Saturday 12th December 2015 – Southern League Division One Central
Northwood 1 St Ives Town 1
After the Ives previous two visits to Northwood Park which both resulted in very comfortable wins for the home side they probably came into this game a little nervously. But this season’s side are made of much sterner stuff and did not allow themselves to get bullied out of it by the big, strong, North London side. They scored their first ever goal against the Woods and will be disappointed not to leave with all three points.
With six first team regulars missing through injury, or unavailability, manager Ricky Marheineke gave a debut to new signing Scott Joseph who showed some excellent touches and a good turn of pace, but was understandably a little rusty having played very little in the recent past.
The game started in quite open fashion with both sides probing each other’s defences with some swift attacking play. The first danger at either end came from a Jordan Jarrold free kick from fully forty yards that he dropped in the danger zone between the keeper and his defenders to force Woods centre back James Budden into conceding a corner.
Three minutes later Scott Sinclair won a challenging in midfield and lobbed a ball forward that caused hesitation in the box between home keeper Berkley Laurencin and full back Alex Nolan that allow Ben Seymour-Shove to nip in, but he could only direct his header onto the top of the goal.
The home sides first dangerous attack came on 12 minutes as Niko Muir played a good crossfield ball to put away overlapping full back Andy Lomas down the left. His pull back into the box was powerfully met by Joakim Ehui at the far post, but skipper Charlie De’ath was on hand to bravely block the effort from close range.
Play swung instantly to the other end where Budden dallied on the clearance just outside his own box and was robbed by Joseph. Unfortunately the debutant striker did not realise that he was completely clear and took an early shot from the edge of the box that was well held low to his right by Laurencin.
Four minutes later and play was back down the other end as Rob Hastings ran onto a ball over the top down the right and beat Ives keeper Tim Trebes to it as the ball held up on the wind. Hastings got around the keeper and delivered the ball into the box, but fortunately for the visitor’s custodian Steve Gentle was in the right spot to save his blushes and power a header away from danger.
Once again it was Ives turn to attack two minutes later as Seymour-Shove got away down the left and drove in a low cross that was cleverly dummied at the near post by Joseph and just scrambled away from Sinclair at the far post by Lomas.
The visitors went in front on 21 minutes with a well taken goal from leading scorer Danny Watson. Joseph battled for a high ball against Budden and got a knock on, the ball fell to Jared Cunniff who cleverly drew in the defenders before playing the ball into Watson just inside the box and Watson made no mistake powering the ball past Laurencin from 15 yards and taking a clattering for his pains as the beaten keeper ploughed on into him.
Unfortunately the Ives were only in front for nine minutes and the equaliser came from an uncharacteristic error by Gentle as he misjudged a long ball down the middle from Lomas that held up on the breeze. Myles Stephenson instantly latched onto the loose ball and ran on to calmly slot the ball past the exposed Trebes.
Ives best move of the game came in the 34th minute as Sinclair, Peter Clark and Cunniff combined in a flowing passing move through the centre of the Woods defence that finished with a crisp drive from the latter from just outside the box that was deflected away for a corner.
The final chance of the first period came from the home side’s first corner on 39 minutes. It was delivered from the left by Ehui and was met with a stooping header at the near post by Stephenson, but fortunately he could only direct the ball straight into the midriff of keeper Trebes who held on well.
The second period promised much after the end to end entertainment of the first, but the game deteriorated into a midfield battle in which neither side could really gain the ascendency. The only efforts at goal in the first 25 minutes of the half were long range efforts from Lomas and Louis Stead neither of which troubled Trebes.
In the 70th minute home substitute Max Holland who had only been on a couple of minutes was given the chance to run at Jordan Jarrold on the edge of the box, but the young Ives full back did his job well and forced the winger wide and eventually robbed him and fed the ball up the park. Sinclair picked it up in midfield and fed in an exquisite pass with the outside of his foot to put Ives Sub Chae Simons away on the right. Simons cut in and drove the ball across the six yard box where Seymour-Shove sliding in at the far post was extremely unlucky to see his effort cannon to safety off the upright with Laurencin struggling to get across.
Ives were now getting well on top and looking the only likely winners at this stage with Cunniff, Clark and Sinclair all working very hard in midfield and the ever willing Simons constantly causing problems to the Woods defence. Harry O’Malley made an enterprising run down the right to get on the end of a long Trebes free kick on 77 minutes. He won the header to knock the ball inside to Cunniff who played the ball through to put O’Malley clear and the young full back was unlucky to be denied by a marginal offside decision.
Sixteen year old first year scholar Sam Davidson was introduced with five minutes to go and he created the next chance on 88 minutes as he rolled a short corner back to Cunniff who delivered an in-swinging ball into the box that was spilled by the keeper, but the loose ball just evaded the in-rushing Seymour-Shove and was hacked clear by a relieved Woods defender.
The final opportunity of the game came in the final minute of the ninety as man of the match Peter Clark again picked out Simons in space on the right and Seymour-Shove just failed to get on the end of his low ball across the box at the far post. The game ended in rather strange fashion as Ives thought they had won one last opportunity to deliver a ball into the danger zone, but the referee blew the final whistle before they could take the corner.
One the way to Northwood I think we would have all very happily taken a point when we thought of our recent results here, but at the end of the game I think we all felt it was two points dropped as we defended well when we had to and created the best chances to claim the three points. But the unbeaten run goes on.
The man of the match award went to Peter Clark for an all action midfield display much nearer to usual self. But he was pushed very close by his midfield colleagues Cunniff and Sinclair both of whom also worked extremely hard in the very busy centre of the park.
St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, Jarrold, De’ath (capt), Gentle, Cunniff, Sinclair (Davidson 86), Clark, Joseph (Simons 69), Watson (Dusi 55), Seymour-Shove
Unused subs : Reader
Goals : Watson 21
Supporters Man of the Match : Peter Clark
Final Score : Northwood 1 St Ives Town 1
Attendance : 127