St Ives Town v Yaxley
Huntingdonshire FA Senior Cup – Final @ Eynesbury Rovers FC 25-04-2023
Keeper James Dadge was the hero saving three penalties in the shoot-out as Ives concluded their season by retaining the Hunts FA Senior Cup in an otherwise uninspiring final on the immaculate surface at Eynesbury Rovers FC.
Ives last defeat in this competition came in 2018 and on paper they were hot favourites for this game against a Cuckoos side relegated from step four with the unenviable record of having won only two games all season, one of those the semi-final against step six Eaton Socon that got them to the final. But the return of Lloyd Burton as manager has seen Yaxley become a much harder side to beat and that extra resilience shone through in this game as the Cuckoos battled all the way to take the game into the decisive penalty competition.
With skipper Michael Richens again missing at his wife’s bedside in the maternity hospital it fell to Johnny Herd to take the armband for the second game in a row. The first opportunity of the evening came from one his trademark long throws in the tenth minute but Charlie Johnson’s flick was well claimed by Kacper Kurylowicz in the Cuckoos goal just ahead of the lurking Enoch Andoh.
Andoh then spurned a golden opportunity to put Ives in front three minutes later. Herd delivered a teasing cross from the left, Edwards won the ball at the near post and his knock down took a deflection off a defender and fell invitingly to the Ives winger eight yards out. But Andoh snatched at the chance and dragged his effort wide of the target. Had that gone in we might have all been looking at a rather different evening.
But whilst they enjoyed parity the Cuckoos were not about to give it away. Ives continued to enjoy the more than just the lion’s share of possession but, as on Saturday, with Richens missing they were struggling to find routes through the solid blue banks of Yaxley. They were presented with a half chance in 18th minute as Paddy Casey cut out a poor throw from Kurylowicz and fed the ball into the feet of Edwards inside the box. The usually deadly striker was quickly closed down by Charlie Stallard and Melvin Onu, he did manage to get a shot away but the effort went about a metre wide of Kurylowicz’s right hand post with the keeper looking on.
The Cuckoos first half chance of the evening came in one of their rare forays forward in 25th minute. Dadge sprinted from his goal to clear a long ball over the top but did not make good contact with the ball falling to Ethan Wilson inside the centre circle. The midfielder took a touch but his attempt to lob the fast retreating Dadge went horribly wrong with the ball ending up nearer the corner flag than the goal.
Ives did get a little closer in their next meaningful attack three minutes later as patient build up concluded with Casey clipping the ball into the box where Edwards again won the header and the ball again fell to Andoh on the corner of the six yard box. He went for the spectacular taking the ball on the volley. His clean strike flashed by Kurylowicz but rattled the upright and rebounded to safety.
The first corner of the game arrived just after the half hour and Herd delivered it in-swinging from the right. This time Charlie Johnson got the near post flick and the ball bounced on through the six yard box before arriving at the feet of Ed Hottor beyond the far post. But under pressure from defenders the Ives midfielder fired way over the top into the roof of the grandstand behind the goal.
Herd continued to deliver dangerous balls into the box and Ives continued to win the knock downs but no one was getting on the end of them and that was shown again as the first half entered added time. Herd’s deep corner from the left was won in the air by Johnson at the back post and the ball once more bounced invitingly through the six yard box with no one able to apply the decisive finish.
The Cuckoos enjoyed a brief purple patch at the start of the second half and they twice went close to going in front in the first five minutes after the re-start. The dangerous looking Marcus Pancho got away down the left in 48th minute and it took and excellent covering block from Johnson to prevent Richard Acheampong turning home his low cross at the near post. The underdogs went even closer to taking the lead two minutes later as they spurned their best opportunity of the evening. Ex Ives midfielder Andrew Osei-Bonsu threaded a perfectly weighted pass through the Ives back line to put Pancho completely clear one on one with Dadge. As the keeper came to meet him Pancho slid the ball past him low to his left but it rolled agonisingly inches wide of the post.
Normal service was soon resumed after that brief interlude of Yaxley pressure as Ives returned to knocking on the door but lacking the guile to find a way through the well organised Cuckoos defence. Half chances continued to come and go. A 52nd minute Edwards free kick from 25 yards beat the four man wall but was comfortably gathered in by Kurylowicz for his first save of the game.
Yaxley continued to concede free kicks around their box, but Ives still lacked that bit of inventiveness necessary to find a way through. A 55th minute Herd free kick was won in the air by Johnson and his knock down fell to Edwards but again another defender appeared to block the effort, this time it was Stallard putting his body on the line to deflect the effort wide.
The introduction of Greg Kaziboni replacing centre back Johnson and adding an extra attacker still did not change things as Ives still kept probing but didn’t really look like scoring. Another chance came and went in 73rd minute when Hottor teed up Andoh for a shot from the edge of the box. But again the effort flew wide of the target.
There was one final scare for Ives twelve minutes from time when the Cuckoos won their first corner of the game. Dadge came to fist it clear but the punch lacked distance and the ball dropped to Osei-Bonsu who’s first time effort from just outside the box deflected just wide off the leg of a defender.
With no more real opportunities created either way in the remaining time the game went straight to the drama of the shoot out where Dadge quickly emerged as the hero. The young keeper pulled off a brilliant save low to his right to keep out Osei-Bonsu’s well struck first spot kick. Edwards did his usual with his kick sending keeper Kurylowicz the wrong way to put Ives one up. Acheampong stepped up next for the Cuckoos and he to was denied by the amazing Dadge who this time plunged low to his left to keep out another well struck effort.
Substitute Ben Toseland matched Edwards with his kick, finding the left corner of the net as Kurylowicz dived to his right to make it 2-0. The only man to beat the otherwise immaculate Dadge was Pancho who even then only just found the net with the keeper getting a hand to his effort high to his right. Kaziboni matched his colleagues by beating Kurylowicz high to his left with a perfectly struck spot kick.
It was only fitting though that the man who won the cup for Ives was the last to touch the ball on the night. A nervous looking Jude Adebayo stepped up next for Yaxley and he too struck his shot well but Dadge was equal to it again going to his left to push the ball away and claim that very impressive looking trophy that Ives first won way back in 1901.
