This hard fought point could prove vital at the end of the season. It was never going to be easy making a long trip to the home of the in-form Gs who had already turned over our promotion rivals Rushden and Royston at Wey Court. Manager Ricky Marheineke admitted he would have taken a point before the game started. However we came away feeling a little disappointed as, despite not playing well, the Ives took the lead on the half hour. Then saw the home side reduced to ten men eight minutes later and only conceded by giving the home side a silly penalty early in the second half.
The home side tore into the Ives from the off and should have gone in front in only the eighth minute as Darren Wheeler and Nick Hutchings combined well on the left. The latter being played into space beyond Scott Sinclair from where he delivered an inviting ball into the centre of the box. Will Hutton timed his run to perfection and had time and space to guide his free header past the exposed Tim Trebes, but he somehow managed to direct the ball over the angle from just eight yards out.
Wheeler was looking particularly dangerous down the left and six minutes later he skipped around Ben Seymour-Shove to deliver another pin point cross that again picked out the late arriving Will Hutton at the far post. He again failed to hit the target from an excellent position just eight yards from goal.
The Ives were desperately trying to keep the rampant Gs at bay and it took a very well timed tackle from Jordan Jarrold to prevent Louis Hutton putting them in front only one minute later. Another ball in from Wheeler on the left arrived at the feet of Louis Hutton on the edge of the box. He played a slick one two with Joao Andrade and looked to be going clear until Jarrold’s last second intervention took the ball off his toe.
Seymour-Shove was working like a Trojan helping out at the back where necessary and also trying to provide something of an outlet for the visitors. He ran onto a long ball out of defence down the left in the 17th minute. His first attempt at a cross was blocked, but the ball rebounded back to his feet and he curled in a dangerous in-swinging cross that Andrew Phillips attacked in the air. Unfortunately he could not direct his header down under heavy pressure from Tom Willment and Chris Musgrove.
The game began to settle with the home side enjoying the lion’s share of possession, but the Ives defence staying solid and looking to spring their trademark fast breaks at every opportunity.
The opening goal came almost out of nothing on 31 minutes. Charlie De’ath delivered a long free kick from inside his own half. Phil Draycott got a perfect flick on it and the ball arrived at the feet of Danny Watson on the edge of the box. With his back to goal their looked little danger, but he cleverly turned his man and fired in a low shot that beat home keeper Oneal Garnes low to his right and found the back of the net.
With their confidence high Ives now enjoyed their only period of the game where they had good possession and the odds looked to be going even more in their favour seven minutes later when a moment of madness from Will Hutton saw him receive his marching orders. Seymour-Shove was foraging on the left by the corner flag when he was brought down by Charlie Hutton. Inexplicably Will Hutton decided he must get involved and rushed in to kick Seymour-Shove right in front of referee Kieran Bailey who immediately went to his pocket and produced a red card.
When things had settled down Draycott delivered the free kick that was powerfully met by Steve Gentle at the far post. Unfortunately he could only direct his header straight into the hands of Garnes.
The final opportunity of the first period also fell to the Ives as Jarrold roamed forward from left back and played a ball in to the feet of Luke Knight deep in Gs territory. Knight played the ball onto Seymour-Shove then cleverly held his ground on the edge of the box. Seymour-Shove picked him out perfectly with the pull back, but he fired his powerful drive well over the top.
The ten man G’s reorganised at half time and came out determined to get back into the game. But the Ives had an excellent opportunity to double their advantage only six minutes after the re-start. Seymour-Shove was still battling for everything and he managed to nick the ball off Musgrove as he tried to shield it out of play, forcing the big defender to bring him down. Draycott delivered an in-swinging free kick from wide on the right that somehow evaded everyone in the centre and flashed across goal at head height only four yards out.
The visitors were made to rue this missed opportunity as the ten men pulled level only two minutes later. Hutchings picked up a ball in midfield and was allowed to move forward into space before unleashing a dipping, swerving, pile driver that beat Trebes all ends up, but cannoned back into play off the underside of the crossbar. Inexplicably De’ath put his hand up and punched away the bouncing ball. He earned himself a yellow card and gave the G’s an unexpected route back into the game. Wheeler made no mistake with a well taken spot kick to level the game up.
The Ives reacted well to this setback and went close to going back in front only four minutes later. The hard working Seymour-Shove was put clear down the right by Jack Higgs. He delivered a low ball into the box which picked out Watson who failed to hit the target with his first time effort from ten yards.
In spite of their lack of numbers the home side were still ruling the possession and at times it was difficult to tell which side had one man less. They went close to going in front in 69th minute as Wheeler played a ball into the feet of Andrade who turned well inside the box and got in a shot from close range that Trebes did well to parry away.
Most of the opportunities that were coming the way of the visitors were being created by fast breaks and involved the continued hard running of Seymour-Shove. He was played into space on the right by an excellent Higgs through ball in 73rd minute and Garnes was forced to push away his fierce drive at his near post.
Ives final opportunity to clinch all three points came in the 79th minute when a Higgs corner from the right evaded all of the big boys at the near post and arrived at the feet of substitute Ben Keating at the far post. His effort to bundle the ball home was blocked on the line by Steve Laidler and the rebound bounced wide off of Keating.
The home side had two opportunities to claim the win in the remaining time. In 85th minute Louis Hutton picked out the marauding Hutchings in space 25 yards from goal. This time he went for precision rather than power and was unlucky to see his curled effort go inches wide of the far post with Trebes scrambling across his goal.
The final opportunity of the game was created by Hutchings with two minutes to go as he floated in a ball from the left that picked out home substitute Matt Anton. He looked to be well offside, but the flag did not go up. Fortunately rather than try and bring the ball down and go for goal he rather strangely played the ball away from goal and the chance was gone.
All in all I am going to say one point gained, although it was certainly a strange game against a very good opposition who appear to be in a false position in the table. It is not often that a side reduced to ten men will then enjoy the majority of possession, but that certainly happened in this game. However it was a game where we did not play well, but still came away with a point and but for one moment of madness from the normally very reliable Charlie De’ath we could have got all three.
On a day when not many of the lads can say they played their best the man of the match award went to Ben Seymour-Shove for his sheer endeavour and one hundred percent effort throughout this game. He did his work of covering back when needed and was involved in most of the creative play for the Ives on the day. There were not many blades of grass he did not cover on this pitch in earning the award from the travelling faithful.
St Ives team : Trebes, Sinclair, Jarrold, De’ath, Gentle, Knight, Seymour-Shove, Higgs, Phillips (Keating 67), Watson (Eason 80), Draycott (Rogers 67)
Unused subs : none
Goals : Watson 31
Supporters Man of the Match : Ben Seymour-Shove
Final Score : Godalming Town 1 St Ives Town 1
Attendance : 124