Thursday 1st January 2015 – Southern League – Div 1 Central
Bedford Town 2 St Ives Town 0
Attendance : 281
Man of the match: Jordan Lambert
It was a tough opening to 2015 for the Ives as they battled hard, but came away from the Eyrie, with nothing. Missing a couple of regulars the visitors struggled to get a foothold in the game and were comfortably beaten in the end by a goal in each half from Eagles Russell Bull.
The game started with both sides struggling to come to terms with a strong wind and a bumpy pitch. Neither side was able to create even a half chance in the first fifteen minutes.
The first chance was carved out by Eagles leading scorer Tom Liversedge as he picked up the ball on the left and took on Luke Smith on the inside. He fired in a crisp drive across keeper Tim Trebes from the angle of the 18 yard box that Trebes did well to parry away. Jonny Hall completed the clearance just ahead of the inrushing Bull.
Only one minute later Greg Ling got in on the act as he picked up a loose ball 25 yards from goal, steadied himself, and curled the ball just wide of Trebes right hand post with the keeper launching himself full length to cover the effort.
It was very much one way traffic for the next fifteen minutes with Ives defence being fully stretched and it was no surprise when they fell behind during this period. Jordan Lambert did well to keep them level on 23 minutes as he dived, full length, to head a driven cross from full back Paul Cooper just past his own upright. However this escape was only temporary as the resulting corner was cleared to Kieran Fitzgerald in midfield, he was quickly closed down and robbed by Josh Winters who sprayed the ball wide to Ling. Ling’s driven cross was met perfectly by Bull at the near post and he gave Trebes no chance from close range.
The home side’s pressure continued and Stuart Smeathers came close to increasing the lead two minutes later as he leapt highest to power in a header from another Ross Oulton corner. Trebes did well to parry the header but Bull picked up the loose ball and laid it to Josh Winters in space. Fortunately for the visitors Winters snatched at his shot and fired well over the top from 12 yards.
Ives created their first effort at goal on 29 minutes. Ben Seymour-Shove was brought down wide on the left. He picked himself up and curled in the free kick that was half cleared to Lambert beyond the far post. He laid the ball back to Fitzgerald, his driven ball into the box rebounded to Seymour-Shove closing in on the edge of the box. Seymour-Shove miscued his shot, but the ball fell to Jack Higgs 20 yards out. Higgs fired in a fierce goal bound drive that cannoned to safety off an unsuspecting Smeathers.
Manager Ricky Marheineke changed things around at this point pushing Fitzgerald out wide and bringing Scott Sinclair inside. It seemed to work as Ives enjoyed their best period of possession in the game with Fitzgerald enjoying the extra space on the right. Higgs had two efforts in the next ten minutes that required saves from home keeper Danzelle St Louis-Hamilton. On 32 minutes he curled a free kick from 30 yards over the wall, but it lacked sufficient power to test the home stopper who made a comfortable catch. The second on 40 minutes from five yards closer tested him a little more as it was deflected and was spinning wickedly, but he held on well.
James Peters was next to try his luck for the Ives on 42 minutes after an excellent cross field pass by Higgs had found Fitzgerald in space and he had laid the ball back to Peters who curled in an effort from 30 yards that just evaded the inrushing Sinclair and the far post.
The final effort of the half came only one minute later when Fitzgerald again found space and laid the ball across to the all action Higgs, he hit a first time effort from 25 yards that the keeper could not hold onto, but Seymour-Shove was halted by the assistant’s flag as he closed on the loose ball.
After finishing the first half on the front foot we were all hopeful that the Ives would push on in search of an equaliser. They made a change at half time replacing the strangely quiet Will Muzuimbiri with the silky skills of Jon Stead. However it was the Eagles who pushed on at the start of the second period and doubled their advantage only one minute in.
Oulton found space on the right and curled in a dangerous in-swinging cross that Lambert did well to flick out for a corner. Oulton curled in the resulting corner and Smeathers rose highest at the near post to power in a header that rattled the crossbar and bounced down onto the line. Liversedge and Bull both reacted like true strikers to pounce on the loose ball and force it over the line. Bull claimed the final touch to grab his second of the game.
To their credit the visitors kept battling and created the next half chance three minutes later as crisp inter passing between Peters and Stead saw the latter set Seymour-Shove away down the right. His dangerous cross into the box was just headed away from Fitzgerald by Jeff Woodward.
The game drifted through the next 20 minutes with the Eagles looking comfortable without really creating any further chances and the Ives working hard to hang in and try to create something that could get them back into the match.
The next incident worthy of note came on 70 minutes when Stead curled in one of his precise free kicks from the right hand side into a dangerous area between keeper and defenders on the centre of the six yard line. The keeper stayed on his line and it took all of the experience of Woodward to place his defensive header to safety with Charlie Death rising to pounce just behind him.
This sparked the Eagles into a further raid and Bull again showed his strength as he muscled past Smith on the left and drove a cross into the box that Substitute Kerran Birch should have buried, but he placed his free header from eight yards out over the top with the goal at his mercy.
Substitutions were now breaking up the game and one of these was notable in the 76th minute as it marked the welcome return after long term injury of Dan Moyes as he came on for James Peters in a bold move to go three at the back by manager Marheineke. Moyes slotted in on the right, Death in the centre and Smith on the left with Lambert moving up to centre forward and Hall moving further forward.
However even with the change in formation Ives were still struggling to create chances. They did manage to win their first corner of the game on 79 minutes and Hall did well to get free beyond the far post, but he failed to direct his header back into the danger area.
The final chance of a consolation goal came one minute into added time when Lambert won the ball in midfield and laid it out to the still hard working Seymour-Shove on the left. Seymour-Shove found Fitzgerald with his low cross to the near post, but Josh McGoldrick was on hand to nick the ball off the young striker’s toe as he shaped to shoot.
Overall a game where the Ives worked very hard and enjoyed good periods of possession in midfield, but failed to look threatening in the box and were punished by two poachers goals by a strong and experienced Eagles side.
St Ives team : Trebes, Smith, Hall, Lambert (capt.), Death, Peters (Moyes 76), Sinclair, Muzuimbiri (Stead 45), Higgs, Fitzgerald, Seymour-Shove
Unused subs : Eason
Goals : None
Yellow cards : Seymour-Shove, De’ath
Man of the Match : Jordan Lambert
Final Score : Bedford Town 2 St Ives Town 0
Attendance : 281
Next 1st team match Sat 3rd January 3pm kick off AWAY to Godmanchester Rovers (Hunts Senior Cup)
Next U18 match Mon 5th January 7.45pm kick off AWAY to PNS U18’s (League)
Source : www.stivestownfc.co.uk