League: Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division

Godmanchester Rovers U18’s vs St Ives Town U18

Godmanchester Rovers U18 v St Ives Town U18   

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  24-04-19

After a fairly tepid first half in which Rovers were allowed to grab an early lead eventually cancelled out by a Harry Sargent penalty in added time at the end of the first period this game exploded into life in the second half as four more goals went in unfortunately three of them at the Ives end.

The opening goal on eight minutes was well taken by Harvey Gargulio but Ives defenders must take the blame as Mitchell Pillin allowed Fraser Kerr’s clip down the centre to drift over his head and no one had tracked the run of Gargulio allowing him to stoop and head past the exposed Shay Griffiths from ten yards. This goal came only seconds after Ives had a let off when Griffiths just managed to beat Gargulio to an almost identical chip through.

Falling behind in such a soft fashion seemed to knock the visitors and it took them a long time to get into the game and manage to create anything meaningful in attack although this was not helped by Sargent and his strike colleagues failing to work out Rovers very high defensive line and repeated getting caught offside.

It was not until eight minutes before the break that they created a decent opportunity in the Rovers box. Sargent battled his way down the left and delivered a low cross into that Tom Wakley looked favourite to get on the end of only to be bundled down by Jack Butler. It looked like a cast iron penalty but referee Paul Gale waved away the appeals and ended up booking Sargent for his protestations.

The apparent injustice seemed to spark Ives who piled on the pressure for the next few minutes. In 43rd minute the tricky Adam Laker fed a ball into the run of Sargent cutting in from the left, the big striker miss hit his shot but keeper Finn Cooper spilled it to gift the visitors a corner. The kick was fed back to George Cawte who delivered a ball to the back post that Wakely was attacking with venom only to have it flick off the head of Pillin just in front of him and go wide.

The final action of the half saw Ives awarded a spot kick in almost identical circumstances to the one which had been turned down a few minutes earlier. Cawte chased a high bouncing ball into the box and managed to take it off Butler and Bailey Baker only to be pulled back by Baker just as he was about to shoot. This time referee Gale pointed to the spot and Sargent stepped up to lash home the penalty low to Cooper’s right.

Ives made one change at the break replacing Ethan Rudd with Seb Darnell but more importantly they also had a change of formation going for a very positive looking 4-2-4 with Wakley joining Sargent in the centre and Mihayl Mitkov and Laker playing wide on left and right respectively. This almost had an instant reward as straight from the kick off Laker got on the end of a Cawte clip over the top. Unfortunately he failed to hit the target from a narrow angle.

It was now all Ives with Rovers defence at sixes and sevens. Two minutes later Laker found space on the right to cut inside and try his luck This time he hit the target but his left footed effort was straight at Cooper who held on well. The pressure continued to mount and only sixty seconds later Sargent put the visitors in front. He was given space fully 30 yards from goal and looked up before chipping the ball over the out of position Cooper and into the net off the far post.

Ives should have killed the game in the next ten minutes as they continued to rule the roost and created but could not take a series of chances. In 53rd minute Mitkov struck an excellent 30 yard free kick the dipped over the wall beat Cooper but rattled his left hand post and rebounded to safety.

Only one minute late Mitkov slid a pass through the left channel to put Sargent in but he struck his left foot effort to close to Cooper who made a good save to his left. In 56th minute Ewan Young rose unchallenged to get on the end of a Cawte free kick but steered his header from ten yards wide of the post. Jamie Stork came on to replace Sargent on the hour and he looked like he had set up Laker to double Ives lead with a clever back heel on the edge of the box. But the speedy Ives winger had gone just to soon and his celebrations were cut short by an assistant’s raised flag.

On such fine margins games are won and lost as instead of finding themselves 3-1 in front Ives found themselves pegged back to 2-2 only seconds later. A flowing Rovers move through the centre split apart the visitors back line the move finished as Jaden Rogers played in Gargulio for his second and he finished with aplomb slamming the ball into the top corner of the net from the edge of the box.

A strange incident occurred in 75th minute as Ives were awarded an indirect free kick inside the Rovers box for ungentlemanly conduct by Baker as the centre half went onto the deck to roll the ball back to his keeper with his head. Baker picked up a yellow card for the offence but he escaped further punishment as the ball was rolled back to Sargent but his stinging drive deflected off the massed ranks in the Rovers goal and went wide. Young again found space to get on the end of the resulting corner but again failed to hit the target with his header.

Ives defence were caught out again in 78th minute as Rovers went back in front. A long Butler ball down the centre was allowed to bounce a fatal mistake on such a hard, bumpy surface. Jayk Mullee darted between defenders and was onto it in a flash slamming home past the exposed Griffiths from the edge of the box.

To their credit Ives tried desperately to get back on terms Sargent had a powerful drive pushed away by Cooper in 84th minute. The same player managed to get to the bye line three minutes later and was unlucky to see his driven cross deflected away from team mates in the centre by the knee of defender. The resulting Karl Frans long throw fell to Pillin inside the box but his low shot lacked the power to beat Cooper.

The Ives frustrations were really showing and Sargent personified this as he foolishly earned himself a second yellow card of the evening for needlessly kicking out at Baker. The final seconds of the game are something Griffiths will want to forget quickly as he managed to get a back pass tangled up in his feet and found himself robbed by Rhys Humphreys who gleefully rolled the ball into the empty net to give Rovers the local bragging rights for this season.

It has not been a good 2019 so far for the Ives as they go into their final game of the season at Wisbech St Mary next week on a six game losing streak something they will surely be looking to put right against one of the divisions strugglers.   

Final Score  :  Godmanchester Rovers U18  4  St Ives Town U18  2   

Goals : Sargent 45+1 (pen) & 49

St Ives team : Griffiths, Frans, Mitkov (O’Donovan 59), Purse, Young, Pillin, Wakley, Rudd (Darnell 45), Sargent (Stork 59), Cawte, Laker

Other substitutions roll on roll off : Rudd for Cawte 68, Sargent for Laker 72, Mitkov for Wakley 82 

Unused Subs : Mobbs

Attendance  : approx. 40

Report by Nigel Howlett 


Kings Lynn Town U18’s vs St Ives Town U18

King’s Lynn Town U18 v St Ives Town U18   

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  15-04-19

A very young Ives side learnt a harsh lesson at title challengers King’s Lynn. With little to play for now manager Lloyd Groves is looking to the future and budding more of next seasons side but that was something of a gamble against the Linnets who had to win this game to keep their title hopes alive.

But for the heroics of sixteen year old Kai Bradley in the Ives goal the score line in this fixture could have been a lot worse. The hosts went for the jugular straight from the off and Bradley was called upon to make the first of a host of excellent saves in only the second minute. Mitchell Rasberry got to the bye line on the right and his clip to the back post bounced off Karl Frans and fell invitingly for Joseph Taylor ten yards out. Taylor struck his shot well but Bradley was equal to it leaping high to his right to palm the ball over the top. 

Five minutes later Bradley was in action again this time Luke Johnson and Finlay Howe almost caught out Ives with a short corner on the left, the ball was eventually fed back to Johnson looping around and a clever step over by Taylor allowed his driven cross to skim towards the back post but the keeper had read it and made a good save low down to his left.

In these early stages Ives were creating chances on the break and they went close twice in three minutes. Initially a Joe Purse free kick from 25 yards dipped over the Linnets three man wall forcing home keeper Aydin Duran into a diving save low to his right. Three minutes later a powerful Zac Hope run from half way pulled the home defence out of position a clever ball inside to Connor Gibbs kept the move going and his slide rule pass in turn picked out Ben Smith’s well timed run into the box. Smith did everything right clipping the ball past the advancing Duran only to be denied as the ball struck Duran’s left hand post. It bounced back invitingly into the centre of goal but no Ives striker was on hand to force it home.

The game then almost seemed to become an individual duel between Bradley and Taylor which the Ives keeper won comprehensively denying the Linnets speedy front man three times in a ten minute spell. In 15th minute the young keeper was almost caught out as he sprinted from his line but failed to gather an awkward through ball allowing the Linnets striker to gain possession inside the box. It looked like Taylor must score but Bradley did not give it up and managed to recover sufficient ground to block his shot at point blank range. Four minutes later Taylor was put completely clear by a well weighted through ball from Kieron Wingfield again Bradley got his angles right narrowed the angle and blocked the shot when it came. Ives high line continued to get caught out and Bradley was forced to repeat his heroics to again deny Taylor after he had run clear onto a ball over the top in 25th minute.

With time ticking down it looked like Ives may just manage to get to half time level but a 36th minute corner was their undoing. Johnson again took it short giving Rasberry chance to run at the defence Gibbs was deemed to have fouled him 25 yards from goal. Despite it looking like Ives had got everything lined up correctly Johnson managed to find a chink in the armour as he curled and exquisite free kick over the four man defensive wall and just beyond the reach of the diving Bradley into the top corner of the net.

The goal relieved the pressure which had been building on the hosts, but it also meant they relaxed their concentration a little and Ives were within inches of levelling things up right on half time. A corner from the left was won at the back post by Connor Paine his downward header into the mix rebounded off a defender and fell to Gibbs. His shot was blocked and the ball ricocheted to Hope twelve yards out. The Ives wide man miss hit his shot but that almost deceived Duran as the ball rose in the air spinning wickedly dipped over the struggling keeper and rebounded off the crossbar, again luck was not with Ives as it fell to a defender who hacked it clear.

The game was ended as a contest with a quick fire brace from the Linnets inside the first seven minutes of the second half. Both goals were carbon copy corners delivered high to the back post from the right by Johnson. The first in 48th minute was powered home by recently contracted centre half Harry Paul who rose uncontested. The repeat performance in 52nd minute was equally emphatically headed home by his centre back partner Owen Gilbert who rose above the crowd to claim his reward.

There was still plenty of time for Bradley to continue his heroics and this time his adversary became marauding left back Howe. In 56th minute the wing back played a one two on the edge of the box with Sam Lammiman before bursting through only to be bravely denied by the well positioned Bradley. The Ives keeper repeated the feat in 63rd minute as Howe this time exchanged passes with substitute Ben Welch before again going through one on one with the keeper who again did everything right to deny him.

A fourth goal was however looking inevitable and it arrived in simple fashion in 66th minute. Howe was again heavily involved as he wriggled his way past two Ives defenders to get to the bye line before picking out Lammiman arriving at the near post a simple side foot finish completed the evenings scoring.

By this point the game was completely over as a contest and the substitutes were rolling on and off for both sides effectively breaking up the game. There were a few more noteworthy events all around the goal so admirably defended by Bradley. Fifteen minutes from time Rasberry and Johnson combined well down the right with the former delivering a cross to the back post where Frans did well to prevent Welch forcing it home. The loose ball fell to Howe inside the box but he fired wide from a good position.

Five minutes later Bradley was again up to his tricks as Welch put Wingfield clear but the Linnets leading scorer simply became the latest of his colleagues to be denied by the agility and bravery of the Ives stopper this time he went to his left to turn the effort away. The resulting corner was again won in the air by the powerful Paul but his goal bound header was headed off the line by Frans.

