Saturday 17th January 2015 – Southern League – Div 1 Central
St Ives Town 4 Northwood 2
Attendance : 224
Man of the match: Ben Seymour-Shove
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This corresponding fixture produced nine goals last season and once again the two sides managed to serve up an entertaining game even if it only produced six this term. It also saw the Ives record their first every victory over a team that were beginning to look like one of their bogey sides.
Thanks to the weather this was the home side’s first game in 16 days, but they started on the front foot and Jack Higgs was able to get in a snap shot that flew wide in the first minute. Ives were paying with the low winter sun at their backs and only one minute later Scott Sinclair was able to cut in from the left and hit a crisp drive from 20 yards that visiting keeper Berkley Laurencin appeared to lose in the sun and was fortunate as the ball flashed just past his left hand upright.
The home side were looking confident going forward and everyone was looking up for it, but they were caught by a sucker punch from the very first corner of the game on eight minutes. Michael Murray floated the kick well beyond the far post where Steve Brown had found acres of space to head the ball back across goal. Omar Vassell out jumped the defence at the opposite post to force the ball home.
The setback knocked the Ives out of their stride and the Woods started to get on top in midfield with Murray, James Burgess and Jordan Lawal all looking influential. But in spite of enjoying a lot of possession the visitors were restricted to a few half chances thanks to the hard working home defence.
On 13 minutes James Burgess went past Jonny Hall down the right and drove in a low cross that a covering Jack Higgs did well to block at the near post. Nine minutes later another driven Burgess cross arrived at the feet of Niko Muir beyond the far post, but Josh Melling bravely hurled himself in front of the shot to deflect the ball wide. The next opportunity came on the half hour mark when a Murray free kick was won at the near post by Brown, but he failed to hit the target with his header under pressure from Charlie Death.
The Woods continued to knock the ball around well and a crisp interchange of passes between James Burgess, Murray and Muir on 34 minutes ended with a low drive from 20 yards by the latter that Tim Trebes did well to gather low down to his right.
But just as Ives had dominated the early exchanges only to fall behind, the Woods will have been disappointed to concede two goals in three minutes at the end of the half which had seen them dominate possession.
The equaliser came on 43 minutes when Ben Seymour-Shove chased a ball into the corner on the right and managed to find enough space to curl in a low cross that visiting player/manager Mark Burgess looked certain to clear. But he got the ball stuck in his feet and as Stuart Eason closed him down he could only miss-kick his clearance straight to Sinclair on the edge of the box, the flying winger took careful aim and rifled his shot into the roof of the net to give Laurencin no chance.
This goal served to inspire the home side and they swarmed forward to take the lead as the first half entered added time. Seymour-Shove won the ball in midfield and laid it into the path of James Peters 25 yards out, Peters touched the ball past a fast closing defender to find Stead in space in the box and the silky midfielder made no mistake coolly slotting the ball into the bottom corner to give Ives an unlikely half time lead.
The home side started the second half as they had finished the first and were controversially denied a third goal only two minutes in. The ball was played over the top and with Seymour-Shove standing in an offside position the assistant raised his flag. However the assistant’s flag may have gone up a little early as Seymour-Shove made no move towards the ball and Eason came marauding through the static defence from an onside position to latch onto the ball and put it into the net. However with the flag up, the referee had little choice but to award the free kick for offside.
The next effort on goal came on 55 minutes when a long ball into the centre by Peters was headed clear to Hall who found himself in space 35 yards out and with the crowd urging him on he drove forward and hit a rising drive that keeper Laurencin was forced to tip over. Two minutes later Seymour-Shove found himself in the clear as he ran onto an Eason flick, but he got a slightly heavy touch on the ball to give Laurencin chance to bravely dive in at his feet and claim the ball.
The home fans welcomed new signing Luke Knight, who has joined from Premier Division Slough Town, as he replaced the injured Peters on 55 minutes. Knight was involved in the next opportunity on 63 minutes as he curled in a ball from the right that Stead flicked on at the near post and only a lucky deflection off a defender prevented the inrushing Eason from getting on the end of it.
The Ives were well on top at this point, but the Woods showed that a one goal lead was probably not going to be enough as Muir managed to create an opportunity out of nothing on 68 minutes as he picked up the ball in midfield and drove into space before firing in a fierce drive from 25 yards that Trebes had to plunge to his right to push away.
That scare prompted the Ives to push forward again and they increased their lead on 71 minutes when good pressure by Sinclair forced Vassell into a hurried clearance that went straight to Knight and the newcomer recorded his first assist as he threaded the ball through the visitors defence to set Seymour-Shove clear. This time he kept close control to round the keeper and slot the ball home.
Three minutes later and the points were in the bag as substitute Kieran Fitzgerald claimed his long awaited first goal for the Ives, and it was a cracker. He picked up the ball wide right and cut infield skipping past two lunging tackles before side footing the ball into the far corner past the diving Laurencin.
The next item of note was the welcome return of long term casualty Dan Banister who replaced the hard working Sinclair on 78 minutes to rapturous applause.
The Woods had not completely given up hope and managed to grab a consolation goal on 84 minutes as the somehow un-muddied Murray managed to slot a ball in to Rob Hastings who found space in the box and was able to force the ball home from close range in spite of a valiant effort from Luke Smith to clear the ball off the line.
The visitors managed to create one more opportunity in the 90th minute with an identical move to their opening goal as another deep Murray corner was won beyond the far post by Brown whose header back into the mix was won by substitute Nick Turner, but he failed to hit the target with his header from eight yards.
There was still a little more action to come in added time as the visitors pushed forward and left themselves exposed at the back. Half chances were created for Seymour-Shove and Banister. Eason also found himself with a completely free header at the far post that looked certain to provide the goal his overall performance deserved, but he could only direct his effort straight at Laurencin.
The final action of this entertaining encounter was a needless red card for Woods substitute Ismael Ehui who showed his frustration with an attempted elbow in the face of Fitzgerald as the two ran back in midfield.
The overall verdict was an excellent all round performance in which everyone did their job to claim a hard earned three points. Debutant Luke Knight slotted in well and looks like another quality acquisition, it was also great news to see Dan Banister back in the action. Roll on next week!.
St Ives team : Trebes (capt), Melling, Hall, Smith, Death, Peters (Knight 55), Stead (Fitzgerald 74), Higgs, Eason, Seymour-Shove, Sinclair (Banister 78)
Unused subs : Moyes
Cards : None
Goals : Sinclair 43, Stead 45+1, Seymour-Shove 71, Fitzgerald 74
Man of the Match : Seymour-Shove
Final Score : St Ives Town 4 Northwood 2
Attendance : 224
Next 1st team match Sat 24th January 3pm kick off AWAY to Uxbridge (League)
Next U18 match Thu 22nd January 7.45pm kick off HOME to March Town U18’s (League)
Source : www.stivestownfc.co.uk