved point on the road suggests the Ives will also be a match for all. 

Right from the outset Rangers skipper Ryan Olbromski looked a threat and it was he who had the first shot of the evening as he found a bit of space to cut inside and curl a shot from the corner of the box just over in the ninth minute.

Connor O’Donovan set up Tom Wakley for Ives first effort three minutes later as the visitors centre forward forced home keeper James Hogg into a low diving save to his left to keep out Wakley’s well hit shot from 20 yards.

The opening goal arrived just two minutes later as Jack Brumfield did well to keep the ball alive by the left corner flag and delivered a curling cross to the back post which just carried on the strong breeze over the head of Mihayl Mitkov to allow the waiting Olbromski to stoop and head home.

Ives had struggled to deal with dead ball deliveries into their box against the giants from March in their previous game and the jitters emerged again in 16th minute as Rangers first corner of the evening from the left by Olbromski flashed across the visitors six yard box with no one able to get a touch on it including Ben Roberts who arrived at the back post and looked like he must nod home.

The visitors first corner of the night did not arrive until 28th minute when Wakley’s near post flick on Connor Gibbs flag kick caused panic in the hosts goalmouth but no one was able to force the ball over the line in the scramble that followed and it was eventually hacked clear.

Kai Bradley’s distribution was excellent all evening and his quick roll out to the feet of Ryley McDougald set up Ives next chance in 31st minute, McDougald strode forward into the space on offer before clipping a ball over the top that the ever willing Wakley ran onto. The presence of Laurence Wood forced Wakley to take his shot on early and Hogg made another good save to keep out the well struck effort.

Each side managed to rattle the woodwork in the run up to half time. Rangers were the first to be denied by the frame of the goal as Roberts curling 37th minute effort from 25 yards beat the diving Bradley but rebounded back into play off the base of the keepers left hand upright. Having escaped that scare Ives were similarly denied two minutes before the break as skipper Karl Frans put Wakley away down the right. The big striker burst past a defender and fired past the fast retreating Hogg from a similar distance to Roberts and was equally unlucky to see his effort beat the keeper but rebound to safety off the upright.

Rangers had probably just about shaded the first half but it was Ives who grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck to get on top right from the start in the second period. There were only ninety seconds gone when a well rehearsed short corner routine saw Mitkov deliver a low ball into the box that Ewan Young cleverly back heeled into the mix McDougald got on the end of it to fire in a shot from point blank range that Hogg somehow blocked with his body.

Three minutes later a wind assisted punt down the middle by Bradley was allowed to bounce deep in Rangers territory giving Wakley chance to try and lob Hogg but he did not quite get enough on his effort allowing the keeper to make a comfortable save. 

The pressure from Ives continued to mount in 67th minute an in-swinging McDougald free kick from the left just evaded everyone and flashed past the far post. A goal was beginning to look inevitable as the hosts defence continued to creak and it finally cracked 20 minutes from time. Gibbs was given the freedom of the park to receive a throw in midfield, he weighed up his options before picking out the well timed run of Jamie Stork cutting in from the right. The pass was perfect and Stork burst past his man before running on into the box and calmly slotting the ball under the diving body of the exposed Hogg.

Everything to play for with twenty minutes to go and it was the hosts who initially rose to the occasion to try and grab a winner and they should have really gone back in front three minutes later as Ethan Allen and Oscar Benson combined down the right with the latter sending a dangerous curling cross into the danger zone between defenders and goal keeper. Bradley could not come and his defenders were struggling, substitute Joe Burborough arrived at the back post looking like he only had to side foot it home from six yards but he went for glory and somehow blazed the ball over the top much to Ives relief.

Following that escape the visitors had two good efforts of their own to claim a winner Wakley was denied by an assistant’s flag as he went just to soon in 84th minute and two minutes later a swift break saw McDougald feed Smith down the right and his first time cross was only just deflected away from the waiting Wakley by a struggling Wood.

There was one agonising heart in mouth moment to survive for the visiting supporters before the hard earned point could be claimed as deep in added time a Burborough cross arrived at the feet of fellow substitute Sam Ogden whose shot from the edge of the box took a big deflection off an Ives defender before curling agonisingly wide of Bradley’s left hand upright with the keeper and his fellow defenders all looking on. The corner was successfully dealt with and overall the draw was probably a fair result.