Final Score: St Ives Town 0 Yaxley 0 (St Ives Town won 3-1 on Penalties)
Team Line Ups:
ST IVES: Dadge, Casey, Herd (capt) (Toseland 82), Hottor, J. Williams, Fox, Baker (Johnston 82), Harris, Edwards, Johnson (Kaziboni 71), Andoh, Unused subs: Marheineke
YAXLEY: Kurylowicz (capt), Bahrey, Adebayo, Stallard, Onu, Tessler, Wilson, Elkossi (Usman 82), Acheampong, Pancho, Osei-Bonsu, Unused subs: Snelling, Dass, Kowalski
Cards: Yellow: ST IVES : Johnson (39), Casey (41) YAXLEY : Elkossi (54), Onu (65), Wilson (66)
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: James Dadge
Match report by Nigel Howlett. Match highlights by Ollie Jones. Photo James Richardson.
St Ives Town v Bedford Town
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 15-04-2023
After the two fantastic Easter performances and results Ives had given themselves a huge push up the ladder to safety and it left them going into this, their last home fixture of the season against already doomed Eagles needing only a single point.
On paper they could not have asked for better opponents for this fixture as their struggling visitors are on the sort of form that no club ever wants to be on with not a single win in 2023 and having not scored a goal in their last eight games.
Often things do not work out in reality as they appear that they should on paper but on this occasion they certainly did as Ives claimed a very comfortable two goal victory without ever really getting out of second gear.
The Eagles spent the first five minutes moving the ball around well without ever looking likely to penetrate Ives back line and when the hosts were presented with their first chance to deliver the ball into the visitor’s box in 7th minute they should really have scored. Johnny Herd’s deep free kick from the right arrived on the head of the unmarked Michael Richens at the back of the six yard box but rather than direct the ball back into the centre where three other players were waiting to knock it home he went for goal from a narrow angle and only found the side netting.
Having survived that scare the Eagles again reverted to knocking the ball around well without real purpose. The nearest they came to threatening James Dadge’s goal was in 12th minute when Connor Furlong got down the right and delivered a teasing cross that just evaded Carlos Lyon at the back post.
Jonny Edwards should have put Ives in front in their next meaningful attack in 25th minute as he was fed clean through the centre by a clever touch from Greg Kaziboni. He drew keeper Lewis Elsom towards him and seemed to be waiting for the stopper to commit himself before dinking the ball past him. But Elsom made it difficult for him staying upright and eventually making the save as Edwards dink went straight into his hands.
With Ives looking very comfortable at the back and likely to score at any time when they went forward what happened in 27th minute was completely unexpected. Richens picked himself up a needless yellow card for fouling Kirkpatrick on the half way line and Ives manager Ricky Marheineke picked the wrong moment to vent his frustration at the decision of referee Graham Swanton. With the stadium unusually silent at the moment, everyone in the ground heard his opinion. The only question as the official walked over to the dug out was what colour the card would be. It was red and a humbled Marheineke took his place in the grandstand for the rest of the game.
Almost immediately after the re-start Ives did get their noses in front. Edwards was looking to get on the end of another perfectly weighted clip over the top from Kaziboni when he was unceremoniously bundled to the ground inside the box by Ben Tomkins. Referee Swanton was again the perfect position to see and had no hesitation in awarding the spot kick. Cool as ever Edwards waited for Elsom to go to his right before dinking the ball down the middle.
The Eagles responded well and Dadge was called upon to make his first save of the day ten minutes later as a patient build up was ended with Joe Butterworth playing in Lyon through the right channel. The big striker unleashed a powerful drive from just inside the box that the keeper saved well plunging low to his left.
The second unexpected flashpoint in an otherwise quiet first period came a couple of minutes before the break. Kaziboni was leading an Ives breakaway and looking likely to get clear when he was taken down cynically by George Thorne on the half way line for what would be a routine yellow card. But a melee then developed in front of the dugouts involving most of the players on the pitch. When the dust settled a discussion between referee Swanton and his assistant lead to a straight red card being issued to Eagles Edward Gyamfi his crime was grabbing Charlie Johnson around the neck, fortunately Johnson was wise enough not to react.
Already a goal down and now also a man down the visitors were rocking and Ives twice went close to increasing their lead before the break. A Herd long throw from the left was flicked on by Johnson and it took a brilliant flying save from Elsom to keep out Edwards header from six yards as he got on the end of the flick. Richens also had a close range shot blocked by a defender from the resulting corner.
There was still time before the break to Dadge to show his abilities. In third added minute Johnson upended Connor Tomlinson just outside the box. Thorne went for power from the resulting free kick forcing Dadge to leap to his right to push the ball away.
Ex professional Thorne did not come out for the second period and was replaced by the even more experience ex Peterborough United man Renee Howe. But it was Ives now looking comfortable who effectively killed off the game with a second goal in 57th minute. Johnson bundling home Herd’s in-swinging corner at the back post.
With any small flicker of confidence that the visitors may have had now completely drained Ives began to knock the ball around as comfortably as the Eagles had in the first period. The difference was that the hosts looked more like scoring when they went forward. Kaziboni burst through the centre before firing over the top in 71st minute. Two minutes later substitute Myles Cowling rode a couple of tackles just outside the Bedford box before teeing up Edwards who matched Kaziboni before him by firing about a metre over the crossbar.
Ives were now comfortably running down the clock in a professional manner and their next couple of chances did not arrive until three minutes before the end. Substitute Nabil Shariff almost repeated his feat at Royston on Easter Monday as he had the ball in the net within moments of joining the action. But this time he was denied by an assistant’s flag as he turned in the rebound after Elsom had done well to block Edwards initial shot. Kaziboni had set up the shooting opportunity for Edwards and only a minute later the winger himself went close as he turned inside Butterworth before trying to curl an effort inside the far post. But Elsom was equal to it flinging himself high to his right to fingertip the ball away.
With the game now decided as a contest the only remaining question was could the visitors break their long goal drought. They did have a couple of chances in added time. In the first added minute D’Sean Theobalds fired in a fierce effort from a narrow angle that Dadge did well to cling onto with Lyon waiting to pounce on any slip and with the last kick of the game Furlong weaved his way through the centre of Ives defence before letting fly with a left footed effort from just outside the box that curled away from the diving Dadge but just wide of the post.
All in all a very good day at the office for Ives who take their winning run to three and go to promotion chasing Nuneaton for their final game now safe and looking to cause an upset. The despondent Eagles on the other hand have only one aim left this season and that is to find the back of the net before the time since they scored a goal ticks past the thousand minute mark. After this, their ninth blank in a row, that clock is now up to nine games and 844 minutes, we wish them well.
