Tuesday 2nd December 2014 – Southern League – Div 1 Central
St Ives Town 1 Marlow 1
Attendance : 169
Man of the match: Stuart Eason
Ives extended their unbeaten League run to four games with a hard earned point in this even contest fought out in good spirit on a heavy pitch. The draw was probably a fair result as the visitors probably shaded the first half, but the Ives came back strongly in the second period and will be a little disappointed at not hanging on after going in front from through a well take Stuart Eason goal just before the hour, or grabbing a winner from a couple of decent chances in the last ten minutes.
Earlier in the day the weather had looked like being the winner, but once again sterling work by the ground staff had got the pitch into condition where it was able to take the rain that fell on match day and still remain playable.
The home side went into this game on the back of an impressive win on Saturday and with an unchanged starting eleven for the first time this season. However in spite of their late arrival, caused by traffic delays on the A1, it was the visitors who started the brightest and created the first half chance of the game after eight minutes when a long ball into the box by Jack Kerrigan was won in the air at the far post by Jon Bennett, but he was unable to direct his header on target under pressure from Charlie Death.
The Blues continued to enjoy some good possession in this early period with Richie Whittingham in their midfield already looking like he could have a big influence on the game. He got on the end of another long cross field ball on the edge of the Ives box on 17 minutes and laid the ball back for James Knight to fire a first time effort wide of Tim Trebes’s right hand post.
The home side managed to fashion their first effort on goal two minutes later when overlapping full back Jonny Hall got down the left and delivered a dangerous low ball into the box that was only half cleared to Ben Seymour-Shove on the edge of the area. Unfortunately his first time effort flew just wide of keeper Simon Grant’s left hand post.
Both defences were generally looking sound and chances were at a premium in these early stages. The next test for the home defence came around the half hour mark when the Blues won a series of three corners in quick succession. All were delivered at pace by Whittingham, but all confidently dealt with by the Ives back line. Whittingham was again involved in the visitors next opportunity on 32 minutes when a low driven cross by Knight was blocked out to him on edge of the box and Trebes was relieved to see his powerful drive deflected just wide of his near post.
Ives chances were very limited in this first period and their only other half chance came on 35 minutes when a crisp exchange of passes between Eason and Seymour-Shove looked like it had put the latter clear. But Grant was alert and raced off his line to smother the ball at Seymour-Shove’s feet before the striker could get his shot away.
The remaining ten minutes of the half saw a period of pressure from the visitors, but the Ives back four ably assisted by the tireless James Peters just in front of them were able to limit the visitors to only two decent chances during this time. The first of these came on 44 minutes when a brilliant reaction save by Trebes saw him deny Phill Bell who had got on the end of another low driven ball into the box by Whittingham only six yards out. The follow up effort by Bennett was headed off the line by Hall and scrambled to safety.
Trebes was again Ives saviour as the half entered added time. Bennett looked to be put clear, but the alert Ives stopper was quickly off his line to close down the Blues striker on the edge of the box. He succeed in delaying his shot and pushing him wide and when Bennett finally tried his shot it was a tame one straight at the Ives keeper.
After going in at half time relieved to still be level the Ives came out with a much more positive attitude in the second half and took the game to the visitors. Only two minutes in Seymour-Shove got away down the left and took the ball right to the bye line, drawing the keeper towards him, but his attempted lay back to Jack Higgs was blocked by covering defender Adam Richards.
One minute later Higgs did have an opportunity of a shot on goal as a long Hall cross into the box was headed straight out to him 20 yards out. Keeper Grant was unable to hang onto Higgs powerful effort, but managed to recover and pounce on the loose ball just ahead of Kieran Fitzgerald.
Peters was next to try his luck for the home side on 49 minutes as he won the ball in midfield and strode forward before curling an effort from 30 yards that was only just wide of Grant’s left hand post. Ives pressure continued and only one minute later a precise through ball by Fitgerald looked like it had put Eason clear, but a perfectly timed sliding tackle by Blues substitute Same Rarity denied the Ives striker on this occasion.
However Eason was not to be denied for long and on 57 minutes he took advantage of a slip in the visitors defence to score a true route one goal. A long clearance out of Ives defence carried on the breeze and was completely missed by Richards to present Eason with the chance, but he still had a lot to do and kept his cool well to slot the ball past the advancing Grant from the edge of the box.
The visitors lifted themselves after this set back and slowly worked their way back into the game with Whittingham still looking their most influential player appearing all over the midfield. The equaliser should have come on 66 minutes as Whittingham fed the ball out to Jamal Branker on the right and Bell got on the end of his low cross into the crowded box only six yards out, but home skipper Jordan Lambert bravely hurled himself across the shot and somehow defected the ball over the top.
However the Ives relief was very short lived as Bell took his revenge by getting onto the end of Whittingham driven corner at the near post and firing his powerful header into the roof of the net in spite of full back Josh Melling’s attempt to punch it away which only earned him a yellow card.
This was the influential Whittingham’s final input to the game as he limped off with an injury five minutes later. From the point of his departure their only looked like one possible winner, but in spite of a lot of possession and creating a couple of good chances Ives could not find the goal they needed.
Will Muzuimbiri came on for the strangely quiet Scott Sinclair on 72 minutes and he almost got on the end of a teasing cross by Seymour-Shove six minutes later, but keeper Grant bravely denied him and took a clattering for his pains. The next chance fell to an unlikely source as full back Hall won the ball in midfield and ran at the defence which suddenly opened up in front of him, but as he reached the edge of the box, and we all thought he must shoot, he realised he was in uncharted territory and decided to try and square the ball to Muzuimbiri who had wandered offside.
The best opportunity in the last ten minutes fell to Fitzgerald who snatched at his shot from 12 yards after flicks by Eason and Seymour-Shove had put him into an excellent position. The final chance came on 87 minutes when Peters won the ball on the right and cut in past two defenders he hammered the ball at goal from a narrow angle and keeper Grant let the ball go thinking that it was going into the side netting. He was a much relieved man as it rattled his near post and rebounded back into play to be hacked clear by a defender.
Yet another game where everyone played their part and it was a difficult choice for man of the match. Eason got the nod from the sponsors for his all out effort and coolly taken goal.
St Ives team : Trebes, Melling, Hall, Lambert (capt.), Death, Peters, Sinclair (Muzuimbiri 72), Higgs, Eason (Stead 88), Fitzgerald, Seymour-Shove
Unused subs : Crowie
Goals : Eason 57
Yellow cards : Death 10, Melling 67, Fitzgerald 68
Man of the Match : Stuart Eason
Final Score : St Ives Town 1 Marlow 1
Attendance : 169
Next 1st team match Sat 6th December 3pm kick off AWAY to Egham Town (League)
Next U18 match Thu 11th December 7.45pm kick off HOME to Chatteris Town U18’s (League)
Source : www.stivestownfc.co.uk