Potters Bar Town 1 St Ives Town 2
Man of the Match: Jamie Thurlbourne (St Ives Town)
Goals: Thurlbourne, Roberts
Jamie’s wonder strike set the Saints on course for victory against ‘The Scholars’
by Simon Clark
After conceding 14 goals in their previous 3 matches, the Saints went into this fixture searching for the kind of form that has earned them a respectable position at mid table in their first campaign at Step 4 but a resilient Potters Bar side kept the three points on ice until the last few moments with both sides creating numerous chances throughout.
In the opening 10 minutes, Saints skipper; Lee Ellison saw his header fly wide after an acute cross from Thurlbourne on the left and with Tom Meechan and Avelino Vieira combining well on the left, Dan Banister’s effort was well intercepted by the diving challenge of Tayo Davis-Coker in the Scholars back line. The home side was left frustrated moments later when they were denied the opening goal by the Assistants raised flag for offside.
It was going to take something special to break the deadlock and when Jamie Thurlbourne shaped up from over 30 yards his left footed strike, on the half hour mark, flew directly into the top corner leaving Mike Underwood to dive only in vanity as it rippled the back of the net. It was a lead that the Saints deserved and immediately after they pressed for the second with Tom Meechan finding Underwood with safe hands at his near post. With Thurlbourne running the game from the left hand side, his 50 yard through ball found Vieira through on goal and with the ball bouncing, his lob over the keeper shaved the far post and the goal kick was awarded.
Two minutes before the first half whistle, Max Roberts slotted home confidently from close range after some excellent work by Banister who was continuously breaking forward.
Dan Newman had a great chance on 50 minutes with a free to put the game out of reach but his effort went wide of Underwood’s goal. A minute later, the lead was halved and Chris Doyle found himself with space inside the penalty area after an inswinging corner was not cleared.
Both sides were chasing the next all important goal and Meechan and Roberts had great chances to restore the two goal advantage but were met with some resilient defending. Barney McLaughin, in the Saints goal, defied Evandro Delgado when he advanced and cleared from a one-on-one on 86 minutes. Josh Hutchinson’s strike on 88 minutes left McLaughlin stranded and with everyone expecting the ball to tuck into the bottom corner the ball rebounded off the post, across the goal line and was eventually cleared by Will Fordham.
Tom Meechan drilled his 92nd minute effort over the cross bar against after some excellent play from Banister but the Saints held on to reach the 50 points mark for the season.