After two disappointing defeats without scoring on the bounce manager Ricky Marheineke decided to shuffle his creative cards for this game. Club captain Luke Knight, Danny Watson and Phil Draycott all found themselves on the bench. Jack Higgs dropped into a deeper midfield role with the returning Jared Cunniff and Declan Rogers forming a new central midfield pairing. Ben Seymour-Shove returned on the right with Luis Vieira moving to the left and Andrew Phillips as a lone striker.
The changes had the desired effect as the Ives looked dangerous every time they went forward and the players who came into the side all looked hungry for the ball and eager to impress.
However it was the long distance visitors from Hampshire who started the brightest and it took a sharp save low to his right from home keeper Tim Trebes to deny Howard Neighbour the opener with the game only ninety seconds old. Neighbour had ghosted in at the far post to get on the end of Joseph Briggs free kick from the right and after Trebes heroics St Ives were further saved as Joseph Richardson fouled Scott Sinclair in his efforts to force home loose ball.
The visitors went on to enjoy further good early possession without really threatening, but they were rocked by the opening goal which came somewhat against the run of play only six minutes later. Jordan Jarrold picked up the ball on the half way line and swiftly played the ball inside to Rogers who played a well weighted clip into space behind the Rams defence. As the ball held up against the strengthening breeze, goalkeeper Anthony Ender hesitated as did centre back Michael Needham and in a flash Seymour-Shove got between them and toe ended the ball over the late arriving keeper and into the net from just inside the box.
With the fillip of this early goal the Ives began to get the ball down and play on the surface which thanks to a dry week was much more amenable to flowing football than it has been in recent matches. Rogers and Cunniff were enjoying a lot of space in the centre of the field. On 14 minutes Cunniff played and excellent cross field ball to Vieira who went past his marker and delivered a dangerous low cross into the box that a full stretch Jamie Ford just managed to deflect over his own crossbar.
Eight minutes later a probing run down the middle by Rogers ended with him playing the ball into the feet of Phillips on the edge of the box. He skilfully turned his man and fired in a fierce effort that was deflected inches over the top.
However it was not all one way traffic and the dangerous Briggs managed to rob Charlie De’ath as he tried to deal with an awkward bouncing ball on the edge of the box on 32 minutes. His driven low cross to the near post was only just smothered ahead of Oliver Bailey by Trebes.
It was the home side that created two more chances in the last ten minutes of the first period. On 36 minutes another forceful run by Cunniff down the centre ended with him being brought down 25 yards from goal by a clumsy challenge from Ford. Higgs carefully lined up the free kick and curled the ball over the wall, but just inches the wrong side of Ender’s left hand post with the relieved keeper looking on.
Just three minutes before the break a barnstorming run from Rogers cutting in from the left took him past two defenders. He played the ball into the feet of Vieira cutting in from the right, but the young striker wanted one touch to many and was instantly crowded out by the penalty spot.
Trebes had to be at his best to preserve his clean sheet only two minutes into the second half as a corner from the right by Briggs was only half cleared to Needham who hit a scorching volley from 20 yards that was arrowing for the top of the net before the Ives shot stopper leapt up to tip it over the top. The Rams followed up with two more corners in quick succession, but the well marshalled home defence held firm.
Ives first opportunity of the second period came on 52 minutes as Scott Sinclair pushing up from right back picked up the ball 30 yards from goal and seized the opportunity to run at the visitors defence before unleashing a low drive from 20 yards that forced keeper Ender into a diving save low to his left.
The home side almost grabbed a second less than one minute later as Seymour-Shove closed down Sean Wain on the edge of the box and blocked his clearance. The ball rebounded to the ever alert Phillips who instantly clipped the ball back into the path of the speedy winger, but he had just wandered into an offside position.
However the Ives were not to be denied and doubled their advantage only two minutes later with an excellent solo goal from Phillips. Jack Higgs won a header on the half way line and powered the ball forward. Phillips ran onto the ball and successfully held off Needham before firing home across keeper Ender and into the far corner from just inside the box.
The Ives were now well on top and went close to adding a third with a flowing move in 67th minute. Jarrold again took the opportunity to lay the ball into the feet of Phillips from the left. He instantly knocked the ball into the path of Seymour-Shove in space on the right. The tricky winger got to the bye line and laid the ball back to Cunniff who’s first time effort from twelve yards was bravely blocked by Needham.
But only one minute later the home side did grab a cracking third. Cunniff took the ball down the right and played it inside to Seymour-Shove who clipped it first time towards the near post where Phillips met it with an acrobatic volley to give Ender no chance from eight yards.
The hard working Phillips was proving a real handful for the struggling Rams defence and he almost turned provider with ten minutes to go as he nicked the ball off a dallying Needham 25 yards from goal and took off down the left before selflessly laying the ball back to substitute Jack Warwick in space on the edge of the box. Warwick took careful aim and curled the ball inches over the top with Ender well beaten.
Phillips did have one more chance to complete what would have been a well deserved hat trick with six minutes to go as he received a ball in from Jarrold 20 yards from goal. Shielded the ball well and skilfully turned Needham before clipping the ball just over the angle of crossbar and post with Ender scrambling to cover.
The Ives defence and keeper were called into action to preserve their clean sheet twice in added time. As the game entered the first of the added four minutes a corner from the right by Briggs was headed back to him and the tricky forward instantly drove at goal before unleashing a powerful drive from a narrow angle that Trebes was forced to tip away. Three minutes later De’ath was forced to head the ball off the line as another Briggs corner was powerfully met by Neighbour at the near post.
Overall verdict was a good all round performance with everyone doing their job. Phillips took the man of the match award for his excellent brace and fully committed all round display with his often unseen runs into space and his skilful hold up play. He was pushed close by all three central midfield players and the rejuvenated Seymour-Shove. Keeper Trebes also had his best game in a while to preserve the well deserved clean sheet.
St Ives team : Trebes, Sinclair, Jarrold, De’ath (capt), Gentle, Higgs, Seymour-Shove, Cunniff (Warwick 77), Phillips (Watson 84), Rogers, Vieira (Draycott 64)
Unused subs : Moyes, Knight
Goals : Seymour-Shove 8, Phillips 55, 68
Man of the Match : Andrew Phillips
Final Score : St Ives Town 3 Petersfield Town 0
Attendance : 319