St Ives Town 1 Weymouth 2
Evo-Stik League South Premier Division – 21/10/17
A late momentary lapse of concentration cost Ives what would have been a richly deserved point from a pulsating game played out against the elements of seasonal storm Brian.
This was an unlikely opportunity for a double for the Ives after their opening day victory at the Bob Lucas Stadium. However the two clubs have enjoyed hugely contrasting fortunes since that early encounter with the Terras scoring goals for fun and rocketing up to fourth in the table with a chance to go top with a win if other results go their way and Ives picking up a single solitary point for all of their promise and sitting two from bottom going into the game.
Manager Ricky Marheineke stuck with the same formation that showed such renewed energy and vigour in Tuesdays unfortunate defeat to Bishop’s Stortford. However he made two changes to the starting eleven with a new front pair as fit again James Hall was joined up front by Ben Seymour-Shove. Danny Kelly, who dropped to the bench, and Dubi Ogbonna, who was left out completely, were the pair to miss out. This also meant under 18 captain Jamie Short deservedly retained his place in the centre of the back five so effective at containing The Blues.
In spite of an area of the Stadium needing to be closed off for safety reasons due to storm damage the game started on time with Ives playing with the strong breeze at their backs. It took both sides time to get used to the elements with Ives over hitting intended through balls, or balls over the top, and the Terras struggling to find their wide men with their intended cross field passes.
The first real opportunity for either side arrived in 15th minute as over lapping full back Calvin Brooks managed to combine with Ben Thomson on the right before bursting through an Ives tackle to give himself a clear run along the bye line. Rather than look for a team mate with a pull back he decided to go for goal but Ives keeper Jacob Marsden stayed solid on his near post and parried the effort out for a corner.
Ives dealt effectively with the resulting corner and broke away at pace with Eugene Libertucci showing his class as he played a perfectly weighted ball over the fast retreating Terras back line to pick out the run of Hall cutting in from the left. He had a clear run on goal, but unlike Brooks only seconds before he got his head up and cleverly drew keeper Mark Travers towards him before laying the ball across the six yard line to give Seymour-Shove a simple tap in at the back post and put the hosts in front.
Having got in front the hosts then suffered a serious blow almost immediately as influential skipper Charlie De’ath limped out of the game with an injury that he had picked up initially in the warm up but had then been exacerbated by a clattering tackle by Thomson only a few minutes earlier. Usually a centre forward Danny Kelly was required to revive an earlier part of his career and replace him in the back line.
The visitors had a shout for a penalty turned down five minutes later as Matt Tubbs challenged Marsden for a high ball into the box that was curling wickedly on the breeze making it very difficult for the keeper. Marsden failed to hang onto the ball and as both he and Tubbs went for the loose ball both went down in a heap. Referee Daniel Hanna was right on the spot and waved play on as Miles Smith hacked the loose ball to safety.
That was however a sporadic raid into Ives territory by the visitors as aided by the strengthening breeze the hosts began to push forward in search of a second goal. They thought they had carved out an opportunity on the half hour as Brett Longden and Tom McGowan combined down the right before the latter played an excellent curled pass that picked out Seymour-Shove bursting clear into the box. Unfortunately he had gone a little to soon and an assistants flag was instantly raised.
Ives went even closer only three minutes later as the extremely hard working Seymour-Shove got down the right and hung up a cross to the back post where Toby Down got his head to it. But his attempted clearing header held up against the breeze and only just got out of the box where it dropped to Hall who hit his volley perfectly. Keeper Travers reacted well and got the faintest of a touch on it as the ball cannoned into the upright and rebounded to safety.
The energy and effort put in by the Ives throughout this first period was beginning to show as the level of intensity dropped a little with half time approaching. It was vital that Ives held out until the break and Marsden did well to save low to his left from Tubbs after Jake McCarthy had ran at the Ives defence before picking out Tubbs on the edge of the box in 34th minute.
Brooks also showed his threat again six minutes before the break as he cut in from the right past Jordan Jarrold before firing in a low drive that was deflected inches wide of the far post. But Ives held on and went into the break with their precious lead intact.
As the second half started Brian began to deliver even stronger gusts making any attempt to play the ball in the air very difficult. Ives now had these elements directly in their faces, but they were proving very effective at breaking up any Terras attempt to build up a head of steam closing them down and engaging players early all over the park. The visitors were restricted to long range efforts which were generally well off target, and caused less trouble to the solid Marsden than did some of his kicking against the elements on one of those days where if you did not quite catch the ball clean it was always going to arc off left, or right.
Ives were so effective in preventing the visitors creating anything much inside the box that Terras manager Mark Molesley decided to throw on both of his attacking substitutes soon after the hour and this move proved to be the catalyst for claiming his side a victory as they scored the two goals. The equaliser arrived in 70th minute and it was another one of those where the ball falls for an attacker inside the box. Brandon Goodship battled his way to the edge of the box, but Smith blocked his low drive. The ball rebounded into the path of Josh Wakefield who cleverly slotted it past the exposed Marsden from close range.
Ives never looked like grabbing a winner and the question was could they hold on for the point that their efforts throughout so richly deserved. The Terras continued to search for the extra reward but Marsden held on well to a 35 yard free kick from Josh Carmichael that was viciously dipping and swerving in the breeze in 76th minute. Four minutes later Brooks fired a rising drive from the right hand corner of the box that flew inches over the angle.
Then came the heart breaking moment that all Ives fans had been dreading in this season of struggle. The Terras won a corner on the right with just one minute of the ninety left on the clock and Ives just switched off for a moment as it was taken short leaving Jarrold in a two on one situation at the flag. With no one closing him down Wakefield had time to pick out his fellow substitute Harry Baker at the far post with his cross and Baker did the rest stooping to head home from close range.
Peter Clark was awarded the man of the match by the sponsors, but he was one of many who had once again given their all to the cause. Manager Ricky Marheineke said afterwards it is not about bad luck at all, it has to be all down to hard work and concentration for the full ninety minutes and he is right. To paraphrase a famous sportsman “it is strange how you get luckier the harder that you work”. Keep working boys it is coming.
Final Score : St Ives Town 1 Weymouth 2
Goals : Seymour-Shove 16
Sponsors man of the match : Peter Clark
St Ives team : Marsden, Longden, Jarrold, De’ath (capt) (Kelly 18), Short, Smith, McGowan, Libertucci (Sawyer 82), Hall (Hartley 60), Seymour-Shove, Clark
Unused substitutes : Wright
Attendance : 226
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photo by Louise Thompson