St Ives Town 1 Gosport Borough 0
Evo-Stik League South Premier Division – 23/12/17
The bible says cometh the hour cometh the man! After last weeks hammering at Dorchester manager Ricky Marheineke knew he needed to find just that man for this vital six pointer against fellow relegation contenders Gosport. He also knew just where to look, inside his own squad, where he knew that the vital player existed. Unfortunately the fellow concerned was still nursing a broken nose picked up against Hitchin at the end of November. But when the call came Dan Moyes bravely responded and stepped up to the plate and not only was he a vital cog in the hosts first clean sheet in ten games he also popped up with the only goal of the game on the hour.
Moyes reintroduction into the back line was in place of Danny Kelly, who moved back into his more favoured centre forward role. Recent signing from Uxbridge Luke Warner-Eley also came into the back line for his debut in place of Jordan Jarrold who dropped to the bench. The other changes from the previous week were a return to fitness for skipper Tom McGowan and a first start for an Ives returnee Declan Rogers who replaced Danny Watson and Phil Draycott respectively.
As might be expected from such an important game the early exchanges were fairly even with neither side able to create an early chance. Warner-Eley showed his speed and anticipation to cover behind his centre backs and prevent Conor Davis getting a clear run on goal in 14th minute.
Ives first half chance arrived two minutes later as Miles Smith got the bye line on an overlapping run down the right. His attempted pull back deflected off a defender and fell to Ollie Snaith 20 yards from goal. But the young striker fired his first time volley well over the top.
The visitor’s best opportunity of the first period came in 19th minute as Pat Sucari found a little bit of space just outside the box, but miss-hit his effort looked to be travelling well wide only for Matt Mayes to come sliding in at the far post. Fortunately he was always stretching to reach the ball and only succeeded in knocking his effort wide of the post.
Rogan McGeorge scored a forty yard effort a few weeks back and he had another go as a poorly hit clearance from keeper Tom Price fell to him wide right in 35th minute. His effort went high and was swirling on the breeze, but it was on target. It looked like an easy catch for Price, but he began to look like a fielder making up the number in a village cricket team who was dreading being under that skier that everyone expected him to catch. Sure enough he spilled the ball and was very lucky to recover himself just enough to pounce on the loose ball inches ahead of the inrushing Snaith.
The closest either side came to scoring, from a conventional attack, in the first half came less than two minutes before the break. A Rogers corner from the left was tipped away by a stretching Price. Moyes volleyed the loose ball back into the mix and it ricocheted away to Ben Baker just inside the box. He had the presence of mind to side step a defender before firing a shot through the crowd that Price kept out with his feet. The save from Lewis Ferrell’s follow up header was a little more routine for the Borough stopper.
Ives came out in positive mood at the start of the second period and took the game to their visitors. Smith was looking for every opportunity to venture forward down the right and he was upended just outside the box by Frankie Paige in 48th minute. Rogers carefully lined up the free kick and curled his effort around the four man wall, but inches the wrong side of Price’s right hand post as the keeper looked on.
Snaith was stretching the Borough back line with his pace and trickery and he caught Harry Medway napping just outside his own box in 54th minute. The Borough centre back unceremoniously upended the young striker to give Ives another free kick in a dangerous position. This time Rogers tried to pick out the run of Kelly, but he was just beaten to the in-swinger by Adam Brice.
The visitors showed that they were still very dangerous on the break and it took the save of the game from Tim Trebes to keep the scores level only two minutes later as a flowing move from their own half was finished with Mayes feeding the ball through to Suraci cutting in from the right. He unleashed a fierce rising drive that was arrowing for the top corner only for the keeper to hurl himself high to his left to palm the ball away with his flying right hand.
That save was made all the more vital just before the hour as Ives went in front. Rogers delivered an in-swinging corner from the right and Snaith managed to get in front of keeper Price unsettling the Borough stopper. He took his eye off the ball which allowed it to bounce inside the six yard box. Veteran centre back Moyes reacted like a seasoned striker getting to the ball first to force his header over the line from point blank range. Price protested long and hard that he had been fouled, but the only reward his protestations brought him was a yellow card.
The hosts came close to doubling their advantage in 65th minute as Kelly capitalised on a mistake by Paige to get a run into the box. His shot was bravely blocked by the body of Brice and Medway did equally well to get in the way of the follow up effort from Snaith.
Having survived that scare Borough slowly began to press for an equaliser. Breed, Eddie Wakley and Mayes all fired long range efforts well wide of Trebes goal and as the clock ticked down those of us who have seen so many points go west to late goals this season began to feel our nerves jangling. The last thing we wanted to see was an added five minutes, but there had been a number of stoppages in the second period so it was to be predicted. Ives survived one Borough corner three minutes in with keeper Price up in the box. Fortunately it was hit a little to deep and although Brice won it at the far post he was always stretching and failed to hit the target.
The final minute of the added five arrived and sure enough the visitors carved out a clear cut chance to take a point from the game and deprive Ives of the vital win. But for once lady luck smiled on the hosts as Breed who somehow found himself in acres of space and with only Trebes to beat at the far post snatched at the opportunity and screwed the ball wildly back across the face of goal. It bobbled agonisingly through the goalmouth just out of reach of Mayes as he slid in and was carefully policed to safety just past the far post by Moyes.
The resulting goal kick proved to be the last kick of the game and the euphoria at the final whistle was as much from the relief of seeing out a victory as it was for the huge value of this result which lifts the Ives nine points clear of their opponents and even more importantly ten points above rock bottom Dunstable.
The sponsors picked Ollie Snaith as their man of the match for his hard running and constant probing and harrying of the visitors back line. Pushing Snaith close must have been Danny Kelly who lead the line well and of course that man Moyes.
So we go into Christmas on a high point in a very up and down season. Our next game is a very tough trip to League leaders King’s Lynn on Boxing Day which will be followed by the visit of local rivals and play-off chasers St Neots Town. But for now we wish all our readers a very happy Ives Christmas and lets hope we can look forward to a more prosperous 2018.
Score : St Ives Town 1 Gosport Borough 0
Goals : Moyes 59
St Ives team : Trebes, Smith, Warner-Eley, Ferrell, Moyes, McGeorge (Clark 86), Baker, McGowan (capt), Kelly, Snaith, Rogers (Sawyer 83)
Unused subs : Jarrold, Libertucci, Watson
Sponsors man of the match : Ollie Snaith
Attendance : 231
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson