St Ives Town 2 Farnborough 4
Evo-Stik League South Premier Division – 24/02/18
Ives poor run continued and once again it was errors at the back which cost them dear as they gifted their grateful visitors the three points at a sunny, but bitterly cold Pro-Edge stadium.
The hosts started the game well with both Ben Baker and Tom Knowles causing the Boro back line problems early on. Baker had already got to the bye line and almost picked out an unmarked Danny Watson with his pull back before Knowles put the Ives in front in 19th minute.
Boro keeper Craig Bradshaw made a hash of a goal kick slicing the ball straight to Knowles in space fully forty yards from goal. But the young winger is always full of confidence and was not afraid to take on the only defender between him and goal Matt Jones. He turned the left back inside and out before creating himself space to unleash a right footed effort that went through the legs of the defender as he tried to recover. This unsighted keeper Bradshaw who compounded his original error by allowing the ball to bounce past him and into the far corner of the net.
The visitors reacted well to this set back and Jones tested home keeper Tim Trebes with a well struck, dipping, free kick from fully 35 yards only three minutes later. Trebes moved his feet well and got behind the effort, but only managed to hang on at the second attempt.
The Boro equaliser arrived in 24th minute and Trebes will probably feel that he should have done more to keep out Connor Calcutt’s 25 yard effort that beat him low to his right as the off balance keeper stood rooted to the spot.
Only four minutes later the Ives gifted their visitors another goal to put them in front. A corner on the right was delivered to the back post by Jones where Ollie Snaith forgot his marking job allowing one of the shorter players on the pitch Andrew Sealey-Harris a free header six yards out. Needless to say the Boro winger did not waste his opportunity.
Conceding a couple of soft goals rocked the Ives and it took until the last minute of the first half before they had another effort on goal. Once more Knowles was the protagonist as he took on Jones on the outside and fired in a powerful effort from a narrow angle that forced its way through the hands of Bradshaw, but the keeper got just enough on the shot to deflect the ball over the top.
Ives needed to start the second half well to put pressure on their visitors and force their way back into the game unfortunately a calamitous mix up between two of their most experienced players gifted The Boro a third goal only six minutes after the re-start. Skipper Charlie De’ath was chasing a through ball back towards his own goal and going to win the race. But keeper Trebes also decided to come forward to deal with the ball just outside his box. The communication between the two did not appear to happen and the scenario ended with the sort of situation which always looks funny when it does not happen to your team. Neither player dealt with the ball, apparently leaving to each other, but the still managed to collide and end up in a heap as the ball rolled along the eighteen yard line to Sealey-Harris who could not believe his luck as he simply walked the ball into the empty net whilst the Ives skipper and his keeper sat holding their heads in shame.
Things could have gone from bad to worse for the Ives five minutes later as their defence went AWOL leaving Jaydon Antwi a clear run down the middle. He drew keeper Trebes towards him and tried to slot it past him low to his left. But the keeper spread himself well and his trailing leg knocked the shot away.
Home manager Ricky Marheineke made a positive substitution one the hour replacing midfield man Ollie Snaith with striker Dubi Ogbonna who went up front alongside Watson. The enigmatic front man has missed large parts of the season with a recurrent knee injury, but it only took him five minutes to show his value as he hauled Ives back into the contest. Knowles and Miles Smith combined well down the right with the latter delivering a teasing cross to the back post. A stretching Boro skipper CJ Fearn tried to head the ball away but did not quite get enough on it and the ball dropped to Ogbonna on the edge of the box. He took a touch a fired a low right footed drive that went through the crowd, beat the despairing dive of Bradshaw and went in off the inside of the post.
Ives now started to push forward in pursuit of an unlikely equaliser, but this meant they were leaving themselves open to a counter attack and sure enough a 74th minute Ives corner was cleared away and turned into a foot race between Michael Fernandes and Jordan Jarrold. Although the Boro man was no bigger than Jarrold he managed to use his strength well simply outmuscling the Ives man before firing home with aplomb past the exposed Trebes to settle the affair.
With time running out manager Marheineke pushed Danny Kelly forward to strengthen the attack and he should have given The Boro a jittery last seven minutes as Ives tried to return the compliment on their visitors. A Boro corner was quickly played out down the left and Baker scampered forward over the halfway line before feeding in Kelly. Rather than go for goal he tried to square the ball to the late arriving Ogbonna. But a defender’s leg knocked the ball straight back to him eight yards out in space with the goal at his mercy. With keeper Bradshaw out of position it was truly an open goal, but the big man snatched at the chance and screwed it wide to sum up Ives day.
The visitors played out the remaining time without further scares and happily departed the Pro-Edge with their gifts. For the Ives it is back to the training ground to try and work out what is going wrong with their defensive unit. Sixteen goals conceded in those five defeats does not make good reading at any level and at a level where a high percentage of defensive mistakes are punished a way to cut out those costly errors must be found otherwise we will spend the rest of the season looking over our shoulders hoping that the two teams below us do not start picking up points.
Score : St Ives Town 2 Farnborough 4
Goals : Knowles 19, Ogbonna 65
St Ives team : Trebes, Smith, Jarrold (Groves 80), McGeorge, De’ath (capt), Kelly, Knowles, Snaith (Ogbonna 60), Rogers, Watson (Clark 82), Baker
Unused subs : Warner-Eley, Draycott
Supporters man of the match : Tom Knowles
Attendance : 239
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photo by Louise Thompson