Saturday 14th March 2015 – Southern League – Div 1 Central
AFC Hayes 3 St Ives Town 1
Attendance : 72
Man of the match: Jack Higgs
This game should have been all over by half time, but having failed to press home their advantage after an early Charlie Death goal in the first half the Ives somehow then managed to come away with nothing conceding three unanswered goals in the second half.
The home side struggling near the foot of the table and in desperate need of the points started the game on the front foot and went close in only the seventh minute as Jordan Berry got on the end of a long ball down the right and drove in a low cross that deflected off a defender and fell to Ryan Debattista whose fierce drive from just inside the box was well blocked by visiting keeper Tim Trebes.
Only one minute later Debattista was again involved as he headed down a long ball from Jake Cass to the feet of Tommy Dawson who fired just wide from 20 yards.
The Ives created their first opportunity on eleven minutes as James Hall tried to thread the ball through to Jack Higgs. The pass was blocked but the ball fell to Luke Knight who curled in a shot from the edge of the box that home keeper Melvin Minter dived full length to tip around the post. The visitors went in front from the resulting corner as Death rose highest at the far post and powered his header just under the crossbar from eight yards to register his first goal for the Ives.
This setback rocked the fragile confidence of The Brook and the Ives began to dominate possession. Only two minutes later Ben Seymour-Shove got away down the right and pulled the ball back to Knight on the edge of the box, he cleverly sidestepped inside full back Oladimeji Olajubu, but fired his shot straight at keeper Minter.
On 18 minutes James Peters went close as he got his head on a Higgs free kick in the centre of goal and a scrambling Minter was relieved to see the effort creep just past the far post.
Ives continued to enjoy a lot of the ball, but were probably guilty of trying to go the aerial route a little too often and the hard working home defence with 42 year old Christian Barrett to the fore battled hard to restrict the chances they were able to create. The next good chance came on 33 minutes when Knight ran onto a lob over the defence by Higgs, but the ball would not come down for him and the best he could manage was to knock the ball on to James Hall who fired in a shot from the edge of the box that deflected off Barrett straight into the grateful hands of Minter.
Four minutes later another long ball from Death was misjudged by Barrett and Knight ran onto the ball as it glanced off the centre back. He got to the bye line and drove in a cross that Minter did well to tip away from the un-rushing Seymour-Shove.
The final opportunity of the half also fell to the visitors as Hall played in Seymour-Shove through the right hand channel, but his low drive from just inside the box was comfortably held by the well positioned Minter.
The early period of the second half gave no sign of how this game was going to go as the Ives continued to dominate possession and create, but squander, chances. On 51 minutes Seymour-Shove again found space on the right and curled in a dangerous in-swinging cross that Jerome Eccleston did well to head over his own crossbar under pressure from Hall.
Two minutes later a long throw by Knight was half cleared to Higgs on the edge of the box, his initial effort was blocked and the ball fell to Jordan Lambert who hit a first time volley from 25 yards that flew just wide.
The first sign of the problems that were to follow came on 57 minutes as keeper Trebes was closed down on a clearance by Debattista who managed to block the ball and Trebes had to be alert to drop on the loose ball just ahead of the striker.
The hard working Debattista was ploughing a lone furrow up front, but he was causing the Ives defence some anxious moments. On 61 minutes he picked up a loose ball in the box and managed to round Lambert, but the covering Death was on hand to flick the ball off his toe.
Two minutes later the big striker again seized an opportunity to take on the visitors defence and battled his way through a couple of tackles, the second of which caught his ankle. He managed to get his shot away as he fell, but the ball cannoned off a post. The Ives relief was very short lived as the eagle eyed referee had deemed that no advantage was gained and awarded a penalty for the initial foul. The resulting spot kick was comprehensively despatched by home skipper Cass.
The equaliser sparked a reaction from the Ives, but shots at goal by Knight, Sinclair, Higgs and substitute Stuart Eason in the next ten minutes all caused more inconvenience to the fans around the goal than keeper Minter. The home keeper was called into action again on 72 minutes when a long ball into the box was half cleared to Higgs on the edge of the box, but Minter was equal to his crisp drive plunging to his right to push the ball away for a corner.
Having survived their visitor’s onslaught the home side began to think this was a game they could earn some reward from. Berry was becoming more influential in midfield and the hard working Debattista had been given a strike partner as Eugene Asante had replaced midfielder Daniel O’Donnell. Berry fed Debattista on 74 minutes who fired a first time effort from just inside the box straight at Trebes. The same pair combined a minute later and this time Debattista found himself clear well inside the box, but wildly screwed his shot wide with the goal at his mercy. Ives relief at this escape was very short lived as Trebes mishit the resulting goal kick straight to Asante on the edge of the box and the striker retained his composure to round the keeper and roll the ball into the empty net and give the Brook an unlikely lead.
To their credit Ives went straight down the other end to try to get back on level terms. A ball into the box resulted in a scramble which saw the ball knocked back to Knight on the edge of the box. His powerful drive was deflected just wide. The resulting flag kick was missed by all and arrived at the feet of Harry O’Malley six yards out at the far post, but he was instantly closed down and his shot blocked away.
On 80 minutes another long throw by Knight was flicked on at the near post by Eason and a fast arriving Seymour-Shove won a clean header eight yards out that he flashed just past Minter’s left hand post with the keeper looking on. Four minutes later Higgs showed an excellent touch to bring down a high ball and fire in a dipping effort from 25 yards that ended up just the wrong side of the post.
The final Ives effort came as the game entered added time when an in-swinging Higgs free kick from the right was met cleanly in the air by Eason, but like so many of the visitors efforts on the day it flashed just past the post.
There was still time left for the Brook to cement their victory and Debattista to claim the goal he deserved. Death was caught out on the half way line by Asante who bore down on goal. His initial effort was blocked by covering defender Lambert, but the ball fell to Debattista who calmly fired it into the far corner of the net from close range.
The most influential players on the pitch were all in the home side with keeper Minter and striker Debattista in the forefront. It was difficult to find an Ives player worthy of the accolade on a day when few will have been satisfied with their performance. The visiting supporters thought long and hard before deciding to reward Jack Higgs for his work rate and never say die attitude.
St Ives team : Trebes, Lambert (Capt.), De’Ath, Jonny Hall, O’Malley, Knight, Peters (Eason 62), Sinclair (Banister 75), Higgs, Seymour-Shove, James Hall
Unused subs : Smith, Mead
Goals : De’Ath (12)
Yellow Card : Knight, Seymour-Shove, De’Ath
Man of the Match : Jack Higgs
Final Score : AFC Hayes 3 St Ives Town 1
Attendance : 72
Next U18 match Thu 19th March 7.45pm kick off HOME to Chatteris Town (League)
Next 1st team match Sat 21st March 3pm kick off HOME to Leighton Town (League)
Source : www.stivestownfc.co.uk