Saturday 24th January 2015 – Southern League – Div 1 Central
Uxbridge 3 St Ives Town 3
Attendance : 122
Man of the match: Kieran Fitzgerald
At the moment if you want to see goals St Ives are the team to watch. After a poor first half performance a storming second half come back inspired by substitute Kieran Fitzgerald saw them earn a point in their second six goal thriller in a row.
Uxbridge could not believe their luck as they were given time and space to grab the lead after only four minutes. Matty Woods was given space to take down a long ball and run at the Ives defence. He pulled in the defenders and laid the ball to strike partner Craig Tomkins who hammered in a fierce drive from 20 yards that seemed to fly through visiting keeper Tim Trebes to billow the net.
It took the stunned visitors a little while to recover, but they managed to create their first opportunity in the tenth minute and it gave us an idea that whilst the home attack looked sharp their defence looked a little shaky. Jonny Hall swung in a deep cross from the left which Stuart Eason managed to head up into the air at the far post. Eason was first to react to the dropping ball as the home defenders looked on and he was unlucky to see his close range volley just clear the crossbar.
Ten minutes later Luke Knight, who was making his first start for the Ives, picked up the ball in midfield and sprayed an inch perfect pass out to Jon Stead on the right, Stead got down the line and drove in a dangerous low cross along the six yard line that none of the onrushing forwards was able to convert.
The visitors fashioned an equaliser in the 23rd minute when a cross into the box from the right by Josh Melling caused confusion in the home defence and a sliced clearance by Dave Thomas fell to Scott Sinclair on the edge of the box. Sinclair’s low first time effort threaded through the crowded box and past the unsighted home keeper Paul McCarthy to nestle in the bottom corner.
Having got back on level terms it took the Ives only five minutes to gift the Red Army the lead again. Trebes misjudged a long punt down the middle. He called for the ball early and came to claim it on the edge of the box, but Woods nipped in and nicked the ball away from the keeper. Trebes momentum took him into the striker who tumbled just inside the box. The resulting spot kick was despatched low to the keepers left by Tomkins.
Tomkins had a great chance to complete his hat trick only two minutes later when Woods got away down the middle and unselfishly laid the ball to his strike partner who looked like he must score. But the Red Army striker failed to keep his composure and blazed the ball over the top from 15 yards.
The home side were now well on top with skipper Wayne Carter running the show from midfield and tricky winger Jake Groves proving a handful for Melling on the left. It came as no surprise when the home side increased their lead on 39 minutes as Groves got away down the left and although Melling blocked his initial cross the ball rebounded to the wide man and he was able to roll it in to Danny Julienne who found space to turn inside the box and rolled the ball into the far corner of the net from ten yards.
The visitors created an excellent chance to reduce the arrears only two minutes later. Jack Higgs seized on the ball in midfield and clipped in a ball that Hall expertly flicked on to put Stead clear. But keeper McCarthy was quickly off his line to spread himself and block Stead’s attempt to slot the ball past him.
As if the first half had not been bad enough for them Ives suffered another blow just before half time as Sinclair took a bang on the knee which lead to him being replaced by Dan Banister. Sinclair received his injury desperately trying to stop another Uxbridge raid as they broke away quickly after an Ives corner. The move was only halted by Higgs bringing down Woods just outside the box. The influential Carter fired the resulting free kick just past Trebes right hand post with the keeper scrambling to get across.
After a half time roasting we were all hoping that the Ives would come out flying at the start of the second half, but it was the home side that had most of the early possession and they came close again only two minutes in. Woods found space on the right and fired in a low cross that Trebes did well to bravely claim at the feet of the inrushing Tomkins. Eight minutes later Woods was again allowed to turn and run at goal before unleashing a fierce drive from the corner of the box that flew into the side netting.
The visitors were still struggling to get into the game, but an inspired substitution on the hour by manager Ricky Marheineke changed the course of the game. The in-form Kieran Fitzgerald came on to replace the tiring Stead on the right and had an instant impact. Hall spayed the ball out to him and he took on and beat full back Ryan Phillips on the outside going past him with ease. He laid the ball back to Ben Seymour-Shove who was unlucky to see his goal bound effort blocked by Thomas.
Only two minutes later Fitzgerald was heavily involved as Ives reduced the arrears. This time he went inside the struggling Phillips and was brought down inches outside the box. Higgs took careful aim and curled his free kick precisely over the wall to give McCarthy no chance. The game was all square on 67 minutes and again Fitzgerald was involved. Seymour-Shove closed down and robbed Kevin Ayodele by the corner flag, he laid the ball back to Knight on the edge of the box and he played the perfect one two with Fitzgerald before sliding in to prod the ball past the advancing McCarthy from close range.
Ives were now well on top and looking the most likely winners. A long curling ball into the box by Seymour-Shove caused such panic in the home defence that Phillips sliced attempt at a clearance only just cleared his own crossbar.
But after this short period of excitement the game began to even up again and manager Marheineke decided to shore up the back line by bringing on the experienced Jordan Lambert to replace Luke Smith. The next chance fell to the home team on 76 minutes when Kevin Warner got on the end of a Carter free kick 10 yards out, but he failed to get his header on target under pressure from Charlie Death. Trebes had to show his bravery again four minutes later as he plunged in amongst the flying feet to claim a dangerous low ball into the box just ahead of Woods and Tomkins.
Ives best chance to grab a winner came on 86 minutes when Seymour-Shove found space on the left to curl in a dangerous cross that Fitzgerald won at the near post and was unlucky to see his flick just clear the crossbar.
So a well contested, but clean and entertaining game without a single caution headed towards conclusion. Woods picked up the first card of the game for a foul on 87 minutes. But as the game entered injury time things suddenly blew up when a late challenge by Warner on Knight by the half way line lead to a coming together of a number of players. At this point Warner was likely to get a caution for the challenge and Knight for his reaction to it. However the problems that Fitzgerald had caused the home side were obviously bubbling only just below the surface and home skipper Carter fired off a venomous tirade of abuse at the Ives winger that prompted an immediate reaction from Fitzgerald. The referee gave a straight red card to Carter for his comments and unfortunately Fitzgerald received similar punishment for his reaction. Knight also got his expected yellow, but Warner somehow escaped unpunished.
So an entertaining game ended in an unsavoury fashion. Fitzgerald claimed the man of the match award, although only on the pitch for 30 minutes his influence in that period was immense. Luke Knight pushed him close with an all action display on his first start for the Club.
St Ives team : Trebes (capt.), Hall, Smith (Lambert 73), Death, Melling, Sinclair (Banister 43), Knight, Stead (Fitzgerald 59), Higgs, Seymour-Shove, Eason
Unused subs : Peters
Goals : Sinclair 23, Higgs 65, Knight 67
Yellow card : Knight
Red card : Fitzgerald
Man of the Match : Fitzgerald
Final Score : Uxbridge 3 St Ives Town 3
Attendance : 122
Next 1st team match Tue 27th January 7.45pm kick off HOME to Hanwell Town (League)
Next U18 match Thu 29th January 7.45pm kick off HOME to Royston U18’s (League)
Source : www.stivestownfc.co.uk