The final action of the evening saw Linnets substitute Imja Andrejev squander a good opportunity to increase the hosts lead as a poor clearance fell to him just outside the box, but rather than involve any of his better positioned colleagues he took a touch and then blazed his effort well wide.

To their credit Ives battled to the bitter end but it was Bradley who earned the plaudits in a losing cause. As for the Linnets they have done their bit but their title hopes now rest on Deeping Rangers doing them a favour by denying Peterborough Sports three points in the deciding game on Thursday evening.     

Final Score  :  King’s Lynn Town  U18  4  St Ives Town U18  0  

Goals : none

St Ives team : Bradley, Frans, Darnell (Quinsee 59), Purse, Young, Paine (capt), Hope, Rudd (Bald 47), Stork (Smith 59), Gibbs (Laker 59), O’Donovan (Mitkov 31) 

Other subs used roll on roll off : Gibbs for Hope 84, Darnell for Frans 85, Hope for Purse 90+1

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : approx. 75

Report by Nigel Howlett


St Ives Town U18 vs Deeping Rangers U18’s

St Ives Town U18 v Deeping Rangers U18  

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  01-04-19

With the County Cup final only four days away manager Lloyd Groves fielded probably the youngest Under 18 side that Ives are ever likely to have put out for a competitive fixture with only three second year scholars in the squad. This was a brave move as their opponents were a Deeping side who had completely blown away an on paper much stronger Ives side earlier in the season. Although their starting eleven had only three changes from the early season encounter with little to play for except third place Deeping failed to live up to their billing and although the visitors took the three points courtesy of a scrappy late goal Ives can consider themselves unlucky to pick up no reward from the match. 

The visitors set off looking for a start similar to that which they had made at the Haydon Whitham Stadium back in September and the game was only 50 seconds old when Ibrahim Sankare sped around the outside of Karl Frans on the left before delivering a dangerous low cross that evaded everyone in the centre and was bundled behind for a corner by Mihayl Mitkov at the back post.

The game was halted for almost five minutes in seventh minute when a ball over the top lead to a sickening collision between Ives keeper Shay Griffiths and Rangers Jacob Large as the pair both went for the same high bouncing ball 25 yards from goal. Griffiths managed to resume after treatment but the luckless Large was taken off with suspected concussion. This incident took the sting out of the game for a while and although Rangers were enjoying a lot of possession Frans had managed to put a clamp on the dangerous Sankare which seemed to limit their options.

The opening goal for the visitors arrived in 20th minute with Rangers tricky left winger heavily involved. Towering centre forward Kever Spindari roamed out to the left before feeding a ball inside into the run of Sankare. The winger spanked his shot first time from 15 yards but it was straight at Griffiths who will be a little disappointed that he did not hold onto it. Harrison Dee reacted first to prod home the loose ball from close range.

The visitors only managed to hold onto their lead for five minutes as Zac Hope came up with a wonderful solo goal to level things up. The Ives wide man collected a ball down the line from Frans by the right hand corner flag and there appeared little danger as he was hemmed in by two defenders. But he turned back onto his left foot getting past one defender before outpacing Jared Carver and unleashing a fierce low left footer from the corner of the box that beat the despairing dive of Fabio D’Agnano in Rangers goal and nestled in the corner of the net.

The goal lifted Ives confidence and it became a much more even game with both sides creating chances to get their noses in front before the break. In 36th minute a Sam Green free kick from the right bounced off an Ives defender at the back post and fell to Dee who should probably have done better but blazed over from eight yards.

Spindari was not getting a lot of change out of Ives budding centre back pairing of Connor Paine and Ewan Young and was forced to drop back into midfield to get more involved. His pass to overlapping full back Carver in 41st minute allowed the defender to get in a dangerous driven cross that flashed across the face of goal just evading substitute Christian Hillah coming in at the back post.

Harry Sargent was playing his usual lone role through the centre for Ives but as ever he was proving a handful for the opposition centre backs. He created an excellent opportunity two minutes before the break as he battled through three defenders to get to the bye line and managed to pick out Connor Gibbs in the centre but the Ives midfielder fluffed the golden opportunity miskicking his close range effort straight into the body of the grateful D’Agnano.

With plenty of added time due to the early stoppage there was still time for Hope to try and repeat his scoring move just before the break. But this time D’Agnano was equal to the effort plunging to his right to tip Hope’s powerful low drive around the post.

The second half started with Rangers exerting some early pressure and an excellent 50th minute through ball from Hillah put Spindari clear into the box but Griffiths was quickly out to narrow the angle and block his shot at point blank range. The resulting corner was cleared down the park and it took a sharp sprint from his line by D’Agnano to prevent Hope getting clear.

Tom Crowson’s long throw on the hour caused some confusion in Ives box the ball eventually falling to Sankare who saw his side footed effort from ten yards blocked in the six yard box and hacked away by a well positioned Frans.

The most worrying sign of the evening for Ives came only seconds later as leading scorer Sargent went down holding his hamstring and was forced to limp out of the action making him a big doubt for Friday’s County Cup final. This prompted a wholesale change by Groves with more first years and under 16’s being introduced in order to rest others likely to be involved on Friday.

The game degenerated into a scrappy affair with chances at a premium. Young did fail to hit the target with a good chance for Ives in 65th minute as Rangers struggled to clear a free kick into their box and the ball fell kindly to him on the edge of the box.

With the game entering it’s final ten minutes Rangers greater experience began to show as they pressed for a winner. Ives again struggled to clear a Crowson long throw into their box in 84th minute. A real scramble ensued but no one was able to force the ball home and Louis Bald was eventually on hand to clear the danger.

Only ninety seconds later the best move of the second half was finished as Dee teed up Kai Haggett-King on the edge of the box. The Rangers midfielder had time and space but snatched at the opportunity and blazed the ball well over the top into the gardens behind the Green Leys end of the ground.

The very fortunate Rangers winner came with less than three minutes of the ninety to go as Spindari battled to get on the end of a ball over the top but Young again showed his strength and composure timing his tackle perfectly to take the ball off the toe of the gangly striker just as he shaped to shoot. There were claims for a penalty as the striker went down but these were waved away, however Ives defenders seemed to stop just for a split second. That fatal delay was just enough as the loose ball fell to Hillah following up, he scuffed his shot but Ives substitute keeper Kai Bradley was unsighted and did not react as the ball bobbled just inside his near post.

There was still time for Bradley to redeem himself and show us a little more of what we can expect next season as he thwarted Spindari in second minute of added time. The big striker had been put clean through and rather than shoot tried to go around Bradley who timed his dive to perfection to plunge in and nick the ball off him cleanly.

The final result of only a single goal defeat for such an inexperienced Ives side against one of the best teams in the division bodes very well for next season when these boys will form the nucleus of the Thurlow Nunn side that we all hope will be very competitive. They have three League games left to continue to show their development and those that fought their way into Friday’s Cup Final squad on this performance will have rightly earnt their places.   

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

Goals : Hope 25

St Ives team : Griffiths (capt) (Bradley 63), Frans, Mitkov (Rudd 63), Purse (Darnell 63), Paine, Young, Hope, Bald, Sargent (O’Donovan 61), Gibbs (Lee 73), Wakley, 

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : 50

Report by Nigel Howlett.


St Ives Town U18 vs Peterborough Sports U18’s

St Ives Town U18 v Peterborough Sports U18  

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  11-03-19

For the second time in two weeks Ives met one of the title contenders at Westwood Road, but unlike last week’s tilt at King’s Lynn the visit of Sports saw a depleted hosts missing seven likely starters from their squad. Their opponents very much trying to play catch up with their League fixtures after very impressive runs in the FA Youth Cup and Northants County Cup came into this game on the back of three impressive wins with the combined scoring record of 19-0. It was not going to be easy!.

Contrary to all the statistics and the expectations it was Ives who started best and they let two golden opportunities pass them by in the first fifteen minutes. In twelfth minute a long Shay Griffiths free kick was misjudged by Henry Nkobi as he allowed the ball to skim off the top of his head. Adam Laker had done what all good strikers do he had gambled and he got on the end of it. Keeper Dylan Veni reacted well and closed him down quickly forcing the Ives wide man to take his shot on first time. Veni came off best as the close-range shot cannoned off his legs to safety.

Thomas Wakley was replacing the injured Harry Sargent down the centre and it was his sheer persistence that won him the next opportunity only two minutes later. He harried Nkobi as the big centre back tried to deal with a bobbling ball just outside the box, nicked the ball off him and prodded it past the advancing Veni only to see the shot bobble inches the wrong side of the post as all looked on.

Ives continued to press and stunned their visitors by taking the lead midway through the first half. The goal came in somewhat controversial circumstances as Sports were convinced they had been awarded a free kick in the centre of the park as Wakley appeared to foul Matt Jones-Molineux but referee Cliff Mills deemed that Jones-Molineux had been the offender. George Cawte delivered the resulting free kick into the box where the still disgruntled Sports defenders were slow to react allowing Jordan Locke to bring the ball down and flick it over the advancing Veni from a narrow angle. Laker bravely went in with much taller defenders at the back post and it was he who got the decisive touch to force the ball home.

Going one behind seemed to spark the visitors into a reaction and in 24th minute Ayman Trabelsi and Alfie Ferguson combined well down the right the move ending with the latter getting to the bye line before driving a powerful cross into the six yard box where the ball deflected towards goal off Mitchell Pillin. The Ives centre back was saved by the sharp reactions of his keeper as Griffiths pulled off an excellent save.

Griffiths was called into more spectacular action three minutes later when a Eunis Lievins free kick fell to Ryan Pratt on the edge of the box. The big striker took the effort on first time on the volley but Griffiths was equal to it leaping high to his right to tip the shot around the post.

Sports were now well on top and Ives best hope was to try and hold out until the break. All that changed with two goals in three minutes. The equaliser came in 37th minute as Ferguson tried to get dribble his way through a group of Ives defenders on the right hand side of the box. He almost made it only to be taken down by the outstretched leg of Mihayl Mitkov to give Mr Mills one of the easier penalty decisions he has made in his career. Ferguson picked himself up and emphatically despatched the spot kick high to Griffiths left as the keeper went the other way.

What proved to be the winner arrived only three minutes later in equally emphatic style but there will be a few Ives defenders looking at each other for not doing more to stop it. Lievins picked up the ball just inside his own half on the left hand side and cut infield without being challenged, or even really closed down. The marauding left back then decided to try his luck from fully thirty yards and caught it sweet as a nut the ball whistling past Griffiths and billowing the net although the keeper may also be a little disappointed as he appeared a little slow to react.

Now in control of the game Sports came out for the second half determined to not let it slip again. The tiring Ives with few options on the bench continued to work hard but only managed to carve out one opportunity for an equaliser and that came on the hour. Conor O’Donovan battled to win the ball off Lievins just outside Sports box. Billy Garlick latched onto the loose ball and slammed in a rising drive from the right hand corner of the box that beat the struggling Veni but curled inches over the angle of crossbar and post.