Final Score: St Ives Town 2 Bedford Town 0
ST IVES: Edwards 30 (pen), Johnson 57
Team Line Ups:
ST IVES: Dadge, Casey, Herd, Richens (capt) (Hottor 61), J. Williams, Fox, Kaziboni, Harris (Cowling 69), Edwards, Johnson, Andoh (Shariff 85), Unused subs: Toseland
BEDFORD: Elsom, Dreyer (capt), Tomkins, Theobalds, Tomlinson (Donnelly 68), Butterworth, Kirkpatrick, Furlong, Thorne (Howe 46), Lyon, Gyamfi, Unused subs: Keeble, Sheriff,
Red: ST IVES: Marheineke (manager) (28), BEDFORD: Gyamfi (44)
Yellow: ST IVES: Richens (27), Johnson (45+3) BEDFORD: Tompkins (29), Thorne (43), Kirkpatrick (62), Butterworth (67)
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Jonny Edwards
Report by Nigel Howlett. Interview by Andrew Dunn. Match Highlights by Ollie Jones. Photos by Louise Thompson.
St Ives Town v Tamworth
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 08-04-2023
This massive win, Ives first in ten games, is a huge boost in their battle to avoid the drop. The result also puts a very big dent in the stuttering visitors quest for the title. Make no mistake this result has been coming and the game was deservedly won by a fantastic all-round performance carefully planned on the training field. The Lambs had bullied their way to top spot with a long ball game that supporters of Cambridge United from the 1980s would have remembered as the John Beck style. Taking every opportunity to deliver the ball into the box where Dan Creaney has successfully fed on the scraps to claim over 30 goals.
Ives manager Ricky Marheineke’s plan to combat that style was to field a side with three centre backs to ensure that the hosts got to every ball into their box first. The central defenders were well backed up by everyone else around the park who closed down the Lambs at every opportunity ensuring that those deliveries into the box were hurried rather than measured. The game plan was executed so effectively that the group of National League scouts watching Creaney had all probably departed long before the end as the Lambs centre forward barely got a touch all afternoon..
The visitors started the game on the front foot and there were only two minutes on the watch when Michael Richens tripped Gift Mussa just outside the box. Ben Hart curled his effort around Ives four man wall, but keeper James Dadge was equal to the effort flinging himself spectacularly to his left to palm the ball around the post. Dadge had to be on his toes again seven minutes later as he had to back peddle at pace and launch himself backwards to tip a clever Creaney flick onto the crossbar as the striker tried to turn home Hart’s low cross from the right.
Having survived those two early scares Ives began to work their way into the game with ex Lambs wingers Greg Kaziboni enjoying some success down the right. It was he who delivered the host’s first effort on target in 10th minute. But his well struck 25 yarder was straight at visiting keeper Jas Singh who made a comfortable save.
The winger caused more problems for the visitors only seconds later when it took an excellent defensive header from Callum Cockerill-Mollett to prevent Jonny Edwards getting on the end of his dangerous cross at the back post. The resulting corner gave Johnny Herd chance to deliver a teasing in-swinger to the edge of the six yard box where Michael Richens who had somehow lost his marker powered home a header to put Ives ahead.
It should have been two midway through the half when Ed Hottor robbed a dallying Mussa inside the centre circle and threaded the perfect pass into the well timed run of Kaziboni. One touch to many made the angle a little tighter than it should have been and when the winger clipped the ball past the exposed Singh he also clipped it just wide of the far post.
By this time Ives were well on top and Kaziboni was beating Cockerill-Mollett at will down the right flank. His 25th minute run saw him get to the bye line and hang up an inviting cross to the back post where Edwards directed his header on target from a narrow angle but with Singh beaten the ball deflected wide off Lambs skipper Alex Collard.
Kaziboni also tried his luck down the left where he had equal success and it was Charlie Johnson’s turn to see a goal bound effort blocked on the line in 33rd minute. The Ives centre back had got on the end of the deep cross from the Ives wide man after a short corner routine had given him the chance to deliver the ball into the box. The man blocking the shot on the line was Creaney and he did just enough to scramble the ball clear.
Ives pressure in the first period probably deserved a second goal and that duly arrived two minutes before the break. Kaziboni was again heavily involved breaking at pace before being taken down by Collard on the left hand corner of the box. Herd’s initial delivery was half cleared to Kaziboni who’s delivery back into the box was knocked down by Richens and prodded home by Edwards as a static Lambs defence vainly appealed for offside.
Lambs manager Andy Peaks decided on a change of tactics at half time and replaced Mussa with the more attack minded Jamie Jellis and the substitute forced an excellent early save from Dadge three minutes after the re-start the keeper leaping high to his right to push the well struck effort away.
Ives did have one long ball threat of their own and that was Herd’s long throws. His 51st minute delivery from the right was allowed to drop at the feet of Edwards on the six yard line but his attempt at a spectacular overhead kick flew over the top.
The visitors continued the quest to get back into the game but Ives resistance remained strong. A 58th minute scramble in the host’s box saw shots from Eoin McKeown and Creaney blocked by Jordan Williams and Ashton Fox respectively before Dadge was able to smother the loose ball. McKeown was also denied by the keeper ninety seconds later as a well positioned Dadge held onto his 25 yard effort.
Ives defenders continued to put their bodies on the line for the cause and this was perfectly demonstrated in 64th minute when fierce shots from McKeown and Creaney were bravely blocked at point blank range by the flying bodies of Herd and Johnson respectively.
Whilst most of the second half had been spent with Ives defending gallantly to preserve their advantage they still had an out-ball to the ebullient Kaziboni who continued to make things difficult for his former colleagues. A 72nd minute foray forward won a corner, Herd’s flag kick into the mix was palmed away by Singh and fell to Johnson 12 yards out but his acrobatic volley flew well over the top.
It looked like all of Ives hard work might be undone with ten minutes to go when substitute George Cater got put clean through the left channel. It looked like he only had Dadge to beat but Fox appeared out of nowhere to slide in with a perfectly timed tackle to take the ball of the toe of the Lambs striker just as he shaped to shoot.
That resilient rear-guard action was continuing as the clock ticked down and McKeown was denied three times in the same attack in 82nd minute. His first two efforts were blocked by Ives defenders and although the third attempt found the target it was kept out as Richens headed it off the goal line.
