Sunday 24th January 2016 – Hunts Youth U18 Cup Semi-Final
St Ives Town Youth 0 Eynesbury Rovers U18’s 3
The young Ives battled well throughout the ninety minutes and could hold up their heads proudly as the frustrated a much bigger, stronger and older Eynesbury side who only clinched their place in the final with two goals in the last 15 minutes as the home side pushed forward in search of an equaliser.
Unfortunately the lads let themselves down badly after the final whistle as they reacted to provocation from some of the Rovers players at the hand shake that quickly degenerated into a large brawl by the dugouts that saw players from both sides trading punches and kicks. The match officials dealt with it as best they could and issued red cards to the two most blatant offenders Eynesbury’s Jake Smith and Reuben Eyles of St Ives.
Fully aware that Eynesbury had been scoring hat fulls of goals in the earlier rounds of this competition and their League games manager Jack Cassidy went for his favoured 4-1-4-1 formation and set out to restrict the visitor’s opportunities.
This formation worked well in the early stages as any attacks Eynesbury looked to formulate were quickly snuffed out by the rigid Ives back lines. Their only early opportunity came from a dead ball situation in the 13th minute as Jake Smith delivered a free kick into the centre of the box that saw both Eynesbury centre backs attack the ball in an excellent position. Fortunately they got in each other’s way and the chance was gone.
Ives were still capable of breaking out of defence at pace and created their best opportunity of the first period on the half hour as Sam Bedwell-Byatt won the ball on the left just inside his own half and played the ball into the feet of Charlie McManus who slid it forward to Sam Davidson. He played a perfectly weighted through ball that was going to put Mark Lloyd clear until he was cynically taken out by Eynesbury defender Tommy Fairbrass. He was only saved from a red card by the distance from goal. But a free kick thirty yards from goal and a yellow card for the offender was scant reward for the best move of the game to that point. Sam Land fired the free kick on target, but Lee Pickering was equal to it and plunged to his right to push the ball away.
The home side were unfortunate to fall behind on 38 minutes as they struggled to clear a ball played into the feet of centre forward Rhys Thorpe on the edge of the box. Callum Shepherd got his foot to the ball, but it bounced up and hit his hand. Thorpe carefully lined up the free kick and his powerful dipping drive over the wall gave Jordan Mitchell no chance.
The visitors came close to adding to their lead two minutes before the break as Cam Harris got on the end of a corner from the left. Mitchell did very well to block his close range header and Ewan Smith was on hand to acrobatically clear the follow up effort off the line. The ball was still bouncing dangerously around the goalmouth until Mitchell bravely smothered it.
The home keeper also did well to cling onto a fierce drive from Jake Smith as the half entered added time, Smith had battled through two tackles before unleashing his shot from just inside the box.
The early period of the second half continued in similar fashion with neither side able to create much until Thorpe went close on the hour. Mitchell also did very well to hang onto another well struck shot from Cam Harris after a corner had been half cleared to him 25 yards out.
Manager Cassidy decided that he needed a change of tactics to try and get the goal back on 64 minutes. He substituted the tiring Bedwell-Byatt and the strangely ineffective Lloyd for Matt Wright and Bailey Pillin to go three up front. This unsettled the visitors for a while and Wright almost got on the end of a precise clip over the top by George Reader, but covering defender Sean Haran just managed to nick the ball off his toe.
But Eynesbury were looking to exploit the gaps which were now opening up and Mitchell excelled himself again twice in a minute as he first clung onto a powerful dipping drive from Smith and then kept out a close range header from Harris as he got on the end of another corner.
The goal that settled the game came from yet another dead ball situation in 76th minute as Shepherd blocked Smith 30 yards out. Smith cleverly dinked in the free kick to the far post where substitute Sam Bloy forced it home from close range. This knocked the stuffing out of the tiring Ives who to their credit still battled to the end.
The final nail in the coffin was provided in the 84th minute as Thorpe headed home an excellent deep cross from Bloy at the far post to grab his second of the game.
The Ives battled well throughout this game as they once again came up against a very tough opponent. But the real difference between the two sides was a man I have not mentioned once in this report, Eynesbury skipper Reuben White who ran this game in the middle of the park. He was one of those players that it is a pleasure to watch, never hurried, always time to bring the ball down and play it in to space, or into the feet of a team mate. He conducted himself well throughout this niggly affair and some of the other players on both sides would do well to follow his example.
St Ives Team: Mitchell, Land, Smith, Eyles, Shepherd, Reader, Lloyd (capt), Morgan-McDaid, Davidson, McManus, Bedwell-Byatt
Subs (used roll on/roll off): Pillin, Thompson, Wright
Subs not used: Parr, Short
Sunday 15th December 2015 – Cambs Women’s Invitation Cup
Comberton Ladies 0 St Ives Town Ladies 5
The Ladies progressed to the next round of the Women’s Invitation cup with a convincing 5-0 win. Two goals a piece from Georgia Rebane & Sasha Smith and one from Jorgie Hall were enough to book a place in the next round at home to Cambridge City Ladies on February 21st.