Result: St Ives Town 1 Hanwell Town 0

Tuesday 10th November 2015 –  Southern League Division One Central

St Ives Town 1 Hanwell Town 0

St Ives made history on Tuesday evening as they rose to their highest position in the football pyramid in their history with this hard fought victory over a skilful Geordies side. They now proudly sit at the top of the Division 1 Central table with just over one third of the season gone.

It would be great to say that they arrived at this pinnacle in style, but in truth this was not a memorable match as the visitors enjoyed the majority of possession and were twice denied by the woodwork. However all successful sides know how to win when they are not playing particularly well and the side built by Ricky Marheineke and Jack Cassidy have a real resilience about them. This game was won by a very impressive defensive display.

With the squad stretched by injuries and suspensions, sixteen year old first year scholar Sam Davidson found himself on the bench. Little did he know that he would end up not only making his debut, but also playing 36 minutes and contributing a big part in this result.

The Ives almost had the perfect start to the game as Stuart Eason was fouled in the first attack after only thirty seconds. Phil Draycott curled an in swinging free kick from the right into the no man’s land between defenders and goalkeeper. Eason arriving late at the back post got ahead of his man, but could only get a poor contact and the chance was gone.

After this early escape the visitors started to show their abilities and pace. They were denied a goal by an assistant’s flag on 12 minutes as skipper Ryan Ashe threaded a ball through to put quicksilver Sam Nair clear and he slipped the ball past the advancing Tim Trebes. But the Ives back line had read it correctly and the assistant’s flag was raised.

The Geordies went close again eight minutes later as Charlie De’ath halted another Nair run illegally 25 yards from goal in a fairly central position. Michael Buckley carefully spotted the free kick and hit a powerful shot that beat the wall and keeper Tim Trebes before rattling the underside of the crossbar and bouncing back into play. Fortunately Trebes recovery was good as he had to leap to his left to grasp Ashe’s follow up header.

Ives were not creating an awful lot at this stage, but on 25 minutes Harry O’Malley and Scott Sinclair combined well down the right in a move that ended with the latter getting to the bye line and serving up a teasing cross to the back post where Danny Watson rose highest, but could only glance his header wide.

Play quickly swung to the other end again and a crunching tackle between O’Malley and Vaughan Duguid 35 yards from goal resulted in the ball going up into the air and dropping into space. Ashe met the dropping ball with a well struck tipping volley that Trebes did well to tip around his right hand post.

The Geordies were denied by the woodwork for the second time in the match on 35 minutes as Ashe picked up the ball in midfield and flighted a perfected weighted cross field ball over the head of Jordan Jarrold for Nairn to run onto. The nimble winger cut inside and unleashed a rasping drive from the corner of the box that a full stretch Trebes did very well to tip onto the upright.

The goal that settled the game arrived on 38 minutes and it was another of Ives well rehearsed free kick routines that claimed it. Eason was fouled wide left in line with the eighteen yard box. Luke Knight delivered the perfect in swinging free kick into the danger zone and the unmarked O’Malley arrived at the back post to nod home a stooping header from six yards off the body of visiting keeper Cain Davies.

There was one more moment of note in the first period as centre back Steve Gentle up for a long free kick suddenly found the ball at his feet in the opposition box. Whilst looking bit like a giraffe wriggling through a pack of hyenas he somehow sidestepped past two and then three visiting defenders, before getting the ball stuck in his feet just when it seemed he must hammer it home.

The home side were forced into a change at half time as the tricky Peter Clark succumbed to a hamstring niggle to be replaced by Jared Cunniff. The next change only nine minutes into the second period saw the introduction of young Davidson as he replaced the injured Eason. Davison went into his usual position with the scholarship side of wide right with Sinclair moving into the centre and Watson becoming a loan striker.

Draycott forced a save out of Davies one minute later. But from that point on it was mostly a rearguard action for the Ives with only occasional forays into opposition territory. However despite conceding most of the possession to the visitors the home side maintained their shape throughout and limited their opponents to only two real chances.

The first of these came on 68 minutes as Buckley cut in from the left and delivered a racking ball across the box that went through everyone and arrived at the feet of substitute Tim Ensmann at the far post eight yards out he somehow failed to hit the target with his side footed effort that only succeeded in ruffling the side netting.

The second arrived five minutes later and this time Ensmann was the provider as he delivered a powerful cross from the right that picked out Denilson Vicente eight yards out in the centre of goal, but he could only glance his header well wide under pressure from De’ath.

The Ives did create a couple of half chances of their own as the game entered the last 15 minutes. Davidson created a bit of space for fellow substitute Cunniff on the right. It took a lunging tackle from Ryan Kinnane to prevent Cunniff delivering the ball into the danger zone. The full back picked up a yellow card for his troubles and Draycott delivered yet another dangerous free kick into the box that this time just eluded everyone and flashed past the far post.

Ten minutes later De’ath delivered a long free kick forward that Watson adroitly brought down on the edge of the box. He turned and fired in a powerful snap shot that was unfortunately straight at Davies.

The final few minutes were not quite as nerve jangling as we all thought they might be as the Ives ran down the clock well with only one more slight scare as Geordies substitute Harry Newman delivered a dangerous cross from the left that De’ath was forced to head to safety over his own crossbar under pressure from Vincente.

Certainly not a classic by any means, but a very hard earned three points. Everyone gave their all to claim this victory and no one could doubt the full commitment of every player. On an evening when it was difficult to single out an individual player in what was very much a team performance the fans behind the goal picked out Scott Sinclair who truly ran his heart out for the team throughout and only slightly blotted his copybook by finding breath to talk his way into the referee’s notebook.

No one is getting carried away by our position in the table and it is definitely a case of taking each game as it comes. There will be some open flowing games where there are a lot of goals, but equally as important at the end of the season will be wins from games like this.

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St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, Jarrold, Death, Gentle, Knight (capt), Sinclair, Clark (Cunniff 45), Eason (Davidson 54), Watson, Draycott

Unused subs : Moyes, Warwick

Goals : O’Malley 38

Man of the Match : Scott Sinclair

Final Score : St Ives Town 1 Hanwell Town 0

Attendance : 242