Needham Market v St Ives Town
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 16-08-2022
The Marketmen came into this game with only one point and no goals scored from their opening two games of the season. Ives riding high in the table with a maximum six points in the locker and seven goals scored. Those records meant absolutely nothing on the evening as the hosts came out hungry and got in the faces of Ives right from the off with their high pressing, high paced game. Unlike in their previous two fixtures Ives found themselves given no time on the ball anywhere on the park as the Marketmen cleverly hunted in packs unsettling their visitors.
The home supporters at Bloomfields had waited over 180 minutes for their opening goal of the season but it was not long coming on this overcast but warm evening. Only six minutes in Jamie McGrath was given time and space on the edge of Ives box to take down and pivot on a long ball in from the right. He did not hit his shot cleanly but it came through the legs of a defender and went in via James Goff’s right hand upright before the keeper could react.
Give them their due Ives do offer a real threat going forward this season and they reacted well to falling behind levelling things up in style only ninety seconds later. A quick break down the left saw Andrew Osei-Bonsu get away, he slid a perfectly weighted pass into the run of Jonny Edwards who fed the ball along the six yard line where the ever alert Nabil Shariff made no mistake sliding the ball under the body of the diving Marcus Garnham in the home goal. That strike took Shariff’s tally up to four for the season.
The equaliser seemed to lift Ives and they raised their pace to match that of their hosts and it was the visitors who created the next two opportunities. In 27th minute a Johnny Herd long throw was only half cleared out to the left where skipper Michael Richens picked it up. His clip into the centre was met by Edwards but he was unable to direct his glancing header on target. Greg Kaziboni was having a little bit of joy down the right and three minutes later he managed to get outside Jake Dye to the bye line before hanging up a teasing cross to the back post where Shariff got on the end of it but his downward header was scrambled away from the six yard box by Kyle Hammond.
The goal that put the hosts back in front came almost out of nothing in 34th minute as Patrick Brothers picked up a loose ball fully 25 yards from goal. Ed Hottor did not commit to the tackle as he was wary having picked up a yellow card for an innocuous challenge a few minutes earlier and Brothers took the chance to have a go. His powerfully struck left footed skimmer beat Goff low to his right to once again lift the home crowd.
Ives again came back at their opponents almost immediately and it took an excellent defensive header from Dye to prevent Shariff getting on the end of Richens curled free kick. The young full back facing towards his own goal did very well to glance the ball over his own crossbar.
The final opportunity of a very frantic, but open, first half came five minutes before the whistle and it fell to the hosts. This time it was their turn to break quickly and Jacob Lay fed in McGrath on the right corner of the box from where he unleashed a piledriver that flashed past Goff but slammed into his left hand post and rebounded to safety.
Ives fans probably anticipated that their team would come out at the start of the second half and tare into their opponents in search of a second equaliser. But that was not how it turned out to be as the Marketmen lifted themselves to an even higher level of intensity determined to add to their lead. Two good early chances went begging for them. Brothers was at the heart of most of the hosts good work and the second half was only two minutes old when he caught Herd in possession deep in his own half and fed in Seth Chambers who fired wide from just inside the box.
It was Julien Saka’s turn to get caught out moments later as he was robbed by McGrath who similarly fed in Chambers with the same result the centre forward firing inches wide from a very good position.
But Ives could only ride their luck for so long and it ran out in 52nd minute as the visitors struggled to clear a ball into their box from the right. The ball eventually falling to Brothers on the edge of the box and he made no mistake finding the top corner with perfect strike that beat Goff all ends up.
Having got two goals to the good the hosts dropped their intensity a little and Ives were quick to exploit it to get back into the game. Only six minutes later a Herd long throw from the right was only half cleared the ball falling to Callum Milne at the back of the box where he met it sweetly on the half volley giving Garnham no chance from 15 yards.
Osei-Bonsu had a chance to level things up for the visitors only a couple of minutes later having been fed in through the left channel by substitute Myles Cowling he cut inside and curled his right foot effort from just outside the box a couple of feet wide.
That proved to be Ives last opportunity of the evening as the hosts again lifted their tempo preventing the visitors finding any of the flowing rhythm that had been so evident in their previous two games. A fourth goal for the hosts on 63 minutes just about settled the contest. Ross Crane picked up the ball on the right side and was allowed to run across the face of Ives defence unchallenged before firing into the bottom corner left footed past Goff’s despairing dive.
The Marketmen did not make the mistake of lowering their intensity again and it was they who carved out more opportunities in the remaining time. A free kick delivered into the box almost caught out Ives again in 69th minute but Goff did well getting down smartly to his left to keep out a close range effort from Crane.
The visitor’s keeper did equally well to deny McGrath fifteen minutes from time after the hosts number ten had got on the end of a pull back to the penalty spot by Crane who had powered through to the bye line from the right.
Ives did huff and puff a little in the closing stages but failed to test Garnham in the home goal any further with wayward efforts from substitute Ethan Johnston and skipper Richens summing up their unfortunate evening.
This result means that the Marketmen remain Ives bogy side. A run that dates back fifteen years and eleven fixtures to the days of a 5th Round FA Vase tie in 2007/8 has never once seen the boys from Cambridgeshire get one over on the Suffolk rivals. A target for the return fixture in November for sure.
Final Score: Needham Market 4 St Ives Town 2
NEEDHAM: McGrath 6, Brothers 34 & 52, Crane 63
ST IVES: Shariff 8, Milne 58
Team Line Ups:
NEEDHAM: Garnham, Hammond, Dye, Frimpong, K. Morphew (capt), D. Morphew, Lay, Brothers, Chambers (Collard 74), McGrath, Crane, Unused subs: Clark, Exworth, Cullum
ST IVES: Goff, Saka, Herd, Richens (capt), J. Williams, Milne, Kaziboni, Hottor (Cowling 56), Edwards (Johnston 82), Osei-Bonsu (Baker 71), Shariff, Unused subs: Lewis
Cards: Yellow: NEEDHAM: Garnham (90+2) ST IVES: Hottor (24)
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Greg Kaziboni
Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook