Kettering Town 4 St Ives Town 1
Evo-Stik League South Premier Division – 05/12/17
A visit to Kettering is usually going to mean an uncomfortable evening and it is usually somewhere we venture to more with hope than expectation of a result. But in the very open first half of this game Ives matched their illustrious opponents for long periods and troubled them a number of times. They were perhaps a little unfortunate to go into the break a goal behind. However the second half was a completely different story as they found themselves completely blow away by a Poppies whirlwind as the promotion chasing hosts raised their game and tore open the visitor’s struggling back line almost at will and, but for a heroic display from keeper Tim Trebes the mauling could have been even worse.
In a very rare event in a disrupted season much troubled by injuries and unavailability there was the unusual site of an unchanged starting eleven for Ives following Saturday’s excellent point against Banbury. The confidence that the visitors had taken from that fixture could so easily have been lifted further in sixth minute as Ollie Snaith’s clip to the back post drifted over Liam Bateman and dropped to the feet of Phil Draycott ten yards out. He hit his shot well and had it been inches either side of keeper Paul White it would have gone in, but unfortunately it was straight at the Poppies stopper and rebounded to safety off his feet.
The hosts lifted themselves after that lucky escape and only two minutes later it took an excellent last ditch block from Miles Smith to prevent Lindon Meikle lashing home Ben Milne’s through ball.
Failure to effectively clear a free kick into their box cost the Ives dear as the Poppies went ahead in 17th minute. The ball was fed back into the box by Ben Toseland and Brett Solkhon cleverly laid it through into the run of Aaron O’Connor who hit a crisp right footed shot past the exposed Trebes from ten yards.
Ives were still very much in the game as it swung from end to end and they went close again from the second of two corners in quick succession in 22nd minute. The ball was fed back to Ben Seymour-Shove wide on the left and he returned an in-swinging cross back into the danger zone. Keeper White came to claim, but was deceived as the ball held up in the breeze and completely missed it. Fortunately for the red faced custodian Gary Mulligan had read the situation and was on hand to hack the ball off the line.
Play swung back to the other end and on the half hour O’Connor caused confusion as he ran at the defence from the left side before sliding the ball inside to tee up Gary Stohrer whose shot was blocked by Lewis Ferrell. But the ball fell to Milnes who carefully curled his shot inches wide of Trebes left hand post from the edge of the box.
Only seconds later a mix up between Smith and Draycott allowed Toselan to get away down the left. His driven cross was palmed away by Trebes at his near post. Rene Howe was first to the loose ball, but Lloyd Groves was on had to prevent him forcing it over the line.
There was a strong cross wind blowing across the ground and this was causing keeper White some real problems. Eight minutes before the break he again misjudged a curling cross into the box. This time it was Seymour-Shove’s free kick from the left. He dropped the ball into the pack of legs just outside the six yard box. But again he got lucky as Mulligan came to his rescue stabbing the ball away before an Ives leg could prod it home.
So the visitors went in for their cup of tea perhaps feeling the more contented of the two sides and thinking there were real possibilities that they could get something from this game. The hosts on the other hand, although in front probably got a roasting from their manager as they came out for the second half fully charged up and tore into the Ives from the off.
Straight from the kick off Howe put Stohrer away and although his initial shot was blocked O’Connor curled the loose ball inches over the top from just outside the box.
In what proved to be a rare venture into Poppies territory in the second period Seymour-Shove was played into a good shooting position only moments later following a flowing move involving Kelly and Snaith. But the speedy winger snatched at his effort and fired high and wide and the chance to rattle the hosts was gone.
The one way traffic then began, only four minutes later Miekle sped down the left flank before laying the ball back to Toseland who had roamed forward to support his attack. The young full back’s rising drive from 20 yards was excellently tipped over by the leaping Trebes.
But the stay of execution was only delayed, and the hosts doubled their advantage in the next attack in 54th minute as Stohrer and O’Connor combined well on the right before the latter’s cross was deflected into the path of Howe who swept the ball home from close range giving Trebes no chance.
Ives were not completely finished and reminded their hosts that they were still in the game two minutes later. An excellent cross field ball from Kelly picked out Seymour-Shove in space cutting in from the left. He got past Bateman before unleashing a powerful effort from a narrow angle which beat White at his near post, but cannoned away off the upright.
The visitors could so easily have fallen three behind in 59th minute. Smith picked up a yellow card for hauling down Meikle just outside the box on the left. Toseland fired the free kick over the wall forcing Trebes into a diving save to his left. The loose ball was fed back into the box and fell to substitute Matty Stevens who had only entered the fray a couple of minutes earlier. He looked like he only had to pick his spot, but somehow managed to hit the post with the goal at his mercy. It was beginning to look a little like a shooting gallery in and around the Ives box, but the defenders continued to bravely put their bodies on the line to try and keep the rampant Poppies at bay. In 65th minute shots from Milnes and Stevens were blocked by Ferrell and Groves respectively and Bateman following up blazed the loose ball high over the bar from a good position.
Full back Toseland again got forward to help out his attack in 73rd minute and his venture forward created the third Poppies goal as he got clear down the left and cut in on goal. Trebes blocked his initial shot at his near post, but the ball was fed back into the centre where Howe moved it on to Milnes who found just enough space to turn and slot it into the net off the inside of the keeper’s left hand post.
Trebes was again in action in 78th minute leaping high to his right to fingertip away a fierce drive from Ben Baker as he cut in from the right.
The gallant keeper was beaten for a fourth time in 82nd minute Stevens was put clean through one on one with the keeper. Trebes stayed big and blocked the striker’s initial effort with his legs. But none of his defenders could come to his aid as Rhys Hoenes was first to the loose ball and swept it into the empty net.
Ives grabbed a consolation goal in bizarre fashion three minutes from time. Michael Richens would have disappointed his manager as he picked up a completely needless yellow card for hauling down Ives substitute Eugene Libertucci 30 yards from goal. Draycott fired the resulting free kick high up into the breeze aiming for the far post. Keeper White watched it go up in the air and arc around, but seemed convinced it was going out. Much to his disgust it arced over his head and went in off the back post to ruin any clean sheet bonus that may have been heading the way of he and his defenders.
There was still time for Trebes to make yet another save as he held on well to Howe’s flicked header from Milnes free kick. White also had chance to redeem himself a little as he did well to tip away a rasping drive from Rogan McGeorge deep in added time.
Score : Kettering Town 4 St Ives Town 1
Goals : Draycott 87
St Ives team : Trebes, Smith, Jarrold, Ferrell, Groves, McGeorge, Seymour-Shove (Watson 62), McGowan (capt) (Libertucci 45), Kelly (Sawyer 79), Snaith, Draycott
Unused subs : Short
Sponsors man of the match : Tim Trebes
Attendance : 499
Report by Nigel Howlett