St Ives Town 2 Royston Town 4
Attendance : 233
Man of the match: Ben Seymour-Shove
Ives made one change for this Boxing Day lunch time special, bringing in Will Muzuimbiri for Stuart Eason up front. The bumper Bank Holiday crowd were hoping that the young striker would repeat his heroics from the game earlier in the season at Garden Walk where his brace earned the Ives a point. Muzuimbiri started remarkably well, but sadly two moments of madness from him proved to be the pivotal moments in this entertaining encounter.
The visiting Crows had slipped down the table recently and were eager to pick up points to return to the play-off places. They started the game well and won a couple of free kicks around the home box. The first of these was fired directly at a well positioned Tim Trebes in the home goal by Kaan Fehmi and the second was curled well wide by Chris Watters.
But having found their feet and started to get good possession Ives took the lead on 13 minutes. Muzuimbiri battled to win a high ball in midfield, left Spyros Mendis in his wake and laid a perfectly weighted crossfield ball into the path of the pacey Scott Sinclair. Sinclair took the ball in his stride and drove into the box before firing home past keeper Dominic Russo from 12 yards.
The Crows responded well to going behind and won a series of corners in quick succession. The home side were dealing well with these until the first moment of madness from Muzuimbiri on 20 minutes. A deep corner by Stuart Bridges had cleared everybody and Watters was chasing away from goal to retrieve it when Muzuimbiri needlessly pulled him back inside the box right in front of the referee. The official was left with no choice but to award the spot kick and caution the offender. Fehmi confidently despatched the penalty giving Trebes no chance low to his left.
This setback rocked the Ives and the only other half chance they managed to create in the first period came only one minute later when Kieran Fitzgerald managed to find space on the right. He ran at Watters, but only managed to fire his shot straight at the retreating defender. He managed to lay the rebound back to Peters on the edge of the box, but his first time effort was also blocked by a Royston defender and the danger cleared.
The Crows got on top for the remainder of the first half winning a series of further corners and creating chances from a number of them. On 25 minutes home skipper Jordan Lambert did well to just beat Scott Bridges to an in-swinging one and head the ball to safety over his own crossbar. Two minutes later Josh Melling did well to pressure ex Ives striker Ryan Ingrey into hurrying his shot and failing to hit the target after Ingrey had been played in by the influential Fehmi.
The corner count for the Crows began to mount up and Ives were fortunate not to fall behind from their eighth one on 35 minutes as another dangerous near post ball was flicked on by Scott Bridges and Trebes reacted well to parry the effort from close range, he did even better to block the follow up effort from Ryan Lockett and was mightily relieved to see Melling clear another follow up effort from Scott Bridges off the line.
However the hosts did not have long to enjoy their escape as the Crows went in front from their next corner only two minutes later. This one was delivered to the back post where Fehmi managed to completely lose his marker to rise unchallenged and power in a header from eight yards that gave Trebes no chance. This proved to be the final chance of the opening period which had been more entertaining than it perhaps sounds as both sides tried to play a passing game on a heavy pitch which was holding up well.
The Ives started the second half on the front foot looking for an equaliser. Only three minutes in Muzuimbiri again showed an excellent touch to bring down a high ball and play in Fitzgerald, but he could only hit his shot straight at keeper Russo from the edge of the box. Fehmi was still looking the most influential player on the pitch and two minutes later he robbed Peters on the edge of the box and fired in a crisp low drive that Trebes just managed to tip away at full stretch.
Muzuimbiri’s second moment of madness came on 53 minutes when he needlessly lunged in on Mentis on the half way line. Mentis made something of a meal of the challenge as there was very little contact. But having been booked in the first half and given a stern warning by the referee for a similar challenge just before half time, Muzuimbiri should have known better than giving the official a decision to make. Referee Feerick’s decision was a second yellow card and an early bath for the enigmatic youngster.
Rather than try to shut up shop manager Ricky Marheineke made the brave decision to change things around and made a triple substitution on the hour with Luke Smith, Jon Stead and Stuart Eason coming on for Josh Melling, Jonny Hall and Scott Sinclair. The new formation saw Ives go three at the back to push extra bodies forward to try and grab an equaliser.
Whilst this change gave Ives their best chance of getting something out of the game it also meant there was more space for the Crows to move into and it gave them opportunities to create chances from open play. They created two half chances in the next ten minutes, but were unable to hit the target with either.
Disappointingly for the home side when the third goal did come on 73 minutes it was again from a dead ball situation. Ryan Lockett’s in-swinging free kick from 35 yards was flicked over Trebes with the final touch apparently coming from the unfortunate Lambert. Two minutes later Royston killed the game off with a fourth goal from a flowing move involving Stuart and Scott Bridges with the latter teeing up substitute Gary Hart for a clinical finish past the diving Trebes from 15 yards.
To their credit the ten men never gave up and thoroughly deserved their consolation goal as the game entered added time. The hardworking Ben Seymour-Shove chased down a ball on the right and seized the opportunity to cut in and try a shot from a narrow angle that keeper Russo spilled. Fitzgerald was first to pounce on the loose ball and rolled it across the six yard line for Stead to force home at the far post.
There was still time for visitor’s full back Jack Bradshaw to pick up the second needless red card of the day when four minutes into stoppage time he crazily decided to throw himself to the ground as Eason came away with the ball. The eagle eyed assistant spotted that no contact had taken place and Bradshaw picked up his second yellow card of the game for diving.
A game which we knew was going to be tough test for our unbeaten run against a side that will be in the mix for a play-off spot at the end of the season. Disappointing to lose in the manner we did after starting so well, but we were not that far away from them and hopefully a lesson was learnt by the young man today.
St Ives team : Trebes, Melling (Smith 60), Hall (Eason 60), Lambert (capt.), Death, Peters, Sinclair (Stead 60), Higgs, Muzuimbiri, Fitzgerald, Seymour-Shove
Unused subs : none
Goals : Sinclair 13, Stead 90+1
Man of the Match : Ben Seymour-Shove
Final Score : St Ives Town 2 Royston Town 4
Attendance : 233
Next 1st team match Thu 1st January 3pm kick off AWAY to Bedford Town (League)
Source : www.stivestownfc.co.uk