Saturday 8th August 2015 – Southern League Division One Central
Kings Langley 1 St Ives Town 1
Ives skipper Luke Knight owed his gallant colleagues a huge apology as they fought back from conceding an early goal and losing Knight, to two needless yellow cards in less than a minute midway through the first half, to earn an excellent point in their season opener at newly promoted Kings Langley.
The visitors just cannot seem to shake the habit of starting games slowly and the found themselves behind to the opening corner of the match after only five minutes. Tim Trebes did well to get a hand onto Alex Campana’s well delivered corner, but his tip away fell to Danny May in space beyond the far post and his first time effort from 12 yards was unstoppable.
The home side continued to enjoy the majority of possession and went close again from their next corner on 16 minutes. This time Campana laid the ball back to the edge of the box where he found Danny Hutchins in space, but his first time effort flew just wide of the near post.
Four minutes later overlapping full back Jack Pattison got away down the right and delivered a dangerous ball in towards the near post. Steve Gentle did well to head the ball away at full stretch, but it fell to May 20 yards out, he rolled it sideways to tee up Connor Toomey who failed to hit the target with a rising drive.
Trebes was almost caught out a minute later as he misjudged a long ball over the top and allowed it to bounce over him, Mitchell Weiss managed to pounce on the loose ball, but Trebes blushes were saved by Dan Moyes who managed to cover behind him and block the shot from a narrow angle.
The turning moments of the game came in the 23rd and 24th minutes as Knight picked up two silly yellow cards in less than sixty seconds. The first came as he abused the referee over the award of a free kick deep in the home half. The second as he lead with his forearm when he launched himself into a challenge on the half way line right in front of the referee. He was perhaps a little fortunate that the official only deemed this challenge worthy of a second yellow card which will earn him a one game ban rather than a straight red which would have got him a three game suspension.
The pattern of play continued with the Kings enjoying the majority of possession and playing some nice passing football. The dangerous Weiss created a chance for himself on 29 minutes as he turned Moyes and got a run on goal, but Trebes was quick to close him down and did well to block his effort from 15 yards.
Manager Ricky Marheineke decided to sacrifice Stuart Eason and replaced him with on loan winger Luis Viera on 32 minutes. This allowed the combative Phil Draycott to move inside and fill the void left by the dismissal of Knight.
The home side almost went two goals up only three minutes after this change with an audacious effort from May. He spotted Trebes off his line as he was taking a free kick on the half way line and with almost no change to his run up directed the kick straight on goal. Trebes knew he was beaten and was mightily relieved to see the ball cannon back into play from his left hand post.
The visitors suffered another blow just before half time as Ben Seymour-Shove suffered a nasty knee injury which resulted in him leaving the field to be replaced by Luca Dusi.
In spite of all of their first half setbacks Ives got the ball in the net deep into first half injury time. A Jordan Jarrold long throw was flicked on by Gentle and fell at the feet of Draycott who rolled the ball across goal for Danny Watson to turn it home at the far post only to be denied by an assistant’s offside flag.
Visitor’s keeper Trebes kept them in the game early in the second period as Weiss found space in the box to fire in a shot from close range that Trebes did well to push away on 48 minutes. He did even better four minutes later as he dived full length to tip away a powerful drive from 12 yards by home substitute Steve Ward after he had been played through by Weiss.
After these early scares the visitors ten men settled down in a shape that the home side were finding very difficult to penetrate with two very narrow banks of four. Whilst they were only one down they were always in with a chance of grabbing an equaliser and that is exactly what they did in spectacular fashion on 61 minutes. A long ball from defence by Jordan Jarrold was challenged for in the air by Watson, he was beaten to it by home centre back Stuart Deaton, but Draycott was quick to react and picked up the loose ball 35 yards from goal. He needed no second invitation and let loose a screamer that flew past the startled home keeper Ant Ladyman and just inside the far post.
This really gave the Ives something to hang onto and their defensive formation began to look even more formidable. The Kings were able to play in front of these defensive lines, but unable to penetrate them. They found themselves restricted to shots from distance that were mostly blocked by fearless defenders, or flew harmlessly high or wide. Toomey seemed to be the home player most willing to try his luck, but he fired well over from 25 yards out on 64 minutes and curled another effort just over from a similar distance nine minutes later.
Ives came close to completing what would have been a real smash and grab raid with ten minutes to go as a long cross field ball from Harry O’Malley found the ever willing Watson in space on the left. He cut inside covering defender Deaton, but Ladyman was down smartly to his right to smother Watson’s effort from the edge of the box.
The Ives defence, well marshalled by Gentle, continued to restrict the home side’s chances in the remaining period. The only effort of note being a powerful low drive from 30 yards from May that was well saved low to his right by Trebes on 82 minutes.
So the first point of the season gathered the hard way, it was just about deserved for the 120% effort put in by the ten men after Knight’s early dismissal. A special mention must also go to young Luca Dusi who was thrown into the action late in the first half and did a sterling job winning tackles and doing the simple things well just in front of the back four.
But the man of the match vote went to our colossus at the back who won every header in commanding fashion and marshalled those around him throughout.
St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, Jarrold, Moyes, Gentle, Knight (capt), Seymour-Shove (Dusi 42), Higgs, Eason (Viera 32), Watson (Simons 82), Draycott
Unused subs : Bexfield, Peacock
Goals : Draycott 61
Supporters Man of the Match : Steven Gentle
Final Score : Kings Langley 1 St Ives Town 1
Attendance : 120