From that point on it was all Sports but to their credit Ives did not wilt but continued to battle all the way and although the visitors did create chances at regular intervals Griffiths and those in front of him denied the otherwise prolific scorers any further reward. In 61st minute Sports substitute Oliver Foster cut in from the right and fed the ball inside to Ethan Atkins who thudded a 25 yarder into the boards just to the left of Griffiths goal.

Three minutes later a cracking effort from full back Brad Hughes from wide right beat the scrambling Griffiths but cannoned back into play off the inside of the post. The Ives keeper showed fantastic reactions and agility to regain his composure and tip over the follow up header from inside the six yard box by Ferguson.

Big centre forward Pratt and his strike partner Ferguson were proving a handful and the pair combined to carve out another chance in 72nd minute. Ferguson robbed Mitkov just outside the box and slid a ball through into the well timed run of Pratt but the big striker did have a weakness as when a left foot finish was clearly on to slide the ball past the exposed Griffiths he instead tried to go with his right and got it horribly wrong instead firing the ball away from goal.

Griffiths best save of a busy night came fifteen minutes from the end when Nkobi rose unchallenged at the back post to meet a Ferguson corner from the left. The big centre back planted a powerful downward header just inside the post but Griffiths was equal to it plunging to his left to parry the effort with his team mates completing the clearance by hacking away the loose ball.

The final opportunity of the evening also went the way of the visitors and was perhaps a strange one when they should have probably been playing out time with five minutes to go. Lievins took a quick free kick to put centre half Nkobi away down the left wing. His cross to the centre was met eight yards out by the unmarked Trabelsi but the Sports winger failed to keep his header down.

At the final whistle Ives can be proud of their efforts and perhaps a little unfortunate not to get anything from the game if they look back at those two early opportunities. Those with longer memories can also reflect that Ives are still the only side to take points off Sports this season following their 1-1 draw in their visit to Lincoln Road in September. On the other hand the Sports management team could be heard throughout the Clubhouse dishing out a real dressing down to their players who they clearly felt had only just done enough. I would not want to be in that dressing room when they do lose one!.   

Final Score  :  St Ives Town U18  1  Peterborough Sports U18  2  

Goals : Laker 21

St Ives team : Griffiths, Frans, Mitkov, Purse, Locke (capt) (Ramsaran 70), Pillin, Laker (Darnell 77), Cawte, Wakley, Garlick, O’Donovan (Katz 84)

Unused Subs : Sargent

Attendance  : 40

Report by Nigel Howlett


St Ives Town U18 vs Kings Lynn Town U18’s

St Ives Town U18 v King’s Lynn Town U18  

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  04-03-19

Two late goals including a penalty at the death ensured that the Linnets stayed on track for the League title but the result was harsh on the Ives who had battled gallantly throughout and were very unfortunate to be denied at least a point from a game which for long periods they looked like winning.

The hosts showed their intent almost straight from the kick off as Harry Sargent chased a ball over the top forcing Linnets keeper Aydin Duran into a hurried clearance that went straight to Zac Hope. But the Ives wide man wanted a touch and was robbed by Aironas Kuzas before he could try to flight the ball over the stranded custodian.

Sargent’s battling qualities were causing the visitor’s centre back pairing a few problems and in eleventh minute he managed to battle between Harry Paul and Freddie Collison to get a toe to Thomas Wakley’s lob over the top. The ball floated over the stranded Duran but also inches over the crossbar.

The Linnet’s managed to get the ball in the net in their first meaningful attack of the game in 15th minute. A good inter passing move through the centre saw Mitchell Rasberry feed the ball out to overlapping full back Kyle Wells on the right. Wells driven cross was turned home at the back post by Jake Smith sliding in but his celebration was cut short as the linesman on the near side had his flag raised as Smith had got just in front of his man before the cross came in.

By the midway point in the first half the game had turned into an entertaining affair with both sides looking for every opportunity to get on the front foot and both defences battling hard to deny their opposition any space. The visitors went close again in 21st minute as the tricky Joe Taylor seized an opportunity to burst into Ives box but just as it looked like he was going to test Shay Griffiths in the home goal Mitchell Pillin came sliding across to block the shot at point blank range.

Ives hard work brought them reward ten minutes before the break as a Billy Garlick free kick from the left was fed into the feet of Harry Sargent just inside the box. In spite of the close attention of three Linnets defenders Sargent managed to find room to turn and try to burrow his way through only to be unceremoniously taken down by Paul. The assistant on the far side had the best view of the incident at he instantly waved his flag to signal a foul. Sargent picked himself up to despatch the resulting spot kick low past the left hand of Duran to put the hosts in front.

It took an excellent save from Griffiths to preserve Ives lead just seconds before the half time whistle. Smith managed to get on the end of a ball lofted up to the edge of the box. He directed his downward header into the path of Ben Welch who took a touch to take him into the box before unleashing a powerful low drive that the well positioned Griffiths blocked with his legs. Ewan Young was on hand to scramble the loose ball away.

With Ives still battling hard and things not going his way the Linnets manager made a desperate looking quadruple substitution in 58th minute in a brave attempt to garner his side a way back into the game. The changes almost had an instant impact as one of the newcomers Joseph Taylor combined well with Smith to play the big number nine into a good position inside the box on the left. He battled past Pillin before trying to curl the ball right footed around Griffiths but the Ives keeper was equal to the effort leaping to his left to turn the ball away.

Ives best chance to give themselves some breathing space by doubling their advantage came in 72nd minute as the ever willing Sargent chased down a Wakley clip over the top. He beat keeper Duran to the ball and rolled it past him only to be denied as Paul got around behind his keeper to hack the goal bound effort away from inside the six yard box.

But with the clock ticking down it was becoming evident that Ives were struggling to maintain the fantastic work rate that they had kept up to that point. With fifteen minutes to go Taylor looked like he had found a way through the Ives back line as he took on Pillin inside the box going down under the challenge but the excellent referee David Osbourn was on the spot to wave away Linnets claims for a penalty. 

But that attack was the start of a period of pressure that lead to the visitors grabbing a somewhat fortunate equaliser three minutes later. As the ball bounced around the Ives box it fell to Taylor who again tried bursting through only to be denied by a solid tackle from Young. Unfortunately the loose ball fell to Smith on the edge of the box and although he did not hit his shot cleanly the ball bobbled past the unsighted Grifiths and nestled in the corner of the net.

Now level the Linnets saw the potential of claiming an unlikely victory to keep their championship hopes alive. Their best hope seemed to be feeding the lively Welch who having been one of those substituted in 58th minute found himself reintroduced to replace the limping Liam Mitchell on the left in 72nd minute. Welch was now up against a tiring Ives skipper Jordan Locke and seizing every opportunity to try and get past him on the outside. Twice in quick succession Locke brought down the speedy winger in dangerous positions just outside the box. But both free kicks were wasted as Luke Johnson delivered them too deep over the heads of his colleagues arriving at the back post.

The decisive moment though came with less than two minutes of the ninety left as Welch managed to get the wrong side of Locke for the third time but on this occasion fatally inside the box. Locke clumsily went into the back of the winger again taking him down for a cast iron penalty. Welch eventually limped off after treatment which meant a long wait before Taylor could take the resulting spot kick but the youngster kept his cool and comprehensively beat Griffiths high to his left although the kicker was perhaps a little relieved as the shot rattled the underside of the crossbar before bouncing up into the roof of the net.

The visitors were very effective in playing out the remaining few minutes of added time to leave a disconsolate Ives to trudge off at the end hopefully roused a little by the applause from their supporters who were rightfully proud of the effort the lads had put in and gutted as they were to get no reward from the game. But the lads must not be downcast and should take a lot from this game as they matched the potential champions throughout and were very unlucky to get no reward in the shape of points on the board. 

Final Score  :  St Ives Town U18  1  King’s Lynn Town U18  2  

Goals : Sargent 35 (pen)

St Ives team : Griffiths, Locke (capt), Quinsee, Purse, Young, Pillin Hope (Bald 71), Cawte, Sargent, Garlick (Gibbs 61), Wakley 

Unused Subs : Frans, O’Donovan, Laker

Attendance  : 83

Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson.


St Ives Town U18 vs Holbeach United U18’s

St Ives Town U18 v Holbeach United U18  

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  25-02-19

The young Ives return to action after a three month winter lay off at least partially due to the weather proved to be a successful one as they gained revenge on the Tigers for the mauling they received in the fens in their previous game at the end of November.

Make no mistake this was an excellent hard fought victory against the team sitting third in the table. The performance and result shows just how much these boys had learnt from their previous defeat as on this occasion they managed to match the physicality of their opponents and although they rode their luck at times two well taken goals by Harry Sargent ensured they got their just reward for the considerable effort show by the entire squad.

With the visitors having played two games in the previous two weeks it was expected that they would start the more confidently but manager Lloyd Groves had got the Ives well drilled during their enforced break and right from the off the youngsters were letting their opponents know that they were not going to be a push over. 

Neither side created a clear cut opportunity in the first quarter of an hour and the first real action for either keeper went the way of Brad Waters in the Tigers goal in 15th minute when George Cawte returned a half cleared corner back to Billy Garlick wide on the right. His driven low cross was spilled by Waters but the linesman’s upraised flag saved the keeper any embarrassment as Thomas Wakley following in had strayed offside.

Less than two minutes later Shay Griffiths in the home goal was called into his first meaningful action of the evening as he sprinted from his line to hack clear just ahead of Kyle Compton after the big number nine looked like he had been put clear by a clever clip over the top by Alex Richardson.

Compton was constantly looking to get on the shoulder of the last Ives defender and he managed to get away on the right in 20th minute. His low driven cross into the danger zone beat the diving Griffiths but Leon Quinsee covering across from right back did just enough to prevent Josh Balding forcing the ball home at the back post. 

The very mobile Harry Sargent was causing the Tigers defence a few problems with his constant harrying and hassling and direct running style when he got the chance. It took the combined efforts of two defenders to stop him illegally in 23rd minute. Billy Garlick and Billy Mobbs both showed a keen interest in the resulting free kick from 25 yards. Garlick won the day and although his well struck effort beat the three man wall it went about a metre wide of Waters left hand post and thudded the boards.

Garlick showed a much more accurate touch with a well executed lob over the Tigers defence to set up Sargent for the opening goal three minutes later. The Ives striker had timed his run to perfection to get onto the ball and keeper Waters rash early departure from his line decided Sargent’s mind on how to finish a perfect lob over the advancing keeper saw the ball land inside the six yard box and bounce up into the roof of the net.

The Tigers only had one chance to get level before half time but it was a good one only two minutes before the break. A long free kick from the right was somehow allowed to travel all the way through to Mikey Bailey inexplicably on his own ten yards out. He had time to take a touch and pivot on the ball before flashing his shot across the face of goal and past the far post. 