There was still time for young Dadge to top off his best performance to date for Ives with seven minutes to go as he brilliantly denied Cater after the substitute had been put clean through by his fellow replacement Jellis. The Ives keeper was smartly off his line to deflect Cater’s effort onto the underside of the crossbar and then brilliantly recovered to pounce on the loose ball. That save killed any danger of a nervy last few minutes and ended Ives run of ten games without a win.
It was also a vital victory as all around them in the scramble to avoid the last relegation place picked up points. With three games left Ives now sit one place and five points above the dreaded red line. With the side presently in that final relegation spot Kings Langley scheduled to play the bottom two sides in their last two games there is still much more hard work required yet before safety can be assured.
Final Score: St Ives Town 2 Tamworth 0
ST IVES: Richens 11, Edwards 43
Team Line Ups:
ST IVES: Dadge, Casey, Herd, Richens (capt), J. Williams, Fox, Kaziboni (Andoh 85), Hottor (Cowling 88), Edwards, Johnson, Baker (Harris 88), Unused subs: Toseland, Shariff,
TAMWORTH: Singh, Hart, Cockerill-Mollett (Cater 62), Mussa (Jellis 46), Collard (capt), Dolman, McKeown, Meikle (Finn 78), Creaney, Deacon, Fairlamb, Unused subs: Fallows, Willets,
Cards: Yellow: ST IVES: Baker (81) COALVILLE: Collard (42), Cockerill-Mollett (55), Hart (71), Deacon (90)
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Greg Kaziboni
Report by Nigel Howlett. Interview by Andrew Dunn. Video clips by Ollie Jones. Photos by Louise Thompson.
St Ives Town v Coalville Town
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 01-04-2023
This very hard-earned victory on the road took the Ravens to the top of the table but they were pushed all the way by the battling Ives who could, and probably should, have got something from this game.
With Eddie Brearey still injured there was a return between the sticks for James Dadge and Ives also welcomed a fit again leading scorer Jonny Edwards back to lead their attack as they continued their quest to end their run of nine games without a win. Their visitors equally determined to continue their five match unbeaten run and claim top spot off Tamworth.
The hosts should have got their noses in front less than forty seconds after the kick off as Greg Kaziboni got fed clean through on goal. A slightly heavy first touch did for him though as it gave ex Ives keeper Paul White chance to get that little bit closer as he spread himself forcing Kaziboni to lift the ball a little higher over him and that proved just to high as the ball rattled the crossbar and bounced away.
Ives continued to look the better side in the early exchanges and White was forced to make a diving save low to his left to keep out Kaziboni’s snap shot from the edge of the box four minutes later. The speedy Ives winger was causing the Ravens defence a few problems and he was fed in down the left by Johnny Herd in 15th minute. He hung up his cross to the back post where Herve Pepe-Ngoma did well to prevent Edwards getting on the end of it.
Coalville are very much the ball playing side of the leading bunch and once they had settled onto the excellent 3G surface at quattro tech Westwood Road they began to patiently build themselves into the game. Dadge was called into his first real action in 18th minute as an excellent Ravens passing move ended with Ashley Chambers feeding in Tom McGlinchey cutting in from the left. The Ives keeper had to leap high to his left to push away his fierce rising drive.
Just to prove that they knew how to play route one as well the Ravens next opportunity two minutes later came as Chambers looked to get away onto a long punt from White. But a poor touch allowed Ashton Fox to get around and rob him. Dadge had to be alert to prevent Tom Berridge getting onto a 35th clip over the top the keeper rushing to the edge of his box to just head the bouncing ball away from the centre forward. Berridge continued his run and clattered into the keeper going down to claim a penalty but referee Luke Scott’s decision went in favour of Dadge.
Since those early stages the visitors had enjoyed the majority of possession but just as it was beginning to look like Ives might make it to the break on level terms the visitors found a little stroke of luck to get themselves in front. Another swift interchange of passes down the left ended with McGlinchey running at Ives back line and his ball across the face of the box fell to Luke Shaw cutting in from the right. He cleverly got past Herd before unleashing a shot that deflected past Dadge off Charlie Johnson.
Falling behind rattled Ives a little and they could have conceded another only seconds later as George Wilson ran at the defence before being stopped by an effective challenge from Jordan Williams but the ball ran on to Joe Doyle-Charles who played in Berridge. His shot from just inside the box deflected off Fox and looked like it was heading in but this time Dadge recovered his position quickly to make the save.
There was still time before the break for both keepers to need to make a save from free kicks. Paddy Casey brought down McGlinchey on the left corner of Ives box in 44th minute. Shaw got the free kick up and down over the wall but Dadge moved his feet well to make a comfortable save. White was called into similar action at the other end two minutes into added time as he kept out Kaziboni’s 25 yard free kick that came over the Ravens four man wall.
Similar to the start of the first half Ives had a shot on goal inside the first minute as Tyrone Baker cut in from the left and unleashed a powerful 25 yard right footer that was straight at White. Baker caused the visitors more problems in 55th minute as he got around the outside of Alex Dean and was hauled down just outside the box in a wide position. Kaziboni clipped the resulting free kick into a large pack of players inside the six yard box where the ball rebounded wide off Johnson as a defender tried to clear.
Once again though Ives were undone by clinical finishing from the Ravens. Another patient build up from the visitors concluded with McGlinchey finding a little space inside the box and calmly rolling the ball into the bottom corner of the net past an unsighted Dadge. The keeper did much better two minutes later as he bravely slid in to take the ball off the toe of Doyle-Charles after the midfielder had been played through by Chambers.
It may have been the visitors taking their foot off the gas a little bit, or simply Ives lifting themselves to another level but the passing of the hour mark seemed to lift the hosts and they really began to take the game to their opposition. That new belief received a massive boost in 65th minute as Edwards pulled a goal back. Casey delivered a teasing clip in from the right behind the Ravens back line. White started to come for it but with Baker bearing down at pace Dean decided to try to cut out the ball but he only succeeded in knocking it to Edwards on the edge of the box and with the keeper out of position the Ives leading scorer kept his cool to roll the ball home.
With the bit now between their teeth the hosts really tore at their visitors and they had two excellent penalty claims turned down within seconds of each other with fifteen minutes to go. Initially centre back Robertson got his upraised arm in the way of a Herd long throw but referee Scott deemed the contact unintentional. The ball was hoofed clear for another throw in the same spot this time the ball was knocked down to Enoch Andoh on the edge of the box and his goal bound shot struck the arm of a defender and deflected wide. This time referee Scott was unsighted. The resulting Herd corner was won at the back post by Johnson but his header was straight at White.
