Saturday 6th April 2015 – Southern League – Div 1 Central
St Ives Town 2 Bedford Town 1
Attendance : 305
Man of the match: Jack Higgs
The bumper bank holiday crowd were treated to an entertaining game with both sides eager to take the points from a game that no neutral would have believed had nothing more on it than pride and a mid table finish.
The home side made a couple of changes after their poor performance at Chalfont 48 hours earlier with Saturday substitutes Will Muzuimbiri and Luke Smith retaining their places in the starting line up at the expense of the players they had replaced at the weekend.
The visiting Eagles started on the front foot and had the first shot on target after only four minutes, but it was a tame one straight at home keeper Tim Trebes from 25 yards by Rob Parker after he had picked up a loose ball in midfield.
Trebes was put under more pressure seven minutes later as he struggled to claim a back header by Jonny Hall ahead of Eagles striker Tom Liversedge. Fortunately the referee deemed that Liversedge had fouled the keeper as he won the ball.
Will Muzuimbiri was already looking like he had learnt a lot during his period on loan and he was putting himself about as much as ever, but now in a much more controlled manner. He won the ball 25 yards from goal on 15 minutes and drew a foul out of Josh McGoldrick. Ben Seymour-Shove lined up the free kick and curled it precisely over the wall only to be denied by a diving save low to his right by visiting keeper Garry Malone.
Ives were now enjoying a period in which they were starting to get on top and two minutes later Scott Sinclair went close as he drove a shot just over the top from 20 yards having been teed up by Seymour-Shove who expertly laid off a long ball into the box by Lambert.
They say you should take your opportunities when you are on top and that is exactly what the Ives did on 21 minutes. Lambert won the ball well in defence and rolled it wide to Jonny Hall in space. Hall looked up and clipped the perfect ball over the top to his brother James Hall who outpaced visiting skipper Ollie Wilkinson and fired the dropping ball home past Malone and into the far corner of the net.
The Ives were now playing some excellent football and a flowing move involving Jack Higgs and Sinclair eight minutes later ended with Sinclair laying the ball off to Seymour-Shove in space on the right. Unfortunately no one could get on the end of his low driven cross which flashed across the face of goal.
However the Eagles were still playing their part in the game and thought they had equalised on 32 minutes. Quick inter-passing between Greg Ling and Josh Winters on the left ended with Winters curling in a cross from the left that Parker attacked in the centre of goal. He missed the ball, but so to did Trebes and covering Luke Smith and it bounced on into the far corner of the net. The Eagles celebration was cut short however as no one had noticed that Winters had wandered into an offside position when he delivered the cross and the assistants flag was raised.
The remainder of the half was fairly even with Ives defence generally keeping the Eagles at bay and the hard working Muzuimbiri and James Hall causing problems for the visitors defence without creating any clear cut opportunities.
The visitors made a late change in the first half losing Winters to injury, they had to make another at the interval replacing Liversedge who also appeared to pick up a knock. However these two enforced changes now meant they had their regular strike pairing of Joe Curtis and Curtis Shaw on the pitch.
It did not take long before they grabbed the equaliser with a training ground move on 56 minutes. Curtis drove in a low corner to the edge of the box Jordan Davis dummied the ball and Parker smashed it home from 20 yards to give Trebes no chance.
Trebes had to be alert five minutes later as Ling side stepped Harry O’Malley on the left and drove in a low cross that Trebes just managed to snatch off the toe of Curtis as he tried to turn it home at the near post.
But this game was by no means all one way traffic and just as the Eagles thought they were getting on top the Ives went back in front. James Peters won the ball in midfield and drove forward before being brought down by Ling 25 yards from goal. Higgs carefully spotted up the ball, took precise aim and curled a perfect dipping free kick over the wall to beat a diving Malone low to his left.
The home side continued to enjoy a lot of possession in the visitors half and they won a series of other free kicks 25 – 30 yards from goal in the next ten minutes, but none were as successful. They came close to increasing their lead twice during this period. On 75 minutes Seymour-Shove drove in an effort from 30 yards that bounced just in front of keeper Malone, but he just managed to hang on. One minute later Higgs curled in another powerful effort from 25 yards that clipped the crossbar.
The next opportunity that came along in open play was created, and almost finished, by Muzuimbiri on 77 minutes. He chased down a long ball and challenged Malone in the air winning the ball. As he tried to head home the loose ball he was challenged by covering defender Wilkinson and went down. But with the Ives fans screaming for a penalty the visitors cleared the ball and play swung to the other end where Ross Oulton played in Ling on the left. The Eagles wide man never looked comfortable on the ball and as Trebes closed him down he blazed his shot high and wide.
Four minutes later the three Bedford substitutes combined to create an opportunity Curtis playing the ball out to Paul Cooper in acres of space on the right. He curled in a deep cross to Shaw beyond the far post. Fortunately Shaw hit his first time effort straight at Trebes who gathered comfortably.
Muzuimbiri was proving a huge handful for the Eagles defence and his persistence and bravery earned him another chance on 82 minutes as he again chased down a long punt from Trebes and challenged Malone in the air just outside the box. The keeper did well to win the first challenge, but only succeeded in heading the ball straight up in the air. The alert Muzuimbiri won the second challenge, but unfortunately directed his header just wide.
Ives should have made the game safe with five minutes to go as Higgs curled in a perfectly weighted corner that Jonny Hall attacked on the six yard line. Unfortunately he failed to hit the target with his free header that sailed over the top.
Having failed to sew the game up Ives had to live on their nerves for the remaining minutes as the Eagles created and missed two good opportunities. As the game entered added time a long ball in from the left by Jon Bukasa was expertly brought down by Shaw just outside the box, but he fired his effort just wide of Trebes left hand post.
The final chance fell to Cooper in the fifth minute of added time as he picked up the ball 35 yards from goal before cutting in from the right and firing just wide of the opposite post with Trebes scurrying across his goal.
Overall an entertaining game which swung end to end with both sides looking to play positive football and giving 100% throughout. The sponsors man of the match award went to Jack Higgs for an all action midfield display and a cracking winner. But the new style Will Muzuimbiri must have pushed him hard with a controlled, but still all action display that ensured all of the Bedford defenders knew they were in a contest.
St Ives team : Trebes, Lambert (capt.), Smith, Jonny Hall, O’Malley, Peters, Higgs, Sinclair (De’Ath 87), Seymour-Shove, James Hall (Fitzgerald 90+4), Muzuimbiri
Unused subs : Moyes, Horrey
Goals : James Hall (21), Higgs (64)
Man of the Match : Higgs
Final Score : St Ives Town 2 Bedford Town 1
Attendance : 305
Yellow Cards : James Hall, Higgs
Next 1st team match Sat 11th April 3pm kick off HOME to Egham Town (League)
Next U18 match Thu 9th April 7.45pm kick off HOME to Royston Town (League)
Source : www.stivestownfc.co.uk