This game was always going to be a tough one for the Ives with the Geordies form having picked up considerably since the turn of the year and the home side came into this game on the back of a five match unbeaten run including taking an away point off of League leaders Kings Langley in their most recent fixture.
The job was made even tougher with the pre-match news that Tim Trebes, Steve Gentle and Phil Draycott had all picked up injuries during the week. This meant a debut between the sticks for 19 year old recent signing from Histon Brendan Brown and a starting place for the experienced and ever reliable Dan Moyes. However it also meant only three substitutes were available to fill the replacements bench.
In spite of the apparent set-backs Ives started this game like a train and went close twice in the first sixty seconds. From the kick off a flowing move down the left saw the ball fed into the feet of Andrew Phillips who cleverly laid it on to Ben Seymour-Shove in space on the right. Seymour-Shove cut into the box, but wanted one touch to many and was quickly crowded out before he got his shot away. The ball was only partially cleared and was again fed back onto the left where Luis Vieira fed it in to the feet of Phillips who teed up Jared Cunniff on the edge of the box. But Cunniff’s shot lacked power and was a comfortable save for home keeper Martin Herdman.
The visitors continued to dictate the game enjoying a lot of possession and playing the ball around well in spite of the heavy conditions. The only surprise was that it took them until mid way through the first half to take the lead. The goal came from an excellent flowing move as Jack Higgs picked up the ball in the middle of the park and spayed a cross field ball into Jordan Jarrold in space on the left. Jarrold laid a well weighted pass down the wing to put the speedy Vieira away. With the home defence vainly appealing for offside the young winger drilled the ball into the near post where Phillips reacted quickest and got in front of his marker to slide the ball home from close range.
The movement from the Ives front line was creating real problems for the home defence during this period of the game and three minutes later Phillips and Seymour-Shove combined well to create space for the latter to get a shot away from deep inside the box that was bravely blocked at the last by covering defender Tom Duffy.
The Ives continued to enjoy a lot of possession for the remainder of the first period, but the resolute home defence well marshalled by skipper Duffy were so effective in snuffing out anything they could create that Herdman was not called on to make a single save. At the other end the debut making Brown was a virtual spectator throughout this first half.
The second half started very much as the first with the visitors again doing the early pressing. They won their first corner on 47 minutes and Seymour-Shove’s ins-winging flag kick from the left almost went straight in as it beat the crowd at the near post and deceived Herdman and was only stopped by a last ditch block on the line by Lee Grace at the far post.
Herdman was forced into his first save of the day eight minutes later as he plunged to his right to push away a powerful Higgs free kick from thirty yards. The free kick had been awarded for a lunging tackle on Declan Rogers by Geordies substitute Gavin Hinds-Cadette that got him a talking to from the referee.
The home side produced their first effort on target on 58 minutes as Bradley Simmonds picked himself up having been fouled by Dan Moyes 25 yards from goal. He carefully lined up the free kick and fired it around the wall straight into the grateful hands of the well positioned Brown who held on well.
Geordies manager Ray Duffy made a double substitution on the hour as he looked to spark more life into the home side and it seemed to have an effect as they started to enjoy more of the possession and look more dangerous going forward. On 68 minutes the dangerous Simmonds picked up the ball in central midfield before running at the visitors defence and unleashing a powerful drive from fully thirty yards that Brown did well to hold at the second attempt.
Four minutes later a deep cross from the right looked to be going out of play beyond the far post, but Oliver Duffy bravely hurled himself at the ball in an effort to divert it goalwards, but fortunately only managed to turn it onto the outside of the post from where it rebounded to safety. His momentum took him headlong into the boards, and we were all relieved to see him up on his feet after a period of treatment.
With fifteen minutes to go a quick break by the Ives gave them the opportunity to sew the game up as Cunniff played a well judged through ball to give Seymour-Shove the chance to fire in an effort from just inside the box that keeper Herdman spilled, but Ryan Kinane just managed to scramble the loose ball away ahead of the marauding Phillips.
Brown pulled off an excellent save to keep Ives in front only sixty seconds later as a clip over the top by Oliver Duffy floated over Scott Sinclair’s head and was met on the volley by Danilson Vicente. Brown spread himself well and made a brave block at point blank range. Charlie De’ath was on hand to hack away the loose ball.
Four minutes later Brown really earned his corn as he pulled off a world class save to leave Simmonds gasping in disbelief. The powerful midfielder battled well to win the ball off Luke Knight in the centre of the park, he strode on and lashed in a dipping drive from twenty yards that was heading for the top corner until a full stretch Brown put up a hand to tip it over the top. He equally impressively claimed the resulting corner with an excellent leap and catch to relieve the pressure in the crowded goalmouth.
This save took the wind out of the Geordies sails a little and the Ives enjoyed a brief period with the ball at the other end of the park. However the closest they came to working Herdman was a clever corner routine where Jack Warwick stepped over a low driven ball to the edge of the box, but fellow substitute Danny Watson failed to keep down his first time effort.
Brown was called into action again two minutes from the end of the ninety, but this time it was just a routine catch from a shot from 20 yards from full back Calum Duffy who was pushing forward to support his attack.
Ives had one last chance to sew things up as the game entered added time. Watson broke down the right and played the ball into the feet of the late arriving Phillips. He cleverly flicked the ball over the lunging tackle of Kinnane and volleyed the dropping ball just inches over the top from 15 yards.
The final play of the afternoon saw keeper Herdman pushing forward into the visitors box to try and unsettle the Ives defence as a long free kick was delivered into the area by Simmonds. But Moyes got a powerful header onto the free kick to direct it away from goal and the final whistle sounded on an entertaining game and another vital three points in the quest for a play-off place.
Jordan Jarrold won the travelling faithful’s vote for man of the match award for his all action display up and down the left hand side. Doing a sterling defensive job to snub out anything the Geordies tried down the right and getting forward to support the attack at every opportunity. His closest challengers were his fellow back four members and the debutant Brendan Brown who had an excellent first game.
St Ives team : Brown, Sinclair, Jarrold, De’ath (capt), Moyes, Higgs, Seymour-Shove (Watson 77), Cunniff (Warwick 83), Phillips, Rogers (Knight 66), Vieira
Unused subs : none
Goals : Phillips 22
Man of the Match : Jordan Jarrold
Final Score : Hanwell Town 0 St Ives Town 1
Attendance : 115