The only other noteworthy incident before the break was a clash between Ives Louis Bald and Tigers Kieron McConnell which saw both players pick up a yellow card after a spate of handbags right in front of the officials. Both managers made the clever move of substituting the pair at the interval to ensure that they kept eleven players on the pitch. Bald being replaced by Karl Frans and McConnell by Billy Barnes.

Barnes was instantly in the action from the restart taking on the Ives back line before playing in Balding on the left. Balding slid a dangerous ball across the six yard box that covering skipper Mitchell Pillin did well to clear from under his own crossbar.

Only three minutes later Barnes was at it again this time slipping a half cleared corner through to Brandon Andrews on the left his low cross led to a scramble in the Ives goalmouth with the ball eventually rolling back out to Andrews who went for power rather than finesse but powered his effort well wide of the far post from a very good position.

Barnes decided to go for goal himself in 54th minute as he gained possession 25 yards out on the right and burst through into the penalty area before unleashing a powerful low drive that Griffiths did well to save but the ball ran loose and it took an excellent covering block by debutant centre back Ewan Young to prevent Balding forcing it over the line.

Having been under the cosh for the first twelve minutes of the second half Ives then stunned their visitors by doubling their lead in their first meaningful attack of the period and it was all thanks to the never say die attitude of Sargent. He harried the defence into a mistake before taking on Williamson through the middle. Under pressure from the centre back he seemed to lose the ball but it rebounded back into his path off another defender and he grabbed his chance slamming in an unstoppable shot from the edge of the box.

Two in front but far from comfortable the Ives were soon back under pressure. Tigers skipper Liam Scales tried to battle his way through the centre in 59th minute. He got past George Cawte and substitute Connor Gibbs before firing in a rising shot from just inside the box that Griffiths saved well to his left. Scales was again the catalyst five minutes later as played an excellent flick over the Ives back line to put Richardson clear. He looked like he had done everything right as he drew Griffiths to him then clipped the ball past the keeper but also past the post.

Ives were not so fortunate in 66th minute as Richardson picked out Barnes in space inside the box and the big striker showed his ability as he instantly took down the ball before turning and firing low past the exposed Griffiths to make it game on or so we thought.

But Ives are a resilient well organised side and even though Connor O’Donovan and Adam Laker joined Young to put three debutants on the pitch and take the total number of Under 16’s in the hosts side up to five for the last fifteen minutes they still managed to limit the visitors to only two noteworthy efforts at goal in the remaining time. In 80th minute Barnes dragged a 25 yard free kick wide and in the very last minute Will Barnes managed to get to the bye line on the right and pulled the ball back. Billy Barnes completely missed his kick as he tried to finish it and Balding following up blasted his effort well over the top from just inside the box.

Sargent also missed an inviting opportunity for him to claim what would have been a well deserved hat trick. In 89th minute Zac Hope got away down the right outpacing his marker, his low cross struck a defender’s heel and fell perfectly for Sargent twelve yards out but the big striker snatched at the chance and fired well over the top.

Overall an excellent victory and with so many youngsters in the side it bodes very well for next season, or even the latter stages of this one!.    

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

Goals : Sargent 26 & 57

St Ives team : Griffiths, Quinsee, Bald (Frans 45), Purse (O’Donovan 62), Pillin (capt), Young, Mobbs (Laker 75), Cawte, Sargent, Garlick (Gibbs 53), Wakley (Hope 53)

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : 51

Report by Nigel Howlett


Holbeach United U18’s vs St Ives Town U18

Holbeach United U18s 4 St Ives Town U18s 2

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  22-10-18

The young Ives visited the formidable lair of the Tigers and came within a few inches and a few minutes of being the first side this season to depart from deepest Fenland with anything other than a defeat. Having fallen behind twice the Ives battled back to get level before half time only to miss a penalty on the hour and then eventually fall to two late goals as Holbeach maintained their one hundred per cent home record.

For the second time in successive games the Ives gifted their opponents an early goal. On this occasion keeper Shay Griffiths called for a hopeful through ball but was a little late leaving his line and allowed Harry Collishaw to nip in and beat him to the ball on the edge of the box and prod it past him into the empty net.

It became clear early on that big centre forward Fenn Storey was going to be a thorn in Ives side throughout this fixture. He went close to doubling the hosts lead in 9th minute as he got on the end of a Will Barnes clip into the box from the right. Fortunately for Griffiths his powerful volley from 15 yards flashed inches wide.

Ives first foray into Tigers territory was a trademark run from Zac Hope in 11th minute as he outpaced Luke Williams and hurdled a flying tackle from covering defender Jordan Olive only to be outdone by the very bobbly pitch which saw the ball bounce away from him just enough to let keeper Brad Waters bravely plunge in and take the ball off his toe.

Griffiths redeemed his early error in 21st minute as he plunged smartly to his right to palm away a well struck effort from the edge of the box by Storey who had cleverly dropped off to the edge of the box where he found space to get on the end of a pull back by Josh Balding.

The Ives keeper did even better in 29th minute as he hurled himself high to his right to tip away a curling effort from 20 yards by Liam Scales that was heading for the top corner. This time Storey had been the provider as he cleverly held up a ball into his feet before teeing up Scales.

The resulting corner was quickly cleared allowing Ives to break out at pace with Louis Bald threading a perfect ball through to put Hope away on the left, unfortunately none of his colleagues could match the flying wingers pace and his dangerous low cross flashed across the face of goal just ahead of Thomas Wakley sliding in to try and get a touch.

Having threatened Ives went one better three minutes later as another swift break down the middle saw Billy Mobbs and Wakley combine with the latter knocking the ball into the overlapping run of Mihayl Mitkov. The young full back showed composure well beyond his years as he calmly picked his spot and threaded the ball past the despairing dive of Waters into the bottom corner of the net from just inside the box.

Having fought so hard to get level Ives almost instantly found themselves behind again as a Kieron McConnell free kick from the right was headed home at the near post by Storey. The big centre forward had got in front of his marker and looped his header over Griffiths and into the far corner of the net.

But Ives were still very much in this game and five minutes before the break the sheer battling power and persistence of Wakley got them back level again. The centre forward harried giant centre back Olive into an error robbing him and out muscling him 25 yards from goal then had the composure to look up and curl a magnificent effort just beyond the grasping fingers of Waters and into the top corner.

The hosts again reacted by putting more pressure on Ives back line and went close to going back in front two minute later as Balding and McConnell combined to break through the visitor’s line on the edge of the box. Griffiths was smartly out to narrow the angle and did well to block McConnell’s low drive with his legs.

Ives lifted themselves again and enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the early stages of the second half. The battling Wakley continued his struggle against his much bigger markers and in 55th minute he again went close as he skilfully took in a ball from Bald and curled an effort similar to his first half goal only this time the shot from 25 yards curled inches wide.

The visitors were handed a fantastic opportunity to get in front for first time in 59th minute. Bald fired a free kick into the box from the half way line, keeper Waters came for it but failed to hang onto it. Referee James Marsden’s whistle blew and most in the ground thought it must be for a foul on the keeper but the excellent official who had a very good game all evening had spotted Olive manhandling Wakley as the ball came into the box and was pointing to the spot. Mobbs took on the responsibility and struck his low effort well it beat keeper Waters comfortably but thudded the bottom of his right hand upright and rebounded to safety.

The let off seemed to lift the hosts and from that point on they wrestled control from the Ives and began to slowly build up pressure on the visitor’s rear guard. Storey went close in 67th minute as Scales picked out his run into the box with a dink from the right and the centre forward’s half volley flashed inches wide.

Wakley gained a brief moment of respite for Ives in 70th minute as he won a free kick 25 yards from goal in a central position. Mitkov struck the free kick well dipping it over the three man wall but Waters was well positioned and held onto the ball at the second attempt.

The Tigers continued to press and Brandon Andrews went close with a powerful header from a McConnell corner from the left in 72nd minute A well positioned Mitkov saved his side by hacking the ball off the goal line with Griffiths beaten.

Ives continued to battle and looked like they might just hold out for what would have been an excellent point on the road only to be undone by the powerful Storey five minutes from the end of the ninety as he outmuscled Connor Paine on the edge of the box and teed up substitute Billy Barnes whose low drive took a wicked deflection off an Ives defender on it’s way into the bottom corner of the net past an unsighted Griffiths.

With Ives trying to push forward in search of an unlikely third equaliser of the night an error from substitute Adam Kelly deep inside his own box allowed two Tigers substitutes to execute the coup de grace as Billy Barnes this time became provider robbing Kelly to set up Kyle Compton to lash home from close range just seconds from the final whistle to put a perhaps undeserved gloss on the score line for the hosts.

After last weeks poor defeat at Downham there can be no disgrace in this much improved show at a ground where even Deeping have been beaten already this season. A final word on referee Mr Marsden who put on one of the best shows from a match official I have seen this season in difficult conditions with a bumpy pitch and at times a hostile atmosphere he was never over the top, always in control and only resorted to his cards when absolutely necessary.

Final Score  :  Holbeach United U18  4  St Ives Town U18  2  

Goals : Mitkov 32, Wakley 40

St Ives team : Griffiths, Quinsee, Mitkov, Purse (Kelly 54), Paine, Pillin (capt), Mobbs, Bald (Katz 85), Wakley, Gibbs (Stork 34), Hope

Other subs roll on roll off : Bald for Mitkov 83, Gibbs for Katz 88, Mitkov for Hope 88

Unused Subs : Rudd, Burnham

Attendance  : approx 45


Downham Town U18’s vs St Ives Town U18

Downham Town U18 3 St Ives Town U18 2

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  15-10-18

Amongst a number of harsh lessons the young Ives learnt at the Memorial Field on this misty November evening in the fens the biggest one was to never underestimate your opposition. A poor start saw them fall to defeat against lowly Town who had previously only recorded one victory prior to this game. The hosts also came into this fixture off the back of a ten goal mauling from Peterborough Sports only seven days earlier. Lesson number two do not look at your oppositions previous results and think they are just going to roll over for you.

Had Ives shown the disciplined display required they would have ensured that they were switched on from the off. Unfortunately they were the complete opposite of what was required as they sleepwalked through the first thirty seconds of the game and instantly found themselves a goal behind as Jesse Tierney took advantage of an early opportunity to burst into the box and rifle a low drive into the bottom corner of keeper Kai Bradley’s net to ensure that the young stopper’s first touch was to pick the ball out of the back of the net.

To their credit Ives offered an instant response as Connor Gibbs pinged a ball out to Tom Wakley on the right. Wakley got past his man and delivered a low cross to the penalty spot where Harry Sargent swept the ball home to ensure that Town keeper Robbie Smith’s first touch of the game matched that of Bradley.

In spite of being pegged back the hosts had gained some confidence from these early exchanges and only five minutes later they won a corner on the right that Jamie Markham delivered to the near post where a still dozy Ives defence allowed Joe Causton space to run in and nod the ball home unchallenged from three yards out.

Seven minutes gone and already three goals on the board, but the score line was an unexpected one. Ives potential route back into the game looked like it might receive some assistance from the hosts as left back George Arnold took his own skipper out of the game as the pair both went to deal with a cross to the near post and ended up in a sickening clash of heads that saw skipper Dylan Short leave the field with a bloodied nose and mouth. Substitute Will Pocock came on to replace the unlucky Short.

Even this set back did not knock Town out of their strike and with their confidence buoyed by the early goals they continued to take the game to their visitors. It took a goal line clearance from Mitchell Pillin to prevent more pain being heaped on the Ives in 14th minute. Big centre forward Jacob Sim challenged Bradley for a high bouncing ball on the edge of the Ives box and won the battle forcing the ball goal wards. But for the timely intervention of the covering Pillin the ball would have rolled over the line.

But the respite for Ives was only short lived and in 21st minute Town increased their advantage with the goal of the game. Causton picked out Ben Garrett wide left and the winger got around the outside of Louis Bald before hanging up a perfect cross to the back post where Luke Venny got between static Ives defenders to power home a header from close range.

Amazingly the scoring for the evening was completed in 27th minute as for the first time on the night the speedy Zac Hope got an opportunity to run at his full back Markham and very quickly left the Town defender in his wake as he sped away down the left. His low cross from the bye line was inadvertently turned home at the near post by Fraser McManus as the young centre back tried to prevent Sargent getting on the end of it.

Once more we thought that this goal might be a signal for the anticipated flood gates to open. But Ives poor start had offered the hosts something to hang onto and they continued to match their opposition all over the park throughout the remainder of the first half. Each side carving out one more decent half chance. In 36th minute Wakley robbed a dallying Arnold by his own corner flag and picked out Sargent with his pull back but the powerful Ives centre forward struck his low drive straight at Smith who held on well.

Two minutes from the break Markham delivered a dangerous cross from the right that Jordan Locke misjudged allowing the ball to float over his head. Tierney was in an excellent position ten yards out in the centre of goal but his touch let him down and the opportunity was gone.

Although Ives had not played well in the first period we were all expecting Downham to tire but they still had something to defend and they were doing this quite effectively preventing the visitors from building up any real head of steam. The visitors first real opportunity to get back on terms did not arrive until 57th minute when substitute Jamie Stork was almost put clear by Sargent but the ball took a bobble on the bouncy pitch and just ran away from Stork far enough to let the alert Smith come and claim it.

Hope almost grabbed an equaliser out of nothing in 63rd minute as he harried McManus into a mistake and robbed the Town defender on the edge of the box. But Smith saved the blushes of his colleague as he was smartly off his line to narrow the angle and blocked the shot away with his legs.

Ives continued to huff and puff but the Town defence remained solid although there were a few narrow escapes. In 73rd minute Hope and Sargent combined well on the right with the formers low cross being met at the near post by Mihayl Mitkov up from the back. The full back looked likely to score but the ball took a wicked bounce off the turf and bounced over the top off the Ives man.

The visitors continued to press but it was just not their night. Hope hung a cross up to the back post that landed on the roof of the net with colleagues lurking in the hope of knocking it home. Stork did have the ball in the net in 75th minute only for the effort to be ruled out by an assistant’s flag. Three minutes later Wakley threaded a ball through into the run of Sargent who beat keeper Smith to the ball but slid it inches the wrong side of the post.

The game entered added time and with three added minutes already gone the inevitable looked likely to happen as with Ives throwing men forward Sim got away on the break bearing down on substitute keeper Shay Griffiths but the Ives stopper did not sell himself and stayed solid eventually forcing the centre forward into a close range shot that the Ives stopper kept out.

The Ives keeper became the closest man to grabbing visitors a point in the fifth of the five added minutes as he roamed forward for a free kick into the Town box and got on the end of it eight yards out but the effort seemed to come off his shoulder and lacked power giving Smith chance to block it and his defenders scrambled the loose ball away to spark deserved celebrations amongst the hosts and send Ives slinking back down the A10 with their tails between their legs.

Let us hope the pain of this defeat lives long in the memory of the Ives lads and that they do not make the same mistakes again. Remember Downham must be the cry to rally them before any game. 

Final Score  :  Downham Town U18  3  St Ives Town U18  2  

Goals : Sargent 2, own goal 27

St Ives team : Bradley (Griffiths 45), Bald, Brown (Mitkov 34), Purse, Locke (capt) (Paine 64), Pillin, Wakley, Katz (Stork 14), Sargent (Quinsee 49), Gibbs, Hope

Other subs roll on roll off : Katz for Gibbs 47, Sargent for Bald 67, Bald for Hope 87

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : approx 50

Report by Nigel Howlett


St Ives Town U18 vs March Town United U18’s

St Ives Town U18 5 March Town United U18 0

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  05-11-18

The young Ives completed a swift double over the Hares as they claimed the spoils in a niggly contest in comprehensive fashion, braces from Tom Wakley and Harry Sargent were interspersed by the goal of the game from Connor Gibbs. 

This was a belated return to action for the scholars as their previous two games had been called off due to King’s Lynn’s run in the FA Youth Cup and Downham’s inability to raise a side to visit Westwood Road. With this unexpected break a slow start might have been anticipated and it was the visitors who created the first chance of the game in eleventh minute as Alfie Asher got to the bye line and dinked a cross over Shay Griffiths at his near post. Fortunately skipper Mitchell Pillin was alert to the danger and got above Kai Wales with an excellent defensive header.

Ives first good chance came four minutes later as Sargent and Billy Garlick combined well with the latter feeding the ball into the run of Gibbs, a slightly heavy touch by the Ives midfielder was just enough to allow keeper Connor Farrell to sprint from his line and bravely dive in to claim the ball at his feet and snuff out the danger.

The hosts were now getting on top and opened the scoring in 24th minute. A free kick was cleared out to the right and delivered back into the centre by Joe Purse, the ball evaded everyone in the middle and arrived at the feet of Wakley who had ghosted in unmarked at the back post. The Ives wide man did the rest clipping the ball home past the exposed Farrell from close range.

The Hares were not out of the contest and could have grabbed an equaliser only two minutes later as Ives struggled to clear a ball in from the right by Blake Cowley it eventually ricocheted to Finlay Clark who looked like he had a clear run on goal but the ball bounced off his shins to allow Griffiths to make a comfortable claim.

Having failed to get on terms the visitors then found themselves two behind just after the half hour. Wakley and Mihayl Mitkov combined well down the left before the latter fed the ball inside the Gibbs 25 yards from goal. The combative midfielder showed the silky side of his game as he spotted keeper Farrell off his line and curled a peach of an effort over the struggling stopper into the roof of the net.

Keeper Griffiths gave himself a bit of work to do in 35th minute as he rolled a goal kick to Pillin in the centre of goal just outside the box. The Ives centre back was instantly closed down and robbed by Clark forcing Griffiths into an excellent diving save low to his left to preserve his clean sheet. Clark again went close two minutes later as again Ives struggled to clear their lines allowing the Hares striker to pounce on the loose ball just outside the box and fire in an effort that deflected inches past Griffiths left hand upright.

The goal that killed the game as a contest came six minutes before the break as a quick throw by Billy Mobbs deep in Hares territory gave Garlick the chance to run into the box wide on the right. He delivered a low cross into the mix where Sargent showed his bravery getting in between keeper and defenders to prod the ball home from point blank range.

It should have been four within 45 seconds of the restart as Ives strung a passing move together through the middle that finished with Purse threading the ball into the run of Sargent on the edge of the Hare’s box but the big striker crashed his right footed effort into the boards just wide of Farrell’s left hand post.

The visitors were still breaking sporadically into Ives territory and they went close to grabbing a goal back in 53rd minute Clark slid a ball through the right channel to put Wales in on goal. Griffiths closed him down quickly and made an excellent save only to realise that it was all in vain as the assistant on the far side already had his flag up.

Any faint hope the Hares had of getting back into the game was completely extinguished in a crazy few seconds on the hour. A Mitkov corner from the right was delivered in on the keeper and Farrell was a little slow to come and claim it allowing Sargent to go in with the keeper who went down in a heap. Referee Paul Doyle instantly blew for a foul, but full back Jordan Smith allowed his frustration of the evening to bubble over at the official looking likely to earn himself a yellow card. This quickly got changed to a red when the Hares defender continued to abuse the official when summoned to his presence. Whilst all this was going on the groggy looking Farrell was still receiving treatment and he eventually left the field for a trip to hospital with a suspected broken arm. After some discussion amongst the March players and bench Cowley replaced the luckless Farrell between the sticks and the game restarted after an eight minute delay.

The Ives were now well on top and with half an hour to go against ten men and a stand in keeper more goals looked inevitable. Substitute Adam Kelly went close only seconds after the resumption as he combined with Wakely down the right before driving into the box and flashing a shot wide of the far post.

Sargent did a little better as he doubled his tally for the evening in 74th minute. The powerful striker got on the end of a long ball out of defence and strode forward before firing a low left footed effort past the exposed Cowley from the edge of the box.

Griffiths still needed to keep his concentration at the other end and he needed to show he was still alert in 78th minute as Clark tried to catch him out with a 45 yard free kick that the Hares midfielder struck well and was dipping in under the crossbar before the fast back peddling Griffiths tipped it over the top.

To their credit the ten man Hares continued to battle and protect their stand in keeper right to the bitter end but centre back Connor Paine should have opened his account for the Ives in 88th minute as a Wakley corner from the left was headed down to him inside the six yard box by skipper Pillin. The Ives man struck his shot well but Cowley made an excellent stop with his legs at point blank range.

Keeper Cowley made a more unorthodox save with his legs as the game entered added time. Substitute Ben Smith looked like getting away down the right only to be hauled down by a tiring Ben Darrington. Mitkov swung in the resulting free kick on target and without any thought of using his hands Cowley sliced the ball away with his boot.

There was still time for Wakley to double his account for the evening and make the final score five. Sargent looking for his hat trick got put through the left channel and hammered in a first tie effort that pulled a brilliant save out of Cowley as the stand in dived to his right. Unfortunately for him Wakley reacted quicker than any of his defenders to get on the loose ball and force it home.  

Final Score  :  St Ives Town U18  5  March Town United U18  0  

Goals : Wakley 24, 90+3, Gibbs 32, Sargent 39, 74

St Ives team : Griffiths, Bald (Katz 80), Mitkov, Purse (Quinsee 56), Paine, Pillin (capt), Mobbs (Hope 50), Garlick, Sargent, Gibbs (Kelly 68), Wakley (Smith 76)

Other subs roll on roll off : Wakley for Garlick 86

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : 56

Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson


St Ives Town Youth Team vs Wisbech St Mary U18’s

St Ives Town U18s 3 Wisbech St Mary U18s 0

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  08-10-18

An inspired goalkeeping display from visiting stopper Ash Clarke and some erratic Ives finishing ensured that the goal scoring in this one sided affair was amazingly completed by 23rd minute.

