Ives claimed their third win in an eight day period with a comprehensive thumping of a poor Arlesey side in heavy conditions at Pro-Edge stadium. The game was in doubt up to an hour before kick off as parts of the ground were still quite hard after a heavy overnight frost. But both managers were eager to get the game on and the referees decision to proceed proved the correct one as the frost came out of the ground to create sticky conditions which the Ives players seemed to revel in whilst their visitors from Hertfordshire never really got to grips with.
With everyone fit there is now real competition for places in the Ives side and those that made the starting line up certainly showed they meant business as the harried their opponents all over the pitch right from the off. Twice in the first five minutes Danny Watson delivered low crosses from the right. The first created an opportunity for Phil Draycott that was blocked by a scrambling defender. The second was met by a flicked header from Andrew Phillips that flashed over the crossbar.
The visitors created an opportunity of their own in the ninth minute as Lewis Wilson put Dylan Gittens away on the right. He was only denied a shooting chance by a perfectly timed tackle from Steve Gentle that took the ball off his toe just as he shaped to shoot. Wilson met the resulting corner from Luke Abraham at the near post, but could only direct his header inches wide of the upright under pressure from Charlie De’ath.
Ives went in front only one minute later as Ben Seymour-Shove capitalised on a defensive error to grab his first of the afternoon. Arlesey defender Matt Hall tried to play a square pass across the sticky surface to Abraham 30 yards from his own goal. But he did not put enough weight on the pass and Seymour-Shove pounced on the loose ball went past the stranded defender and fired a low drive from just inside the box across keeper Nick Thompson and into the far corner of the net.
The home side went close again two minutes later as Jack Higgs sprayed a ball out to Peter Clark wide on the left. Clark laid the ball back to Jordan Jarrold who delivered a teasing cross that Phillips attacked, but he could only direct his header straight at Thompson.
Ives were continuing to enjoy the majority of possession and always looked dangerous against a very shaky Arlesey defence. Watson went close on 20 minutes as he timed his run to perfection to get on the end of a deft flick from Phillips who had touched on an angled cross from Scott Sinclair. Watson beat Thompson to the ball, but the keeper managed to deflect his attempted chip out for a corner. Gentle came very close to his first goal for the Ives from the resulting corner as he got ahead of his marker to power in a near post header that Thompson did well to palm away.
A second goal always looked likely, but when it arrived on 26 minutes it was a true nightmare for the Arlesey defence. Higgs swung another inch perfect ball out of the midfield morass to Jarrold wide on the left. He laid the ball out to Draycott who delivered a low in-swinging cross into the box. Arlesey skipper Andre Maltay took a swing at the ball to attempt a clearance right in front of his keeper, but completely missed the ball. Thompson was deceived by Maltay’s actions and somehow missed the dipping ball which bounced on into the net.
Watson almost made it three, two minutes later as he ran clear onto a perfectly weighted clip over the defence from Draycott. He clipped the ball past the advancing Thompson and we all watched as it bounced inches past the far post.
Arlesey created a very good chance to get back into the game on 31 minutes as Harry Carr showed a deft touch to bring down a high ball on the edge of the box and set up an opportunity for Gittens who drove the ball across the face of goal from just inside the box. The ball beat Tim Trebes in the home goal, and arrived at the feet of Christian Tavernier coming in behind him. He looked to have the simple task of side footing it home, but somehow he only succeeded in firing the ball back into the grateful arms of the prostrate Trebes who hung on well.
Watson had another opportunity to open his account three minutes later as Peter Clark set off on one of his breath taking runs down the middle. He drew the defence and then played in Watson on the right. The very mobile no. 10 took a touch and fired in a powerful effort that Thompson just managed to hang onto.
But Watson was not to be denied for long and only one minute later he grabbed the goal his performance deserved as he robbed a dallying Hall and played a one, two with Seymour-Shove before firing home from ten yards to give Thompson no chance.
Ives sat back a little for the remaining minutes of the first half and Arlesey created two more efforts on goal. On 42 minutes Nathan Olukanmi picked up a loose ball on the right and took on Jarrold before unleashing a powerful drive that Trebes pushed away at his near post. Olukanmi was again involved two minutes later as he delivered a cross from the right that Wilson managed to get on the end of, but Trebes just managed to claw his header away. The keeper was also alert to bravely pounce on the loose ball just ahead of Tavernier.
The home side continued to take the game to their opponents in the second period. The half was only nine minutes old when Draycott came within inches of adding the fourth. A corner was partially cleared to Jarrold 30 yards out and he fed the ball back out to Seymour-Shove who delivered a deep curling ball beyond the far post. De’ath kept the ball alive and laid it back to Draycott 20 yards out. The hard working wide man took his time, sized up his chance, and curled a shot towards the top corner that beat a static Thompson all ends up, but crept just the wrong side of the post.
The fourth goal arrived four minutes later as Draycott took the opportunity to set away an overlapping Jarrold. He had time and space to look up before delivering a low ball into the box where three Ives players were queuing up to fire it home. Seymour-Shove got there just ahead of his colleagues to claim his second of the day from eight yards.
The Ives fifth came on 67 minutes as Watson seized his second running onto a long ball down the middle from Gentle that deceived Hall in the air. Watson found himself completely clear and calmly slotted the ball under the advancing Thompson.
Watson came close to grabbing his hat trick six minutes later as he was played in down the left by substitute Ben Keating. But rather than pick out one of his team mates arriving in the middle Watson turned inside and fired in a crisp drive that Thompson did well to cling onto at the second attempt.
The next opportunity almost fell to another Ives substitute Jared Cunniff as he and Clark combined beautifully to carve a way through the heart of the Arlesey defence. Hall just managed to cut out the final reverse pass from Clark that would have put Cunniff clear.
Clark had been finding a lot of space in the middle of the park throughout the afternoon and he seemed to be floating over the mud whilst the defenders trying to mark him were struggling to simply keep their feet. He carved out the sixth goal and Seymour-Shove’s hat trick with seven minutes to go as he again picked up a ball in the centre circle and skipped past a couple of lunging tackles before feeding the ball out to Seymour-Shove on the right hand corner of the box. He still had a lot to do, but turned inside his marker and struck a low drive with his left foot that Thompson probably should have kept out, but the keeper seemed to get down early and only succeeded in pushing the ball up into the roof of the net.
Much to the visitors relief there was virtually no added time and the Ives were soon able to celebrate this comprehensive win that keeps them in the play off places. Danny Watson rightly claimed the sponsor’s man of the match award for a very hard working display that was probably his best in a St Ives shirt. There were a number of others in the frame Ben Seymour-Shove now very much back to his best claimed the match ball for his hat trick. Andrew Phillips must also get a big mention for his unselfish display up front. Others claimed the goals, but this lad worked his socks off to pull the defenders around and create space for the others. Peter Clark also had another cracking game in midfield and he has the amazing knack of always finding space to run into and somehow skimming over the heaviest surface.
Overall this was another excellent all round performance and was the sort that we need to keep turning in every game if we are going to get in the shake up at the end of the season. But these lads are beginning to believe and so do we!
St Ives team : Trebes, Sinclair, Jarrold, Death (Capt.), Gentle, Higgs (Keating 68), Seymour-Shove, Clark, Phillips (Knight 62), Watson, Draycott (Cunniff 62)
Unused subs : Moyes, Eason
Goals : Seymour-Shove 10, 58 & 83, Watson 35, 67, Draycott 26
Sponsors Man of the Match : Danny Watson
Final Score : St Ives Town 6 Arlesey Town 0
Attendance : 292