Friday 28th August 2015 – FA Cup Preliminary Round
St Ives Town 1 Norwich United 1
The first match at the Pro-Edge stadium on a Friday night for a long time attracted a bumper crowd, but ended in heartache for ten man Ives as the Planters Matthew Blake fired in an equaliser deep in stoppage time to take the tie to a replay at Plantation Park on Wednesday evening.
The visiting Thurlow Nunn Premier Division champions were no mugs and showed they were up for this game right from the off going close only eight minutes in as Jordan Jarrold had to acrobatically clear Blake’s goal bound header from an Adam Hipperson corner off the goal line. The Ives created their first opportunity only four minutes later as Jarrold took a quick throw to Phil Draycott by the left corner flag, Draycott’s first time cross picked out Jack Higgs eight yards out. Higgs is not renowned for his heading ability, but he managed to direct his header towards the bottom corner, however it lacked pace and visitors keeper Duncan McAnally was smartly down to save.
The home side were struggling to defend corners during this early period, but were doing just enough to deny the Planters strikers clean headers on goal. They were also looking dangerous on the break with the dancing feet of Peter Clark to the fore.
Clark was heavily involved in the flowing move which saw Ives take the lead on 28 minutes. He combined well with Draycott and Watson before sending the latter clear with an exquisitely weighted through ball. Watson did the rest with a simple slotted finish past McAnally as the keeper came off his line.
The Ives were looking very dangerous when they got the ball down and played through the slower Planters defence. They could have gone two up on 42 minutes as Ebey Marango took on and got past Andrew Cusack down the right. He carefully picked out Higgs on the edge of the box with his pull back. The Ives midfielder hit a crisp goal bound shot that struck the unsuspecting Lee Mason in the chest and bounced away.
The Ives went close again in the last minute of the first period Clark again drove at the Norwich back line and played a ball wide to Draycott on the left. Draycott sped on past his full back Jamie Speller and delivered a low cross that Planter’s skipper Steve Shipley blocked out at full stretch. The ball rebounded to Clark on the edge of the box and he curled his effort just over.
The visitors came out for the second period determined to get back into the game and thought they had done so on 58 minutes as substitute Ben Jones delivered a ball into the box that home keeper Tim Trebes just got to ahead of Blake, but the Norwich striker ploughed on into the keeper, fouled him and bundled the ball into the net. Fortunately the excellent referee Alistair Wilson was on hand to disallow the goal and dish out a yellow card to the striker.
Ives were still looking dangerous when they pushed forward Clark was again involved in creating another opportunity on 62 minutes as he went down the right and delivered a dangerous ball into the box that arrived at the feet of Danny Watson at the far post. Unfortunately Watson was slow to get the ball out of his feet and could only lay it back to the incoming Draycott who fired a fierce first time effort that rattled the boards beside the goal.
The visitors were also enjoying their periods in possession, but Ives hard working defence were restricting them to long range efforts. Mason shot straight at Trebes from 25 yards on 69 minutes and Blake clipped an effort just wide from a little closer one minute later.
However the game changed in one minute of madness from Ives striker Watson on 75 minutes. Firstly he needlessly pulled back Speller to earn himself a yellow card midway in the visitors half. He followed this up with a frustrated tirade at the referee that may well have earned him an immediate second yellow against a lesser official. Having taken a severe talking to he then madly dived in on Speller only seconds later to give the referee no option but to dish out the second yellow card and give his team mates a very tough remaining 15 minutes.
The Ives brought on Stuart Eason for the unfortunate Draycott to give them a single presence up front and dropped everyone else behind the ball. This tactic looked like working as initially the visitors were just delivering long balls into the box which Trebes was gathering confidently. But the Planters corner count was rising and Trebes had to be at his best to keep out a downward header from Blake as he met Hipperson’s corner at the far post on 87 minutes.
It looked like Ives may just get over the line, but there had been a lot of stoppages in the second period and there was still a lot of time to play. Two minutes into added time Cusack went down the left and fed the ball into Blake on the edge of the box and he drove his first time effort just past the far post.
However one minute later he grabbed another opportunity with both hands as he found space 25 yards from goal and hit a fierce dipping drive that took a vicious bounce off the turf just in front of Trebes and flew up into the top corner of the net giving the keeper no chance.
There were still three minutes of added time to go and this was time for Ives to suddenly push forward with purpose and McAnally was forced into saves from headed efforts by Steve Gentle and substitute Ben Seymour-Shove. The final chance of the night fell to the visitors and Jarrold again did his bit on the line to keep out a header from Shipley from the last corner of the game.
So this pulsating tie ended with honours even and we all try again at Plantation Park on Wednesday evening. Peter Clark grabbed the man of the match award for the second game in a row for his all action display working off Danny Watson up front.
St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, Jarrold, Death, Gentle, Knight (capt), Marango (Seymour-Shove 56), Higgs, Clark (Warwick (90+2), Watson, Draycott (Eason 75)
Unused subs : Moyes, Simons
Goals : Watson 28
Supporters Man of the Match : Peter Clark
Final Score : St Ives Town 1 Norwich United 1
Attendance : 216