Basingstoke Town 3 St Ives Town 2
Evo-Stik League South Premier Division – 09/09/17
Yet again a slow start cost Ives the points in a roller coaster game in the Dragon’s lair. One down inside ten minutes and two behind five minutes before the break they showed their resilience to battle back level with thirty minutes to go and then looked the more likely winner. Unfortunately an uncharacteristic mistake from the man who has saved them so many times recently James Goff ten minutes from time ensured that they made the long trip home with no reward for their endeavour.
After a heavy downpour during the warm up the game started in glorious sunshine and Ives made an early raid into the Dragons territory Ben Seymour-Shove got down the right and delivered a deep cross which Phil Draycott did well to keep alive. He laid the ball back to Jordan Jarrold who picked out James Hall for a free header ten yards out by the near post. But the Ives striker got it wrong and the ball came off his shoulder to present an easy save for home keeper Colm McAdden.
The hosts went straight down the other end and a low cross from the left by Ben Wright was turned onto the inside of the post by Michael Atkinson. Goff was well beaten by that effort and very fortunate to see the ball cannon away to relative safety. But as Ives struggled to clear the big keeper showed his agility only seconds later as the ball fell to Dan Collier 25 yards from goal. His well struck effort took a deflection but the alert Goff held on well high to his right.
Ives were fortunate to survive on that occasion, but they fell behind in the next meaningful Dragons attack. Jack McKnight fed a pass through the left channel for the ever willing Sam Smart to run onto. Lewis Ferrell slipped on the wet turf giving Smart a free run on goal and he made no mistake beating Goff low to his left with a crisp drive from 15 yards.
The goal lifted the morale of the hosts who were now looking to play the ball around on the deck at every opportunity on occasions leaving the hard working visitors to chase shadows. Their next opportunity came in 21st minute as Collier, Atkinson and Wright combined well down the left to create a shooting opportunity from 25 yards for the latter who fired straight into the midriff of Goff. A low drive from Collier only seconds later forced the Ives stopper into another save low to his right.
Ives were barely a force going forward in the first half an hour. The closest they came to troubling McAdden came after 26 minutes when Jarrold roamed forward on the left and tried a snap shot from 25 yards which ruffled the side netting.
At the other end Connor Davis direct running style was causing the Ives back line some problems and only two minutes later he cut inside Jarrold from the right forcing Tom McGowan into a rash challenge 30 yards from goal. Wright took the free kick, but slipped as he went to hit it and only succeeded in scooping the ball straight into the waiting hands of Goff.
Lewis Hilliard showed a little touch of his class to create an opportunity for Hall in the next Ives attack in 33rd minute. He artfully curled a ball around Dragons centre back Charlie Kennedy into the run of Hall, but unfortunately the Ives striker was always stretching and only managed to toe poke the ball straight into the hands of McAdden.
The Dragons responded with a flowing move down the right which put Davis away. He got to the bye line before laying the ball back to the edge of the box. A clever step over by Wright presented a chance for McKnight. He hit his crisp drive from 20 yards well and the already diving Goff must have been very pleased to see the effort bravely blocked by the body of Lee Chaffey.
Ives fell further behind in 39th minute. The referee over ruled his assistant in giving a throw by the half way line in favour of the Dragons. Whilst management team Ricky Marheineke and Jack Cassidy ranted at the officials the hosts swiftly got on with the game. Smart took on the Ives back line and wriggled his way past a couple of attempted tackles before being upended by McGowan just outside the box. Wright lined up the kick and carefully curled his effort over the visitor’s five man wall and into the top corner past the despairing dive of Goff.
Ives responded well and Hilliard missed a golden opportunity to pull a goal back only three minutes later. Kennedy completely fluffed an attempted clearance on the edge of his own box and the ball fell to the silky Ives midfield who seemed surprised to receive it in such circumstances and only succeeded in stabbing the ball wide with McAdden’s goal at his mercy.
Fortunately the visitor’s only had to wait another two minutes before they managed to pull a goal back. McGowan threaded a ball through to Seymour-Shove on the right. He ran on into the box and delivered a low cross shot which beat McAdden, but was skimming wide of the far post until Jimmy Hartley came sliding in at pace to bundle the ball home from close range.
Pulling one back just before the break was just what the doctor ordered and we all hoped for an early push from Ives to get themselves level. But they had to thank keeper Goff from preventing them going back to two behind only four minutes after the re-start. Davis somehow found himself clean through one on one with the big Ives stopper who did everything right as he closed on the Dragons striker and stayed upright forcing him to try and put the ball past him. The attempted clip past the keeper was met with a big right hand from Goff and skipper Charlie De’ath got around behind him to complete the clearance and keep Ives in the game.
As Ives continued to push forward in search of an equaliser they were vulnerable to the counter attack and they were nearly caught out in 58th minute as a quick break down the left saw overlapping full back Tim Wohlfiel deliver a cross to the back post where Wright had lost his man. But fortunately the Dragons striker failed to get his free header on target from a good position.
The hosts were made to rue those two missed chances just after the hour as Ives pulled level in somewhat controversial style. A cross from the left by Hartley looped up into the air off of the head of Collier forcing keeper McAdden to come into the crowd to try and punch the ball away. But he made poor contact and the ball fell inside the box to Hilliard. He could not bring it down, but it ran sideways to Draycott who hit a low shot that deflected off a Dragons defender to an unmarked Seymour-Shove who side footed home from six yards. The Ives striker looked offside and defenders arms went up in appeal, but the assistant’s flag was not raised and the goal stood.
Having now got level Ives continued to push forward in search of all three points. But the closest they came was an inspired touch and shot from Hall as he brought down a long punt from Goff on the run deep inside Dragons territory. But his left foot effort from 20 yards was always rising and did not trouble McAdden on its way into the grandstand.
By this time another heavy shower had arrived and it was beginning to look as if both sides would have to settle for a point. But as the game entered the last ten minutes the man who has saved Ives on many occasions in what we hope is the first few of many games for them made a rare error. Smart got away from Jarrold down the right and drove in a low cross that skipped off the rain sodden turf just in front of Goff. The young keeper go both hands to the ball, but failed to hold on and Dragons substitute Sam Deadfield was onto the loose ball in an instant stabbing it home from close range.
Ives huffed and puffed for the remaining few minutes sending skipper De’ath forward and throwing on the pace of Matt Wright. But the hosts are a good team in possession and once they got the ball they kept moving it around forcing the visitors to work hard to get it off of them. This was very effective in preventing Ives getting up any head of steam to grab a point.
This was the third League game in a row where Ives have conceded three. The recent slow starts are also making life difficult and the tough run of fixtures continues with the visit of forth placed Kettering Town on Tuesday evening giving manager Marheineke little time to find the magic winning formula again. Full back Jordan Jarrold won the fans vote for man of the match on a day when it was hard to pick a clear winner. The award was probably as much for his positive influence going forward on another tough day for the Ives back line.
Final Score : Basingstoke Town 3 St Ives Town 2
Goals : Hartley 43, Seymour-Shove 61
Supporters man of the match : Jordan Jarrold
St Ives team : Goff, Ferrell, Jarrold, De’ath (capt), Chaffey, McGowan, Seymour-Shove (Wright 79), Hilliard, Hall, Hartley (Clark 62), Draycott
Unused substitutes : Short
Attendance : 248
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photo by Louise Thompson