It was good to see that Ives had learnt well from their previous defeat and things from the training field were being taken onto the pitch some of the football played was very impressive and although this division looks very tough this season it is an environment which will provide a good opportunity for the development of these lads and a top three finish looks a realistic target. The next challenge for the boys is an FA Youth Cup tie at home to Biggleswade Town on Monday evening get along and give them a bit of support. 

Final Score  :  Deeping Rangers U18  1  St Ives Town U18  1  

Goals : Stork 70

St Ives team : Bradley, Frans (capt), Mitkov, O’Donovan, Quinsee, Young, Smith (Stork 26), McDougald (Roberts (90+2), Wakley, Gibbs, Cobb 

Other subs used roll on roll off : Smith for Cobb 73

Unused Subs : Darnell, Hope

Attendance  : Approx 50

Report by Nigel Howlett.


St Ives Town U18 v March Town United U18’s


Cambridge City U18 v St Ives Town U18

Cambridge City U18 v St Ives Town U18   

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  19-08-19

A roller coaster of an opener saw the young Ives claim all three points on a trip back to their old stomping ground at Jubilee Park which is the present home of the nomadic Cambridge City side. Initially one down from a very well taken Yann Farrer goal the Ives then got themselves into what looked like an unassailable position with a four goal burst in twenty seven minutes either side of the break only to allow the hosts back into the game and goals in 70th and 87th minutes lead to a tense final few minutes but the lads kept their cool and held on well.

Farrer’s opener in seventh minute came at the end of an excellent passing move from the Lilywhites which ended with Jamie Baxter feeding the ball into the feet of Farrer on the edge of the box. The young striker showed his prowess as a single touch saw him turn and shoot low past Kai Bradley’s right hand.

Even prior to the goal Ives danger man Zac Hope had forced a diving save out of City keeper George Whitehall with a stinging drive from 20 yards that the keeper did well to palm away. 

Having fallen behind Ives soon started to pile on the pressure in search of an equaliser Tom Wakley forced another good save out of Whitehall in tenth minute. Three minutes later Ives got the ball in the net as Wakley flicked on a Karl Frans long throw and Mihayl Mitkov forced home the loose ball only to be denied by an assistant’s flag.

But Farrer continued to look the danger man at the other end and it took a good save low to his right from Bradley to deny the City striker a second goal from an almost identical position to that from where he had claimed his first in 16th minute.

A long Bradley clearance saw play swing immediately to the other end where the hard working Wakley forced a corner. This proved to be the first of four Ives corners in quick succession as the Lilywhites struggled to keep them at bay. The closest the visitors came to an equaliser was from the third of their four as the ball fell to Ewan Young at the back post and he was a little unlucky to see his well struck effort deflected over the top of the body of keeper Whitehall.

After failing to find a way through the City defence with flowing football Ives found an equaliser from a more direct approach on the half hour. A long Bradley punt down the centre was misjudged by Bradley Gothard allowing Wakley to get away through the left channel. He had the opportunity to look up and pick out Hope arriving at the back of the box and his clip across found the speedy Ives wing man with perfection, Hope did the rest as he side stepped inside his man and lashed in a rising drive from the edge that gave Whitehall no chance.

Having got level the visitors were almost caught out by a City short corner move only four minutes later and had their keeper to thank for retaining parity. Tommy Rigby and Lewis Mair worked the routing which saw the former take the kick and then loop around before unleashing a fierce rising drive from the corner of the box that a full stretch Bradley just managed to tip onto the crossbar and the ball was then scrambled to safety.

City were then caught out themselves as Ives went in front eight minutes before the break. Skipper Frans threaded a ball down the right and Hope set off in hot pursuit, with keeper Whitehall racing off his line intent on hacking the ball clear the City defenders eased off. But the host’s keeper had not allowed for the pace of Hope and the two players got to the ball simultaneously. Hope won the tackle leaving Whitehall sat on the deck as he rolled the ball into the empty net. 

But that was far from the end of first half action in this very open end to end encounter. Wakley should have increased Ives lead two minutes later as the City defence again failed to deal with a long ball down the centre leaving the Ives striker clear on goal. He struck his first time effort well but Whitehall pulled off an amazing point blank reaction save to deny him.

Play then swung to the other end where Farrer continued to show his threat. In 42nd minute he powered into the box past two Ives defenders before hammering in a fierce drive that was brilliantly blocked by the spreading Bradley. Right on half time Farrer managed to keep alive a cross from the left that looked like it was going out. His pull back picked out Mair arriving at pace on the edge of the box but Bradley was again equal to the effort leaping to his right to tip the well struck effort over the top.

