Result: Royston Town 2 St Ives Town 2

Monday 25th August 2014 – Southern League – Div 1 Central

Royston Town 2  St Ives Town 2

Att: 181
Man of the match: Andres Gutierrez

Typical August Bank Holiday weather greeted St Ives to Garden Walk for their visit to near neighbours Royston Town. Both teams came into the game on the back of excellent wins less than 48 hours earlier.
The game started slowly and it was the visitors who created the first half chance on five minutes when Karl Gibbs was given room to turn on the corner of the box and Jhai Dhillon had to be alert to clear the ball away from Scott Sinclair at the far post.
Dhillon was in action at the opposite end less than a minute later as he lashed Royston’s first half chance well over the bar from 20 yards after Scott Bridges initial shot had been well blocked by Will Fordham.
Six minutes later Dhillon was caught dallying on the edge of his own box by Sinclair whose dangerous ball into the goalmouth was excellently defended by Ryan Wharton just ahead of Stuart Eason.
After 14 minutes Jordan Lambert came up with an equally good defensive header at the other end as he cleared Jack Bradshaw’s driven cross to deny Gary Hart a clear header on goal. Royston’s next chance came on 22 minutes when Bridges latched onto a poor defensive header by Jonny Hall and lashed his shot from 20 yards just wide of Barney McLaughlin’s right hand post.
St Ives created their best chance in the first half on 24 minutes when Will Fordham rose highest at the far post to head a Ben Seymour-Shove corner back into the middle where Eason won the header but 44 year old home keeper Paul Bastock got down to his right to turn the ball away for another corner.
From this point Royston began to take control of the game with Scott and Stuart Bridges spraying the ball around in midfield and full backs Bradshaw and Dhillon pushing forward at every opportunity.
It came as no surprise when they took the lead on 33 minutes as Hart climbed above Fordham to get on the end of a raking cross by Dhillon. He headed the ball down and Kaan Fehmi bundled it home from close range.
Two minutes later and the rampant Crow’s were two up as Robbie Nightingale was given time and space 25 yards out . He strode forward and hammered the ball into the bottom corner past McLaughlin’s despairing dive.
It was almost three on 43 minutes as Chris Watters ran at the visitors defence and released the overlapping Bradshaw whose powerful shot from 15 yards beat McLaughlin but rebounded to safety off an upright.
Right on half time the Ives created another half chance, again from a dead ball situation with Fordham winning John Stead’s free kick in the air at the far post and heading down into the danger zone but Eason’s hurried shot from 18 yards flew harmlessly wide.
The home side made a change at half time, resting centre back Wharton and bringing on Nick Azzorpardi. This meant the dangerous Bradshaw moved into the centre of defence and Royston’s outlet on the right disappeared.
St Ives also started to push forward and closed down Stuart and Scott Bridges denying them space in midfield.
The first chance of the second half fell to the home side only one minute in as McLaughlin had to be alert to push away a fierce 25 yard drive by Watters.
However St Ives pressure in midfield began to tell and they started to create opportunities. Two minutes later Seymour-Shove got past replacement full back Azzorpardi and his dangerous ball into the centre was headed over his own cross bar by Dave Theobold with Eason closing behind him. The resulting corner was flicked on at the near post by Fordham and headed wide by Eason who was proving a real handful in the air for the home side.
In the 53 minute the unlikely character of centre back Fordham got past two defenders to get clear on the left unfortunately his ball into the box was poor and was easily cleared by Bradshaw.
Royston got a break away on 55 minutes and came close to finishing the game as a great run by Watters allowed him to play in substitute Reece Dobson whose powerful drive from 12 yards beat McLaughlin but rebounded to safety from his right hand post.
The Crow’s came to regret this miss as Ives manager Ricky Marhieneke came up with a master stroke of a substitution four minutes later when he replaced Karl Gibbs, who was having an off day, with the enigma that is Will Muzvimbiri.
Within two minutes of his appearance Muzvimbiri got the Ives back in the game with his first goal for the club. He ran onto a Stuart Eason flick from Jordan Lambert’s free kick and coolly slotted the ball into the far corner past the advancing Bastock.
Only two minutes later and he had grabbed his, and the Ives, second goal as he bravely headed the ball in from close range after Eason had got on the end of Hall’s racking cross at the far post to put the ball back into the danger zone.
On 66 minutes Muzvimbiri showed his raw side as he miss timed a challenge in midfield to collect his fourth caution of the season.
The game developed into a more even contest for the next 15 minutes with both sides battling to take control in midfield and neither able to create a clear cut chance.
Royston created a half chance on 83 minutes when a quick free kick by Fehmi allowed Hart a run on goal but he was quickly closed down by Andres Gutierrez and his shot was deflected over, the resulting corner came to nothing.
The Crow’s pushed centre back Theobold up front as a target man for the last ten minutes but good work by the Ives full backs and wide midfield men prevented the home side getting any meaningful crosses into the box for him to attack.
The game petered out in the closing stages with both teams seemingly happy to take four points from their two Bank Holiday fixtures.
Each team can be satisfied with their performance in one half of the game and disappointed with the other. The Crow’s will wonder how they did not win a game they dominated for long periods of the first half and the Ives will probably be the more satisfied with a point well won by a good reaction in the second half after a poor first period where it looked like they were suffering from their exertions 48 hours earlier at Leighton.
The behind the goal club, brave souls all in the weather, voted Andres Gutierrez as their Man of the Match for his solid defensive display and excellent use of the ball when he had won it.
St Ives team : McLaughlin, Gutierrez, Hall, Lambert, Fordham (capt), Dean, Sinclair, Stead, Gibbs (Muzvimbiri 59), Eason (Bream 82), Seymour-Shove.
Unused subs : Alsop, Smith, Cobb
Goals : Muzvimbiri 61 & 63
Yellow cards : Dean (16), Muzvimbiri (66)
Man of the Match : Gutierrez
Final Score : Royston Town 2 St Ives Town 2 Attendance : 181

Nigel Howlett

Next U18 match Thu 28th August 7.30pm HOME to Godmanchester Rovers U18 (League)

Next 1st team match Sat 30th August 3pm kick off AWAY to Dereham Town (FA Cup)

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