The final away League fixture of the season is traditionally fancy dress party time for the Ives fans and they turned out in force for this one providing the already relegated Blues with their best attendance of the season at Berkeley Fields. The party atmosphere continued on the pitch as the rampant visitors put six past the sad home side with only a single reply.
The game started slowly with very little action in the first twenty minutes on a hard bobbly pitch. The only events worthy of minor note were two shots from distance by the home side, both of which ended up much closer to the gardens outside the picturesque little ground than Tim Trebes goal.
However the game sprang into life in 23rd minute as Ives took the lead from their first incisive move of the game. Harry O’Malley took a quick throw on the right into the feet of Jack Warwick. He in turn played the ball down the line to Ben Seymour-Shove, the speedy winger took a touch and fed a low cross into the box where Danny Watson reacted quickest and had the simple task of knocking the ball home from six yards.
Having got in front the visitors seemed to relax and started to knock the ball around and create opportunities against the struggling home defence. Jordan Jarrold and Phil Draycott combined well on the left four minutes later. The latter delivered a dangerous cross into the box that lead to panic amongst the Blues as Danny Bennell only succeeded in hitting his fellow defender Sam Addae with his attempted clearance the ball fell to Seymour-Shove, but his powerful drive from a narrow angle was tipped over by keeper Lewis Todd.
Draycott came close to increasing the Ives lead on the half hour as he cut out a short back pass by Kieron Gradwell and rounded keeper Todd only to see his goal bound effort from a narrow angle knocked away by the covering Addae.
Six minutes later a long free kick by Jarrold was headed on by both Watson and Charlie De’ath and the ball fell to Seymour-Shove 15 yards from goal, but he was quickly closed down and his effort was bravely blocked. The ball spun up into the air and Andrew Phillips went for a spectacular overhead kick which connected, but unfortunately flew straight at the keeper.
But Seymour-Shove was not to be denied for long as less than sixty seconds later he picked up a loose ball in the centre of the park and was allowed space to roam forward which he took and went on an angled run across the face of goal. He got to 20 yards out unchallenged and then unleashed a powerful low driven left footed strike across the keeper that nestled in the bottom corner.
The third Ives goal should have come just before the break as a long ball out of defence was expertly taken down by Philipps who fed the ball sideways into the path of Watson who suddenly found himself clear with only keeper Todd to beat. But he somehow got the ball tangled in his feet and even though the keeper went down early to present an easy target Watson failed to get the ball out of his feet before it ran on into the grateful hands of the keeper.
The Ives faithful that were a little slow out of the bar after the break missed their sides third goal that came only 90 seconds into the second period. Again it was a very simple goal as Draycott won the ball on the left hand side and played it into the stride of overlapping full back Jarrold. His first time low driven cross was met by the late arriving Watson who again had the simple task of side footing home from six yards past the totally exposed Todd.
The visitors continued to press and Seymour-Shove and Jack Higgs failed to hit the target from good positions in the next five minutes. Warwick also managed to bustle his way through on 53 minutes, only to be denied by a good block from Todd.
Just when it looked like it was going to be entirely one way traffic and just a question of how many Ives would score they were caught napping at the back as the busy centre forward Glen Yala laid a perfectly weighted ball through into the path of Blues leading scorer George Moore and he made no mistake slotting the ball past the diving Tim Trebes low into the corner of the net.
At this point Ives manager Ricky Marheineke decided it was time to freshen up his team for this game and rest a few players for Tuesday’s Play-Off Semi Final. He made a triple substitution bringing on Stuart Eason, who had been recalled this week from Spalding, Declan Rogers and fit again Louis Vieira to replace Seymour-Shove, Draycott and Phillips.
Eason was instantly into the action knocking down a high ball to Harry O’Malley who curled a dangerous out swinger into the box that Gradwell just managed to deflect away from the in rushing Watson. The resulting corner was delivered to the back post by Vieira where a stretching De’ath just managed to prevent O’Malley knocking in a free header.
Trebes was called on to make a rare save on 68 minutes as well delivered free kick from the right ws knocked on by Gradwell and Bennell got in a close range shot that the keeper did well to hold onto.
The visitors should have claimed their fourth three minutes later as an excellent passing move saw the ball fed out to Vieira wide on the right. The young winger tricked his way past full back Jonny Miller, got to the bye line, looked up and saw Warwick arriving at the near post. He picked him out perfectly and the pacey midfield man looked like he needed just a touch to knock the ball home. But it bobbled and he got underneath it to agonisingly put it over the top from four yards.
But number four soon came along as another flowing move five minutes later saw Vieira feed in overlapping full back O’Malley down the right. Another low driven cross picked out Eason sliding in at the near post and he forced the ball home from just outside the six yard box.
Two goals in the last three minutes put the icing on the cake for the Ives and delivered the final nails in the coffin for the Blues time in the Southern League. O’Malley claimed the first in 87th minute as he picked up a loose ball 30 yards from goal and was allowed to stride forward unchallenged and fire the ball into Todd’s bottom right hand corner.
The final goal came in the 89th minute as Watson tried to claim his hat trick. He tried to take down a ball into the box by Jarrold, but as he tried to turn Gradwell knocked the ball of his toe only for it to run loose in the box. Rogers was onto in a flash and skilfully rounded the keeper before hammering the ball home into the empty net.
A sad goodbye to North Greenford who are always a friendly crowd and it is a nice place to come. But the Ives go marching on and must now take this momentum into their play off visit to Egham Town on Tuesday evening. Supporter’s man of the match was the all action Danny Watson who claimed his fifth brace of the season, but the hat trick again alluded him. A play off fixture would be the perfect time for it to come along.
St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, Jarrold, De’ath, Moyes, Higgs, Seymour-Shove (Rogers 66), Warwick, Phillips (Eason 66), Watson, Draycott (Vieira 66)
Unused subs : Gentle, Brown
Goals : Watson 23, 47, Seymour-Shove 37, Eason 76, O’Malley 87, Rogers 89
Supporters Man of the Match : Danny Watson
Final Score : North Greenford United 1 St Ives Town 6
Attendance : 158