Peterborough Sports U18 1 St Ives Town U18 2
Thurlow Nunn Youth League Western Division – 02/11/17
The young Ives returned to their best as they visited the home of the table topping Sports and came away with an impressive three points inflicting the first League defeat of the season on the previously unbeaten runaway leaders.
After the very poor showing at Deeping in their previous outing the small band of travelling parents and officials went into this game with some trepidation. But clearly the half term break had worked wonders. The reassuring reappearance of captain Jamie Short released from his first team duties and the news that everyone except long term injury absentee Annoncio Anemou was fit and available lifted our spirits.
The early exchanges continued to boost moral and it was with the run of play when Billy Mobbs finished off a flowing move to put the visitors into a deserved lead after only ten minutes. Ash Morris won the ball in the centre of the park and played it into the run of Tiago Dias on the right. Dias delivered an early low cross into the centre and Mobbs arriving at the far post did the rest finishing well from ten yards.
The game began to settle down and the startled hosts slowly started to get back into it. Their skipper Jamie Scott was ostensibly playing as a centre forward, but taking every opportunity to drop deep to get more involved in the game. He threaded an excellent pass into the run of Jordan Brown cutting in from the right in 16th minute. Brown hit his effort first time from just inside the box, but the ever alert Tom Smith made an excellent catch of the rising drive.
Ives went down the other end and won a corner which Mobbs delivered from the right. Vitor Vaz rose above the crowd eight yards out, but could only direct his header over the top under heavy pressure from Sports defenders.
The equaliser for the hosts came only two minutes later as Jack Martin tried to clip a ball over the top to Brown trying to get through the right channel. Mitchell Pillin was stretching to cut it out and the ball looped up off his head dropping to Scott on the edge of the box. He did not need a second invitation hammering the dropping ball on the volley and it flew past Smith and arrowed into the top corner of the net before the keeper could move.
With the scorers now level the entertaining game became more of a midfield battle with both defences looking very solid. Each side created only one more opportunity to add to their tally before the break. Kian Meadows should have done better with his opportunity as he managed to get on the end of a long Scott free kick in 29th minute. But having done the hard work he could only direct his header from six yards over the top.
Ives chance was equally good as fourteen minutes before the break Saunders picked up a ball on the left hand side of the half way line and ran hard at the Sports defence. He easily outpaced Martin and cut in on goal. Keeper Alex Jansons came out to meet him and Saunders coolly slotted the ball past him, but inches the wrong side of the upright.
The visitors continued to take the game to their illustrious hosts in the early part of the second half and Sports had Jansons to thank for keeping the game level in 54th minute. A corner from the right skimmed off a defenders head and arrived at the feet of Saunders at the back post. He took at touch and stepped inside, but was stretching as he took his shot which consequently lacked power allowing Jansons to get down low to his right to turn the ball around the post.
Sports were still looking dangerous in their few opportunities to break and Scott but his forward colleagues were mainly dealing with scraps. He did show persistence to create a half chance for Jack Eldridge on the hour as he charged down Aaron Makeham’s attempted clearance and then delivered a low cross to the edge of the box where Eldridge managed to turn and get his shot away, but it flew past Smith’s right hand post and thudded the boards.
Ives again went close to going in front from another corner in 68th minute. This time Saunders corner arrived at the feet of Short by the back post. He hit his effort well back across the keeper, but Jansons made an excellent reaction save low to his left and the ball was scrambled away.
After this chances began to dry up as both defences again started to get on top and it began to look like both sides would have to settle for a point until with just ninety seconds of the ninety minutes to go Short delivered a clearance down the park that substitute Kyrie Foster skilfully brought down. He held off his tiring marker and slotted a perfectly weighted ball through the left channel. Saunders was away like a whippet leaving trailing Sports defenders in his wake. As in the first half he showed composure as he slotted the ball past the left hand of the advancing Jansons. But unlike the first half this time he got it spot on as the ball nestled in the bottom corner to spark wild celebrations on the Ives bench with both Dias and Polhos belying injuries which had earlier put them out of the game to leap up and join in.
The game had been played at a cracking pace and the goal coming as late as it did knocked the stuffing out of Sports. Vaz and Foster combined to win a corner as the game went into added time allowing Ives to kill the remaining time with the ball at the right end of the pitch to claim an excellent victory.
The result opens up the division keeping Ives very much in the shake up alongside their opponents in this game and Deeping who probably remain favourites after their demolition of Ives in the previous game. Sports get a very early chance of revenge as these same two teams meet at Jubilee Park in only four days time. It promises to be another enthralling encounter.
St Ives Team : Smith, Kwiatowski, Makeham, Short (capt), Pillin, Polhos, Vaz, Morris, Mobbs (Foster 79), Dias (Torkornoo 47), Saunders
Additional roll on-roll off subs : Mobbs for Polhos 80
Unused subs : Oldale, Bond, Thomas
Goals : Mobbs 10, Saunders 88
Attendance : 50 approx
Report by Nigel Howlett