Stourbridge 2 St Ives Town 0
Emirates FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round – 17/09/17
A battered and bruised Ives once again failed to go beyond the second qualifying round stage as they limped of the FA Cup out at the hands of the typically physical Northern Premier League Glassboys at the unusual venue of the Memorial Ground in Stourbridge. The ground also hosts Worcestershire second XI cricket and is hence open on one side with a truly traditional cricket pavilion resplendent in a corner.
On paper this was always going to be a tough draw as the Glassboys have an enviable FA Cup pedigree over recent seasons and only last year reached the third round proper of the competition. Ives went into the game expecting a bombardment of their box and set up to defend such a style of attack. Unfortunately the game plan was disrupted early as after only eight minutes centre back Lewis Ferrell limped out of the action with a knee injury picked up as his attempted clearance was blocked.
Ferrell was replaced by the experienced Lee Chaffey and Ives continued to defend their box well only for Chaffey to also pick up an injury only nine minutes later as he was clattered in clearing a dangerous bouncing ball from inside the six yard box. Chaffey gallantly battled on for another nine minutes before joining his colleague on the side lines forcing manager Ricky Marheineke into a reshuffle which saw Tuesday evenings hat trick hero Danny Kelly filling in as an emergency centre back alongside his captain and Dubi Ogbonna coming on as the lone striker.
Prior to all of these shenanigans Ives had almost got off to the perfect start as Kelly came within inches of beating home keeper Matt Gould to a through ball. But having failed to take that opportunity they very quickly found themselves under the cosh in the manner they had expected. The first Glassboys corner of the game was delivered to the back post where Jack Duggan rose above the crowd. Keeper James Goff tried to claim his header back into the mix, but dropped the ball under very heavy pressure from friend and foe alike. The loose ball was scrambled away for another corner. A third quickly followed which was again won at the back post by the rugged Duggan, but his header was just wide of the mark.
Ferrell departed soon after and Ives best chance of the first period came from a swift break in 13th minutes as Lewis Hilliard fired in a low snap shot from the right hand corner of the box that almost turned into the perfect pass for Phil Draycott arriving at the back post. Draycott made good contact from ten yards out, but skimmed his shot back across the face of goal and wide of the post.
Chaffey picked up his injury in 17th minute as a long throw launched into the Ives box from the right by Tom Tonks was allowed to bounce inside the six yard box. Chaffey bravely leapt in to hack the ball away, but was clattered by Jordan Archer as he made the clearance.
The hosts continued to press forward at every opportunity. Three minutes later Jordan Jarrold was almost caught out as Matt Dodd powered down the right before cutting inside the Ives full back and firing over from a good position. The same players were involved in 24th minute as Josh Cooke tried to thread a pass inside the full back into the run of Dodd. But this time Jarrold was alert to the danger and did enough to take the sting out of Dodd’s effort on goal giving Goff a comfortable save.
As the half wore on Ives continued to look reasonably solid under the bombardment. They even managed to create another half chance of their own 15 minutes before the break. A Hilliard corner from the left was flicked on at the near post and Ogbonna threw himself full length to get a header on target at the back post. But Tonks was guarding the post well and knocked the effort away.
The closest the Glassboys came to opening their account in the remaining period before the break was in 36th minute as skipper Stuart Pierpoint got in front of his marker to win a corner at the near post, but fortunately his flicked header was inches over the top.
The pressure from the home side continued to mount at the start of the second half. In 52nd Aaron Forde delivered a ball in the left that Duggan cleverly flicked over Kelly giving Archer a clear run on goal. Goff was quickly out to close him and the Glassboys striker flicked the ball past the advancing keeper, but inches the wrong side of the post.
A goal for the hosts had looked like it was coming for a while and when it did it arrived in simple fashion. Tonks managed to turn inside Longden on the left, he delivered an inviting cross to the back post where Leon Broadhurst arrived at pace to bury his header from eight yards past the exposed Goff.
The long throws continued to rain in and Broadhurst should have doubled his tally in 64th minute. Tonks long throw was flicked on by Duggan and again Broadhurst had ghosted in at the back post. But this time he directed his header from eight yards over the top.
Goff kept Ives in the game two minutes later as he plunged to his left to keep out a low drive through the crowded box by Darryl Westlake who had seized on a half cleared corner just outside the box.
But the Glassboys were not to be denied the all important second for much longer and the Ives stopper was beaten again two minutes later. Dodd out-paced Jarrold down the right forcing the young full back into a clumsy challenge which brought him a yellow card and gave Tonks chance to deliver a free kick into the Ives box. Not surprisingly Duggan was his target and again the hosts centre back attacked the ball rising above the pack at the back post and heading it back into the mix where Broadhurst bravely stuck his head in to divert it home from close range.
The hoped for revival by the Ives did not materialise as the hosts continued to turn the screw. Dodd continued to cause trouble down the right and he delivered another cross in 73rd minute. Archer rose above Kelly and directed his header towards the bottom right hand corner of Goff’s goal, but the young keeper was equal to it hurling himself to his left to save by the foot of the post.
The hugely optimistic cries of “we are on our way to Wembley” were already ringing out from the home faithful before Hilliard had Ives first shot at goal in the second period eight minutes from time. It was a somewhat speculative effort from fully 30 yards that thudded the boards to the right of keeper Gould’s goal with the custodian confidently watching on in the knowledge that should it have been two yards to the left he would have had it covered.
The final noteworthy action of the game came as the game entered added time and it was another excellent stop from young Goff. Glassboys substitute Brandon Hague was allowed to pounce on a ball just outside the Ives box, He threaded through an inch perfect pass to put fellow sub Ryan Rowe clear. Goff was out in a flash and made an excellent reaction stop at point blank range to keep out Rowe’s attempt to flick the ball past him.
So the FA Cup adventure ends for another year and we wish our worthy conquerors the best of luck in the next round. The travelling supporters man of the match award went to skipper Charlie De’ath who was the rock that many Glassboys attacks foundered on as they were delivered into the Ives box. He seemed to relish the challenge that had others apparently struggling and is a worthy winner. Second place went to young keeper James Goff who I am pleased to say put pen to paper to extend his loan spell with the Ives into next year.
Final Score : Stourbridge 2 St Ives Town 0
Goals : none
Supporters man of the match : Charlie De’ath
St Ives team : Goff, Longden, Jarrold, De’ath (capt), Ferrell (Chaffey 8, Ogbonna 27), McGowan, Seymour-Shove, Clark, Kelly, Hilliard, Draycott (Hartley 69),
Unused substitutes : Wright
Attendance : 765
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photo by Louise Thompson