Saturday 28th February 2015 – Southern League – Div 1 Central
St Ives Town 1 Aylesbury 1
Attendance : 243
Man of the match: Luke Knight
A battling display saw the Ives take a well deserved point against the third placed Moles in a match they just edged but failed to take their chances to win.
Once again Steve Small and Dave Claridge had done a marvellous job to provide a playable surface after Thursday’s heavy rain. Whilst some parts of the pitch were still quite heavy the referee’s decision to call the game on was proved right.
The game opened with a bang with both sides scoring inside the first ten minutes. The Moles went in front in the fifth minute as a corner was allowed to drop in the penalty area and although an initial effort was cleared off the line by Scott Sinclair, the rebound fell to Connor Baker who prodded the ball goal wards. Keeper Tim Trebes scrambled the ball away, but the officials deemed that it had crossed the goal line.
The Ives equalised five minutes later with James Hall’s first goal since joining the club. He ran on to a ball played through by Luke Knight and powered in a shot from just inside the box which deflected off visiting defender Jeanmal Prosper and deceived keeper James Weatherill at his near post.
The home side enjoyed a long period in which they got on top after their goal and created some good chances to go in front. On 23 minutes James Hall was played through wide on the right by Harry O’Malley, but keeper Weatherill was smartly off his line to tip the ball off his toe. The resulting corner was laid back to Ben Seymour-Shove on the edge of the box. He played the ball square to Jack Higgs on the corner of the 18 yard box. Higgs powerful first time effort took a wicked bounce off the turf and Weatherill did well to react and block it. James Hall and Stuart Eason both tried to force the loose ball home before it was finally smothered by Weatherill.
The next chance was created by O’Malley as he got away wide on the right and drove in a dangerous cross that Eason met at the far post, but he was stretching and failed to get sufficient power in the effort to beat Weatherill from close range.
Another Seymour-Shove corner on 42 minutes was headed away at the near post by Baker, the ball fell to Higgs in space 20 yards out, but his fierce effort was always rising and failed to trouble Weatherill. The final chance in the final minute of the half also fell to the home side as the hard working James Hall was played in down the left by Seymour-Shove and tried to pick out the on-rushing Sinclair with his curled cross, but Prosper was on hand to head the ball away.
The second half started in similar vein with Ives still continuing to push forward and Prosper was again on hand to prevent the Ives going in front on 52 minutes as he coolly headed a dangerous O’Malley cross back to his keeper with Eason breathing down his neck.
Five minutes later Knight won another crunching tackle in midfield and sprayed a driven ball through the mud to James Hall on the right. Hall played in O’Malley whose driven cross was just tipped away from Eason by keeper Weatherill.
The home sides defence had looked solid throughout and just when it looked like the visitors might go in front from their first real chance of the second half on 58 minutes O’Malley proved their saviour as he recovered to put in a well timed tackle to deny Brian Haule who looked like he had been put clear by a well weighted chip from Ben Bateman.
Ives created two more good chances to take all three points, the first of these came on 65 minutes as Sinclair bravely blocked an attempted clearance and played in James Hall down the middle. Hall drew the keeper and tried to slot the ball home low to his left, but Weatherill was equal to the effort blocking well with his legs. The loose ball fell to Eason but his effort from 20 yards was headed away by covering defender Prosper.
The home side’s final chance came twelve minutes later as Seymour-Shove was put away through the left channel by Higgs, again Weatherill was quickly off his line to block the low shot to his left with his body and Baker was on hand to head the loose ball clear.
As the game entered the last ten minutes the home side began to drop a little deeper in their defending and the Moles sensed an opportunity to grab the three points. On 80 minutes the influential Bradley Wadkins created a little space on the right and fed the ball in to substitute Aston Goss who curled his precise effort from 20 yards only just outside Trebes left hand post with the keeper scrambling across his goal to cover the effort.
Five minutes later a foul by home skipper Jordan Lambert on Ryan O’Toole 30 yards from goal gave Wadkins chance to line up the free kick, but his powerful effort was always rising and comfortably cleared Trebes crossbar.
It took a brave block from Charlie Death to preserve a point for the home side in the final minute of normal time as he had to hurl himself across a powerful drive from ten yards by Danny Murphy. The visitors skipper had somehow found space in the centre of the Ives box to get on the end of a ball played in low from the left by Aston Goss.
The final chance of the game, and probably the best one for the visitors, fell to substitute O’Toole who worked his way into the box past tiring defenders three minutes into added time. But just when it seemed he was going to break the hearts of the home side he snatched at his shot and dragged it past the far post from an excellent position.
For the players and fans who remember the debacle of our visit to Aylesbury back in September this point was an excellent revenge. It also shows how far the team have come since that dark day in late summer last year. Not only did we match the play off chasing Moles, whose team has changed little in the intervening months, we had some very good chances to beat them.
Once again it was an excellent all round team performance with a well deserved man of the match honour going to the all action Luke Knight for a barnstorming performance through the heaviest parts of the pitch.
St Ives team : Trebes, Jonny Hall, Lambert (capt.), De’Ath, O’Malley, Higgs (Banister 86), Knight, Sinclair, Seymour-Shove, James Hall, Eason (Peters 70)
Unused subs : Peacock
Goals : James Hall(10)
Yellow card : Seymour-Shove, Lambert
Red Card : None
Man of the Match : Knight
Final Score : St Ives Town 1 Aylesbury FC 1
Attendance : 243
Next 1st team match Sat 7th March 3pm kick off AWAY to Aylesbury Utd (League)
Next U18 match Mon 2nd March 7.45pm kick off AWAY to Huntingdon Town (League)
Source : www.stivestownfc.co.uk