Result: St Ives Town 0 Kettering Town 1

Friday 30th October 2015 –  FA Trophy First Qualifying Round

St Ives Town 0 Kettering Town 1

For the second time in recent weeks a less than full strength Ives side were unlucky to bow out of a cup to higher division opposition. This third game in seven days came a little to quickly for some of the players who had picked up knocks in the draw at Ware on Tuesday evening. So with Phil Draycott, Steve Gentle, Luke Knight and Stuart Eason all missing it gave manager Ricky Marheineke chance to shuffle his pack again and show the depth of the squad this season.

The home side started the game in sparkling fashion and came within inches of going ahead after only 50 seconds. Peter Clark threaded a ball from midfield inside the full back to put Scott Sinclair away down the right. Sinclair drilled his cross along the six yard line and Danny Watson sliding in at the far post could not quite get enough of a touch to force the ball home.

Watson managed to create himself another opportunity as he caused panic in the visitors defence only three minutes later. He chased a hopeful ball down the middle which visiting skipper Brett Solkhon tried to head the ball back to his keeper, but Watson nipped between them and bravely got a touch just ahead of keeper Craig Hill. Hill just managed to get a hand to Watson’s effort and the ball fell to the covering Solkhon who only succeeded in hitting his own keeper with his attempted clearance. However Hill was the quickest to react to the loose ball and pounced on it just ahead of Watson.

Ives third good opportunity in the first eight minutes also fell to Watson as he outpaced the struggling Solkhon to get on the end of a ball over the top from Harry O’Malley. He looked up and tried to chip keeper Hill from just outside the box, but got it all wrong and the effort bobbled past Hill’s right hand post.

The Poppies should have gone in front in their first meaningful attack on 14 minutes as Gary Mulligan broke down the right and tried to clip the ball into the box, but the attempted cross struck the arm of covering defender Charlie De’ath inside the box and well positioned referee James Turner immediately blew for a penalty. Up stepped ex Ives star Dubi Ogbonna, however his spot kick was straight down the middle and lacked power. Keeper Tim Trebes who had started to go to his left had the presence of mind to stick out a leg and block the shot. Solkhon was first to the bouncing ball, but failed to hit the target with his follow up header.

The very open and entertaining first period continued to flow with both sides looking to get forward at every opportunity. Luca Dusi was working overtime breaking up Poppies moves just in front of the Ives back four. But he mistimed a tackle on the lively James Brighton in a dangerous position on 19 minutes. Brighton picked himself up and fired the free kick from the left corner of the box well over the top.

The Poppies continued to push forward at every opportunity, but the Ives back four were coping well with the pace of Ogbonna and the classy skills of Liam Canavan. Ogbonna only managed to get away once in the first half on 29 minutes. But Trebes was quickly off his line to close him down and push him wide. He also stayed upright and did well to block Ogbonna’s powerful shot when it finally came.

The visitor’s had a second penalty shout, which looked almost identical to the first, turned down on 35 minutes. This time it was Brighton who tried to deliver the ball from the left and Dan Moyes was the covering defender. But on this occasion the equally well positioned referee turned down Kettering’s appeals.

This first half was by no means all one-way traffic and Ives created another good opportunity of their own on 39 minutes. Sinclair was brought down by Steve Kinneburgh wide on the right. Ben Seymour-Shove curled in an in-swinging free kick towards the far post where O’Malley rose highest, but failed to hit the target with his powerful header from six yards.

The ball was quickly played through to the other end of the park where it fell to Brighton in a central position fully 25 yards from goal and he hit a wickedly swerving first time effort that Trebes had to hurl himself to his left to tip around the post.

The final attempt on goal of the first half came from the home side as the elusive Clark managed to feed another ball into the feet of Watson 25 yards from goal. The hard working centre forward managed to turn his marker and fire in a shot that was deflected to take some pace of it and this almost gave the late arriving Jared Cunniff an opportunity to force it home at the far post.

Cunniff also had the first attempt at goal in the second period on 48 minutes as he set off on one of his trade mark mazy runs that took him past three defenders and into the box, but unfortunately he could not get the ball out from under his feet and he could only prod his effort wide of the post from 15 yards.

Manager Marheineke made his first change on the hour as he replaced the very hard working Luca Dusi with returning club captain Luke Knight. Knight was immediately involved winning a tackle in midfield and spraying the ball out to Seymour-Shove wide on the left. His well weighted ball back into the middle almost put Watson clear, but keeper Hill was alert to the danger and raced from his line to just get to the ball first.

After looking like the better side for the early part of the second period Ives were unlucky to fall behind on 74 minutes. Watson lost possession on the half way line and the ball was fed out to Dom Langdon wide on the right, he delivered a deep cross into the box. Mulligan rose highest beyond the far post and directed a looping header towards goal that floated over the fast retreating Trebes and just crept under the crossbar at the far post in spite of the keeper’s valiant effort to keep it out.

To their credit the Ives did not give up and Marheineke sent on the big guns in the form of central striker Stuart Eason and normal centre back Steve Gentle who joined him up front for the last ten minutes. They replaced Clark and Watson respectively. With this pair now operating as probably one of the tallest attacks Ives has ever fielded and O’Malley joining them at every opportunity the Poppies were expecting a bombardment to come and Ives pressed them back for the remaining time. Chances came, on 86 minutes Sinclair tricked his way down the right and delivered an in-swinging cross that O’Malley deflected just wide under pressure from Solkhon.

Two minutes later O’Malley and Knight combined well to put through Cunniff, but Hill was again bravely out to claim the ball at his feet. Seymour-Shove battled his way down the left on 89 minutes and when he found his way blocked he sensibly laid the ball back to Jordan Jarrold who delivered an out swinging cross that O’Malley again won at the far post, but again he failed to test the keeper with a powerful header.

Trebes even managed to get a venture into the visitors box as he came up for a corner as the game entered added time, but this came to nothing and the final opportunity for an equaliser fell to Sinclair two minutes into added time as he jinked his way into the box, but his shot from 15 yards lacked power and went straight into the grateful hands of keeper Hill.

So an entertaining cup tie ended in gallant defeat for the Ives, but once again they have matched a higher division side and they must take the positives from this now and push on in their League campaign to sustain their position at the top end of the table. Man of the match selected by the behind the goal mob was Tim Trebes for his penalty save and a number of other good saves in the first half which combined to ensure that the returning Ogbonna did not get on the score sheet. Once again there were a number of other contenders, not least Danny Watson who was a constant threat with his pace and movement and centre backs Dan Moyes and Charlie De’ath who worked tirelessly to keep the dangerous Ogbonna in check.

St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, Jarrold, Death (capt), Moyes, Dusi (Knight 60), Sinclair, Cunniff, Clark (Eason 74), Watson (Gentle 83), Seymour-Shove

Unused subs : Draycott, Peacock

Goals : none

Sponsors Alan Bartlett & Sons Man of the Match : Tim Trebes

Final Score : St Ives Town 0 Kettering Town 1

Attendance : 325