The hosts tore into their bottom of the table visitors right from the off and Zak Hope fired a very early chance inches over the top with only ninety seconds on the clock. The young winger did not take long to make amends as he scored in the very next attack. Billy Mobbs cleverly fed the ball into him inside the penalty area and Hope unleashed a first time right footed effort from fifteen yards that deceived keeper Clarke and just trickled inside the far post in spite of the efforts of Will Pentelow to keep it out.

Hope showed his explosive pace to return the compliment for Mobbs five minutes later. The speedy wide man burst down the left flank leaving two defenders in his wake got to the bye line then showed his composure as he picked out Mobbs in space just inside the box. The Ives striker showed equal composure as he picked his spot side footing the ball into the bottom corner of the net beyond the despairing dive of Clarke.

The visitors were now in complete disarray and Hope should have made it 3-0 only two minutes later a ball in from the right by Thomas Wakley created panic in the Wisbech box and attempts to clear ricocheted off other defenders before the ball eventually fell to Hope by the penalty spot. He struck his effort well but was denied by Clarke in unorthodox style as the ball deflected wide off the keeper’s outstretched leg.

Kai Bradley was making his competitive debut in goal for the Ives and apart from fielding a few tame long range efforts he had little to do. His only real action of the first half came in 18th minute as he sprinted from his line to get to a through ball just ahead of Arran Buckley who looked like getting clear.

Hope continued to cause havoc in the Wisbech back line and another pacey run to the bye line and accurate pull back created a well taken third goal that was emphatically finished from eight yards by Wakley in 23rd minute. 

Ives continued to pressurize their struggling opponents and it looked like more goals were guaranteed as the pace and movement of Hope, Mobbs and Wakley was carving regular openings in the Wisbech back line. In 28th minute Mobbs cleverly turned his marker and sprinted away down the right cutting inside and firing an effort from just inside the box that flashed just wide of the far post.

Substitute Connor Gibbs got in on the act within seconds of coming on in 33rd minute as he picked up a ball in the centre circle and drove into the heart of the Wisbech back line playing a one two with Mobbs to go clear into the box but a slightly heavy touch allowed Clarke to close him down and the keeper made an excellent block with his legs at point black range.

Mobbs failed to finish two more good opportunities before the break. In 38th minute he ran into the gap between wall and defence to get on the end of a clever George Cawte free kick. He had a clear shot on goal from 15 yards but did not get a clean contact allowing keeper Clarke to initially parry the effort and then pounce on the loose ball.

Clarke’s save to deny Mobbs again right on the half time whistle was either a fantastic reaction save, or perhaps a little fortunate. Joe Purse threaded a ball down the left to put Hope away again this time his ball to the edge of the six yard box picked out Mobbs arriving at pace but with the whole goal to aim at Mobbs managed to hit Clarke with his effort and the ball deflected wide off the body of the keeper.

Everyone was expecting more goals to come after the break and Ives came out of the blocks firing on all cylinders as a flowing move was finished with Purse feeding the ball into the feet of Wakley on the edge of the box. His clever touch put in Mobbs again and once more the Ives striker was denied by keeper Clarke as the Wisbech custodian spread himself to knock the ball away with his outstretched leg.

At this point in the game it almost seemed to be Clarke versus the Ives front line and the keeper was winning. In 51st minute another flowing Ives move was finished with Mobbs setting up Hope for a shot on goal from just inside the box but again Clarke was equal to the effort parrying the powerful strike away.

Clarke was beaten two minutes later but the woodwork came to his aid as Wakley played in Mobbs for a left footed effort from the edge of the box that beat the diving keeper but deflected to safety of the outside of his right hand upright.

The woodwork again denied Ives in 58th minute as Hope skinned Ryan Chilton by the corner flag before cutting in and going for goal from a narrow angle. The sheer power of the effort beat Clarke but for the second time in five minutes the ball thudded the upright and rebounded to safety.

Shay Griffiths had replaced Bradley in the Ives goal at half time and like his predecessor Griffiths was more an interested spectator than an active participant in the second half. His one noteworthy involvement came in 65th minute when his clever distribution picked out Mobbs in space on the right a swift one two with Wakey down the wing then saw the ball pulled back to Hope 20 yards from goal his well struck effort just scraped over the crossbar and another chance was gone.

The pace began to drop out of the game as substitutes rolled on and off and Ives appeared to settle on their comfortable lead. There was only one more noteworthy chance and it fell to the hardworking Mobbs in 79th minute. Ives skipper Mitchell Pillin met a goal kick on the half way line and his powerful header back into Wisbech territory was chased by Mobbs. The Ives striker beat the onrushing Clarke to the bouncing ball and although he managed to get it past the exposed stopper it sailed a couple of feet wide of the post.

We all thought that the Wisbech boys would tire as the game wore on but to their great credit the visitors continued to battle right to the end and can take some positives from their performance throughout the second half. Ives on the other hand must learn to be much more clinical against such sides. This was an opportunity to get their goal difference back on track after the Deeping defeat, but it was sadly missed!. 

Final Score  :  St Ives Town U18  3  Wisbech St Mary U18  0  

Goals : Hope 6, Mobbs 11, Wakley 23

St Ives team : Bradley (Griffiths 45), Bald (Frans 56), Mitkov, Cawte, Paine, Pillin (capt), Wakley, Purse (Assuncao 56), Mobbs, Garlick (Gibbs 32), Hope

Other subs roll on roll off : Garlick for Cawte 68, Bald for Mitkov 82, Cawte for Mobbs 82

Unused Subs : Stork

Attendance  : 59

Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson.


Peterborough Northern Star U18’s vs St Ives Town Youth Team

Peterborough Northern Star U18s 2 St Ives Town U18s 3

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  01-10-18

Three goals in a sixteen minute spell at the end of the first half ensured that Ives took the spoils in this entertaining encounter, although the youngsters failure to take a number of other good chances ensured that the final twenty minutes was a little more nerve racking than it perhaps needed to be.

Coming into this game on the back of two good wins Ives should have been full of confidence but it was their hosts who started on the front foot and went close to going in front in the eighth minute as skipper Sam Sadiq put Callum Boyes clear into the visitors box. As the Star striker cut in from the left keeper Shay Griffiths came to meet him. Boyes went for the shot from twelve yards and Griffiths reacted well plunging to his right to keep the effort out.

Ives first half chance did not arrive until 20th minute when a Billy Garlick free kick from the left was knocked down into the box. The ever alert Harry Sargent spun on the ball and was perhaps unlucky to see his effort deflected wide. But Sargent was not to be denied for long and it was he that put the visitors in front nine minutes later. Louis Bald won a crunching tackle in midfield and burst forward feeding the ball into the feet of Thomas Wakley on the edge of the box. He in turn fed the ball inside to Sargent who fired home a low first time effort from 18 yards that beat keeper James Hogg low to his right.

The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of the hosts briefly and Ives carved out two more chances in quick succession. In 31st minute Wakley again fed Sargent from the right. The bustling centre forward again turned his man and fired in a low right foot shot that Hogg did well to keep out low to his right. But the keeper was very fortunate not to concede a second two minutes later as Billy Mobbs ran clear through the centre onto a Sargent flick from a Griffiths punt. Mobbs was unaware of just how much time and space he had and as the exposed keeper rushed at him he went for a first time effort which he sliced horribly wide with the goal at his mercy.

Having failed to go two in front Ives suddenly found themselves pegged back in 35th minute as Bald recklessly slid in to take down Adam Steels inches outside the right hand edge of the box. Dom Szuster fired in a low free kick that failed to get past the Ives two man wall, but the ball was fed back to Szuster who this time picked out Ethan Bennett by the penalty spot and the big centre back fired home first time through the crowd.

It did not take Ives long to regain their lead as four minutes later Mobbs danced his way through a couple of tackles and got clear down the left. Hogg came to meet him, but this time from a much more difficult angle than a few minutes previously the tricky winger managed to slide the ball past the advancing keeper but the effort lacked power and seemed to take an age to bobble over the goal line Garlick unselfishly shielding it on it’s way by preventing covering defender Callum Perkins from getting to the ball.

Having got his goal Mobbs was now on fire and was showing his full range of abilities. He took down a long ball 40 yards from goal and curled a ball with the outside of his foot that arced perfectly onto the chest of Sargent just inside the box. The big striker looked certain to score only for Hogg to bravely plunge in at his feet to block the effort at point blank range.

Mobbs doubled Ives lead right on the half time whistle. Griffiths kicking had been exemplary all evening, but the only kick he got wrong brought a goal. His scuffed kick evaded any lurking Star strikers and arrived at the feet of Mitchell Pillin inside the centre circle. The Ives skipper had the composure to take a touch and slide the ball perfectly between full back and centre back to put Mobbs clear once again he made up for his earlier error by sliding the ball past the advancing Hogg into the net.

Having got two in front Ives were expecting a Star onslaught at the start of the second period and sure enough the hosts came out with all guns blazing. Five minutes after the restart Bald clumsily brought down Szuster 25 yards from goal in a central position. The Star man picked himself up and took the free kick, but again failed to clear the Ives three man wall.

Ives survived that one, but they found their lead halved in 55th minute as the ball was fed across to the left where the tricky Boyes tried to go outside his marker before turning inside Leon Quinsee and Joe Purse and curling an unstoppable effort over the despairing dive of Griffiths and into the far corner of the net.

Star were now enjoying the majority of possession but struggling to create any more clear shooting opportunities as Ives midfield and back line were working like Trojans to deny anyone time on the ball. The visitors also continued to look dangerous on the break and from any dead ball situations they could create at the other end. In 66th minute a hanging Mobbs free kick from the left was met perfectly by Sargent ten yards out. Hogg pulled off an excellent save low to his left to keep out the powerful downward header.

The hosts possession stats must have looked very good in the second half but they still struggled to break down the stubborn Ives back line and Griffiths only real save of the second half came as players began to tire ten minutes from time. The silky Sadiq found some space 25 yards from goal and fired in a skimming drive that Griffiths had to plunge to his right to keep out at the expense of a corner. But the flag kick just like six others won by the hosts in the second period was dealt with effectively by Pillin and his colleagues.

In spite of the pressure there were a number of opportunities for Ives to break at pace and kill the game with another goal but on each occasion the man in possession of the ball made a wrong choice and failed to pick out team mates who were busting a gut to get clear into space.

The hosts were always going to get chances to grab a leveller and sure enough as Ives began to tire they had two let offs in the final six minutes. In 84th minute substitute Florian Tsaguim burst through two tired tackles down the right and got to the bye line. He pulled the ball back to Segun Okurinboye by the penalty spot, but a bobble on the bumpy Chestnut Avenue pitch saved Ives as it caused the Star striker to completely miss his kick allowing the ball to be scrambled away.

The final chance for the hosts came in the last minute as two Ives defenders got in each others way allowing Boyes to get away down the left. He drew Griffiths to him and slid the ball past the advancing keeper. It was heart in mouth time for Ives as it rolled on but to much relief it bobbled inches past the far post to allow the visitors to celebrate a hard won victory which moves them up to fourth in the early season table.  

