This was always going to be a tough challenge coming to Holloway Park to take on the side with the second best home record in the Division. However in the end the hard won point felt like it could have been more as Ives grabbed the lead with a controversial penalty just after the hour and looked capable of holding on to take all three back to Westwood Road only to be pegged back by a well take goal from the Rams tricky winger Ashleigh Artwell 12 minutes from time.
The visitors also finished the game with only ten men as Jared Cunniff saw red in a bizarre incident with four minutes to go. The same incident also saw the Rams manager dismissed to the stands. Both went for kicking a football in a dangerous manner!.
Both sides struggled to string passes together in the early stages of this game on a pitch that was clearly much bumpier than it looked. The first real action of the game came from its first corner in 15th minute. It was a dangerous in-swinger delivered from the right by Rams left winger Sam Deadfield. Ives keeper Tim Trebes managed to get fists on the ball. But his, under pressure, punch lacked distance and the ball fell to Lee Togwell inside the box. Both his effort and a follow up from Artwell were bravely blocked by defenders before the ball was finally hacked away.
Ives first shot at goal came six minutes later as skipper Luke Knight combined well down the right with Declan Rogers. The winger getting to the bye line before laying the ball back to Knight who fired his first time effort well over the bar from the edge of the box.
Trebes was called upon to make his first real save of the game only one minute later as a long ball in from the right by Tim Wohlfiel evaded everyone in the middle and arrived at the feet of Deadfield beyond the far post. He hit the ball first time and Trebes did very well to fling himself low to his left to block the well struck effort.
The visiting keeper did even better to preserve his clean sheet seven minutes before the break. Another long ball in from the right was skilfully brought down by Aaron Berry on the edge of the box. He picked out Tristan Campbell in space just inside the box. Campbell looked to pick his spot with his powerful low drive, but Trebes was again equal to it flinging himself low to his left to turn the ball onto the upright and out for a corner.
The Rams created one more good opportunity before the break as yet another delivery from the right found its way through the Ives back line and Artwell had ghosted into the centre and looked to have a free header. The flag stayed down, but the golden opportunity flashed by as the Rams striker only got poor contact on the ball and Trebes was able to watch it bounce safely past the post.
There was still time for the visitors to carve out their best move of the first half as Danny Watson and Knight combined well through the centre before the latter played in Cunniff. However he was pushed wide and when his shot came in it lacked power and was comfortably saved low down by home keeper Sam Bunting.
The referee had enjoyed a fairly good first half, but he incensed the Ives players with his first major decision of the second period. Rams centre forward Callum Bunting almost broke clear running onto a through ball. But Trebes was well positioned and came off his line quickly to hack the ball away from the striker who went tumbling just outside the box. However referee Carmichael seemed to ignore the direction the ball had travelled in from the challenge and deemed it a foul. Fortunately Artwell curled the free kick over the top. But more seriously Scott Sinclair picked up his tenth booking of the season for his verbal input to the incident. The punishment for this will see him pick up a two game ban which will include a play-off semi-final should it materialise.
The visitors were breaking forward with more purpose after the break and keeper Bunting had his fingers stung by a powerful drive from 25 yards by Jack Higgs on 55 minutes. The chance had arisen as Rogers and Watson combined well to play Draycott into space down the left and his low cross had been half cleared into the path of Higgs.
It was the Rams players turn to be incensed by a decision from referee Carmichael on 66 minutes as he failed to spot a handball on the edge of the D by Watson who was trying to bring down a long punt from Trebes. To add insult to injury the loose ball ran into the box and Cunniff and two Rams defenders both went for it and all ended in a heap. The referee blew his whistle and pointed to the spot. Even now I am not sure if it was for a foul on Cunniff, or if he deemed that the ball had hit the hand of Togwell as the defender fell in the box. It did not matter either way to Higgs as he placed the ball on the spot and rifled it into the roof of the net sending Bunting the wrong way.
Artwell had been causing lots of problems down the left throughout the second half. Although generally Ives had managed to double up on him well and if he found a way past Sinclair, Rogers was covering. But a substitution just before the goal had seen Draycott replaced by Ben Seymour-Shove who had come in on the right hand side with Rogers moving to the left.
On 76 minutes Ives were looking to push forward and Seymour-Shove was up supporting the attack. This meant he was out of position as possession changed over and Togwell saw the chance to ping the ball out to Artwell. The tricky winger grabbed his chance to cut inside Sinclair and in spite of Cunniff’s desperate attempt to cover he managed to find space on the edge of the box to fire in a shot that went through a group of players and managed to find its way into the bottom corner of the net.
The next items of note were the two bizarre dismissals which came with four minutes to go. Manager Ricky Marheineke had obviously reached the point where he had decided that this was a good point to hang onto and as a loose ball sailed in his direction he simply let it hit him on the head and bounce behind him rather than making any attempt to catch the ball. This action so enraged the Beaconsfield manager Geoff Warner that he hammered a spare ball directly at his opposite number from approximately ten yards away. Cunniff’s crime was to similarly thump the loose ball directly into the Rams dug out. A brief melee followed these actions and as matters settled down referee Carmichael called over the Rams manager and sent him to the stands. He may well have missed Cunniff’s offence, but had his attention called to it by one of his assistant’s and the inevitable second red card followed.
The ten men managed to play out the remaining time with only one further scare as a deep free kick from the left by Campbell was headed clear to Togwell who hit a rasping drive from 25 yards that the alert Trebes tipped over his crossbar.
The final verdict was another good point gained which has maintained our place in the play-off spots as those outside chasing us all lost. However the more worrying aspect is that two of our consistent regulars will now be suspended for the last League game and a possible play off semi-final.
Supporter’s man of the match for this one was goal keeper Tim Trebes for his excellent all round performance topped off by three very crucial saves. Others to push him close were centre back pairing of Charlie De’ath and Dan Moyes and skipper Luke Knight.
St Ives team : Trebes, Sinclair, Jarrold, De’ath, Moyes, Higgs, Rogers, Knight (capt), Cunniff, Watson (Phillips 76), Draycott (Seymour-Shove 65)
Unused subs : O’Malley, Brown, Warwick
Goals : Higgs 67 (pen)
Man of the Match : Tim Trebes
Final Score : Beaconsfield SYCOB 1 St Ives Town 1
Attendance : 86