St Ives Town 0 Chesham United 2
Evo-Stik League South Premier – 24/04/18
Ives maintained their poor form against Chesham as they slid to their fourth defeat in a row against the in form Generals. However the story could have been so different if the hosts had managed to take one of their chances early in the game.
It took a goal line clearance to deny Danny Kelly the opening goal after only six minutes. Kelly managed to latch onto a long ball out of defence by Luke Warner-Eley which was missed by Benji Crilley. With defensive arms waving in a vain attempt to claim offside Kelly found himself clear on the left edge of the box he cut inside a covering defender and fired in a low right foot drive that beat keeper Hafed Al-Droubi comprehensively, but skipper Kieran Murphy had read the situation and got around behind his keeper to clear the ball off the goal line.
Ives Charlie De’ath matched Murphy’s effort only two minutes later. A long cross field ball picked out Dave Pearce in acres of space on the left, he cut inside Miles Smith and drove on into the box. Home keeper Tim Trebes was smartly off his line to block Pearce’s initial effort at point blank range but the ball rebounded to the Generals winger who drove it goal bound past the prostrate Trebes. Fortunately for Ives De’ath had also got around behind his keeper and was in position to hack the ball away from inside the six yard box.
The break neck early pace continued as Ives went close twice in quick succession inside the 14th minute at the other end. Warner-Eley delivered a deep free kick to the edge visitor’s box where Kelly won the ball in the air. His header into the centre was knocked back to De’ath on the edge of the box but his well struck effort was deflected away for a corner off Murphy. The resulting Declan Rogers corner was kept alive beyond the far post by Kelly who delivered a teasing low cross to the near post where Phil Draycott got in front of his man but failed to keep his effort on goal down and the ball flew over the top and the chance was gone.
After that early burst of goalmouth action the game began to settle down into more of a midfield battle. The next half chance came the way of the Ives in 26th minute as a Matt Bevans slip allowed Draycott as site of goal. He struck his powerful 25 yard rising drive well, but unfortunately the shot was straight at keeper Al-Droubi who held on at the second attempt.
Having failed to make the most of their early opportunities Ives found themselves behind just before the half hour. A Jhai Dhillon corner from the right was headed clear of the box by Smith but the ball fell to Jon-Jo Bates 25 yards from goal, he side-stepped Lewis Leslie and curled an effort around the crowd of players inside the box and into the net beating keeper Trebes low to his left. The goal came with Ives centre back Charlie De’ath struggling with a serious arm injury that forced him from the field only seconds later.
It took an excellent double save from Trebes to prevent his side going two behind in 36th minute. Bevans threaded a ball out to Pearce on the right and he fed the ball on to overlapping full back Crilley who cut into the box before being taken down by a poorly timed challenge from De’ath’s replacement Dan Moyes. Referee Robert Evans had no hesitation in awarding the penalty. Bevans struck his spot kick low to Trebes right, but the keeper was equal to it diving to block the well struck effort. That was a cracking save, but Trebes showed amazing reactions to also deny Bates following up as he leapt up and hurled himself in the opposite direction to keep Ives in the game.
As the half closed good hassling by Peter Clark forced Murphy into a mistake. The all action Ives midfielder robbed him and slid the ball into the run of Draycott cutting in from the left, but the winger hurried his effort and failed to hit the target from a good position.
Ives almost got caught out by a long wind assisted goal kick from Al-Droubi in 50th minute. The ball found Oran Swales in space on the left and he cut inside past Jamie Short and drove towards goal. Fortunately for Ives rather than try and pick out a team mate he went for goal from a narrow angle only to be denied by the legs of a well positioned Trebes.
Ives continued to battle hard with everyone giving their all but the very professional Generals were cleverly keeping possession and moving the ball around. When Ives did manage to get position high up the park they struggled to penetrate the well organised visitors back line expertly marshalled by Murphy.
The match was effectively finished as a contest by a somewhat bizarre second for the Generals in 73rd minute. Bevans delivered a powerful low free kick from the left into the no mans land between goalkeeper and attackers. A number of visiting forwards desperately lunged forward to get a touch, but the ball flashed past all, skipped up off the wet turf and just crept inside the far post.
Ives tried to respond instantly and carved out a good opportunity only two minutes later. Rogers delivered a telling cross from the left which picked out Ben Baker just beyond the far post. Rather than go for goal Baker cleverly cushioned the ball into the feet of Clark on the edge of the box. But the midfield dynamo screwed his shot so badly that the ball did not even go out of play.
Pearce had an excellent chance to grab a third for the visitors in 78th minute as he timed his run to perfection to get on the end of a deep cross from Dhillon that arrived at the back post. He struck his half volley from eight yards cleanly but only succeeded in firing it into the side netting.
To their credit Ives continued to battle right to the end a carved out a couple of opportunities for a consolation goal in the closing stages. Five minutes from time quick thinking from Clark in taking a quick free kick inside the centre circle put Draycott away on the left side of the box. His low cross flashed across the face of goal just inches away from Dubi Ogbonna sliding in.
Only seconds later Leslie lost his marker to get on the end of a Draycott corner from the right. He got good contact on a clean header eight yards out at the near post, but his effort flashed past the far post.
The final action of the night saw Clark create yet another opportunity for one of his team mates as he flicked a ball over the Generals back line to put Baker clear on the right side of the box. The youngster cut in and went of goal but was quickly closed down by Al-Droubi who bravely blocked the effort at point blank range.
Once again the Generals proved what a good side they are controlling this game for long periods and taking their chances when the came along. Ives have yet to score in 360 minutes of football against their visitors but great credit must go to the men in black and white as in spite of this being their tenth game in 23 days they kept battling right to the end showing their true character throughout. One man who will always give his all is Peter Clark and he got the supporters vote for man of the match but he must have been pushed close by keeper Tim Trebes who pulled off a number of excellent saves topped off by the double save from the penalty to keep his side in the game.
Score : St Ives Town 0 Chesham United 2
Goals : none
St Ives team : Trebes, Short, Warner-Eley, De’ath (Moyes 29), Smith, Rogers (Snaith 83), Baker, Leslie, Kelly (Ogbonna 70), Clark, Draycott (capt)
Unused subs : Sawyer, McGeorge
Supporters man of the match : Peter Clark
Attendance : 70
Report by Nigel Howlett