Ives kept up the pressure and an 80th minute scramble saw both Edwards and Baker have shots blocked before the ball was eventually hacked clear. But the golden opportunity for the hosts to get on level terms came in 84th minute. With full back Casey now thrown forward it was he who seized an opportunity to drive into the Ravens box. The ball ricocheted around before eventually falling to the usually deadly Nabil Shariff who had only been on the pitch ninety seconds. He found himself all on his own ten yards out with only keeper White to beat. He tried to beat the keeper low to his left but the big stopper had anticipated it and got down well to block.
Shariff had another half chance as the clock ticked into 90th minute as he got on the end of a clip over the top from inspirational skipper Richens but this time he did not get enough of a touch to deflect the ball past White.
The board went up for an added eight minutes to give Ives hope but by this point they had replaced both full backs with forwards and were throwing everyone forward at every opportunity and perhaps unsurprisingly they got caught on the break. McGlinchey got away into the gap that would have normally been filled by Casey and he cut inside before teeing up substitute Max Brogan who beat Dadge low to his left from 20 yards to take the Ravens to the top of the table.
National League North is beckoning for the ex- mining town from Leicestershire whilst the Ives are still in real danger of heading the other way into what would probably be the Northern Premier League Midlands Division. But this performance again gives Ives hope and the rest of the results still means that their destiny is in their own hands. Second placed Tamworth, no doubt smarting from losing top spot, are next up at the quattro tech Westwood Road so get down and support the boys.
Final Score: St Ives Town 1 Coalville Town 3
ST IVES: Edwards 65
COALVILLE: Shaw 41, McGlinchey 57, Brogan 90+2
Team Line Ups:
ST IVES: Dadge, Casey (Higgs 90), Herd (Shariff 82), Richens (capt), J. Williams, Fox, Kaziboni (Andoh 69), Harris, Edwards, Johnson, Baker, Unused subs: Toseland, Hottor,
COALVILLE: White, Pep-Ngoma, Putman, Dean, Robertson, Wilson (Brogan 69), Shaw (Chitiza 85), Doyle-Charles (capt), Berridge (Kee 77), Chambers, McGlinchey, Unused subs: Smith, Wilkinson
Cards: Yellow: ST IVES: Edwards (20), Harris (44), Kaziboni (62), Andoh (89), Fox (90+3) COALVILLE: Dean (55), Doyle-Charles (89)
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Michael Richens
Report by Nigel Howlett, Interview by Andrew Dunn, Match Highlights by Ollie Jones, Photos by Louise Thompson.
St Ives Town v Stourbridge
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 18-03-2023
Those that saw the preceding game between these same two sides only seven days earlier will find this scoreline hard to believe. Ives were the better side and came within seconds of claiming all three points at War Memorial Athletic Ground but just one week later on their own patch they were a very poor second best and this score does not flatter the visitors who simply blew away a very flat and uninspiring home side.
Some analysis of the Glassboys away record may give a little more of a clue to why this game went the way that it did as they boast the best record on the road of any side outside the top five. But that record can give no excuse for the error strewn performance from the hosts which started as early as the third minute when they gifted their visitors the lead. A short goal kick from James Goff was worked around inside Ives box until a fateful slip from the usually so reliable Jordan Williams allowed the speedy Jason Cowley to nick the ball and slot it home.
Falling behind so early clearly rocked the Ives fragile confidence but to give them their due they battled back and went close to levelling three times inside the next five minutes. A 5th minute Johnny Herd corner from the left picked out Jonny Edwards in space beyond the far post but his attempted knock back into the danger zone was comfortably claimed by keeper Charlie Price. Four minutes later another Herd cross from the left was more successfully headed back into the mix by Michael Richens and Kieran Higgs bursting onto the loose ball looked like he must score only for Joe Hull to bravely hurl himself across the line of the shot at point blank range to deny him. Herd’s resulting corner found the head of the unmarked Ashton Fox arriving in the centre of goal six yards out. But the young centre back failed to get over his header and the guilt edged chance was gone.
Ives continued to work hard to get back on terms, but their endeavour lacked end product and despite winning more corners they struggled to offer any real further threat on Price’s goal. A 33rd minute Herd long throw offered them an opportunity to perhaps find a route through but instead it acted as their undoing as Williams was again the man who lost possession, but this time inside the opposition box!. The ball was quickly fed forward and the fastest man on the pitch Obinna Anaebonam somehow found himself in a foot race from the half way line with Paddy Casey. There was only going to be one winner and the speedy Glassboys winger also showed his composure as he kept his cool to slot past the exposed Goff and double the visitor’s advantage.
With half time approaching Ives were desperate to find themselves a toe hold into the game and Edwards had a fierce shot from the corner of the box deflected wide in 42nd minute. There had been quite a few stoppages in the first period and the board had gone up for an added six minutes. In the fourth of those added six the hosts did find that toe hold courtesy of Ed Hottor who fired home from edge of the box after Herd’s long throw had been half cleared to him.
Now back in the game Ives just had to see it through to half time to give themselves a fighting chance in the second half. But they instantly self destructed again as Williams was turned inside out by the tricky Cowley on the edge of the box and then taken down clumsily by Goff inside the box as the keeper tried to knock the ball away from him in an unorthodox style with his legs. Anaebonam stepped up to send the keeper the wrong way from the spot and restore the visitors two goal advantage at the break.
Conceding the third goal so late in the first half meant any possible lift that Ives may have got from scoring themselves had been extinguished and there was no real build up of pressure on Price’s goal early in the second period. It was the visitors who carved out the first noteworthy opportunity after the re-start on the hour as a quick exchange of passes through the centre of Ives back line ended with Cowley being put clear by Darryl Knights, but the Glassboy’s number nine was denied his second of the day by an assistant’s upraised flag.
Ives continued to work hard, but they still could not offer any real threat on Price’s goal, although half chances did come and go. A deep 65th minute cross from Luke Harris picked out Richens beyond the far post, but rather than try and direct his header into the feet of players arriving in the centre he tried to go for goal from an impossible angle and failed to hit the target. The Ives skipper did even worse with a thirty yard free kick eight minutes later as his attempt to get up and down over the visitors three man wall just kept on going up!. The free kick had been well won as substitute Nabil Shariff jinked his way clear through the centre only to be unceremoniously taken down by Joe Hull in what originally looked like a promising position.
The host’s final opportunity to make it an interesting last fifteen minutes then came and went in 75th minute. Substitute winger Greg Kaziboni raced away wide right but was effectively stopped by Hull sliding in to block his attempted cross. The resulting Herd corner from the right was flapped at by keeper Price giving the usually deadly Shariff chance to direct his header from six yards on target. But the flying keeper had done just enough to put off the striker who, like Fox before him, flashed his header over the crossbar.
That proved to be Ives final opportunity because the Glassboys dynamic duo up front combined to grab another goal each in a three minute spell with about ten to go. Anaebonam completed his hattrick in 79th minute as he got fed through by Cowley to, once more, coolly beat Goff from close range. The goal came at the end of another lightning fast break by the visitors.
The pattern was repeated in 82nd minute as for the umpteenth time the Glassboys broke at pace. This time it was substitute Callum Gittings who got away down the right before cutting inside and clipping a ball into the centre where Ives centre backs and keeper had all gone AWOL leaving Cowley with the simple task of heading home from close range to complete his brace and put the final nail in Ives coffin.
The result, their eighth game without a win, leaves Ives now teetering on the brink of falling into the bottom four and with their next three games all against teams in the top four things are beginning to look very ominous. A return to early season form is urgently required now to get them out of the mire and a positive return from at least one of those very tough next three games is essential. It can be done, as relegation rivals Needham Market proved by winning at league leaders Tamworth today but to achieve it everyone has to pull together and all believe!.
Final Score: St Ives Town 1 Stourbridge 5
ST IVES: Hottor 45+4
STOURBRIDGE: Cowley 3 & 82, Anaebonam 33, 45+6 (pen) & 79
Team Line Ups:
ST IVES: Goff, Casey, Herd, Richens (capt), J. Williams, Fox (Toseland 78), Baker (Kaziboni 69), Harris, Edwards, Hottor (Shariff 58), Higgs, Unused subs: Johnson, Johnston
STOURBRIDGE: Price, Vaughan, Burton (Wilson 46), Prosser, Kettle, Hull, Anaebonam, King (capt), Cowley, Rowe (Gittings 69), Knights (White 77), Unused subs: Worley, Knight
Cards: Yellow: ST IVES: Fox (54), Harris (90) STOURBRIDGE: Hull (73), Wilson (81), Prosser (86)
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Ed Hottor
Report by Nigel Howlett. Interview by andrew Dunn. Video by Ollie Jones. Photos by Louise Thompson.
St Ives Town v Barwell
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 25-02-2023
Ives left it late to grab a winner against the Canaries in their last home game. They left it even later to claim a well deserved and vital point against a different group of Canaries in this game. Both of those vital goals came from captain courageous Michael Richens, his header against Hitchin was celebrated to the rafters but although this 97th minute goal only claimed one point it was a true wonder strike from 30 yards that anyone who left a little early to try and beat the traffic down Westwood Road will be hugely disappointed that they missed.
With James Dadge picking up an injury on Tuesday evening James Goff was recalled between the sticks for the hosts. Myles Cowling also made a reappearance after injury replacing Peterborough United loanee Kellan Hickinson who dropped to the bench.
The visitors made three changes to their starting eleven following last Monday evenings 1-1 draw in the clash of the Canaries at Hitchin. Ben Hart and Oisin Gallagher came in for the injured Janos Bodnar and Josh Tomlinson respectively and Micah Edwards gave way to Dominic Brown-Hill in centre of midfield.
Ives started off very slowly and the early chances all fell to the visitors at the car park end. Two opportunities arrived in quick succession in tenth minute. The hosts initially struggled to deal with a long throw into their box the ball falling to Brady Hickey whose effort from just inside the box was deflected wide for a corner. Gallagher’s resulting corner was half cleared to Melis Bushaj who also saw his shot from 25 yards deflect wide off an Ives defender.
The very mobile and tricky Beck-Ray Enoru was causing problems down the flanks and two minutes later he combined well with Hart before firing in a low shot from the corner of the box which Goff got down well to save at his near post.
Ives first real venture into Canaries territory in 17th minute saw Kieran Higgs win the hosts first corner of the game. But Kyle Rowley rose above the crowd to powerfully head Johnny Herd’s flag kick away from danger.
At the other end the visitors were clocking up their corner count much more quickly and their fourth of the game in 20th minute was delivered to the back post from the left by Gallagher where Brown-Hill rose highest but could not keep his header down under pressure from Ives defenders.
Ives first effort at goal arrived just before the half hour courtesy of Ed Hottor. This hosts midfielder exchanged passes with Jonny Edwards before unleashing a long range pile driver that flew about a metre over Andy Wycherley’s crossbar with the keeper looking on.
At the other end Enoru was still looking the main danger for the visitors and three minutes later he showed his pace to get around the outside of the covering Hottor and drill in a dangerous low cross that flashed across the face of Goff’s goal evading everyone in the centre.
But that was the visitors last attempt before the break as Ives finished the first half with a very strong ten minutes. In 35th minute Richens tried to go for the spectacular to force home a clip into the box that was falling behind him, but his attempted bicycle kick flew well over the top. From the resulting goal kick Hottor robbed Brown-Hill high up the park and tried to feed in Edwards but his pass was a little to fierce and the ball bounced off Ives centre forward and was hacked clear.
Patient build up saw Herd force keeper Wycherley into his first real action of the game seven minutes before the break. Higgs and Cowling combined well deep in Canaries territory before the latter teed up Herd whose curled effort from just outside the box forced the visitor’s keeper to leap high to his left to paw the ball away.
The nearest either side came to breaking the deadlock inside the first 45 minutes was when Edwards met the resulting corner at the back post with a powerful downward header that bounced up, hit the unknowing George Ward on the goal line and went over the crossbar.
Having finished the first half well Ives came out and took the game to their opponents straight from the restart. Less than sixty seconds in Tyrone Baker tore down the left and delivered a low cross across the face of goal that was only just out of reach of Edwards arriving at the back post. Five minutes later Richens curled a 25 yard free kick over the top.