Farrer picked up an injury in the final move of the first half and did not reappear for the second period being replaced by Finley Wilkinson. Without their talisman City found themselves under the cosh at the start of the second half. A searing run down the right from Hope and a brilliant pull back to the edge of the box picked out Joe Purse and his emphatic first time effort flew into the top corner to double Ives advantage in 52nd minute.

Five minutes later substitute Ben Smith looked like he had killed the game off as he harried Dan Tibbett into a mistake wide on the left and robbed the City full back before turning inside and curling an effort past the diving Whitehall and into the net via the far post.

But City had other ideas and were hugely unlucky not to pull a goal back two minutes later. Young brought down Owen Mullee inside the D presenting a shooting opportunity for Rigby. His free kick was almost perfect as it beat the four man wall and the diving Bradley, but cannoned across the face of goal off the inside of the post. Kai Wales following up pounced on the loose ball but was equally unlucky as his effort rebounded to safety off the crossbar with Bradley beaten.

City continued in the ascendency as Ives rolled on and off their substitutes. Cameron Wolstencroft gave the hosts a glimmer of hope as he seized his chance to crack in a 25 yarder that beat Bradley low to his right and crept in the corner with twenty minutes to go.

Bradley had to be at his best four minutes later as he plunged full length to his right to tip around a low 25 yarder from Mair after a long free kick by Whitehall had been knocked down to the City winger.

With time ticking down the Lilywhites again rued their luck as the woodwork came to the Ives aid once more. This time Mullee was the unlucky striker as he found space to fire off a dipping drive from fully 30 yards that beat the leaping Bradley but clipped the crossbar and went over the top.

Ives had one chance to kill the game off once and for all in 86th minute as a quick break ended with Smith threading the ball into the feet of Mitkov his first time effort beat keeper Whitehall but was cleared off the line by the covering Gothard to keep City’s slim hopes alive.

Play swung straight to the other end where a flowing City move was finished in style by Mair who fired a left footed drive from just inside the box into the bottom left hand corner of Bradley’s net to set up what looked like a very tense finale. But to their credit the young Ives steadied the ship and showed their metal by taking the heat out of the game and frustrating the Lilywhites by moving the ball around and keeping it away from their goal. The final whistle still came as a relief to those of us supporting Ives on the side lines but this one was certainly a ten out of ten for entertainment.

Final Score  :  Cambridge City  U18  3  St Ives Town U18  4  

Goals : Hope 30 & 37, Purse 52, Smith 57

St Ives team : Bradley, Frans (capt), Darnell (Smith 52), Purse (McDougald 30), Young, Paine, Hope, Gibbs, Roberts (Stork 44), Wakley (Katz 65), Mitkov (Shirley 65) 

Other subs used roll on roll off : Purse for Gibbs 35, Roberts for Stork 65, Gibbs for Purse 70, Mitkov for Hope 78, Wakley for Katz 88, Stork for Roberts 90+3

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : 48


Wisbech St Mary U18’s vs St Ives Town U18

Wisbech St Mary U18 v St Ives Town U18   

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  30-04-19

A much changed Ives side shipped four goals away from home the second game in succession but this time thanks to a very coolly taken winner deep in stoppage time from Mihayl Mitkov they managed to snatch all three points from a gallant home side. But make no mistake this last gasp winner really papered over a few cracks in a very Jekyl and Hyde performance as they came close to losing a game they were in control of at the break and should have put to bed early in the second half. But missed chances allowed the home side to come back from a two goal deficit to set up the rousing finale. 

Zac Hope had the beating of his marker from very early in this game and should have put Ives in front in only the fourth minute as he sprinted past George Napier to get on the end of a through ball but he powered his first time foot across the face of goal from just inside the box.

Having ruled the first ten minutes of the game the visitors then presented their hosts with the opening goal. Aaron Buckley delivered a low cross from the right that skipper Jordan Locke allowed to roll under his foot on the edge of the box. Ethan Goodale pounced on the loose ball and rifled it home past a startled Kai Bradley from fifteen yards.

The Saints could have doubled their advantage two minutes later as Leon Quinsee struggled to clear a low cross from the right and was robbed by Pawel Kalvzny just outside the box. He broke into the box but rather snatched at his shot and fired wide from a good position.