Final Score  :  Peterborough Northern Star U18  2  St Ives Town U18  3  

Goals : Sargent 29, Mobbs 39 & 45

St Ives team : Griffiths, Quinsee (Gibbs 58), Mitkov, Purse, Pillin (capt), Perriera (Paine 55), Mobbs, Bald, Sargent, Garlick, Wakley (Katz 68)

Other subs roll on roll off : none

Unused Subs : Jakes

Attendance  : approx 50

Report by Nigel Howlett


St Ives Town Youth Team vs Godmanchester Rovers U18’s

St Ives Town U18 4 Godmanchester Rovers U18 2

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  24-09-18

Zac Hope ensured that the Ives Under 18’s return to Westwood Road was a triumphant one with a very well taken second half hat trick to top off a very entertaining game.

Hope probably thought that it was not going to be his night when he spurned a golden opportunity to put Ives in front in only third minute. A long free kick from inside his own half by Jordan Locke completely deceived the Rovers centre backs and Hope who had ghosted in at the back post found himself all alone eight yards out with only Rovers keeper Finn Cooper to beat. He went for power and shook the goal frame with a thunderous shot that rebounded out of the eighteen yard box to safety.

The young Ives were not to be denied for long as there were only four more minutes on the clock when Billy Garlick curled his free kick around the Rovers wall from 25 yards. Keeper Cooper spilled it and the first players to react to the loose ball were the Ives centre back pairing as Locke squared the ball across the face of goal to give Mitchell Pillin a simple tap in to claim his second goal in five days.

Rovers quickly proved that they to were a threat as they responded by going very close to an equaliser in tenth minute. Connor Gibbs lost possession inside the Rovers half allowing Jayk Mullee to bust forward at pace on the right. He cleverly turned inside onto his left foot and curled an effort around a defender and the diving Shay Griffiths and was very unlucky to see the ball rebound off an upright.

Both sides were trying to get the ball down and play and the move of the evening came from Ives in 16th minute as an intricate passing move that started from left back Elliot Jakes and involved at least a dozen passes was finished as Harry Sargent slid a ball inside Rovers full back Luke Cosbey to pick out the well timed run of Thomas Wakley cutting in from the right. Unfortunately Wakley failed to provide the finish the move deserved as he scuffed his shot across the face of goal from twelve yards.

The game continued to flow from end to end with both attacks looking likely to score on a number of occasions. Ash Humphreys went close for the visitors with a shot from a narrow angle that fizzed across the face of goal in 25th minute and Hope returned the compliment only sixty seconds later as Gibbs teed him up to hammer a shot from 25 yards that wizzed past Cooper’s right hand post and thudded the boards.

As the first half came to a close Rovers enjoyed their first sustained period of pressure. A free kick from the edge of the box was scrambled away at the expense of a corner. Skipper Fraser Kerr rose above the crowd at the near post but his goal bound header was deflected over the top. Griffiths came and got a good clean punch onto the second corner but the ball was fed back into the box and then only half cleared falling to Rovers substitute Harvey Gargiulo 25 yards from goal. He unleashed a first time pile driver that comprehensively beat Griffiths and billowed the back of the net to send the two sides in level at the break.

The second period started similarly to the first with Ives quickly going back in front. There were only five minutes on the clock when Louis Bald caught the Rovers defenders napping with a quick throw that put Hope away down the right. He powered away down the right and got to the bye line before cutting inside and getting his head up to lay the ball back Gibbs on the edge of the box. Gibbs miss hit his shot but Hope had kept on running and was in the perfect place to slot the loose ball home from inside the six yard box.

Hope came close to doubling his personal tally and Ives lead four minutes later as a log throw into the box was allowed to bounce and he quickly pounced on the loose ball spinning and shooting all in one move to fire in a shot that the static Cooper was pleased to see flash inches wide.

With Ives now well on top it was looking like only a matter of time before they got the third clinching goal. Locke went close when he got on the end of a well rehearsed free kick to fire in a low shot from the edge of the box in 68th minute. Pillin should have scored five minutes later as he got on the end of a Bald free kick from the left but failed to hit the target with his free header from eight yards.

Having failed to sew the game sure enough Ives were caught out fifteen minutes from time as the silky Jayden Rogers fed a ball into the feet of Mullee on the left side. With three Ives players in front of him there looked little danger but he crashed his way through three poor tackles to get to the bye line before firing a low cross along the six yard line that Humphreys arriving at the back post slammed home off the underside of the crossbar to level things up again.

Neither side wanted to settle for a point so the two continued to slug it out. Rovers were first to have a go as substitute Alf Swanston got between the Ives centre backs to get on the end of a clip into the box from the right by Kerr in 77th minute. Fortunately his header from ten yards lacked power and was a comfortable save for Griffiths.

Play swung straight to the other end where the ever willing Sargent battled his way through two tackles to get into a shooting position inside the box only to be bravely denied by Cooper as the keeper slid in at his feet.

Young Hope showed that he has not only got power and speed he has also got stamina in abundance as with nine minutes to go he picked up a loose ball on the half way line with only one though in his mind as he tore past the Rovers tiring defence with the pace of an express train leaving defenders in his wake. The finish past Cooper from the edge of the box was just as emphatic as he hammered the ball home giving the keeper no chance.

Any lingering doubt on the result was extinguished three minutes later as Hope completed his hat trick picking up a ball from Adam Kelly on the edge of the box the powerful striker spun onto his right foot and planted the ball low past the diving right hand of Cooper. The youngster was rightly substituted only seconds later to allow him to receive his due accolade from both sets of supporters.

The only item of note in the remaining six minutes was a near own goal from Pillin as he a Charlie Davis effort driven across the box deflected off him and rolled inches wide of the near post with Griffiths looking on.

Overall a pulsating encounter and one that promises much in the latest crop of youngsters coming through. Now they are back home at Westwood Road get along to see them soon judging on this game you will certainly be entertained.

Final Score  :  St Ives Town U18  4  Godmanchester Rovers U18  2  

Goals : Pillin 7, Hope 50, 81 & 84

St Ives team : Griffiths, Bald, Jakes (Paine 55), Purse, Locke, (capt), Pillin (Perreira 84), Wakley (Stork 70), Garlick (Katz 61), Sargent, Gibbs (Kelly 73), Hope

Other subs roll on roll off : Garlick for Hope 84

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : 69

Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson


March Town United U18’s vs St Ives Town U18

March Town United U18 0 St Ives Town U18 1 

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  20-09-18

The young Ives continued their development with an effective if somewhat uninspiring first victory of the season at March. The windswept encounter was decided by a powerful Mitchell Pillin header from a Mihayl Mitkov free kick right on the stroke of half time.

Aside from the goal the game was a generally tepid affair which the Ives controlled throughout but failed to turn their superiority into what should have been a much more comfortable success.

The other most noteworthy event of the evening was an off the ball scuffle in the 53rd minute which saw Ives skipper Jordan Locke and the Hares striker Alfie Asher both sent for an early bath.

With a hard bumpy surface and the beginnings of the first UK storm of the winter, storm Bronagh delivering a stiff breeze straight down the pitch it was never going to be an easy evening to play football. Ives started off with the breeze in their faces but they carved out the first opportunity of the evening in fourth minute as Thomas Wakley battled through a couple of tackles cutting in from the right and fired in a drive from the edge of the box that went straight into the arms of the well positioned Hares keeper Connor Farrell.

The following half an hour saw the two sides battle it out in the centre of the park with neither able to test the opposition’s keeper. Shay Griffith’s in the Ives goal was generally collecting overhit attempts to lift the ball over the top or watching long range shot fly high or wide. Most of Ives moves were breaking down due to a misplaced final pass, or a striker trying to break to soon and getting caught offside.

With half time approaching both sides suddenly began to create a few half chances. The hosts first attempt came in 33rd minute as a dangerous in-swinging corner from the right by Brandon Pearce deflected off Mitkov at the near post but flashed across the face of goal with no one able to get a touch.

Ives centre forward Harry Sargent got decent possession for the first time in 35th minute and he used the ball well playing in the pacey Zach Hope down the left. Hope turned inside his marker and curled an effort inches wide of the far post from the corner of the box.

Hope had another opportunity to open Ives account three minutes later as a Sargent shot from 25 yards was deflected into his path inside the box. The young striker took on the shot first time but leant back on the effort and fired his left foot effort over the top from a good position.

The Hares had an opportunity to load the box five minutes before the break as Jordon Smith delivered a free kick from the right. The wind assisted effort cleared everyone only just evading Kyle Liddy arriving late at the back post.

Right on half time Ives were given a similar opportunity as Sargent was pushed in the back by Smith just outside the right hand corner of the box. George Cawte looked favourite to take the free kick right footed, but Mitkov took the opportunity to deliver a telling left footed cross into the box where Pillin timed his run to perfection to power home his header from close range.

With the strengthening wind now at their backs and the fillip of a goal right on the break the expectant group of Ives supporters fully expected their players to take control of the game and push on for a comfortable win. That view was reinforced straight from the kick off as Sargent was instantly put clear through the right channel. Keeper Farrell came to meet the Ives striker and made a good block with his legs to keep his team in the game.

A game that had up to this point had shown plenty of endeavour but very little passion suddenly erupted in 53rd minute in the off the ball incident that saw Locke and Asher both dismissed. No one seemed sure what had sparked the incident that saw both players waving arms and pushing each other but suffice to say after a brief consultation with his assistant referee Peter Howard showed both players straight red cards. 

Manager Lloyd Groves instantly sacrificed striker Jamie Stork replacing him with defensive midfielder Connor Gibbs leaving Sargent ploughing a lone furrow up front. That lone striker almost doubled Ives advantage on the hour as he chased down a lob over the top beating both Smith and keeper Farrell to the bouncing ball but his attempted lift over Farrell caught on the breeze and drifted wide.

From this point on Ives very effectively killed the game preventing the hosts building up any momentum at all. Substitutes continued to roll on and off but neither side could create even a half chance until 88th minute when the hard-working Sargent played Hope into the box. The wingers well struck shot from a narrow angle was pushed away by Farrell. A well worked short corner routine saw Billy Garlick swing in a dangerous cross that substitute Napeno Perreira got on the end of at the near post but he did not get quite enough on his header and the effort flash just wide of Farrell’s left hand upright.

Amazingly referee Howard found seven minutes to add and Ives survived this with only a single scare in 93rd minute as Kai Wales closed down Griffiths on a back pass hurrying him into a misplaced clearance that went straight to Smith 35 yards out. The Hares centre back tried his luck but the effort got caught on the breeze and drifted wide much to the relief of the out of position keeper. 

During the added time Ives also picked up two unnecessary yellow cards. Wakley was probably a little unlucky as he mistimed a tackle on a Hares defender deep inside the hosts half but Sargent had little excuse as he went into referee Howard’s notebook simply for disagreeing with one of the officials decisions.

The match official eventually decided he had seen enough and blew the final whistle  to bring the curtain down on Ives first three point return of the season.   