But that bright start was quickly extinguished as the Canaries applied a bit of pressure and got their noses in front. In 52nd minute Hart delivered a dangerous ball into the box from the right that picked out Hickey arriving at the back post. The visitors skipper stooped to direct the dropping ball at goal but failed to hit the target with his header. The reprieve was only very short lived for Ives as less than sixty seconds later the visitors did find the back of the net. Enoru fed in Hickey through the right channel and his fierce rising drive from just inside the box beat Goff but rattled the crossbar. With the hosts defence in disarray the ball was fed back into the box where Connor Taylor dived in to head it home at the back post.
Now in the driving seat the Canaries looked to push home their advantage and it took a brave save from Goff to prevent Enoru doubling the lead three minutes later. Hickey was again the provider delivering a ball in from the left that the keeper did well to dive in and prevent the Canaries number seven heading it home.
Richens picked up his customary yellow card in 74th minute as he slid in on Gallagher forcing the wide man out of the game to be replaced by Julian Donnery. The usually deadly Hickey failed to hit the target with the resulting free kick from just outside the box. There were still a couple of hairy moments for Ives before they really lifted themselves to put on that barnstorming finish. Hickey and Enoru were again involved in 80th minute as the two combined down the right, the move ending with a fierce shot from a narrow angle by Enoru that Goff did well to push away. But the keeper was almost left red faced seconds later as he allowed a much tamer shot from the same player slip through his fingers. Fortunately, the keeper’s blushes were saved by Paddy Casey who covered behind his custodian to hack away the loose ball.
Manager Ricky Marheineke had made a couple of changes in 65th minute to try and freshen up his attack and it was the two substitutes who combined to spark the hosts to life in 84th minute. Centre back Ben Toseland won the ball well in the centre of the park and strode forward before slipping the ball to substitute Hickinson who in turn played a perfectly weighted pass into the run of his fellow replacement Enoch Andoh who finished with aplomb only to be frustrated by the assistant’s upraised flag.
That move was the catalyst which sparked a period of real pressure from the Ives but it looked like the dogged Canaries back line was going to hang on as try as they might the hosts just could not find a way through. But the visitors time wasting tactics came back to bite them in the bum in the end. An added six minutes going up on the board lifted the Ives supporters and they roared on those on the pitch to even greater efforts. They almost found a route through four minutes into added time as Richens fed in Edwards down the right and his ball into the near post was met by Ethan Johnston sliding in. But Wycherley spread himself bravely and blocked the substitute’s effort with his body. The resulting corner bounced around the Canaries box before Toseland fired it wide and it looked like the chance had gone. But a substitution and a few more delaying tactics in added time meant a further added minute which was just long enough for skipper Richens to send the quattro tech Westwood Road into raptures as he put his right foot through the ball from fully thirty yards out. It swerved in the air just out of reach of the sprawling Wycherley and into the net via the inside of the post. There was just time to kick off again before the final whistle blew.
Final Score: St Ives Town 1 Barwell 1
ST IVES: Richens 90+7
BARWELL: Taylor 53
Team Line Ups:
ST IVES: Goff, Casey, Herd, Richens (capt), Williams, Toseland, Higgs (Andoh 63), Hottor (Hickinson 63), J. Edwards, Cowling (Johnston 86), Baker, Unused subs: Kaziboni,
BARWELL: Wycherley, Hart, Bushaj, Kerr, Rowley, Ward, Enoru (Nassuncolu 90+2), Brown-Hill, Taylor (Davisdon-Miller 85), Hickey (capt), Gallagher (Donnery 74), Unused subs: Master, M. Edwards
Cards: Yellow: ST IVES: Casey (40), Hickinson (67), Richens (74) BARWELL: Bushaj (62), Brown-Hill (77), Davidson-Miller (90+5)
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Michael Richens
Report by Nigel Howlett. Interview by Andrew Dunn. Video by Ollie Jones. Photos by Louise Thompson.
St Ives Town v Hitchin Town
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 04-02-2023
Both sides played their part in this cracking game that ultimately swung the way of the Ives courtesy of skipper Michael Richens powerful header to force home Johnny Herd’s in-swinging corner deep in added time. There had been plenty of entertainment at quattro tech Westwood Road ahead of that late winner with three goals in pulsating first half which had seen Ives go in front in 17th minute when Ben Toseland’s near post flick to another Herd corner had been deflected past his own keeper by a Hitchin defender. The Canaries levelled things up in 34th minute thanks to Ashley Hay’s well taken back post header that turned in a Layne Eadie corner from the left. But Ives were back in front two minutes later when Enoch Andoh cleverly rounded the visitors keeper to claim arguably the goal of the game.
Ives defended resolutely throughout the second half only for it to look like they had thrown away two points when James Dadge was caught out by Diogo Freitas-Gouveia’s long range free kick. But the skipper was on hand to send the home crowd into raptures with that late, late header.
Home manager Ricky Marheineke made three changes to the starting eleven from the team that battled so hard at league leaders Tamworth on Tuesday evening. The first one was an enforced one with Callum Milne recalled to the centre of defence to replace the suspended Jordan Williams. The other two more tactical with fit again Myles Cowling replacing Ed Hottor in the centre of the park and Tyrone Baker recalled in place of Kieran Higgs wide on the left. Canaries manager Mark Burke made two enforced changes to his starting eleven following with the visitors 0 – 0 draw with Bedford. Jack Morell and Josh Coldicott-Stevens coming in for the injured Ciaren Jones and Steve Gleeson respectively.
The game started brightly with both sides firing in early shots just off target inside the first three minutes. The visitors then came agonisingly close to going in front in 9th minute as Hay bustled his way through Ives back line before unleashing a powerful effort from just outside the box that beat Dadge but rattled the crossbar. Bradley Bell was following up and his attempt from the rebound was deflected wide. Centre back Lewis Barker managed to lose his man inside the box to get on the end of the resulting corner but directed his header straight into the hands of the well positioned Dadge.
Ives first effort on target arrived four minutes later as Richens powered through the right channel before delivering the ball into the box. It found a way through to Baker beyond the back post and he exchanged passes with Cowling before firing in a rising shot from a narrow angle that was straight at Charlie Horlock in the visitors goal.
The hosts kept up the pressure and almost got in front two minutes later when Milne rose above his marker at the back post to get on the end of a Baker corner from the left. He directed his header down well and it took an excellent diving stop from Horlock to just prevent the ball crossing the line. But the keeper had no chance seconds later as Toseland arrived at the near post to flick on Herd’s corner. The ball struck a defender inside the six yard box and ricocheted past the startled Horlock.
