Redditch United 4 St Ives Town 0
Evo-Stik League South Premier Division – 14/10/17
It is hard to sugar this one up as Ives once again shipped an early goal and looked like a team very low on confidence on their way to a battering against a very good Reds team. There are a few excuses, but on occasions like this it merely sounds like woe is me.
After playing well for very long period against Royston on Tuesday evening even if not getting the desired result we hoped that the side would carry a little momentum into this game. But the injury crisis continued to bite deep into the squad with Tuesday’s man of the match James Hall and his injury replacement in the last few minutes of that game Matt Wright joining five others on the treatment table. With keeper James Goff serving a one match ban for his red card against Tiverton an emergency loan replacement brought in 19 year old Matt Hill from Solihull Moors for one game.
Unfortunately for Hill the game did not start well for him as he came rushing off his line to try and head away a ball over the top inside the first minute only to find himself beaten to it by Dior Angus. Fortunately for Hill Angus directed his header away from goal and Miles Smith was on hand to clear up the danger.
Hill’s first touch only two minutes later was to pick the ball out of the net. Angus muscled his way through the left channel onto a ball into feet from Andy Thanoj. Andrew Iwediuno got the wrong side of him and was forced into a clumsy challenge that brought down the Reds striker only inches outside the box. Thanoj carefully placed the ball and slotted his effort over the three man Ives wall beating Hill low to his right with the keeper rooted.
The hosts were playing a three, five, two formation and both wide midfield men were getting forward at every opportunity. In 13th minute Angus spread the play wide picking out Lewis Wright in space on the right. He hung up a cross to the back post where Spencer Weir-Daley rose high above Iwediuno, but fortunately the Ives centre back did just enough to force him to head over from eight yards.
Ives made their first real sortie into Reds territory in 19th minute as an excellent flowing move down the left involving Lewis Hilliard, Peter Clark and Brett Longden ended with the latter delivering a cross into the box that was only half cleared to Jordan Jarrold on the opposite side of the box. He curled in a perfect cross that picked out an unmarked Ben Seymour-Shove at the back post. Rather than hit it first time Seymour-Shove took a touch giving Reds keeper Ethan Ross chance to show his bravery as he plunged in at the feet of the Ives striker blocking his attempt on goal at point blank range to preserve his clean sheet. He picked up a finger injury for his pains but that did not prevent him from confidently coming to claim the resulting corner.
The Reds went down the other end and almost doubled their lead five minutes later. Kevin De Veiga Monteiro picked out Nathan Fox roaming forward down the left and Ives skipper Charlie De’ath did very well to hurl himself in front of Angus to deflect the ball away at the near post. Weir-Daley rose highest to the resulting corner, but failed to hit the target from a good position.
The visitors were not entirely out of the game at this stage and continued to create half chances. Longden delivered a free kick from the left to the back post area where ex Ives trialist Gui Mailancol knock the ball away. It arrived at the feet of Lewis Hilliard on the right he played a clever one two with Danny Kelly before unleashing a rising drive over the top from a narrow angle.
Although Ives were creating half chances at one end of the park the Reds strikers continued to carve out good opportunities to increase their lead at the other end. In 35th minute a quick passing move down the left side involving Angus, Thanoj and Fox ended with Weir-Daley firing in a drive from 25 yards that Hill did well to hold onto low to his right.
The hosts wasted a much better opportunity four minutes later as Angus robbed a dallying Iwediuno just inside his own half and ran forward towards the Ives box where it looked like he had the simple task of picking out Weir-Daley with a pass to put the no. 11 clean through. But he delayed to long giving Smith chance to get back and make an excellent interception.
Having conceded early yet again it was vital that Ives get into the break with no more than a single goal deficit. But as has been the case to often this season they were unable to see things out to the break. There were five minutes remaining on the clock when Reds skipper Danny Jackman played a peach of a ball from the centre of the park that drifted over Longden and picked out Weir-Daley in space on the right. He delivered a low driven cross along the six yard line that Angus rammed home at the far post.
The question for the second period was did Ives have sufficient belief in themselves to get back into this contest. This question was initially answered in a positive way as only four minutes after the restart a Longden cross from the left was knocked down to Seymour-Shove 25 yards from goal. He tried his luck with a fierce dipping voleey that pulled an excellent save out of Ross leaping high to his left to fingertip the effort over the top.
Had that gone in the second half could have been a different storey, but Ross showed in that moment just how vital a good goalkeeper is to every side. Only one minute later Iwediuno had to make an excellent recovery tackle on the dangerous Angus to prevent him getting away and adding to his tally.
That concluded the possible Ives onslaught in the early second period as the Reds back three helped out when necessary by their two wide men to make a back five comfortably snuffed out any threat from their visitors. The closest Ives came to worrying Ross was in 68th minute when a deep cross from the battling Smith found Hilliard beyond the far post, but his first time effort from a narrow angle flew high and wide.
As Ives confidence began to ebb more goals from the hosts began to look more and more likely. They duly killed off their struggling visitors with two goals in a three minute spell. In 76th minute a corner from the right was only half cleared to Fox on the opposite side of the box and his low driven cross was turned home from close range by a seemingly unmarked Weir-Daley.
The final goal also arrived in simple fashion as Angus and Thanoj combined to work their way through the centre of the Ives defence. The move ended with the former playing in the latter and he was taken down from behind by Smith inside the box as he shaped to shoot. Angus clinically despatched the resulting spot kick high to keeper Hill’s left giving the young stopper no chance.
Ives could not even conjure up a consolation goal as Kelly and Clark combined to present a shooting opportunity for Seymour-Shove in the last minute. But the Ives winger’s effort matched so much of the visitor’s finishing on the day as he hit the ball cleanly, but directed it well wide of the target.
The Ives presented a disconsolate group on the final whistle, looking every ounce a side very low on confidence and wondering where their next win is coming from. The only good thing from this game was the seasonal debut of Eugene Libertucci who showed some excellent touches during his fifteen minute cameo which he appeared to come through unscathed. One of the most important people at the Club in the near future could be new physio Jess Guthrie as she is the one charged with the task of getting the many injured players back to full fitness and at the moment as many returning faces as possible are required to lift the struggling few.
Final Score : Redditch United 4 St Ives Town 0
Goals : none
Supporters man of the match : Miles Smith
St Ives team : Hill, Smith, Longden, McGowan, De’ath (capt), Iwediuno, Seymour-Shove, Hilliard (Libertucci 75), Kelly, Clark, Jarrold (Ogbonna 61)
Unused substitute : Short
Attendance : 316
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson