Saffron Walden Town vs St Ives Town

Saffron Walden Town 0 St Ives Town 0

Emirates FA Cup 1st Qualifying Round  08-09-18

As manager Ricky Marheineke said in his post match interview this was always going to be a tough one as Ives visited the so far unbeaten Bloods who had already showed their metal in progressing through two tough fixtures to arrive at the 1st Qualifying Round.

Although the visitors did spurn a couple of good late opportunities to win the tie at the first attempt their gallant hosts did just about enough to deserve another shot at Westwood Road on Tuesday evening.

Not surprisingly the confident hosts tore at their visitors right from the kick off winning a corner inside the first minute. The flag kick from the left taken by right back Spike Bell was delivered to the back post where Lewis Francis looked likely to steer it home but the alert Charlie De’ath did just enough to prevent him hitting the target with his header.

Francis caused more trouble for the Ives defence in 14th minute as he outpaced De’ath and just beat debutant keeper Sam Wilson to the ball. But fortunately the Bloods winger was forced very wide and his ball into the centre could not pick out one of his team mates.

Ives first opportunity came mid way through the first period and Danny Kelly should have done much better with the chance as Seymour-Shove’s corner from the left beat keeper Neil O’Sullivan but the ball seemed to take Kelly by surprise hitting him on the body rather than him directing it goalwards from the edge of the six yard box. The loose ball was scrambled out for a throw. De’ath delivered a long one into the box which was half cleared but fell to Owen Wallis inside the D. But under pressure he failed to keep his effort down and the ball flew over the top and out of the compact Catons Lane Ground.

The only other noteworthy effort on goal in the first 45 minutes came ten minutes before the break as the hard working Tom McGowan won a ball on the right inside the Bloods half and fed the ball into the feet of Ben Baker just outside the box. He carefully teed up Seymour-Shove whose low driven effort bobbled across the face of goal with no one able to get a touch. 

So ended an entertaining first period in which defences were very much on top and chances at a premium even at this point it looked like a game which would probably be decided by a single goal if one could be found at all.

As in the first half the Bloods were first out of the traps and created an opportunity only two minutes after the break. Craig Calver got down the left and delivered a cross into the centre that bounced off an under pressure Sam Cartwright and fell to Charlie Portway inside the box. Sam Wilson was bravely in at the feet of the hosts striker who was deemed to have fouled the Ives keeper in his efforts to force the ball home.

Seven minutes later Ryan Fleming won a crunching tackle in the centre of the park and sent the overlapping Bell away on the right. The speedy full back got a little bit to much on his cross which flashed through the area ahead of his fast arriving colleagues.

Manager Marheineke made his first change just after the hour replacing the strangely ineffective Kelly with the pace of Dylan Wilson and the Ives striker showed that he was well on the way to full recovery from the injury that saw him miss the last three games as he was involved in Ives best chance to this point in 74th minute. Seymour-Shove delivered a cross from the right that Wilson flicked on at the near post. McGowan met the dropping ball with his head ten yards out and looked like he must score but keeper O’Sullivan was equal to the effort hurling himself to his left to paw the ball away.

From this point the game started to open up as both sides went in pursuit of the crucial opening goal. A further Ives raid at pace only sixty seconds later saw Seymour-Shove get to the bye line on the right and pull the ball back into the run of Robbie Parker but the visitor’s skipper got the ball tangled in his feet and failed to get his shot away from a good position.

The Bloods were not out of it and went close three times in the next five minutes. In 76th minute substitute Dan Trendall got away down the right and turned inside De’ath before driving in a low shot from the corner of the box that proved a comfortable save for Wilson at his near post.

Three minutes later a Bell corner from the left was delivered to the back post where Jamie Riley rose highest but thanks to pressure from Cartwright and Jarvis Wilson he was unable to get a clean contact on the ball and knocked his effort wide.

A long throw from the left by Bell caused problems in Ives box in 81st minute. As Ives struggled to clear the ball dropped to the feet of James Solkhon on the edge of the six yard box but the ever alert Sam Wilson was bravely in the claim the ball in the melee.

As the game entered the last ten minutes it became evident that the hard working Bloods were beginning to tire and this was the period when Ives should have sealed the tie. A Seymour-Shove corner from the right arrived at the feet of Jarvis Wilson at the back of the box, but his goal bound effort struck one of his colleagues and ricocheted wide.

A long Joe Hood throw caused problems in the hosts defence in 89th minute. The ball fell to McGowan who teed up De’ath his well struck effort from the edge of the box was deflected wide of a gallant Bloods defender. Jarvis Wilson rose highest to the resulting corner but powered his header over the top.

O’Sullivan was the Bloods saviour again right at the end of the ninety minutes as yet another Seymour-Shove corner was half cleared to Jarvis Wilson just outside the box. Wilson cleverly fed the ball back out to the Ives winger who delivered a perfectly flighted cross into the centre where Dylan Wilson met it with a clean header ten yards out. O’Sullivan twisted in the air and somehow got a hand onto the effort turning the ball onto the post. Substitute Jordan Patrick pounced onto the rebound but was deemed offside as he tried to bundle the ball home.

There was still time for Ives to go close to the clincher as a long Sam Wilson punt two minutes into added time flicked on off a tiring defender. Seymour-Shove just beat keeper O’Sullivan to the ball and unselfishly delivered it to the feet of Dylan Wilson in the centre. The young striker struck his effort well only to be denied by an amazing covering block on the line by Riley.

All will reconvene for a second attempt at Westwood Road on Tuesday evening when we can hope for a return of a few more of the injured players to boost our chances of progressing.

Result :  Saffron Walden Town  0  St Ives Town  0   

Goals : none

Team : Sam Wilson, Hood, De’ath, McGowan, Cartwright, Jarvis Wilson, Wallis, Parker (capt), Kelly (Dylan Wilson 69), Baker (Patrick 76), Seymour-Shove

Unused subs : O’Connor, Coulson, Rogers

Man of the match : Tom McGowan

Attendance : 521

 Report by Nigel Howlett. Photos by Louise Thompson