Saturday 7th March 2015 – Southern League – Div 1 Central
Aylesbury Utd 0 St Ives Town 3
Attendance : 161
Man of the match: Luke Knight
This game, on a bumpy pitch had a little of everything and showed the good, the bad and the ugly side of football on a sunny, dare I say, spring like afternoon.
The good was another excellent all round team performance from the Ives which saw them complete a comfortable double over the Ducks. The bad was the performance of home keeper Tahj Bell who had “one of those days” and gifted the visitors two of their goals. The ugly was a very brief appearance for Ducks substitute Jason Blackett who was on the field for less than a minute before being dismissed for an elbow in the face of Charlie Death.
The home side opened the game in positive fashion and created the first opportunity after six minutes when a slip by Luke Smith allowed Jordon Frederick to get away down the right, his driven cross was blocked by Death at the near post. But the ball rebounded to Greg Williams who tried his luck with a first time effort from 20 yards that returning keeper Adam Lawrence did well to push away for a corner.
Four minutes later the home side went close again as a good interchange of passes between Stacey Field and Paul Edgeworth allowed the latter to drive in another low cross that Lewis Putman got to first, but diverted just wide at the near post.
The visitors first meaningful foray into home territory on 15 minutes saw them take a somewhat fortunate lead. Ben Seymour-Shove was brought down wide on the left 35 yards from goal. He picked himself up and curled in the resulting free kick which looked to be heading straight into the hands of keeper Bell. But the Ducks custodian had left his line too early and misjudged the flight of the ball completely. It sailed on over his head to nestle in the back of the empty net.
Falling behind in this fashion rocked the home side and Ives dominated possession for the next 20 minutes, creating a number of opportunities to increase their lead. On 19 minutes a deep cross from James Peters found Luke Knight beyond the far post. Knight headed the ball down into the path of the onrushing Jack Higgs, but he wanted a touch and was quickly closed down by home skipper Jack Wood who managed to deflect his effort wide of the post.
On 28 minutes Knight was again the creator as he chased down what looked like a lost cause by the corner flag and robbed full back Lee Grace who was trying to shepherd the ball out of play. Knight delivered the ball into the box where a deflection knocked it into the air to make it a difficult chance for James Hall at the far post and he was only able to fire into the side netting from close range.
Only one minute later Ives spurned a guilt edged chance to double their advantage as Seymour-Shove got away down the left and laid the ball back to Dan Banister in space by the penalty spot. Unfortunately the young midfielder took his eye off the ball at the crucial moment and sliced his side footed effort horribly wide with the goal at his mercy.
The visitors continued to push forward in search of the elusive second goal and James Hall almost created it from nothing four minutes later as he chased down another ball wide on the left and tried a first time effort from a narrow angle that flew only inches over the angle of post and crossbar with keeper Bell looking on.
Having survived this period of pressure without conceding a second the Ducks started to grow in confidence a little and created a couple of opportunities of their own in the latter stages of the first half. On 38 minutes a long throw from the left arrived at the feet of Williams deep in the box, but James Peters had tracked him well and bravely blocked the close range effort out for a corner.
Two minutes later a long ball in from the right by Frederick was headed away at the near post by Lambert and the ball fell to Jake Bewley 30 yards out. He tried his luck with a first time effort that Lawrence was pleased to watch fly past his left hand upright.
Just when it looked like the Ives were settling for a one goal half time lead they managed to grab the second that their overall performance deserved. Banister threaded a ball through the right hand channel to put James Hall clear in 44th minute and as the keeper came out to narrow the angle Hall unselfishly squared the ball to Knight who finished well clipping the ball over covering defender Wood into the roof of the net.
The second half almost started in perfect style for the visitors as the kick off was curled wide to Seymour-Shove was just managed to keep the ball in play, rounded full back Grace and laid the ball back to Higgs on the edge of the box, but his effort was blocked by the covering Wood.
The expected rally from the home side came for the next fifteen minutes as they crafted three good opportunities to get back in the game. On 48 minutes the dangerous Putman found space to run at the visitors defence and he unleashed a powerful drive from 20 yards that produced a flying save low to his right by Lawrence. Four minutes later Putman was again involved as he once more picked up the ball in midfield and ran at the defence before teeing up Frederick who curled a precise effort from 20 yards just past Lawrence’s left hand post with the unsighted keeper rooted to the spot.
The home side’s best effort to get back in the game came on 58 minutes when Lambert brought down Putman just outside the box to earn himself a yellow card. Putman fired in the free kick with pace and swerve on the ball, but Lawrence was equal to it flinging himself to his right to palm the ball away.
The game was graced (or maybe disgraced) by the brief appearance of Blackett on the hour as he came on to replace Lea Coulter to give the Ducks an extra body up front. Unfortunately his only meaningful contribution to the game was to poleaxe Death with an elbow right in front of the assistant referee less than sixty seconds later. Once the referee’s attention had been called to the offence the red card was inevitable.
This made it almost impossible for the home side to get back into the game and their misery was compounded by a comical third goal for the visitors five minutes later. Grace played a gentle rolling ball back to his keeper from 35 yards out. The ever willing James Hall kept running more in hope than in anger to close down the custodian. The presence of Hall was sufficient to unnerve the jittery Bermudan who took his eye off the ball at the critical second, it bobbled on the bumpy pitch just as he went to put his foot through it and the inevitable happened as the ball rolled past Bell and crept over the line just inside the post much to the delight of the visiting fans behind the goal.
From this point on the game was dead as a contest and it drifted towards its conclusion. Ives could, and probably should, have had a couple more as an effort from Banister from 20 yards was straight at the keeper on 75 minutes. An excellent cross from Jonny Hall on the right just evaded substitutes Scott Sinclair and Stuart Eason in the centre on 85 minutes and the final effort a drive from Knight from the edge of the box one minute later after he had been teed up by Sinclair.
Overall another excellent all round performance with Adam Lawrence and Luke Smith stepping seamlessly into the team to replace the unavailable Tim Trebes and Harry O’Malley. Luke Knight took the fans man of the match award, his second in a row, for another tireless performance in the middle of the park topped off with a well taken goal.
St Ives team : Lawrence, Jonny Hall, Lambert (capt.), De’Ath, Smith, Higgs, Knight, Peters, Banister (Moyes 81), Seymour-Shove (Sinclair 72), James Hall (Eason 78)
Unused subs : None
Goals : Seymour-Shove(16), Knight(44), (Bell 67 og)
Yellow Card : Lambert
Man of the Match : Knight
Final Score : Aylesbury Utd 0 St Ives Town 3
Attendance : 161
Next 1st team match Tue 10th March 7.45pm kick off HOME to Rugby Town (League)
Next U18 match Wed 11th March 7.45pm kick off AWAY to Biggleswade Town (League)
Source : www.stivestownfc.co.uk