Bedford Town v St Ives Town
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 12-11-2022
Ives overcame a horror start to claim an excellent victory on the road against the ten man Eagles but this success was tinged with sadness as star of the show Ravi Shamsi was carried off fifteen minutes from the end with an apparent recurrence of a knee injury that had previously kept him out of the game for ten months prior to his recent comeback at the quattro tech Westwood Road.
The visitors found themselves behind in the most unfortunate circumstances inside the first five minutes as Connor Tomlinson’s driven cross from the right ricocheted past Ives keeper James Goff off the knee of team mate Kane Lewis. The hosts early onslaught was unrelenting in these opening stages and they had the ball in the net again three minutes later as Charley Sanders poked home Drew Richardson’s header down but fortunately for Ives that effort was ruled out by the assistant’s upraised flag. It took an excellent save from Goff to deny Afolabi Soyemi-Ololade only seconds later, the keeper spreading himself bravely to block the striker’s effort at point blank range after Tomlinson’s cross had found its way through to him at the back post.
Ives first foray into Eagles territory came in eleventh minute as a quick break out of their own half saw Jonny Edwards bursting forward. Diadier Camara made one effort to take him down just inside his own half, but only succeeded in eventually bringing the striker down with a second attempt just outside the box to earn himself a yellow card. Michael Richens lined up the free kick and went for power the ball deflecting just wide off the hosts four man wall.
The all action first half continued with the hosts carving out the next two chances. In 14th minute Sam Dreyer delivered a deep corner from the right and when the ball was fed back along the line of the eighteen yard box it found him again in a bit of space on the right hand corner of the box his fierce rising drive speared across the face of goal and flashed just wide of the far post. The same player curled a 20th minute free kick over Ives four man wall and just wide of the same upright.
By this point midway through the first half the frenetic pace had dropped off a little and Ives had very much worked their way back into the contest. The equaliser arrived in 23rd minute courtesy of the sheer persistence of Kieran Higgs. He gave chase to a long punt down the park by keeper Goff and forced Michael Harriman into an error robbing the defender just outside the box but Richardson came across to cover. Higgs attempted shot ballooned up into the air off the defender and dropped to Edwards ten yards out. The Ives leading scorer showed great composure to finish on the volley and take his tally for the season up to fifteen in all competitions.
Ives supporters will probably say that they were taking control and were going on to win the game anyway but suffice to say an incident two minutes later made the task a whole lot easier. Shamsi had brilliantly taken down a long ball and was bursting clear down the right when he was crudely taken down by Richardson. The reckless challenge was sufficient to earn the Eagles centre back a straight red card from the excellent referee Jack Shepherd. Shamsi came within millimetres of embarrassing keeper Alex Street from the resulting free kick. With the keeper positioning himself at the far post expecting a cross Shamsi went for goal and curled his effort over the host’s wall and it looked to be going into the net but much to the relief of keeper Street and his defenders who were all looking on more in hope than expectation the ball thumped into the upright and rebounded clear.
Street had been looking shaky even prior to that let off and had already misjudged a couple of crosses. He again misread a deep Johnny Herd cross from the left in the 37th minute completely missing the ball and he was fortunate that Nabil Shariff creeping in at the back post was nudged just enough by Sam Warburton and could only direct his header past the post.
Another comedy of errors in the host’s defence gifted Ives the lead four minutes before the break. Higgs was again the man who set off in pursuit of another long ball down the park and this time he personally benefitted from some poor defending to open his account for Ives in his first start for the club. The initial mistake by the Eagles defence was allowing the ball to bounce. Higgs managed to out muscle Harriman but Warburton was covering and got to the ball first however his attempted header back to keeper Street fell woefully short allowing Higgs to nip in, take the ball around the exposed custodian, and roll it into the empty net.
Now with their noses in front Ives manager Ricky Marheineke made a wise change at half time replacing Michael Richens, who had picked up his fifth yellow card of the season as early as the ninth minute, with Dylan Williams in the centre of the park. The Ives skipper had been walking a bit of a tightrope with referee Shepherd committing a couple more fouls and getting a talking to from the official just before the break. The replacement ensured that there was no risk of the official levelling up the numbers.
Ives almost made the perfect start to the second half as Higgs did well to get onto a Johnny Herd ball down the left. He picked out Shariff on the edge of the box with his pull back and the striker tried to lay the ball into the run of Shamsi arriving at pace but unusually for the Ives midfielder he did not get it right and the ball bounced off his shins through to keeper Street.
The ten man hosts worked hard but Ives were in no mood to let them back into the game and their only two efforts at goal in the second half came ten minutes apart. In 47th minute a snap shot from 25 yards by Tomlinson was held at the second attempt by Goff. The same player cut in from the left and flashed a shot across the face of goal in 57th minute.
Ives were by now moving the ball around well without really threatening to increase their advantage. The next noteworthy incident was the unfortunate injury to Shamsi who felt his knee go as he turned with no one else near him in 73rd minute. In obvious distress he was helped from the field and carried to the changing rooms to be replaced by Enoch Andoh.
It was that man Andoh who put the icing on Ives cake and completed the scoring three minutes from time. Once again the goal came courtesy of a complete mess in the Eagles defence, one that keeper Street and his defenders will not enjoy watching on the play back. Edwards closed down the keeper on a back pass and rather than risk hammering the ball against the striker Street chose to try and play it to Dreyer on the edge of his own box but the lightening Andoh was onto it in a flash beating the defender to the ball before completing Street’s embarrassment by taking the ball around him and rolling it home.
Edwards tried to add to Street’s blushes only 40 seconds later as he picked up a loose ball fully 35 yards from goal and tried to chip the Eagles stopper but on this occasion the keeper managed to recover his position and make a comfortable save.
A vital three points on the road to get Ives season back on track again and leapfrog them above their opponents in the table. But so close is this division this season that the win takes Ives up to eleventh just two points above the losers who now tumble down to seventeenth just three points outside the bottom three. The much bigger worry for Ives though will be the impending long term loss of Shamsi. Hopefully the injury will not be as bad as is feared and we certainly wish our talisman a speedy recovery.
Final Score: Bedford Town 1 St Ives Town 3
BEDFORD: Lewis (own goal) 4,
ST IVES: Edwards 23, Higgs 41, Andoh 87,
Team Line Ups:
BEDFORD: Street, Harriman (Keeble 81), Warburton, Dreyer, Richardson, Alban-Jones, Tomlinson, Donnelly, Sanders, Soyemi-Ololade, Camara (Butterworth 69), Unused subs: Mackail-Smith, Thorne, Halliday
ST IVES: Goff, Lewis (Johnson 30), Herd, Richens (capt) (D. Williams 46), J. Williams, Milne, Higgs, Hottor, Edwards, Shariff, Shamsi (Andoh 74), Unused subs: Lembikisa, Kaziboni
Cards: Yellow: BEDFORD: Camara (11), Sanders (51), Butterworth (75) ST IVES: Richens (9), Lewis (27), D. Williams (76)
Red: BEDFORD: Richardson (25)
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Ravi Shamsi
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Ollie Jones