Saturday 5th December 2015 – Southern League Division One Central
St Ives Town 1 Uxbridge FC 1
Ives were perhaps a little fortunate to extend their unbeaten League run to seven games as they were second best for a lot of this fixture in which the weather was the real winner. The visiting Red Army are on a similar unbeaten run to the Ives and will be somewhat disappointed to only take one point from this game.
The home side won the coin toss and kicked off with the gale force wind at their backs, but they struggled to make use of the elements over hitting a number of through balls throughout the early period of the game.
Their first attempt at goal was an intended cross from a free kick wide left by Ben Seymour-Shove. The wind pulled the ball in towards the near post forcing visiting keeper Paul McCarthy into a diving catch.
Scott Sinclair was looking to get at the visitors defence at every opportunity and he seized his chance to take on a couple of defenders in midfield on 14 minutes, but having worked his own space for a shot he could not emulate his recent effort at Potters Bar a couple of weeks ago and fired well wide.
Ives best effort of the first half came on the half hour as a Seymour-Shove corner curled in from the left was punched away under heavy pressure by McCarthy. The ball fell to Jack Warwick 20 yards out and his well struck volley skimmed inches over the top.
A Sinclair free kick from the right on 33 minutes was met acrobatically beyond the far post by Harry O’Malley, but his knock down was scrambled away from the feet of Chae Simons by Mitchell Wiseman. Simons was again involved two minutes later, this time combining well with Danny Watson before powering in an effort from the right corner of the box that was blocked away for a corner.
Having enjoyed the majority of possession, but created very little the Ives suddenly found themselves under some pressure in the last ten minutes of the half. Jon-Jo Bates and Sekani McCalmon combined well down the left on 36 minutes and it took a last ditch block from O’Malley to prevent McCalmon getting a shot on goal. The resulting corner was won in the air beyond the far post by Wiseman, and Steve Gentle did well to head the ball clear from the six yard box under heavy pressure.
Three minutes later a deep free kick from the left was again won beyond the far post by Wiseman and he again put the ball back into the danger area where an assistant’s flag came to the Ives rescue as Lewis Cole came in to try and put the ball away.
Having seen their side struggle to create much with the strong wind at their backs the home fans were hoping that perhaps they could operate better with the breeze holding up the ball for them. However it was the visitors who started the second half better as they tried to keep the ball on the deck and play it into feet when possible. They created the first opportunity of the second period on 56 minutes as Ben Peden and Cole combined well down the right and the latter delivered a clip into the box that picked out his skipper Wayne Carter ten yards out in the centre of goal, but Carter failed to hit the target with his powerful header.
Ives brought on Stuart Eason for the struggling Watson only one minute later and he was involved as Ives created their best chance of the game on the hour with a quick break out of defence. Eason won a header in midfield, Jared Cunniff picked up the loose ball and strode on into the Uxbridge box before selflessly squaring the ball to Seymour-Shove in space. But the young winger snatched at his shot with the goal at his mercy and dragged his effort well wide of the post.
The visitor’s were still looking the more likely to break the deadlock and came very close to doing so on 62 minutes as Reece Grant seized an opportunity to run at the defence. He wriggled his way through and ended up one on one with home keeper Tim Trebes, but the Ives stopper stayed upright and did well to block the effort. Bates followed up, but his powerful effort was bravely blocked out for a corner by Jordan Jarrold.
The in-swinging flag kick from the right lead to the Red Army going in front as it dropped into the danger zone and resulted in a scramble in which Carter got the last touch to force the ball home from close range. Keeper Trebes protests that he was blocked from coming for the ball only resulted in him picking up a yellow card to add to his woes.
Trebes was however Ives saviour again six minutes later as he denied Grant in another one v one. This time the Red Army winger picked up a rebound from a tackle between O’Malley and McCalmon to sprint clear. But Trebes again resisted the temptation to commit early and spread himself well to make an excellent save with his legs.
The visitors were still pushing forward and looking to add to their lead and it took an very well timed tackle from Jarrold to stop Bates after he had almost been put clear by Kevin Warner. It was a hearts in mouths moment as Bates shaped to shoot, but the young full back caught him up and timed his tackle to perfection to take the ball cleanly off his toe.
Ives equaliser came completely out of the blue with nine minutes to go. Trebes struck a clearance well against the wind and it held up sufficiently in the breeze to go over the head of Thomas. Cunniff instantly pounced on the loose ball and fired in an effort from fully 25 yards that caught McCarthy napping. The keeper plunged to his right, but seemed to be deceived by the way the ball was wobbling in the wind and although he got a good hand to the ball he could not prevent it going in the bottom corner.
The home side had one final chance to grab a very unlikely winner two minutes into added time as Gentle, who was playing as an additional striker for the last ten minutes, got on the end of a deep cross from the right by Cunniff, but failed to hit the target with his free header from eight yards.
The final verdict on this game was a rather fortunate point gained in a game which was low on entertainment value. But with a number of first choice players missing through injury and others trying to carry on through the pain barrier it was never going to be easy. Manager Ricky Marheineke will be busy this week trying to bolster his squad ahead of next weekend’s tough trip to Northwood and the busy Christmas period.
The sponsors selected Jared Cunniff as Ives man of the match and he deserved the accolade for his powerful all action display in the centre of the park. He was involved in almost all of the positive play from the home side and always looked their greatest threat going forward.
Unused subs : Davidson
Goal : Cunniff 81
Sponsors Man of the Match : Jared Cunniff
Final Score : St Ives Town 1 Uxbridge 1
Attendance : 255