Brackley Town U18 4 St Ives Town U18 2
FA Youth Cup – Preliminary Round 06-09-18
The young Ives gave higher level Brackley a huge fright before eventually bowing out of the FA Youth Cup on their long trip into Northamptonshire.
Ives started positively and Billy Mobbs went close twice in the opening three minutes. But they were then stunned by a fluky opening goal for the hosts from their first attack with only four minutes on the clock. Ives midfield were slow to shut down Ben Heath 25 yards from goal and he struck a fizzing pot shot that flew past a static Shay Griffiths. The ball cannoned into the crossbar and rebounded off the unlucky Griffiths before bouncing over the goal line.
Lifted by their fortunate opener the hosts continued to drive forward and Griffiths was nearly caught out again two minutes later as he was closed down on a back pass and robbed by Matthew Woods in a wide left position. The Saints striker managed to get the ball across into the six yard box but Mitchell Pillin was on hand to clear the danger.
Ives first corner in 14th minute lead to their first effort on target as Billy Garlick and Mobbs worked a short corner routine that allowed the latter to curl in a cross shot from wide on the left that had Saints keeper Owen Latty frantically back peddling to tip over.
Brackley’s first flag kick only sixty seconds later also resulted in an effort on goal as the ball was half cleared to Ethan Whitmore on the edge of the box and the Saints wide man should have probably done better with his first time effort from 20 yards that flew over the top.
However the hosts were not to be denied and doubled their advantage in 17th minute. A long route one ball down the centre from full back Josh Ireland was misjudged by Jordan Locke allowing Woods to get clear through the centre. The skilful centre forward made no mistake lofting the ball over the exposed Griffiths from the edge of the box.
Although now two behind Ives were certainly not out of the game and continued to look dangerous when they pushed forward. The hard working Harry Sargent forced an error from Saints skipper Alex Moffat to get the visitors back into the game in 20th minute. Mobbs was the man to capitalise as the ball ran loose and he crashed a skimming effort low to the right the diving Latty from 20 yards.
The lively Woods was still looking dangerous and he should have probably restored the hosts two goal advantage in 32nd minute as he timed his run to perfection to get between Ives defenders and get on the end of a Luke Swann cross from the left. It looked like Woods had done everything right but he only succeeded in steering his header from eight yards wide of the post.
Latty made a good save to keep out a stinging drive from Sargent in 34th minute but he was comprehensively beaten as the Ives equalised right on the stroke of half time. Garlick delivered an in-swinging corner from the left and Locke lost his marker and attacked the ball at the near post powering home a header from close range that gave the keeper no chance.
Having got level Ives came out with all guns blazing at the start of the second half. Sargent should have probably put them ahead only ninety seconds after the re-start as he ran onto a clip over the top by Mihayl Mitkov and beat the on-rushing keeper to the ball taking a clattering in the process to add to his pain the loose ball bounced inches wide of the post.
Five minutes later the usually reliable Sargent spurned another golden opportunity as he found space inside the six yard box to get on the end of a Garlick free kick from the right. But again he failed to hit the target with his free header from very close range.
Now well under the cosh the Brackley manager decided to call up his big guns from the bench and made all three of his changes before the hour. One of these Owen James made an instant impact as he cleverly turned Locke 25 yards from goal in 62nd minute forcing the Ives skipper to bring him down to prevent him getting away. The yellow card picked up by the Ives man was probably seen as taking one for the team but the punishment from the resulting free kick was much greater as James picked himself up and fired a powerful effort over the wall. Griffiths flung himself to his right but could only parry the effort back into play. Woods was the first to react bundling home the loose ball from close range.
It should have been four for the home side with 20 minutes to go as Ives again failed to deal with a long ball down the centre James challenged Griffiths for the ball just outside of his box winning the ball to be left with a simple task of tapping the ball home. But out of nowhere Pillin threw himself in to deflect the big striker’s effort onto the post and the ball rebounded into the grateful hands of Griffiths.
Having survived that huge let off Ives should have got level in 75th minute. Garlick swung in another teasing free kick this time from the left. Keeper Latty came but got nowhere near it leaving Mobbs with a free header in the centre that he somehow managed to steer wide of the gaping goal.
Having failed to get level Ives suddenly found themselves two goals in arrears again in unusual circumstances. James battled hard to win a corner for the Saints. The flag kick was taken from the left by his fellow substitute Lewis Middleton who could not believe his luck as his in-swinger arced directly over Griffiths and went straight in at the far post.
Even though they found themselves two goal behind again Ives were still not out of the game and they continued to carve out chances that on another day they may well have taken. With nine minutes to go Sargent got on the end of another dangerous Garlick free kick, unfortunately like his earlier attempt he failed to hit the target with his under pressure header from eight yards. Only seconds later Mobbs flashed a 25 yard free kick inches wide of the post with a static Latty looking on.
The final Ives effort of the night came from one of their best moves as substitute Tom Wakley won a crunching tackle on the left and fed the ball into the feet of Mobbs just outside the box. He exchanged passes with Sargent before firing in a powerful drive that was blocked away by the legs of a well positioned Latty.
After a slow start Ives showed their character by coming from behind to get on level terms only for their finishing to let them down as if one of the very good chances that came their way early in the second half had been put away it is quite possible that they could have gone on to win this game. There is a long season to go and this very young team will only continue to improve.
Final Score : Brackley Town U18 4 St Ives Town U18 2
Goals : Mobbs 20, Locke 45
St Ives team : Griffiths, Bald, Mitkov, Paine (Purse 79), Locke (capt), Pillin, Garlick, Wager (Wakley 67), Sargent, Mobbs, Katz (Gibbs 30)
Unused Subs : Brown, Pereira
Attendance : 68
Report by Nigel Howlett