Farnborough 2 St Ives Town 1
Evo-Stik League South Premier Division – 23/09/17
How can a game which arguably contained only one bad foul end up as a ten v ten encounter in which a total of ten cards were brandished? A hugely over officious referee who seemed totally unable to communicate with the players appears to be the answer.
Unfortunately Ives cannot blame the man in the middle for yet another single goal defeat in a game where they should have got at the very least a point against a Boro side who had failed to provide their fans with a win from their previous four home games. A depleted squad with Danny Kelly and Lewis Ferrell joining the long list for the treatment table was also no excuse for the failure to bring home anything from this game.
Recent signing from Corby Town Miles Smith made his Ives debut at right back and he almost put in a telling contribution in his first foray forward after only five minutes. Peter Clark picked out his run with a pin point pass and Smith delivered an inviting cross to the near post area that picked out an unmarked Tom McGowan. Unfortunately McGowan’s header from ten yards was inches wide of the post.
Having failed to take their chance to go in front Ives came within inches of falling behind only seconds later. Perry Coles delivered a long free kick from the left that went over everyone in the centre and arrived beyond the far post where Dan Weaver did well to get over his shot that beat James Goff in the Ives goal and rattled the crossbar.
The end to end opening spell continued as in the 9th minute Jimmy Hartley jinked down the left before laying a ball inside to McGowan he in turn played the ball into the feet of Dubi Ogbonna who cleverly turned his man before unleashing a shot from 20 yards that flew wide.
All to often recently Ives have had to come from behind in games and they found themselves in that state again two minutes later. Keith Emmerson threaded a ball through the visitor’s back line that put Weaver completely clear and with Jordan Jarrold with his arm in the air in a vain appeal for offside Weaver strode on into the box before finishing emphatically past the exposed Goff.
On this occasion it did not take Ives long to get back on level terms as in only 18th minute Hartley picked out McGowan in space 45 yards from goal. He threaded a ball through the Boro back line that Ogbonna set off in hot pursuit of. Keeper Luke Cairney sprinted from his line and was favourite to get to the ball first, but fatally took his eye off it as Ogbonna closed on him and somehow completely missed his attempted clearance leaving Ogbonna with the simple task of rolling the ball into the empty net.
Referee Damith Bandara had his first telling contribution to the game in 25th minute and he incensed the home fans with his decision. The ball rolled out of play into the St Ives technical area. Glen Southam tried to pick it up swiftly for a quick throw only to be obstructed by Ives assistant manager Jack Cassidy who took his time in picking the ball up and handing it slowly to the Boro no. 7. Words were exchanged between the two and referee Bandara came in to settle the issue which probably needed a quick word from the official and a handshake between the two protagonists to allow everyone to get on with the game. But after a two minute lecture to Cassidy he then allowed him to return to the dugout. A similar length of lecture followed to Southam ended by a yellow card. The two certainly appeared equally guilty in the mini spat but the level of punishment showed a strange inconsistency.
Having set out his stall the man in black decided he quite like dishing out cards and Lewis Hilliard picked one up only seconds later, for taking a free kick to quickly!.
But finally back to the football and Ives should have gone in front in 28th minute as Hartley played in McGowan down the left. He turned James Hammond inside out before clipping a cross to the near post that picked out Ben Seymour-Shove perfectly. He got good contact ahead of his marker, six yards out, but his header flashed wide of the far post.
Ives had another golden opportunity to go in front in 35th minute as Boro centre back Jack Saville made a complete hash of an attempted pass back to his keeper and only succeeded in passing the ball straight to Ogbonna on the edge of the box. The experienced centre forward decided to take his shot on early as keeper Cairney came to close him down and the keeper made a good block with his legs.
Only seconds later Boro found themselves down to ten men. Southam mistimed an attempted tackle on Clark inside the centre circle and completely took him out. A stonewall yellow card and to give him his due Mr Bandara did not shirk his responsibility. However he did manage to hand out three more yellow cards to Ives players and one to a Boro man before the break Ogbonna and Hartley, both for kicking the ball away and Charlie De’ath for querying one of his decisions. Boro’s substitute Jake Evans joined them again for kicking the ball away right on the half time whistle.
The ten men of Boro started the second half very positively and Evans played through fellow sub Nic Ciardini with the half only 15 seconds old. Ciardini will be disappointed that he did not put the chance away as he was denied by an excellent block from the fast closing Goff. Weaver, following up, fired the loose ball wide of the far post from 20 yards.
Slowly Ives began to make use of their numerical advantage and went close twice in three minutes around the fifty minute mark. Hartley found space on the left and delivered a ball into the feet of Ogbonna on the edge of the box. The big striker turned cleverly and tried to curl the ball inside the far post, but it drifted wide. Seymour-Shove created a very similar opportunity for Hartley three minutes later as he played a low cross from the right that picked out Hartley beyond the far post. He found a little space and turned inside before trying a curling effort that followed the path of Ogbonna’s moments earlier.
Hilliard was enjoying his somewhat deeper role in this game and he was using the extra time on the ball he was getting to good effect. In 64th minute he played through a perfectly weighted pass that put Seymour-Shove clear cutting in from the right. But with an unmarked Ogbonna screaming for a square pass in the centre the Ives winger chose to go for goal and only succeeded in flashing his effort wide of the post.
The ten men were still looking dangerous on the break and less than a minute later Ciardini again found himself clear with only Goff to beat. But once more the Ives keeper came out on top as he dived to his right to palm away the Boro man’s attempt to clip the ball past him.
Seconds later it became ten v ten as Ogbonna foolishly raised his elbow into the face of Boro skipper Josh Huggins as the pair went for a high ball giving the referee chance to even up the teams again. Higgins made a meal of it, but having seen the replay I have to say that it looks like the referee got that one right.
Although the numbers were only now even it quickly began to look like the hosts had a numerical advantage as they started to take control of the game and put the Ives back line under pressure. In 71st minute a Lee Chaffey clearing header fell to Ciardini in the left channel. He fired in a low cross shot that Goff did very well to bravely claim just ahead of Jamie Cureton.
As the game entered the last ten minutes the pressure on the visitor’s back line continued to mount. Emmerson and Kieron Forbes combined well against an outnumbered Smith in 80th minute. Forbes got to the bye line and his pull back picked out Evans. But his powerful drive from 20 yards was bravely blocked by the body of De’ath.
Emmerson was again involved three minutes later as he played in over lapping full back Hammond down the right. Hammond’s pull back picked out Weaver and his well struck shot was deflected inches over the top.
The goal was beginning to look inevitable and it arrived three minutes from time as Cureton picked out Hammond wide on the right. His deep cross beyond the far post was kept alive by Ciardini who laid it into Weaver just inside the box. The big striker took a touch before rifling the ball home from fifteen yards giving Goff no chance.
Even though the visitors threw skipper De’ath up front as an extra striker for the remaining few minutes they were unable to carve out an opportunity to snatch what would have been an unlikely equaliser.
An apparent lack of willingness to put in the hard yards to help out the back four was pinpointed by manager Ricky Marheineke as the route cause for this hard to take defeat. The opportunity exists for every player to step up to the plate and show their mettle very swiftly in what is quickly becoming a battle to stay out of the drop zone, as Ives have a daunting trip to Hitchin scheduled for Monday evening.
Final Score : Farnborough 2 St Ives Town 1
Goals : Ogbonna 18
Supporters man of the match : Charlie De’ath
St Ives team : Goff, Smith, Jarrold, De’ath (capt), Chaffey, Hilliard, Seymour-Shove, Clark, Ogbonna, McGowan (Wright 77), Hartley (Draycott 68)
Unused substitutes : Longden
Attendance : 274
Match report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson