Tuesday 29th September 2015 – Southern League Division One Central
St Ives Town 0 Aylesbury FC 0
Solid defensive displays from both sides meant that chances were very few and far between in the game which would have probably only rated a two on the Non-League paper entertainment chart.
Ives went into the game with an unchanged team following Saturday’s unfortunate FA Cup exit. However whilst on Saturday they created but did not take some very good chances, the Moles well marshalled defence meant that they failed to force and single save out of visiting keeper James Weatherill. To counteract this Ives equally well organised back line meant Tim Trebes only had to make one comfortable save in the ninety minutes.
Aylesbury had their trials and tribulations getting to the Pro-Edge on a Tuesday evening, but they started the game in positive fashion and a quick turn and snap shot from 25 yards after only three minutes by Brian Haule had Trebes scrambling and he was pleased to see the ball dip just over his crossbar.
Three minutes later Ives probed forward for the first time and a pinpoint ball from Jack Higgs sent Danny Watson away down the left. Watson drove a dangerous ball across the box that required a diving header from Grant Fryer to put it out for a corner ahead of the fast closing Stuart Eason.
The game then descended into a midfield battle with home captain Luke Knight to the fore as he won challenge after challenge for the home side, Ben Bateman was doing a similar job for the Moles. The more creative players such as Jack Higgs and the veteran Davis Haule were also being pulled into this battle and with both sides very quick to close down their opposition neither team could get a grip on the game.
The next attack of note came on the half hour mark when James Dobson managed to find a little space on the left and curled in a dangerous cross that Steven Gentle had to dive to head out for a corner just ahead of Brian Haule.
Two minutes later Knight tried a first time effort from fully 30 yards after a corner had been cleared to him, but his effort only thudded the boards to the right of Weatherill’s goal.
The Ives were looking to finish the half strongly, as they so often do, and on 37 minutes a well weighted pass by Phil Draycott put the overlapping Jordan Jarrold clear wide on the left. Jarrold curled in an inviting cross to the back post which Eason managed to win, but he failed to keep his header down under pressure from visitors skipper Daniel Murphy.
The midfield battle which had been bubbling all game suddenly boiled over five minutes before half time. Bateman slid in on Knight by the half way line with his studs raised and this sparked a melee involving at least a dozen players. After the dust settled the referee decreed that Bateman’s challenge deserved a yellow card and Adam Logie, who had probably run the furthest to get involved also picked up a yellow for his pains.
There was still time for Ives to carve out their best opportunity of the night before the break as the big boys very effectively pulled the visitors defenders away from the far post area and a Knight corner from the right arrived at the feet of Danny Watson eight yards from goal. Watson had a split second to decide what to go for and he went for the first time side footed option, but unfortunately his connection was not good and the ball flew harmlessly wide.
The second half commenced with the Ives still on the front foot and trying to find a way through the resolute Moles defence which stretched at times, but did not break.
The half was only three minutes old as Jarrold played in Watson on the left. He cleverly laid the ball back to Higgs who fired the ball across the box, but no one could get the all important touch.
Two minutes later Higgs returned the compliment by playing in Watson through the left channel, but just as he looked like getting clear the alert Weatherill came steaming off his line to hack the ball away.
On 52 minutes Draycott delivered another dangerous cross from the left that Eason flicked on at the near post, but the late arriving Knight could only fire the difficult opportunity over at the far post.
The Ives pressure continued and one of their many well delivered corners in 65th minute curled over Weatherill, but covering defender Fryer was on hand to flick the ball off of the head of Gentle and out for another corner.
Having weathered the storm the Moles began to probe forward and created a very good chance of their own on 67 minutes as Dobson found space down the left and picked out Jamie Rudd who somehow managed to direct his header from eight yards out in the centre of goal just past the post.
Manager Ricky Marheineke decided to freshen up his front line after this fright introducing the pace of Chae Simons to replace the tiring Watson. The trickery of Ben Seymour-Shove followed replacing the similarly nimble footed Peter Clark.
However the Moles defence remained unmoved and on 80 minutes Trebes had to make the only save of the game, and it was a routine one. Jeanmal Prosper attached the home defence from the right and rolled the ball across the D, Dobson cutting in from the left hit it first time, but it was straight at Trebes who held on well. The Ives keeper similarly did well to hang onto a deep free kick into a crowded box by Murphy two minutes later.
The Ives made their final change on 83 minutes with flying winger Scott Sinclair replacing the hard working Eason. But with fresh legs and a good degree of pace now on the pitch the Ives still could not break down the Moles rearguard.
With three minutes to go the visitors made their only change of the evening giving a debut to 16 year old academy prospect Mitchell Collins as he replaced Rob Tomlin.
With the game deep into added time the Ives won their final corner of the evening and Jack Higgs delivered a pinpoint ball into the six yard box, but Weatherill did what all good keepers do to help out their defence and claimed the ball well under immense pressure.
There was still time for the visitors to break and Davis Haule to put Collins clear down the left, the youngster cut in on goal, but fortunately for the Ives his well struck effort travelled just past the far post.
Luke Knight claimed the man of the match award for yet another battling, hugely influential, midfield display. He only slightly blotted his copybook with a late yellow card for disputing a free kick.
The games come thick and fast at this stage of the season and we hope the Ives can re-discover their goal scoring touch for the visit of Rugby Town in the FA Trophy on Sunday afternoon.
St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, Jarrold, Death, Gentle, Knight (capt), Clark,(Seymour-Shove 76), Higgs, Eason (Sinclair 83), Watson (Simons 68), Draycott
Unused subs : Moyes, Peacock
Goals : none
Man of the Match : Luke Knight
Final Score : St Ives Town 0 Aylesbury 0
Attendance : 176