Skipper Locke then made recompense for his early error by lashing home an equalising goal in 16th minute. A free kick was half cleared to Ethan Rudd who played an excellent one two with Adam Kelly before threading the ball in to Locke on the edge of the box who finished clinically despite vain appeals for offside from the hosts defence.

Ives continued to get on top with the hosts resorting to strong arm tactics to stop them on occasions. Both centre backs Napier and Charlie Wait picked up yellow cards in quick succession for chopping down Hope and Tom Wakley respectively. Hope came within millimetres of putting Ives in front in 27th minute as he lost his marker to get across in front of keeper Ashley Clarke and just needed to get a touch on Seb Darnell’s wicked in-swinging cross from the left. But he missed it and Clarke did very well diving to his left to keep the ball out.

Hope had another opportunity to put Ives in front in 31st minute as he again got clear of the lumbering Saints back line to get on the end of Wakley’s flick on from Bradley’s long clearance. The speedy winger beat Clarke to the ball but the spreading keeper did just enough to force him to hurry his shot and he fired over the top.

Three minutes later Ives did finally get their noses in front as Wakley timed his run to perfection to get onto a Louis Bald through ball. Keeper Clarke came way off his line at pace and was completely beaten as Wakley touched the ball past him. The big striker was driven wide but had presence of mind to wait for Hope to arrive in the centre to roll his square pass into the empty net.

Two minutes before the break Kelly made it 3-1 as he picked up a ball from Mitkov and drove straight at the heart of the Saints defence which opened up for him expecting a pass but he just kept going and slid the ball past the exposed Clarke from the edge of the box.

Now two goals in front and well in control Ives just needed to do the simple things well but Saints made four changes at the break and shuffled players around to try and shore up their rocky back line and it seemed to work as the hosts battled their way back into the contest. Goodale went close with a free kick that deflected off Ives wall before substitute Willis Wright cut the arrears with a well struck low drive from 25 yards that beat Bradley low to his left in 50th minute.

Only ninety seconds later a Mitkov corner from the right caused panic in Saints defence. The loose ball falling inside the six yard box to the feet of substitute Teddy Lee but he snatched at the chance and pulled his shot wide of the post. Hope will probably tell us that the goal which restored Ives two goal advantage five minutes later was always an intended lob over the keeper but to me it looked like a miss hit cross which certainly beat the struggling Clarke and went in off the inside of the far post.

Back to two goals in front and back in control but Ives just could not kill off their battling opponents. Losing Jordan Locke to injury and blooding three new youngsters to Thurlow Nunn football made things a little more difficult for the visitors. Goodale set the nerves jangling a little by reducing the arrears again with ten minutes left. The Saints skipper pounced on a loose ball just outside the box and beat Bradley low to his left with a well struck right foot drive. 

The jangling nerves got louder five minutes later when the hosts levelled things up. A long Clarke punt down the centre was not dealt with by Ives back line and the ball fell to Wright who slammed it home emphatically from just inside the box to set up a pulsating finish as both sides went for the winner.

Ives had first go as a Hope corner from the left was met perfectly on the volley by Jamie Stork at the near post but Clarke was equal to the effort and made a brilliant reaction save to keep it out. It took a brave block from debutant Ben Shirley to prevent Wright clinching it for the Saints at the other end in 89th minute as a cross from the right managed to get clean through to arrive at the substitute’s feet just inside the box. He took a touch before belting it just giving Shirley time to slide across and block the shot. 

There were four minutes added by the excellent referee Peter Howard and it was in the last of those that Ives grabbed the winner. Lee battled his way into the heart of the hosts defence and was only half stopped on the edge of the box the ball bounced up and Napier inexplicably tried an extravagant back heeled clearance. He did not make clean contact and the ball ran loose to Mitkov who stayed cool as a cucumber to clip it past the advancing Clarke and into the net to spark wild celebrations amongst the Ives players.

Ending the season with a win is always good although this one was a roller coaster ride it certainly kept the supporters entertained throughout but a few more simple victories next season would be good please.

Final Score  :  Wisbech St Mary U18  4  St Ives Town U18  5   

Goals : Locke 16, Hope 34 & 56, Kelly 43, Mitkov 90+4

St Ives team : Bradley, Quinsee (Hayden 72), Darnell, Rudd, Locke (capt) (Shirley 56), Pillin, Hope, Bald (Burnham 77), Wakley (Stork 39), Kelly (Lee 51), Mitkov

Other substitutions roll on roll off : none 

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : approx. 35

Report by Nigel Howlett.