Leiston v St Ives Town
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 28-01-2023
In life as in football one doesn’t always receive the reward that a performance deserves and that was certainly the case in this game as Ives battered the promotion chasing Blues throughout the second half where the statistics showed that the visitors had ten shots, four on target and won four corners, against their hosts two shots, one on target and a single corner. The Blues could thank some excellent goalkeeping from Sam Donkin and a little bit of luck as they kept their excellent record of only one defeat in their last eighteen games going.
The first half was a much more even affair where the hosts got their noses in front courtesy of leading scorer Will Davies’s 21st goal of the season just before the half hour mark. The game started with both sides taking a little while to get into their stride on a pitch that had recovered well from the cold snap of the previous two weeks. Davies was the first person to get an effort on goal in tenth minute as a poor ball out of defence from Ed Hottor was picked up by Finley Barnes who delivered a delicate clip to the near post where Davies got between the Ives centre backs to get a free header but steered his effort wide.
The visitors first opportunity came in 16th minute when Johnny Herd got forward from left back to feed in Tyrone Baker down the left, he got to the bye line before delivering a cross to the back post that was a little to deep. But Michael Richens kept the ball alive and his cross to the near post was met by Enoch Andoh who powered his header wide.
A clumsy tackle on Kellan Hickinson earnt Blues centre back Adam Bailey-Dennis a 23rd minute yellow card and gave Richens chance to try his luck from 35 yards. His free kick deflected off the wall to the feet of Ben Toseland who fed in the speedy Baker but the chance was halted by an assistant’s upraised flag.
The hosts went in front in the simplest fashion five minutes later overlapping full back Seb Dunbar got down the left and delivered a teasing cross to the near post where Davies showed his goal scoring prowess ghosting in to get in front of Jordan Williams and glance the ball home from eight yards.
An equaliser for Ives looked on the cards two minutes from the interval as the broke out from their own half at pace with Paddy Casey delivering a ball from the right into the feet of Jonny Edwards just outside the box. A clever touch on looked like it had put Baker clear one on one with keeper Donkin only for covering defender Rossi Jarvis to appear out of nowhere to take the ball off the winger’s toe.
There was still time before the break for the Blues to twice go close to increasing their lead. The first of those chances fell to Davies as he again showed his ability to lose defenders inside the box by drifting off the back of Williams to earn himself a free header to Jarvis’s cross from the right. He directed the ball back across goal but just wide of the post. James Dadge in the Ives goal was called into action in the last minute of the first half and he got his positioning spot on to keep out Ben Fowkes powerful drive from the edge of the box after the hosts midfielder had been played in by George Quantrell.
Ives came out for the second half and took the game straight to their hosts and the chances to get level quickly started to appear. The half was five minutes old when Hickinson threaded a ball into the run of Baker sprinting down the left. The ball took him wide but the winger cut inside and went for goal from a narrow angle forcing keeper Donkin to block the ball out for a corner. Only sixty seconds later Toseland seized an opportunity to surge forward and as the defence opened up in front of him he took on a shot from 30 yards that flew about a metre wide of Donkin’s right hand post.
One of Ives best chances to get level arrived in 54th minute and it fell to leading scorer Edwards. An excellent ball from Toseland put the centre forward clear through the right channel one on one with Donkin. But the keeper was quickly off his line and spread himself well to block the shot with his body and the chance was gone.
Keeper Dadge was called upon to make his only real save of the second half in 58th minute as he plunged to his left to keep out a fierce drive from the edge of the box by Barnes. The effort came at the end of the hosts best move of the game that saw a quick exchange of passes through the centre of the park before Dunbar teed up Barnes for the shot. The hosts only other effort at goal in the second half came three minutes later Fowkes cut inside and fired a 25 yarder just wide of Dadge’s left hand upright.
From that point Ives took complete control, but try as they might they just could not find a way through. In 62nd minute a Herd long throw caused panic in the Blues box. The ball falling to Andoh who tried to pull it back to Edwards eight yards out but the stretching Jake Hutchings did just enough to divert the ball away. Three minutes later Hickinson slipped a ball into the run of Edwards on the edge of the box, but this time the centre forward pulled his left footed effort wide of the post.
Manager Ricky Marheineke shuffled his pack to try and find a way to get that elusive goal with skilful midfield men Greg Kaziboni and Kieran Higgs replacing Hottor and Andoh respectively. Both were involved in creating chances in 80th minute. Initially Higgs cleverly fed in Williams as the big centre half stayed up after another Herd long throw. The Ives defender is still waiting to open his account for the visitors, but found a little bit of space inside the box and got away a powerful shot that the well positioned Donkin parried out for a corner. The resulting flag kick from Kaziboni was perfectly flighted to meet the run of Toseland to the near post. He met the ball cleanly and it flew past the startled Donkin but rattled the upright and stayed out.
The hosts were by now very much hanging on and bolstered their back line by bringing on Wyatt Hill and Ryan Jarvis to replace Rossi Jarvis and Bailey-Dennis respectively. But their visitors still continued to pour forward at every opportunity. Two more good chances arrived in the added five minutes both falling to Edwards. In the first added minute another Kaziboni corner caused chaos to the Blues box with the ball eventually falling to Edwards inside the six yard box at the back post. He struck his effort well but it hit the legs of keeper Donkin on his goal line and the rebound was wildly lashed over the bar by Richens. The final opportunity to get a deserved reward from the game came in the very last minute as Toseland galloped forward down the left before delivering a cross into the centre where Edwards had got away from his marker but he failed to hit the target with his header from eight yards and the game was gone.
The Blues breathed a huge sigh of relief at the end of this game and Ives travelling faithful applauded their heroes from the pitch for their fantastic efforts at the end of the game. If the hosts can pick up seven points from their three games in hand they will leapfrog leaders Tamworth and go to the top of the table and Ives can do them a massive favour as they visit the Lamb on Tuesday evening. Another performance like this, topped off with some clinical finishing will surely get a more deserved reward.
Final Score: Leiston 1 St Ives Town 0
LEISTON: Davies 28,
Team Line Ups:
LEISTON: Donkin, Marsden, Dunbar (capt), Saunders, Bailey-Dennis (Ryan Jarvis 65), Hutchings, Barnes, Rossi Jarvis (Hill 65), Davies, Quantrell, Fowkes (Mills 78), Unused subs: Wright, Dronfield,
ST IVES: Dadge, Casey, Herd, Richens (capt), J. Williams, Toseland, Andoh (Higgs 65), Hottor (Kaziboni 77), Edwards, Hickinson, Baker (Milne 88), Unused subs: Johnson
Cards: Yellow: LEISTON: Bailey-Dennis (23), Marsden (47), Quantrell (56) ST IVES: Hottor (67), Williams (72)
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Tyrone Baker
Report by Nigel Howlett. Match highlights by Ollie Jones.