Thursday 5th November 2015 – Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division
March Town United U18’s 1 St Ives Town Youth 1
The young Ives may have been expecting this to be an easy game after their demolition of The Hares the Pro-Edge in August. But it was a significantly different, and much stronger, March line up to that greeted the scholars to the GER Ground.
The Ives started this game slowly, but very soon found out they were up for a stern test as the Hares right winger raced down the flank in only the second minute. He got all the way to the bye line and pulled the ball back to the six yard line where centre forward Conor Mazurek fired home.
To their credit the visitors reacted well to this early set back and although they were struggling to get any real possession they were doing what all good sides do and making it difficult for the opposition to break them down. The Hares were restricted to long range efforts which goalkeeper Jordan Mitchell was generally gathering very well on the slick surface. He was only twice more called into real action in the first period. He did well to block a fierce effort from 25 yards on 10 minutes and even better to smother the rebound at the feet of a forward following up.
Ten minutes later he pulled off his best save of the match as set off to his right to gather a well struck effort from 20 yards only for the shot to take a big deflection off Callum Shepherd. Mitchell reacted excellently and just managed to get a hand to the ball to prevent it creeping in his left hand corner. Covering defender Reuben Eyles did equally well to block the follow up effort on the line and the ball was scrambled clear.
After surviving this scare the young Ives began to come more into the game as an attacking force and they had their first effort at goal on 27 minutes when Adam Parmenter ventured forward from right back and clipped a good ball inside to Bailey Pillin who drove into the home box, but fired his shot into the side netting.
Eight minutes later Mark Lloyd and Sam Davison combined well down the right in a move which finished with the latter firing in Ives first shot on target from 25 yards, but the home keeper gathered it comfortably.
Ives defence was now coping well with the Hares attacks, but the home side did create one final chance just before half time as the centre forward was played in and looked to be going clear, but just as he shaped to shoot Eyles came in with a perfectly timed covering tackle to take the ball off his toe.
The quicksilver Matt Wright was introduced at half time and was very quickly influential in Ives taking control of the game for the early period of the second half. He pressurised the Hares back line into a mistake on 48 minutes and the ball fell to Lloyd 20 yards out. His first time effort curled inches over the top with the keeper beaten.
The equaliser came on 55 minutes as George Reader won yet another tackle in midfield a played a perfectly weighted pass to set Wright away. The young striker showed great composure to clip the ball past the fast advancing keeper.
The Ives were now well on top and created chances to win the game in the next fifteen minutes. On 59 minutes Wright showed a great touch to bring down a long ball and play it into the path of Davidson on the right. He delivered a telling cross into the box that Pillin met with a firm header that flew inches over the top.
Four minutes later Pillin again went close as he fired a fierce effort over from a good position 20 yards out after being played into space by Sam Bedwell-Byatt.
The final decent chance of this game came in the 68th minute and again fell to Pillin. Parmenter went on an over lapping run down the right and got to the bye line. He pulled the ball back to Pillin ten yards out who struck a goal bound first time effort that deflected off a defender and bounced off the cross bar to safety.
The remaining period of the game was fought out in a well contested midfield battle with play broken up by the flow of substitutions and neither side managed an effort on goal worthy of note. This was in part down to the sapping nature of the pitch which told on some of the players, but was equally down to the quality of the two sides defensive units.
Overall this was certainly a point gained in a competitive and entertaining encounter. It showed the defensive qualities of the young Ives are improving and apart from a very early lapse a clean sheet could well have been achieved against a good opposition. Everyone on the pitch can feel they did their job well in this game. The star man award went to right back Adam Parmenter who dealt well with a tricky winger, worked well with his fellow defenders and also found the time to venture forward and create two good opportunities for Ives to grab a winner.
St Ives Team : Mitchell, Parmenter, Parr, Eyles, Shepherd, Reader, Davidson, Morgan-McDaid, Pillin, Lloyd, Thompson
Subs (all used roll on/roll off) : Cooper, Smith, Wright, Bedwell-Byatt