Final Score  :  March Town United U18  0  St Ives Town U18  1  

Goals : Pillin 45

St Ives team : Griffiths, Quinsee (Perreira 83), Mitkov, Cawte (Garlick 37), Locke, (capt), Pillin, Wakley, Bald (Paine 72), Sargent, Stork (Gibbs 55), Hope

Other subs roll on roll off : Bald for Wakley 90, Stork for Sargent 90+3

Unused Subs : Bradley

Attendance  : approx 75

Match report by Nigel Howlett


Deeping Rangers U18’s vs St Ives Town Youth Team

Deeping Rangers U18s 6 St Ives Town U18s 0  

Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division  13-09-18

For the second year in a row the young Ives took a pasting at Deeping. The game was all over as a contest after only twelve minutes in which the rampant hosts exposed gaping holes in an inexperienced Ives back line to race into a three goal lead.

Manager Lloyd Groves made two very early substitutions to give a couple of the shell shocked defenders a chance to recover and things improved a little, however the well drilled hosts continued to play through the Ives back line and doubled their score by half time. The second half proved a more even contest with the recovering visitors even managing to carve out a couple of chances of their own.

Right from the off it was quite clear that the hosts were not only bigger and stronger they were also very well organised and every man knew his job. The route started in only the third minute as Ives tormenter from last season Harrison Dee was allowed to run through three poor challenges before feeding the ball into the path of Rangers skipper Sam Green inside the visitor’s box. Green made no mistake steering the ball into the bottom corner past the exposed Shay Griffiths.

It was almost two five minutes later as Ives struggled to clear a Dee cross into their box from the left. The ball eventually fell to left back Jared Carver who fired a powerful drive from a narrow angle straight at Griffiths who held on well.

Carver was only to be denied for a matter of seconds as he found space at the back of the box as Ives struggled to clear a long throw. The ball eventually squirmed out of the mass of bodies around the penalty spot and rolled to the unmarked Carver who slotted home from close range.

The third goal which arrived in 12th minute was a cracker as Green picked up possession in centre of the park glanced up to see Alex Moroz in space cutting in from the right. With no one closing him down Green had time to clip his pass over the out of position Hadyn Brown, Moroz ran on taking the ball down with his first touch and firing a fierce drive past Griffiths from the edge of the box with his second.

The hosts should have had a fourth in 19th minute as Griffiths was slow off his line allowing Moroz to get on the end of another Green through ball but this time the speedy winger spurned a much easier chance than his previous one by rolling the ball past the exposed keeper but also just past the post.

The hosts fourth in 28th minute was a disaster for the Ives back line Green delivered a dangerous ball from the right into the box that had to be dealt with. Louis Bald covering at the back of the box thought that his keeper was coming to claim it, but again Griffiths was hesitant and with Carver lurking Bald felt obliged to take action. Unfortunately he got it completely wrong as his attempt to get the ball over his own crossbar ended in dismal failure with the ball ending up in the roof of the net.

The hosts fifth goal in 32nd minute came from a well worked free kick routine that completely outfoxed the Ives. The free kick from the left corner of the box was fed in low to the feet of Kai Haggett-King with his back to goal eight yards out. Haggett-King simply laid the ball back into the path of Moroz who had peeled off the opposite end of the Ives wall completely losing his marker in the process. The flying winger completed his brace by firing home from close range.

The Ives comedy of errors continued as the hosts added a sixth in 38th minute. Yet again they failed to clear a ball into their box and a defender allowed himself to lose possession deep inside his own box allowing Kever Spindari a run at goal. Griffiths narrowed the angle but Spindari unselfishly rolled the ball across the six yard box to set up Carver for a tap in for his second.

The half which had been completely dominated by the hosts ended with one of the best players on view Green slamming a 35 yard effort against the foot of Griffiths right hand post. This time Ives escaped further punishment as the ball rebounded to safety.

Manager Groves made three further changes at the break introducing more of his younger contingent at the expense of some of his more experienced players. This seemed like a desperate measure but it was effective in stemming the tide. Ives did however have a fortunate escape in 51st minute as Spindari turned home a Green cross from the right only to be denied by an assistant’s flag.

The youngsters were very willing to put their bodies on the line for the cause efforts from Spindari and substitute Will Gore were blocked at point bank range by Ives defenders in 63rd minute. Gore went close again three minutes later forcing Griffiths into a smart save at his near post.

The game evened up as it entered it’s final third and Ives began to carve out a few half chances to grab something back. An audacious lob from 45 yards by Billy Mobbs almost caught out keeper Fabio D’Agnano in 67th minute. The Rangers stopper had to back peddle furiously before leaping to claw the effort away from the top right hand corner of his net.

Mitchell Pillin thought he had got a goal back ten minutes from time. A driven Bald free kick from the left got right through the box and Pillin sliding it at the back post made good contact and was unlucky to see his effort rebound from the upright to safety.

Bald proceeded to carve out Ives best chance of the night in 85th minute as he sprinted forward from midfield and slid a pass through the channel to put substitute Jamie Stork away. The Ives striker unleashed his shot from the edge of the box but was denied a consolation goal as D’Agnano hurled himself to his left to make a good save.

Last seasons Ives recovered from their early season mauling at Outgang Road to move up the table and eventually finish third holding this evening’s winners to a goal less draw at Jubilee Park in the return fixture. I still say that this seasons group will improve and matching last seasons return result and finishing position are a realistic proposition but that will take a lot of hard work.

Final Score  :  Deeping Rangers U18  6  St Ives Town U18  0  

Goals : none

St Ives team : Griffiths, Bald (Quinsee 45), Brown (Mitkov 13), Pillin (capt), Paine, Perreira (Gibbs 13), Cawte (Wakley 45), Garlick, Sargent (Stork 45), Mobbs, Hope

Other subs roll on roll off : Brown for Hope 54, Perreira for Paine 69, Hope for Mobbs 76, Bald for Garlick 76

Unused Subs : none

Attendance  : approx 60

Report by Nigel Howlett


Peterborough Sports U18’s vs St Ives Town Youth Team

Peterborough Sports U18 1 St Ives Town U18  1

Thurlow Nunn Youth League Western Division – 30-08-18

The Thurlow Nunn League fixture computer did the young Ives no favours when it drew out their early season fixtures giving them visits to last season’s runners up and winners in their opening two League games. Not surprisingly they were given a stern test by a strong and powerful Sports side in this first game.

Both teams opened the game at a slow probing pace and were effective in cancelling each other out in the early stages. The first noteworthy effort on goal from either of them arrived in 13th minute when Sports Henry Nkobi tried his luck with a well struck free kick from fully 30 yards which Shay Griffiths in the Ives goal was happy to watch travel about two feet over his crossbar.

Ives first attempt of note came from a probing run and cross from the right by Hugo Katz two minutes later. His driven cross was spectacularly punched away by Sports keeper Dylan Veni.

The hosts continued to use their strength and power to win a lot of possession in the centre of the park but generally chose the wrong option in the last third when it came to trying to find a route through the resilient Ives back line well led by captain Jordan Locke. The visitor’s back line were so effective in breaking up Sports attacks that Griffiths hardest task in the first period was dealing with a series of over hit balls over the top.

The few other Sports efforts on goal in the first period were a back post header from a corner in 20th minute by Nkobi that landed on the roof of the net, a rising drive from 20 yards by Chris Seary that cleared the crossbar in 25th minute and the most dangerous move of the first half that came seven minutes before the break when Nkobi threaded a ball down the line to put Louie Veni away he pulled the ball back to Seary who squandered the chance firing wide from the edge of the box.

Having got a roasting from their management team at half time the hosts stepped up the pace at the start of the second half and also got a little cleverer in their approach trying to thread ball through the resolute Ives back line rather than simply over hitting attempted clips over the top.

Nkobi in his roving role was still the main creator for Sports and he cleverly picked out Ethan Atkins in space on the left in 48th minute. Atkins cut in at pace and flicked the ball past the exposed Griffiths from a narrow angle but Mitchell Pillin was on hand to hack the ball away from inside the six yard box.

Alfie Ferguson threaded a ball through the centre in 55th minute that looked like it had put Ryan Pratt free but Griffiths was bravely off his line and spread himself to partially block the effort at point blank range. The ball looked like it was running on towards goal, but Connor Paine was covering behind his keeper to remove the ball from danger.

The pressure continued from the hosts and a probing run down the left from Atkins teed up a shooting chance for Andy Irvine two minutes later. The Sports substitute side stepped his marker but curled his effort just wide from the corner of the box.

The break through finally arrived for Sports just after the hour as Ferguson drove at the Ives back line before sliding the ball through to Pratt cutting in from the right he drilled in a low powerful shot from 15 yards that beat the diving Griffiths and just crept inside the far post.

Griffiths was called into more action four minutes later as Ferguson and Pratt combined well again in a move which finished with the latter unleashing a low right foot effort from the edge of the box that the Ives keeper did well to hang onto low to his right.

In an effort to get back into the game Ives coach Lloyd Groves changed his formation pushing more players forward alongside Harry Sargent who had been ploughing a lone furrow up to this point. The move changed the flow of the game and gleaned a positive reward in 75th minute. Thomas Wakley won a crunching tackle on the half way line against Eunis Lievens and fed the ball down the line where Jamie Stork outpaced his man and delivered a teasing cross to the back post where Sargent stooped to head home the equaliser from inside the six yard box.

Having got level the visitors enjoyed a brief period in the ascendancy and with nine minutes left on the clock Sargent closed down an attempted clearance and battled his way deep into Sports territory before feeding the ball through to Stork who in turn played the ball into the run of Billy Mobbs but his well struck drive from the edge of the box was straight at keeper Veni who held on at the second attempt.

Having enjoyed their brief period on top Ives found themselves back under the cosh as the hosts pushed forward in a desperate search for a winner in the last five minutes. They went close on a few occasions, Seary played in Irvine five minutes from time but Griffiths was equal to his well struck effort from 20 yards tipping the shot over the top. Nkobi rose above the crowd to meet the resulting corner but powered his header over the top.

Two minutes later substitute Ayman Trablesi slid a ball into the feet of Pratt inside the box, but Griffiths did well again blocking the close range shot away with his legs.

It looked like Sports had grabbed a winner sixty seconds into added time as Irvine got clear down the centre. He appeared to do everything right slipping the ball past the exposed Griffiths, but the ball rolled agonisingly wide of the upright and it was a relived Ives that heard the final whistle blow only seconds later.


Final Score  :  Peterborough Sports U18  1  St Ives Town U18  1  

Goals : Sargent 75

St Ives team : Griffiths, Bald, Quinsee (Paine 45), Cawte, Pillin, Locke (capt), Katz (Wakley 67), Garlick, Sargent, Mobbs (Smith 90), Stork (Mitkov 41)

Other subs roll on roll off : Stork for Sargent 50, Sargent for Garlick 67

Unused Subs : Jakes

Attendance  :  65

Report by Nigel Howlett