Halesowen Town v St Ives Town
Evo-Stik League Southern Premier Division Central – 19-01-19
A cracking Jake Newman goal from Ives only on target effort of the afternoon came within seconds of claiming them all three points from what would have been a smash and grab raid at The Grove. They got so close only denied by a rash sliding challenge deep inside his own box by Jarvis Wilson in fifth minute of added time.
Wilson’s afternoon had not started well as in the twelfth minute he lost possession inside the centre circle to Daniel Sweeney who seized the opportunity to stride forward before unleashing a low drive that skimmed off the wet turf and forced Martin Conway into a smart save low to his right. The resulting corner was delivered deep beyond the far post where Kieran Morris rose high to head the ball back into the mix. Conway again did well to punch the ball off the head of Andre Wright in the centre.
This signalled the start of a period of pressure from the Yeltz and in 21st minute Wright held the ball up well in the right channel before releasing Matthias Curley whose cross into the box was flicked on and arrived at the feet of Joel Taylor in space on the left edge of the box. He had time to take a touch but instead decided to try his luck first time and flashed his effort across the face of goal.
The hosts came within millimetres of going in front in 27th minute. A Wright cross from the left travelled all the way across the penalty area and was kept alive by Taylor who hung up a teasing return cross that Sweeney met perfectly ten yards out. His powerful header struck the underside of the crossbar and bounced down on the line before being scrambled clear. The Yeltz players claims that the ball had crossed the line were waved away by the well positioned officials.
Ives first meaningful penetration into the hosts box came on the half hour as Ollie Snaith picked up a long ball down the park and fed it on to Robbie Parker who in turn slid the ball onto Jake Newman who took a touch before firing in a low drive that was blocked out for a corner by Morris. The resulting corner came to nothing and Ives were soon back under the cosh.
Conway was called into action again in 36th minute as Sweeney cleverly turned Wilson inside the box and slammed in a rising drive from ten yards that cannoned away off the chest of the well positioned keeper. This time the resulting corner lead to a goalmouth scramble that saw Ben Jackson block an effort on the line and a follow up effort by Curley also bravely blocked by the body of Munashe Sundire.
Three minutes later Conway again saved the Ives as he once more denied Sweeney. Taylor sprinted down the right before sliding a pass inside to the tricky Yeltz number ten. He again fired in a well struck right foot effort from just inside the box but Conway was equal to it blocking the effort away with his legs. Jack Rae swiftly grabbed up the ball and took a quick throw to Curley in space he swung in a teasing cross that Wright attacked at the near post but the big centre forward steered his header just over the angle of post and crossbar.
With half time fast approaching the large home crowd must have been wondering how on earth they were not winning. Their dissatisfaction turned to disbelief in 42nd minute as a wonder goal from Newman put Ives in front from their only shot on target in the entire game. The Ives centre forward cleverly took down a long ball on his chest and in spite of pressure from Morris turned and shot all in one motion from fully 35 yards. The ball sailed over the out of position Daniel Platt in the home goal and nestled in the back of the net.
One in front at the break Ives had something to hang onto for the second period and came out determined to do just that. The hosts clearly stung by falling behind continued to put pressure on the resilient visitors back line. Charlie De’ath was Ives saviour in 55th minute Sweeney’s clip into the box was headed over Conway by Wright but De’ath was covering behind his keeper and acrobatically hacked the ball away.
The Halesowen pressure continued and two minutes later skipper Rae delivered a cross to the back post that Callum Coyle looked likely to power home but pressure from Jackson ensured that he did not make clean contact on the ball that ended up in the safe hands of Conway.
Danny Kelly replaced Ben Baker on the hour to further sure up the under pressure Ives. He was quickly followed by the introduction of new midfield signing ex MK Dons product Andrew Osei-Bonsu who replaced Ollie Snaith and went in just behind Newman up front. The changes made little difference to the flow of the game and the hosts went close again in 67th minute as Rae picked out overlapping Curley with a perfectly weighted diagonal ball that gave the Yeltz full back chance to cut inside Mark Coulson and unleash a rising drive from the edge of the box that flashed past Conway’s right hand post and scattered the crowd behind the goal.
Another new Ives signing joined the fray with fifteen minutes to go as Kettering loanee Ben Toseland replaced the tiring Coulson at left back. Soon after that Yeltz manager Rob Smith made the bold move of going three at the back and pushing an extra man forward replacing full back Curley with Aaron Gilpin. A deflected Rae cross earned the hosts their ninth corner of the game in 82nd minute. Once more Ives struggled to clear Sweeney’s flag kick the resulting scramble saw two more close range efforts blocked by brave Ives bodies before the ball was finally cleared.
The visitors had one chance to clinch the game in 85th minute as Osei-Bonsu broke away down the middle and drew in Yelt defenders before moving the ball sideways to Ty Ward who in turn fed it on to the overlapping Toseland who seemed in two minds and rather than go for goal from a narrow angle fired the ball across the six yard box just ahead of Osei-Bonsu and the chance was gone.
The signal of an added five minutes lifted the hosts to a final push and in the second added minute substitute Lee Hughes wasted a good opportunity as he fired wide from a good position after a long throw had somehow managed to bounce through the Ives box to arrive at his feet at the back post.
Just when it looked like the visitors were going to complete the ultimate smash and grab raid with the game entering the final added minute they found themselves undone by the rash sliding challenge from young Wilson. Taylor seized an opportunity to cut into the box from the left. The Yeltz winger had overhit the ball and it was on its way out for a goal kick but Wilson had gone to ground early and committed to a sliding tackle that gave Taylor chance to go over his outstretched body. To add insult to injury Wilson picked up his second yellow card of the afternoon from referee Ben Cooke for the challenge. Hughes completed his pain by despatching the spot kick low to Conway’s left and although the keeper went the right way he was unable to keep it out.
That was the last kick of the match and it should feel like a defeat when you ship an equaliser that late but to be honest Ives were under the cosh for so much of this game that it still feels like a point gained and maintains their mid table position still a vital twelve points above the bottom three.
Final Score : Halesowen Town 1 St Ives Town 1
Goals : Newman 42
Team : Conway, Jackson, Coulson (Toseland 75), Sundire, Jarvis Wilson, De’ath, Baker (Kelly 59), Parker (capt), Newman, Ward, Snaith (Osei-Bonsu 66),
Unused subs : Seymour-Shove, Bailey
Supporters Man of the Match : Martin Conway
Attendance : 363
Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson