Saturday 15th August 2015 – Southern League Division One Central
St Ives Town 2 Fleet Town 0
Jack Higgs stunner in added time at the end of the first half was a real bright spark in an otherwise uninspiring routine home win for the Ives.
The game started slowly with both sides testing each other out in the early stages. Ives were almost gifted an opener after only seven minutes when visitors centre back Jack White, under very little pressure, directed a header over his own keeper. Fortunately for White keeper Ryan Pryce was quick to recover and managed to pounce on the ball just ahead of the fast closing Danny Watson.
The Blues best chance of the game came only three minutes later as skipper Simba Mlambo chased a hopeful lob over the top by Josh Harfield. He got to the ball just ahead of the fast advancing home keeper Tim Trebes, but could not keep his effort down and it crept just over the top.
After this early scare the home side began to get on top and were enjoying a lot of possession, but were struggling to break down a resilient Blues back line.
The next opportunity for a strike on goal came on 19 minutes as Harry O’Malley delivered a deep cross from the right that was headed back to the edge of the box by Luis Viera. Luke Knight ran onto the loose ball, but fired over the top from 25 yards.
Three minutes later the busy Viera was again involved as he harried visiting full back Brett Stanley into a mistake 25 yards from his own goal. Viera latched onto the loose ball and teed up Danny Watson who was unlucky to see his first time effort strike a Fleet defender which took all off the pace of the ball to give Pryce a comfortable save.
Viera’s fellow loanee Ebey Marango got into the action on 38 minutes as he stormed down the right hand side, and despite being fouled, managed to deliver a good out-swinging cross that found Watson in space at the far post. The young striker should have probably done better, but only succeeded in hitting the side netting with his powerful header from eight yards.
The one way traffic was continuing, but the Blues defenders were putting their bodies on the line and looked likely to make it safely to half time. On 44 minutes Knight fired in a shot from 25 yards that was blocked by James Scott, the ball ran on to Stuart Eason on the edge of box. He fired in a powerful shot from 20 yards that flew just wide.
As the first half entered added time Jordan Jarrold curled in a long, deep, cross that looked to be a comfortable catch for Pryce, but he misjudged the ball and spilled it. Aaron Blaxall was on hand to cover behind him and cleared the ball to the half way line, where he probably thought it was safe. But he reckoned without the Ives midfield Knight skilfully brought the ball and laid it square to Higgs. Higgs strode forward 15 yards. The visiting defenders were a little slow to close him down, so he tried his luck from fully 35 yards and unleashed an absolute screamer that dipped and swerved into the top corner leaving the gasping Pryce grasping at thin air.
This terrific strike gave the Ives the opportunity to put in a thoroughly professional second half display. They continued to control the game and the Blues were restricted to a few sporadic raids. The first of these came on 56 minutes as a long free kick by Craig Davis found substitute Craig Stanley in space beyond the far post, but he could only hit the side netting from a narrow angle.
Trebes had to be alert on 59 minutes as a quick break by Harfield and Josh Francis saw the latter put through, but the home keeper was smartly off his line to bravely smother the ball at the feet of the incoming striker.
The visitor’s final effort on goal came four minutes later, and they thought it had grabbed them an unlikely equaliser. Craig Stanley found space on the right and delivered a dangerous cross into the box which was powerfully headed home by the unmarked Mlambo, but he had strayed into an offside position and the assistant’s flag wiped out his effort.
Joe Peacock came on just after the hour to replace the tiring Marango and he almost instantly won a free kick 25 yards from goal. Higgs delivered the free kick into the centre of the box where Eason won the flick on. Charlie Death rose to head the ball goalwards, but his effort from ten yards was straight at Pryce who held on comfortably.
Peacock was again involved on 78 minutes as he worked hard down the right to win a corner off Blaxall. Higgs curled the flag kick to the near post where O’Malley flicked the ball on and Death volleyed the ball hard into the ground by the penalty spot from where it bounced up into the roof of the net past the despairing Pryce.
This second goal knock all of the resistance out of the tiring Blues and Ives should have added at least a couple more to their tally as they started to run the visitors ragged. Substitute Chae Simons was played into space by Watson only one minute later, he turned inside and fired in a shot from 15 yards that was straight at the keeper.
The Ives were now passing the ball around in comfortable fashion and running down the clock. They created one more excellent chance for a third with two minutes to go as Peacock fed through a precise pass to set fellow substitute Simons clear. Simons got a slightly heavy touch on the ball and was just beaten to it by Pryce’s well time sprint from his line. The keeper’s momentum took him into Simons and he was unlucky to see the assistant flag for a penalty. He got himself a yellow card for arguing with the officials over the decision, but he probably felt justice was done as the usually reliable Higgs fired the spot kick over the top.
The conclusion on this game was that it was a good three points from a routine home win against a visiting team who were resilient and at times difficult to break down, but offered little threat up front.
The man of the match award had to go to Jack Higgs for his absolute stunner that broke the deadlock, but it was a good all round performance in which everyone played their part.
St Ives team : Trebes, O’Malley, Jarrold, Death, Gentle, Knight (capt), Marango (Peacock 64), Higgs, Eason (Simons 78) , Watson, Viera
Unused subs : Moyes, Warwick, Dusi
Goals : Higgs 45+1, Death 78
Supporters Man of the Match : Jack Higgs
Final Score : St Ives Town 2 Fleet Town 0
Attendance : 251