Deeping Rangers U18 6 St Ives Town U18 0
Thurlow Nunn Youth League Western Division – 19/10/17
There is no way to put a gloss on this awfully disappointing display from the previously unbeaten Ives who got exactly what their performance in this game deserved a hiding. Influential skipper Jamie Short was missing, but that was because he has done what all of these lads should be aspiring to and got himself into the first team line up. In his absence others needed to step up to the plate and put in performances that could catch the eye of the first team manager. Unfortunately the attitude seemed to be that we have only got to turn up to win this one. How wrong they were!.
After a very lucky early escape when Rob Conyard powered a header against the post as he got on the end of an in-swinging free kick after only four minutes they did not learn their lesson. Only one minute later Harrison Dee swung in another dangerous free kick from the opposite side. The usually reliable Tom Smith came to claim, but spilled the ball as it skipped awkwardly off the wet turf and Conyard was first to react prodding home the loose ball from close range.
Even going behind did not wake the Ives from their slumbers and they probably should have been two down only five minutes later as Dee was allowed space and time to roam forward before unleashing a viscous dipping drive from 25 yards that Smith did remarkably well to tip onto the underside of the crossbar. The ball cannoned down and away, but according to those closest to the action goal line technology would have probably given it.
Ives continued to struggle to create anything at all going forward, or even get out of their own half. The hosts continued to look dangerous with Dee ruling the centre of the park and ex Leicester City trialist Conyard looking a real handful up front. In 25th minute a poor headed clearance fell to Alex Muruz just outside the box and he fired inches wide with Smith beaten.
But the keeper did come to Ives rescue again four minutes later as Muruz and Dee combined to cut a swathe through the centre of the Ives back line and put Conyard clean through. Smith closed him well and kept out the close range effort with his trailing leg.
Rangers continued to clock up corners and in 33rd minute an overhit one from the left was kept alive by Reece Driscoll. His cross from the right picked out centre back Will Mann in space six yards out. But although he met the header cleanly he somehow failed to hit the target.
A second Rangers goal was looking inevitable, but when it arrived in 33rd minute it was through yet another error from the under pressure Ives back line. Scott Walmsley delivered a corner from the right to the near post where Smith came to punch the ball away. Unfortunately he misdirected his attempted clearance with the ball cannoning off the head his unfortunate team mate Brandon Oldale and into the back of the net.
Ives only attempt on goal in the entire first period arrived in 42nd minute as Patrik Polhos clipped a ball over the top that Sam Bond managed to get onto the end of. But to match the rest of Ives first half performance he only succeeded in firing straight into the hands of home keeper Max Fisher.
There was still time for the hosts to kill the game off before the break as Conyard again showed his abilities by taking a ball into feet inside the box, turning Jordan Locke and firing in a powerful shot that Smith did well to save low to his left. But Muruz was following up and made no mistake from inside the six yard box.
Tiago Dias and Kyrie Foster came on at the break replacing Billy Mobbs and Sam Bond. But the changes made no difference to the pattern of the game as Driscoll headed over from a good position in 48th minute. In their desperation to stem the tide Ives were conceding a host of free kicks inside their own half. The fourth goal arrived from one of these in 51st minute as Locke fouled Conyard 25 yards from goal. A quick free kick caught the visitors defence in complete disarray as Dee was allowed to stride forward unchallenged and fire a rising shot past Smith from the edge of the D.
The only Ives effort worthy of note in the second period came in 68th minute as the battling Locke powered his way out of defence riding an attempted foul in the centre circle. The referee played a good advantage and he fed the ball onto Dias who played a one two with Foster that took him into the box. But Fisher read the move well and was out swiftly to deflect away Dias shot at point blank range. Vitor Vaz rose highest to the corner, but failed to hit the target.
The goal of the game arrived 20 minutes from time as Connor Burd was allowed space to curl in a cross from the right that Conyard hurled himself at full length by the penalty spot. His bullet like header flew past Smith and nestled in the top corner of the net.
Rangers were continuing to enjoy themselves moving the ball around at pace and with a few exception Ives heads were by this point very down. Smith made a good save to deny Jared Carver in 76th minute. Conyard fired just wide from a good position three minutes later.
The final goal of the evening arrived two minutes from time in the simplest fashion as Conyard was allowed to dance his way in on goal cutting in from the left. Having got past three half-hearted challenges he unselfishly laid the ball back to give the unmarked Burd a simple tap in from six yards.
There was still time for Conyard to spurn an even better chance to claim his hat trick as the still battling Locke took down Burd as the substitute winger ran onto a threaded through ball from Driscoll. The referee pointed to the spot and Conyard sent Smith the wrong way, but his shot rebounded off the upright. Driscoll pounced on the half cleared ball but fired straight at Smith to conclude a dismal night for the Ives who limped out of Haydon Whitham Stadium with their tales well and truly between their legs. They need to get back on track very quickly as their next two games are home and away clashes with runaway League leaders Peterborough Sports who have already beaten Deeping.
St Ives Team : Smith, Oldale (Martin 38), Kwiatowski, Locke, Pillin, Polhos, Vaz, Morris, Bond (Foster 45), Mobbs (Dias 45), Saunders (Harvey 70)
Additional roll on-roll off subs : Oldale for Kwiatowski 82, Mobbs for Vaz 83
Goals : none
Attendance : 52
Report by Nigel Howlett