Result: St Neots Town 2 St Ives Town 1

Tuesday 13th October 2015 –  Red Insure Cup

St Neots Town 2 St Ives Town 1

The Ives were extremely unfortunate to exit the Red Insure Cup at the first hurdle as, in spite of giving a lot of game time to a number of their squad players, they enjoyed the vast majority of possession and played the majority of the football in this local derby against their higher division neighbours.

Manager Ricky Marheineke had already stated that this competition was going to give him chance to start some of his squad players and we saw first starts of the season for Luca Dusi, Jack Warwick, Jared Cunniff and Chae Simons with Scott Sinclair starting only his second game after his return from injury and the first in his preferred wide right position.

The home side had, in contrast, selected their strongest available team with the exception of young goalkeeper Ollie Sutton who was making his debut for the Saints. Not surprisingly it was the home side who started the game on the front foot and Ives keeper Tim Trebes was called upon to tip over a well struck free kick by Ryan Hawkins in only the forth minute.

Ex Ives striker Tom Meechan also squandered an early chance scuffing his shot from a good position just inside the box ten minutes later. But the visitors were beginning to get into their stride with Jack Warwick winning balls for them in midfield where ex Saints player Peter Clark was starting to pull the strings.

The visitors took the lead in the 18th minute with one of their characteristic quick flowing moves from the back. Simons picked up the clearance on the half way line and swiftly advanced into space before laying the perfect ball into Cunniff on the left. Cunniff cut inside his full back and skilfully curled the ball into the far corner of the net giving Sutton no chance from the corner of the box.

The home side lost their skipper Adam Tann to unfortunate knee injury soon after this and they were struggling to penetrate the resilient Ives defence with their long ball game. Charlie De’ath and Dan Moyes were confidently winning the headers from the long throws and crosses which were being bombed into their box.

Saints were limited to three half chances in the remainder of the first period. A good cross field ball from Ryan Horne picked out Lee Clarke in space on the corner of the box, but he could only drill his shot into the side netting on 20 minutes. Four minutes later Hawkins almost got on the end of an in-swinging cross from Meechan on the right. Trebes was called on to make only his second save five minutes from the break as he had to plunge to his left to push away a well struck effort from 25 yards by Hawkins that had taken a wicked bounce just in front of him.

The home side came close to an equaliser three minutes after the break as yet another long throw from Tom Wood was headed back to him by Moyes. Wood side footed the ball back into the crowded box and it somehow arrived in the grateful hands of an unsighted Trebes.

From this point the visitors took over the game with an exhibition of flowing football played at pace that the Saints struggled to live with. Simons pace and skill was proving a real handful for the lumbering Wood who fouled him to set up an Ives opportunity on 53 minutes. Phil Draycott curled in the kick from the right, but unfortunately Simons header did not hit the target.

Ives thought they had gone two up on the hour as Jordan Jarrold played in Draycott down the left, he cut in and clipped the ball past the advancing Sutton. Time seemed to stand still as the ball bounced on its inexorable route towards the far upright, unfortunately there are no bobbles at Rowley Park to divert it inside the post so the ball hit it smack on and rebounded straight into the hands of the grateful Sutton.

Three minutes later Draycott was again in action to inadvertently set up an opportunity for Simons. He closed down defender Shane Blackett as he dallied on a clearance. Blackett’s attempted clearance rebounded off Draycott to the unmarked Simons eight yards out. But the young striker snatched his shot over the top as Sutton desperately tried to hurl himself across the line of the ball.

Ives continued to pour forward and Clark was unfortunate be denied a clear run on goal by a marginal offside decision only two minutes later. The diminutive midfielder went close again on 71 minutes as Dusi fed the ball in to him from the right and he danced past two Saints defenders in a run along the edge of the box before clipping a shot back towards the near post which required and excellent diving save by the agile Sutton to keep it out.

Simons continued to give Wood a torrid time and hounded the big defender into another error on 76 minutes. Wood had to bring him down 25 yards out in the centre of goal. Draycott lined up the free kick but failed to get the ball up and down over the wall. Simons again drew a foul from the struggling Wood in a similar position five minutes later and this time the referee decided he had seen enough and booked the unfortunate Wood to add to his troubles. Unfortunately Sinclair also failed to test the keeper with his free kick.

The home side had shown little threat in the second period up to this point as Ives defence had dealt well with the home side’s long ball game. Just when it looked like the visitors had survived the aerial bombardment Saints managed to grab an unlikely equaliser from a corner. The flag kick in the 86th minute was only half cleared and arrived at the feet of Meechan by the penalty spot. Trebes did well to turn away his initial effort, but Luis Viera picked up the loose ball and fired it across the box where Clarke was first to react and fire home from close range.

Ives reacted well and a foul on Clark created another opportunity for a free kick from 25 yards on the right. Draycott hit the target this time, but Sutton tipped the shot over at the far post.

There had been a number of stoppages in the second period and the official indicated an added six minutes. The home side snatched their undeserved victory in the second of these added minutes as yet another long throw from Wood was flicked on by Josh Beech and despite protestations from Ives players that the ball was out play was allowed to continue. Meechan attacked the bouncing ball with a spectacular overhead effort from ten yards that Jarrold did well to block on the line. But Hawkins pounced on the loose ball to hammer it home from close range.

As Ives pushed forward in search of an equaliser to take the game to a shootout there was still time for Trebes to go on an amazing sixty yard dash into the opposition half that saw him flying down the left wing before plunging to the turf. The game ended seconds after that whilst he was still trying to convince the officials that his progress had been halted unfairly.

In spite of the result this was an entertaining game which the Saints will know they were very lucky to win. The pace and passing ability of the Ives flowing game was much more pleasing on the eye than the very direct game of the home side. All of the players that came in played their part in the excellent all round performance and the rested players will know they need to stay on the top of their game at all times as these guys are ready to step in.

Charlie De’ath got a unanimous vote as man of the match from the fans behind the goal for his commanding display under the bombardment from Saints. He and fellow centre back Dan Moyes also managed to keep Saints leading scorer Meechan on a very tight reign almost throughout. Other potential contenders were, as always, Peter Clark for another outstanding midfield display. Chae Simons who ensure ex pro Wood had a very tough night at the heart of the Saints defence. Jordan Jarrold and Phil Draycott are also very worthy of a mention for their all action displays on the left and the unsung Jack Warwick who tidied up everything in front of the back four.

St Neots Line Up

St Ives team : Trebes (capt.), Dusi, Jarrold, De’ath, Moyes (Knight 83), Warwick, Sinclair, Cunniff, Simons (Seymour-Shove 86), Clark, Draycott

Unused subs : Gentle, Eason

Goals : Cunniff 18

Man of the Match : Charlie De’ath

Final Score : St Neots Town 2 St Ives Town 1

Attendance : 174