Tuesday 24th March 2015 – Southern League – Div 1 Central
Barton Rovers 2 St Ives Town 0
Attendance : 102
Man of the match: Luke Knight
A rousing second half display probably deserved a point, but it was a poor first half which cost the Ives the points in this game against a promotion chasing Rovers who leap frogged Royston into the play off places on the back of this result.
A depleted Ives were up against it before the start with James Hall and George Mead unavailable James Peters found himself in an unfamiliar strikers role against his former club. Skipper Jordan Lambert also returned to the defence in place of the suspended Luke Smith. But with only two players on the bench the manager’s options for change were always limited.
The Rovers started on the front foot and almost went in front after eight minutes when visiting keeper Tim Trebes and Lambert allowed prolific home striker Lewis Putman to get between them and almost get on the end of a harmless looking lob forward. Fortunately Trebes managed to gather the loose ball just in time.
After this lucky escape it would be expected that the Ives would be quick to clear their lines, but only one minute later they failed to do so and Rovers winger Rhys Hoenes could not believe his luck as he was given time and space to slip through the defence and slot the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net past the exposed Trebes.
To their credit the Ives tried to hit straight back and created their best opportunity of the first half only one minute later. A long throw from Harry O’Malley was flicked on by Stuart Eason and arrived at the feet of Jack Higgs on the edge of the box. Higgs fired in a first time shot that was blocked by a crowd of players. He calmly picked up the rebound and tried to curl the ball around the crowd and into the bottom corner, but the ball just crept past the post much to the relief of scrambling home keeper Kyle Forster.
Play quickly swung back to the other end and Ives were fortunate not to go two behind on 14 minutes as Ben Sawyer was allowed to pick up the ball in his own half and run 40 yards unchallenged before laying the ball into Hoenes who curled his effort past a stationary Trebes from 20 yards and was unlucky to see the ball rebound back into play from the crossbar. The usually deadly Putman was slow to react to the loose ball to allow Jonny Hall to complete the clearance.
Putman also squandered another glorious chance to put Rovers two up only one minute later as he was put clean through by Hoenes, but fired his shot past Trebes right hand post as the keeper closed him down.
The second goal when it did finally arrive on 23 minutes was a cracker as Hoenes picked up the ball in midfield and was again given space to move forward this time he kept his head down and fired in a fierce effort from 25 yards that rifled into the top left hand corner of Trebes net with the keeper left grasping at air.
The Rovers seemed to sit back a little after this and the visitors began to enjoy more possession in the middle of the park for the remainder of the first period. They began to pick up a series of free kicks in the home sides last third. Ben Seymour-Shove forced a diving save from keeper Forster with one of these on 26 minutes, but they failed to trouble the keeper with the others.
The second period started with the home side having a venture into the visitors half on 47 minutes that ended with Russell Bull firing wide from 25 yards. But from this point the Ives began to start their second half domination which saw them camped in the Rovers half for long periods of time, but unable to craft the goal that would have set up a potential come back.
The Ives first real chance to grab the elusive goal came on 57 minutes when Peters was fouled on the edge of the box by Kev Kilroy. Seymour-Shove curled the free kick over the wall, but could not beat Forster who tipped the ball over the top at full stretch. The resulting corner was delivered deep by Higgs and Eason won the ball cleanly beyond the far post to head it right back across goal to Higgs who fired in a first time shot from a narrow angle that keeper Forster spilled into the crowded goalmouth. The ball arrived at the feet of O’Malley on the six yard line, but the young full back snatched at his effort and fired the ball over the top.
The corner count for the visitors was now racking up and on 65 minutes Higgs curled in another in-swinger from the right that found the head of Charlie Death in the centre of goal, but his powerful header flashed past the post with the keeper rooted to his line.
The free kick count for the Ives was also clocking up and on 67 minutes Seymour-Shove curled in another effort over the wall that had keeper Forster scrambling at his near post, all he could do was knock the ball back into play, but Eason and Death got in each other’s way as they tried to pounce on the rebound and another chance went begging.
The Ives still kept pressing forward and the chances still kept coming. On 75 minutes Higgs played in an excellent through ball that put Seymour-Shove in on the left. He cleverly waited for the covering Kilroy to slide through to give himself more space, but could only fire his shot from eight yards against the legs of keeper Forster.
O’Malley found himself with a glorious chance to grab a goal back five minutes later as he arrived late at the far to another Higgs free kick that had been missed by everyone including the keeper. But much to the relief of the beaten Forster he somehow managed to get his free header over the top from point blank range.
The frustrations were building within the side at the failure to find the elusive goal and Ives were picking up needless cautions for dissent. This all came to a head five minutes from time when manager Ricky Marheineke vented his emotions at the officials over whether the ball had remained in play, or not, by the half way line. Premiership managers can get away with such an outburst as they will not be heard over the crowd. Unfortunately for Marheineke he picked a bad moment to do it as the crowd of 102 were silent at the time and the whole ground heard the tirade leaving referee Nathan Walker no option but to dismiss him to the grandstand.
This incident seemed to knock some of the momentum out of the Ives siege on the Rovers goal, but to their credit the visitors did create one final chance in the 90th minute as O’Malley delivered a good deep cross into the box from the right that was expertly brought down by Seymour-Shove, but his effort from 10 yards was blocked by the covering Bilal Hassan.
This was the proverbial game of two halves Rovers should probably have been out of site by half time. But Ives put up a barnstorming second half display that deserved to get them some reward from the game.
A tough game in which to pick a man of the match, there were a number of contenders, but no outstanding candidate. A poll of Ives fans after the final whistle put forward five options. But the man who picked up the most votes was powerful midfielder Luke Knight for the second game in a row.
St Ives team : Trebes, Lambert (capt.), De’Ath, Jonny Hall, O’Malley, Knight, Higgs, Sinclair (Bream 79), Peters (Moyes 69), Seymour-Shove, Eason
Unused subs : James Hall
Goals : None
Man of the Match : Luke Knight
Final Score : Barton Rovers 2 St Ives Town 0
Attendance : 102
Next 1st team match Sat 28th March 3pm kick off HOME to Kettering (League)
Next U18 match Thu 26th March 7.45pm kick off HOME to St Neots Town (League)
Source : www.stivestownfc.co.uk