Saturday 4th April 2015 – Southern League – Div 1 Central
Chalfont St Peter 3 St Ives Town 1
Attendance : 51
Man of the match: Will Muzuimbiri
A poor first half by the Ives allowed the grateful Saints to pick up an unexpected three points with their first win since New Year’s Day!
The visitors were without Charlie Death (holiday), Luke Knight (injury) and Stuart Eason (illness). Dan Moyes retained his place at centre back after his outstanding performance last week against Kettering and the Ives welcomed back James Hall into the starting line up, alongside Kieran Fitzgerald with his first start since his departure to Stamford in January. James Horrey was the latest of the Under 18’s to step up into the first team squad and he was joined on the bench by another unexpected returnee in Will Muzuimbiri.
Fitzgerald got on the end of the first half chance of the game in the sixth minute as Harry O’Malley picked him out with a long ball in from the right. But Fitzgerald was unable to bring the ball fully under control and it ran off his thigh through to home keeper Mickey Pearce.
James Peters did a little better with an almost identical opportunity three minutes later as he managed to get his shot away, but it was blocked by covering defender Gareth Paxton and O’Malley fired the rebound well over from 25 yards.
Tony Mendy gave the visitor’s their first indication that the game was not going to be a cake walk on eleven minutes as he got on the end of a through ball by Luke Brook-Smith and looked to be going clear. But a very well timed covering challenge by Jonny Hall managed to nick the ball off his toe just as he shaped to shoot.
The Ives did not learn from this lucky escape and fell behind only three minutes later as Mendy again found space on the left side of goal and fired the ball across the box to pick out Brook-Smith in even more space at the far post. He unselfishly teed up home skipper Alan Hedley who gleefully fired the Saints in front from close range.
The Ives tried for an instant repost as Ben Seymour-Shove delivered a high ball into the box from the right. Keeper Pearce leapt to punch away above Fitzgerald, the ball fell to Peters on the edge of the box, but he failed to hit the target with his chipped effort.
The home side, who had been struggling for goals since before Christmas, could not believe their luck as they went two in front only ten minutes later. Brook-Smith fed the ball through the centre to Mendy who somehow found himself in acres of space. Tim Trebes quickly closed him down as he entered the box and did well to block the initial shot low to his right, but Adam Louth was following up and rolled the loose ball into the empty net.
The spark seemed to be completely lacking in a lacklustre performance from the visitors who were struggling to create any worthwhile opportunities against a shaky looking home defence. A good looking opportunity went begging on 39 minutes when James Hall wandered into an offside position as he tried to put Fitzgerald clear into the box.
Three minutes later Scott Sinclair managed to register the Ives first effort of note on goal for almost half an hour as he rose majestically above his marker to win a header at the far post. But his powerful effort flew well over the top. Home keeper Pearce was forced into his first save of the half as the game entered added time. Seymour-Shove ran onto a James Hall flick and fired a fierce shot from 15 yards that a well positioned Pearce palmed away for a corner.
After a half time roasting from the management team that could be heard at the tea bar, we were all expecting the Ives to come out with all guns blazing for the second period. But the closest they came was a tame free kick from 25 yards straight into the keeper’s hands by Seymour-Shove on 46 minutes and a shot from outside the box by Higgs seven minutes later that was blocked by Paxton and failed to trouble the keeper.
The home side happily soaked up these forays and then sewed up the game with their first venture into Ives territory in the second period on 57 minutes. Mendy found space down the centre again and was allowed to fire in a shot from just inside the box that Trebes did well to save low to his left. Two Ives defenders had chance to clear, but failed to do so and the ball fell back to Mendy who made no mistake from ten yards.
Manager Ricky Marheineke quickly made two changes bringing on Will Muzuimbiri and Luke Smith for the struggling Fitzgerald and Moyes. Muzuimbiri instantly added some spark to the side and quickly won a tackle in midfield and fizzed a ball across goal that just evaded the inrushing Seymour-Shove at the far post.
Six minutes later he was involved again as the visitors carved out their best chance of the afternoon to date. He won a poor goal kick forty yards from goal and played in Seymour-Shove down the right. James Hall got on the end of Seymour-Shove’s teasing cross, but failed to hit the target from close range.
With the Ives now well on top and desperately seeking an equaliser the Saints got a breakaway that should have really put the icing on the cake for them. A flowing move involving a number of players ended with Mendy setting up Louth for a first time volley from 25 yards. The shot flew past a stationary Trebes and thudded into the upright. Aaron Lansiquot was first to react and pounced on the loose ball by the penalty spot, but with the goal at his mercy he somehow managed to get the ball tangled in his feet and screwed his shot well wide.
After this lucky escape from 4-0 the Ives resumed their Muzuimbiri inspired assault on the home goal. On 75 minutes O’Malley tried a snap shot from 30 yards that flew only just wide of Pearce’s right hand post with the keeper scrambling across his goal to cover it. Two minutes later Seymour-Shove found space in the box to get a shot away, but it was deflected into the air by covering defender Glenn Yala and a fast back peddling Pearce did well to tip the ball over the top. O’Malley won the resulting corner in the air at the near post, but his powerful header only billowed the side netting.
Young James Horrey got his well deserved first team debut with eight minutes to go and quickly got involved in the centre of the park winning a couple of tackles and laying the ball off to team mates to win the plaudits of his colleagues and visiting fans alike.
Ives grabbed their consolation goal with four minutes to go as Muzuimbiri was brought down 25 yards from goal. Seymour-Shove carefully lined up the free kick and curled it over the wall to beat the diving keeper and hit the post. Muzuimbiri was first to react and force the ball over the line to grab a well deserved goal from close range.
As the game entered added time young Horrey picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and surged forward before being brought down to give Ives an almost identical chance on the right hand side of goal. This time Higgs spotted the ball and curled it over the wall, but was just a yard wide with his well struck effort.
So the home side gratefully took the three points with their first win for three months and an Ives side who looked like they probably thought they only had to turn up to win left Mill Meadow with what they deserved. The only players to come out of this game with credit were the three substitutes who all raised the Ives level after entering the fray. Will Muzuimbiri took the man of the match award on his return with Luke Smith and James Horrey the only others to push him close.
St Ives team : Trebes, Lambert (capt.), Moyes (Smith 63), Jonny Hall, O’Malley, Peters (Horrey 82), Higgs, Sinclair, Seymour-Shove, James Hall, Fitzgerald (Muzuimbiri 59)
Unused subs : None
Goals : Muzuimbiri(86)
Man of the Match : Muzuimbiri
Final Score : Chalfont St Peter 3 St Ives Town 1
Attendance : 51
Next 1st team match Mon 6th April 3pm kick off HOME to Bedford Town (League)
Next U18 match Thu 9th April 7.45pm kick off HOME to Royston Town (League)
Source : www.stivestownfc.co.uk