Result: St Ives Town 0 Royston Town 3

Tuesday 25th August 2015 –  Southern League Division One Central

St Ives Town 0 Royston Town 3

The Ives unbeaten start to the season came to a juddering halt against one of their bogey sides on Tuesday evening. The Crows had been struggling for early season form, but looked more like a top five side than a team struggling at the wrong end of the table as they capitalised on the home side’s mistakes to take home the points.

But it could all have been so different without a quality save from visiting keeper Ron Yates in only the third minute. Danny Watson got down the left and delivered a deep cross to the far post where Stuart Eason rose above centre back George Powell and looked to have directed his header over Yates, but the keeper was equal to the effort and stretched full length to fingertip the ball away.

Both sides were showing their attacking intent and the first twenty minutes was a very open affair with both sides going close. Royston were looking particularly dangerous from dead ball situations and should have gone in front on eight minutes as a corner from Chris Watters was flicked on at the near post and Ryan Towner arrived in space eight yards out, but he thudded his header against the cross bar.

Play swung to the other end and it was Ives turned to miss an opportunity five minutes later as Steve Gentle got on the end of Jack Higgs corner from the right and keeper Yates knew little about the save as Gentle’s header cannoned into him from close range.

The Crows continued to press forward and were stretching the Ives defence. Lively winger Rhys Hoenes was proving a real handful down the left and he won a corner off of Dan Moyes on 23 minutes. Stuart Bridges delivered a pinpoint flag kick to find Rob Mason in space eight yards from goal and he made no mistake powerfully heading the ball home.

Ives did not learn their lesson from this as they fell two behind to another dead ball situation from the left only four minutes later. Gentle got pulled out of position and was forced to bring down Rob Mason 25 yards from goal to earn himself a yellow card. Bridges delivered the free kick into the centre of the goalmouth where, Hoenes, one of the smallest players on the pitch, somehow found himself unmarked to head home from close range.

Royston came close to increasing their lead from yet another free kick after 32 minutes, but this time home keeper Tim Trebes did well  to hurl himself to his right to produce an excellent one handed save to keep out another Hoenes header.

The home side were not out of this game and enjoyed a good spell of pressure as the half drew to a close. A long ball into the box by Charlie Death was flicked on by Gentle and fell to Eason who tried to clip the ball over Yates, but the visitors keeper made another world class save to stretch and finger tip the ball over the top.

This lead to a series of three Ives corners in quick succession. The third of these was perfectly delivered to the near post by Higgs where Eason made a well timed run and was unlucky to see his glancing header flash across goal and shave the far upright.

The second half continued in lively fashion and the Crows thought they had gone three in front on 46 minutes, but Towner’s deflected shot from 20 yards was ruled out by an assistant’s flag.

Only two minutes later Ives came agonisingly close to reducing the arrears as Peter Clark danced through the visitor’s defence and fired in a shot from well inside the box that beat Yates, but rebounded back into play from the inside of the post.

Hoenes was continuing to give Moyes a tough time on the left flank and he went close on 63 minutes as he danced outside, before cutting back inside and firing in a fierce shot from 20 yards that flew inches over the crossbar.

The Ives were lucky to keep eleven men on the pitch one minute later as ex Ives player Ryan Ingrey was put clear by Towner only to be brought down, by Moyes on the edge of the box. I think everyone in the ground except referee Bright and his assistant thought that Moyes was the last man and expected to see him dismissed. But after a long discussion the card produced was only a yellow.

Unfortunately the goal that finally sewed up the game came from a mistake by home keeper Trebes on 71 minutes. He allowed himself to be closed down by Ingrey and only succeeded in delivering his mishit clearance directly to Crows substitute Luke Robins 30 yards from goal. Robins gleefully accepted the gift and curled a precise chip over the stranded keeper.

This prompted a triple substitution by manager Ricky Marheineke three minutes later. However the Crows were now comfortably in control of the game and were still going in search of a fourth. Ingrey was in eager to grab a goal against his former Club and Trebes did well to deny him with ten minutes to go as he hurled himself to his left to tip away Ingrey’s deflected effort from 20 yards.

Three minutes later an error by Gentle gave Ingrey another opportunity, but this time Death came in with a last ditch tackle that saw the ball deflected inches wide of the upright.

Ives skipper Luke Knight showed his never say die attitude as the game entered added time. He battled his way to the bye line and delivered a dangerous ball into the box that arrived at the feet of substitute Phil Draycott at the far post. Draycott was unlucky to see his first time effort deflected just past the post.

Overall the Ives were always in this game, they created chances, but failed to take them thanks in part to good goalkeeping and in part to bad luck. However they defended naively at times and they ran into an opposition that were very quick to punish their lapses in concentration. I would predict that the Crows will go very close to a top five finish at the end of the season. The Ives should not be to disheartened by this result as the three goal margin flattered the visitors. They were not that far away from opponents who look to be starting to run into form.

New boy Peter Clark won the fans man of the match accolade for some darting runs that at times unsettled the visitors defence and but for the width of a post would have got Ives back in the game early in the second period.

St Ives team : Trebes, Moyes, Jarrold, Death, Gentle, Knight (capt), Clark, Higgs, Eason (Simons 74) , Watson (Warwick 74), Marango (Draycott 74)

Unused subs : O’Malley, Peacock

Goals : none

Supporters Man of the Match : Peter Clark

Final Score :  St Ives Town 0 Royston Town 3

Attendance  :  273