Chesham United 4 St Ives Town 0
Evo-Stik South Premier Division – 30/01/18
Football can be a cruel game as Ives found out on this cold, wet evening in Buckinghamshire. The score line offers a very harsh reflection of the input that they provided to this game. The statistics probably offer a more accurate reflection of the true ebb and flow – The Generals had eleven shots, four on target, scored four. The Ives had twelve shots, four on target, but failed to beat Harry Isted in the home goal.
Both sides came into this game on undefeated runs which stretched back to before Christmas. But it was the visitors clearly buoyed by their previous excellent comeback win at Tiverton that started the best. Tom Knowles teed up Declan Rogers for a snap shot from the corner of the box in only fifth minute. Rogers well struck effort almost caught out Isted, but the young keeper’s reactions were good as he leapt high to his left to paw the effort away.
Two minutes later Rogers well weighted pass over the top of full back Benji Crilley set Ben Baker away down the left. He cleverly got his head up and picked out Danny Watson in the centre, but rather than go for goal Watson tried to tee up Ollie Snaith and Generals captain Kieran Murphy was just able to get in and block the effort at close range.
Ives continued to enjoy the majority of possession in these early stages and Isted had to be alert to maintain his clean sheet in 17th minute as he raced from his line to just beat Knowles to a through ball from Watson. The host’s first real foray into Ives territory arrived one minute later as the tricky Ravi Shamsi found a bit of space on the right and delivered a dangerous cross into the box. Lewis Toomey got between the two Ives centre backs to get on the end of it but failed to hit the target with his clean header from a good position.
The visitors came very close to going in front in 20th minute as Eugene Libertucci sprayed a cross field pass to try and pick out Baker on the left. Crilley looked like he was going to cut the ball out but misjudged it and Baker was away. His pull back picked out Rogers just inside the box, Rogers struck his effort well, but it was straight at Isted who parried the ball back into play. Snaith was onto the loose ball in a flash, but the young keeper recovered well and plunged low to his right to tip Snaith’s bobbling effort around the post.
Having failed to capitalise when they were on top Ives fell behind to the Generals first effort on target in 22nd minute. Full back Matt Hall combined well with David Hutton on the left and then delivered an in-swinging cross into the box. The evergreen Jefferson Louis rose above Dan Moyes to flick the ball goal wards and it floated on in an arc over the fast back peddling Tim Trebes and nestled in the back of the net.
Ives continued to move the ball around well, but were unable to create any further clear cut opportunities before they were again caught out in The Generals next attack in 33rd minute. Jordan Jarrold was pressured into conceding the hosts first corner of the game. Hutton delivered it to the near post where Crilley somehow found the space to direct his stooping header past Trebes and just inside the far post to double the home sides advantage.
More pain was inflicted on Ives four minutes later as the hosts increased their lead with a very fortunate third. Adam Watkins found space to cut inside Jarrold from the right and unleash a shot that was travelling well wide of Trebes near post. But as the keeper moved across to cover the shot Louis stuck out a heel and deflected the ball into the opposite corner of the net leaving a frustrated Trebes stranded.
Although they must have been shell shocked by this stage, to their credit Ives continued to push forward looking for a route back into the game. They twice went close to reducing the arrears before the break. Knowles was brought down by Matt Bevans on the corner of the box in 44th minute. Rogers carefully lined up the free kick and curled his left footed effort over the three man wall, but again Isted was equal to the effort flinging himself full length to his left to tip the ball onto the crossbar. His defenders did the rest scrambling the loose ball clear.
Isted made his only mistake of the first half just seconds before the interval as he miscued an attempted clearance straight to Knowles fully 40 yards from goal. The Ives striker took a touch and curled his effort over the fast retreating keeper. But much to Isted’s relief the ball floated a couple of feet wide of his right hand post.
With the game more, or less, decided in the Generals favour they came out for the second period looking to simply take every opportunity to retain possession and make Ives work hard to get anything from the game. To their great credit Ives continued to harry them and then try to break at pace when the opportunity arose. Their first chance came ten minutes after the re-start as Baker slid a pass through to Knowles breaking down the left. Knowles precise pull back picked out Snaith on the edge of the box. But the young striker failed to keep his first time effort down.
A couple of sorties to the other end were both well dealt with by Dan Moyes before Ives managed to carve out another chance in 65th minute. Baker hung up a cross to the back post where Watson challenged Murphy and the ball was knocked down to Knowles on the back corner of the box. His low driven cross flashed across the six yard box evading friend and foe alike and ended up about a foot wide of the far post.
This proved to be Ives last real opportunity to get a foothold in the game as the hosts continued to move the ball around at every opportunity and a little bit of tiredness started to appear. The Generals had replaced the tricky Shamsi with the more direct running style of Oran Swales on the hour and it was Swales who embarrassed Trebes to complete the scoring in 74th minute. Louis got above Moyes to flick on a ball in from the left. Trebes looked favourite to get to the ball first, but Swales just beat him to it and toe poked the ball through the exposed keeper’s legs before rounding him to side foot into the empty net.
Things could have got worse for the visitors as Louis went in search of his hat trick. Swales clever chip put him through the centre in 81st minute. The big centre forward deftly flicked the ball over the advancing Trebes, but just wide of the post.
Four minutes later Swales again proved the protagonist as he found space to run at the tiring Ives defence before unleashing a skimming drive from 25 yards that flashed past Trebes right hand post. The keeper was also a fortunate spectator three minutes from time as a flowing Generals move was finished with Louis curling a right footed effort from the corner of the box inches wide.
Louis also spurned one final opportunity to claim the match ball deep in added time as he was again put clear by Swales, but this time went for power rather than precision and got it all wrong blazing high and wide with what was almost the last kick of the game.
Overall verdict was that this was a game where if Ives had grabbed a goal in the early stages when they were on top this may have been a completely different story. But it is goals that win games and the hosts proved much more clinical on the day.
Score : Chesham United 4 St Ives Town 0
Goals : none
St Ives team : Trebes (capt), Smith, Jarrold, Libertucci, Moyes, Kelly, Knowles (Draycott 83), Snaith (Groves 76), Rogers (Clark 64), Watson, Baker
Unused subs : Warner-Eley, McGeorge
Supporters man of the match : Ben Baker
Attendance : 211
Report by Nigel Howlett