Result: Marlow FC 2 St Ives Town 1

Saturday 25th April 2015 – Southern League – Div 1 Central

Marlow FC 2 St Ives Town 1

Although this game was decided by an injury time penalty the Ives really lost out due to yet another poor first half performance.

The visitors were missing the suspended Charlie Death and Ben Seymour-Shove, and suffered another blow when powerful midfielder James Peters was taken ill on the morning of the match. Luke Smith came in at centre back and Dan Moyes started in an unfamiliar wide left role. The changes may have been influential, but can be no excuse, for the slow start, which has become an all to familiar pattern in recent away games.

The Blues got in their first strike on goal after only four minutes as Lee Barney fed the ball through a gap in the visitors defence to give Sanchez Cammock the opportunity of a shot from 20 yards that was straight at keeper Tim Trebes, but he struggled to hold onto at the second attempt.

The home side continued to enjoy the majority of possession for the next twenty minutes with Ives struggling to get a foothold in the game and unable to create a single opportunity.

The Blues were gifted the lead on 24 minutes as keeper Trebes came for an in-swinging corner, but completely missed the ball. He was saved at the far post by Moyes who managed to keep the ball out, but it ran loose to Marcus Mealing on the edge of the box, his driven shot into the crowded box was turned home from close range by the alert Lewis Gabbidon giving Trebes no chance.

It could have been worse for Ives only one minute later as Riche Whittingham ran onto a long ball from defence and beat Trebes to the bouncing ball on the edge of the box, but fortunately the fast closing keeper had just done sufficient to put Whittingham off and he failed to hit the target with his attempted lob.

Harry O’Malley came to the visitor’s rescue three minutes later as he just managed to get his head to a dangerous ball delivered into the centre of the box by Jamal Branker, ahead of the lurking Mealing.

The visitor’s only attempt at goal in the first period came on 34 minutes as Jonny Hall found space in the home box to get on the end of a well delivered Jack Higgs corner, but his free header failed to hit the target.

Normal first half service was resumed for the remaining eleven minutes as the Blues continued to stretch the hard worked visitors defence. On 41 minutes Cammock laid through a perfectly weighted ball to Mealing on the right and he cleverly laid the ball back to Jahson Downes in space on the edge of the box. But Downes snatched at the chance and his powerful drive only rattled the boards beside the goal.

As seems to have been the case in recent matches manager Ricky Marheineke was called upon to rouse his troops in the half time interval and once again this seemed to work as Ives were level within four minutes of the re-start.

The goal came courtesy of a couple of mistakes by home keeper Oneal Garnes, his first was a poor kick which was won cleanly in the air by Jonny Hall just inside the home half. Brother James Hall ran onto the powerful header, but was only third favourite to get to the ball behind covering defender Branker and keeper Garnes. However both of the Blues players hesitated and the ever willing Hall managed to get to the ball first and lift it over the keeper. There was still an agonising moment for Ives fans as the ball bounced it’s way slowly towards the vacant net. Will Muzuimbiri was shadowing it and no one was sure if he was in an offside position, or not. Fortunately the young Zimbabwean showed the presence of mind to simply allow the ball to bounce on into the goal.

The home side had lost influential skipper Gabbidon with a hamstring injury at half time and the lack of his presence, plus a changed formation with O’Malley moving up into midfield and Moyes dropping in at right back, and a new more purposeful approach by Ives saw them take control of the game from this point.

On 53 minutes a long throw from Jonny Hall was skilfully brought down by Muzuimbiri, who laid the ball back to Scott Sinclair on the corner of the box. His first time effort was well held by Garnes.

Five minutes later a Luke Knight free kick was won in the air by Muzuimbiri who headed the ball down to Higgs, he turned expertly on the edge of the box, but his shot lacked power and Garnes saved low to his left.

On 66 minutes O’Malley found space to run at the home defence and beat two players before laying a low ball into the box that keeper Garnes bravely claimed at the feet of the in-rushing Muzuimbiri.

The Blues were still looking dangerous on the break and one minute later Downes found space to thread through a perfectly weighted pass to put Cammock clear through the left channel. Cammock skilfully slotted the ball past the advancing Trebes, but the ever reliable Jordan Lambert was on hand to clear the ball away from goal.

Keeper Garnes proved the home side’s hero twice in less than a minute on 69 minutes. First he flew through the air to tip over a perfectly struck dipping Muzuimbiri volley from a narrow angle after he had been teed up by James Hall. The resulting corner was won in the air by Smith who only succeeded in heading the ball back to corner taker Higgs. Higgs fired in a first time volley across the box that the flying Garnes leapt to tip off Muzuimbiri’s head at the far post.

Ten minutes later the Hall twins again combined down the left with Jonny putting James away down the line. Home centre back Alex Salmon had to dive full length to head Hall’s dangerous cross away from the well positioned Muzuimbiri.

Having weathered the storm the Blues suddenly began to get more adventurous as time ticked away and with only one minute of normal time left home substitute Sam Rarity found himself in space 25 yards from goal. He looked up and fired in rasping drive that beat Trebes, but rebounded to safety off the top of the crossbar.

The third and decisive gifted goal came one minute into added time as hesitation between Smith and Trebes over who was dealing with a long ball allowed tricky substitute Devontae Romeo to slip between them and nick the ball. Trebes made a valiant attempt to tip the ball off his toes, but only succeeded in bringing him down just inside the box.

The referee who was right on the spot had no hesitation in awarding a penalty which Blues leading scorer Barney despatched emphatically sending Trebes the wrong way as his powerful shot went to the keeper’s right.

Ives had one last chance to grab an equaliser in the fourth minute of added time after Sinclair was brought down 30 yards out. Higgs delivered a dangerous in-swinging free kick with everyone including Trebes in the home box. O’Malley got his head to the ball on the penalty spot but could only direct his header straight at Garnes.

The referee’s whistle sounded immediately after that to bring a disappointing end to the season. But on reflection it has been another season of progress for the Ives with a highest every finish in the football pyramid and a points tally better than last year. With exciting times ahead next year with the ground share with Cambridge City in place, the scholarship programme starting and the best supporters in the League who knows how far we can go, play off’s at this time next season?

A poll amongst supporters on the coach saw Jordan Lambert claim a well earned man of the match award just ahead of Will Muzuimbiri, Jonny Hall, Luke Knight and Scott Sinclair.

Nigel Howlett

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St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, Smith, Lambert (capt.), Jonny Hall, Moyes (Eason 78), Higgs, Knight, Sinclair, Muzuimbiri (Mead 85), James Hall

Unused subs :  Horrey

Goals : James Hall 49
Man of the Match : Jordan Lambert
Final Score :  Marlow FC 2 St Ives Town 1
Attendance  :  169

Final U18 match Tuesday 28th April 7.45pm kick off AWAY to Godmanchester (League)

Source : www.stivestownfc.co.uk