The Canaries were still very much still in the game and went close to an equaliser in 26th minute when Dadge failed to hold onto a driven cross from the right by ex Ives man Jack Snelus. Hay pounced on the loose ball, before the keeper could recover it, but fired over the top from close range. The visitors kept pushing forward and it took a very good save from Dadge to deny them in 33rd minute. A fierce 30 yarder from Morell was destined for the bottom corner only to be kept out by the keeper’s diving save low to his right. The resulting corner was delivered to the near post where it was initially blocked but Freitas-Gouveia hooked it back into the mix at the back post where Hay rose highest to force the ball home.
But the parity between the two sides only remained for two minutes when Richens won the ball in the centre of the park and knocked it to Cowling who powered through before feeding in the run of Andoh who outpaced the defence before cleverly rounding the exposed Horlock and rolling the ball home from a narrow angle.
Burke made a change at half time with Finley Wilkinson replacing Ex Ives striker Jack Snelus and it was the visitors who started the second half on the front foot and in an early period of pressure Coldicott-Stevens and Bell both had shots blocked before the ball was eventually cleared. Fortunately for Ives Freitas-Gouveia and Bell got in each other’s way as they tried to force home a deep Eadie cross from the left in 50th minute.
Ives continued to look dangerous from dead ball situations and Milne headed another Herd corner inches over in 53rd minute. But play quickly swung back to the other end and Frietas-Gouveia went close from 20 yards on the hour. Paddy Casey did brilliantly to block a fierce drive from just inside the box by Eadie three minutes later.
The visitors continued to pick up free kicks inside Ives half but the hosts generally dealt well with these with their only real scare being in 66th minute when Freitas-Gouveia delivered a teasing ball to the back post where Lewis Barker rose highest but could only direct his header wide from ten yards.
The pace and trickery of Andoh was still causing problems at the other end and with a little more composure he could perhaps have done better than scatter the supporters beside the goal with his fierce shot from just inside the box after he had been fed in by substitute Kieran Higgs. An even better chance to kill the game came Ives way with fifteen minutes to go. Jonny Edwards rose at the near post to flick on a Herd long throw and the ball arrived at the feet of the unmarked Milne at the back post. But as Horlock came to close him down the centre back flicked the ball past him but it drifted inches over the angle of crossbar and post.
Dadge was almost caught out by an error when taking a free kick from the left touchline in 78th minute. Not striking the ball cleanly it fell to the feet of Bell 60 yards from goal and he took on the shot, fortunately he did not get sufficient power, or accuracy in it and the young Ives keeper was able to quickly recover his ground and make the save.
With time ticking down it was beginning to look like Ives were going to claim a hard earned three points only for Freitas-Gouveia to catch out Dadge from a 35 yard free kick with three minutes of the ninety remaining. The young keeper only lined up a two man wall and took position at the back post anticipating that the ball would be delivered into the box. But Freitas-Gouveia seized his opportunity and went for goal beating the scrambling keeper low to his left to apparently snatch a point for the Canaries.
But Ives had other ideas and they were the side looking for a winner in the added four minutes. Herd came forward to hurl another projectile into the box where Edwards again won the flick but the ball was eventually scrambled clear. The very next attack won a corner on the right which Herd delivered perfectly to the edge of the six yard box where Richens timed his run to perfection to meet the ball cleanly and force it home to spark wild celebrations amongst the Ives faithful and claim maximum reward against a top six team for the first time this season.
The only black cloud on an otherwise sunny afternoon was the six bookings picked up for a variety of offences that will incur a hefty club fine from the FA.
Richens claimed the man of the match accolade from those behind the goal with Andoh a very worthy runner up and a special mention to Milne recalled into the side after an absence of a month he did an excellent job as the kingpin of a back four that were at times stretched by the pace and movement of the Canaries front line but generally held firm.
Final Score: St Ives Town 3 Hitchin Town 2
ST IVES: Toseland 17, Andoh 36, Richens 90+2
HITCHIN: Hay 34, Freitas-Gouveia 87
Team Line Ups:
ST IVES: Dadge, Casey, Herd, Richens (capt), Milne, Toseland, Andoh (Hottor 90), Cowling, Edwards, Hickinson (Higgs 62), Baker (Kaziboni 72), Unused subs: Johnson, Johnston
HITCHIN: Horlock (capt), Bell, Eadie (Dasilva 68), Syme, Morrell, Barker, Freitas-Gouveia, Coldicott-Stevens (Allen 76), Hay, Idiakhoa, Snelus (Wilkinson 46), Unused subs: Georgiou, Crawley
Cards: Yellow: ST IVES: Casey (10), Hickinson (40), Toseland (43), Dadge (61), Andoh (87), Richens (90+5) HITCHIN: Coldicott-Stevens (24), Idiakhoa (77)
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Michael Richens
Match report by Nigel Howlett. Interview by Andrew Dunn. Video highlights by Ollie Jones. Photos by Louise Thompson.
St Ives Town v Alvechurch
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 24-01-2023
The squad is always a vital part of any football team these days and it was Ives substitutes who proved crucial to claiming the three points in this fixture. The introduction of Nabil Shariff and Enoch Andoh with around half an hour to go changed the flow of the game completely as up to that point it had been the visitors who had enjoyed the better of the second period after a first half in which the two sides had traded goals. A typical poacher’s goal from Shariff eight minutes after his introduction put Ives in front and Andoh ensured the maximum return for Ives with a well taken goal at the end of a flowing move with six minutes to go.
Very unusually for Ives, manager Ricky Marheineke named an unchanged starting eleven and bench following Saturdays excellent come back to claim a point against play-off hopefuls Ilkeston. FA Cup heroes Church who are on a poor run of form and have yet to pick up a point in 2023 made only one change from their previous game with new signing Peter Taylor coming into midfield and Jack Hallahan dropping to the bench.
Once again the quattro tech Westwood Road 3G surface had to be thanked for getting the game on as this match was the only one in Southern League Premier Division Central to beat the weather. The hosts started on the front foot with the direct running of Tyrone Baker setting up an early chance for Kellan Hickinson in third minute. But the Peterborough United youngster snatched at the opportunity and fired well over from the edge of the box.
Church did not learn from that early let off as Baker’s pace caught them out again seven minutes later and this time the Ives speedy winger outpaced Ben Cassidy to latch onto Myles Cowling’s perfectly weighted through ball, taking the ball in his stride and spanking it past keeper Dan Jezeph from just outside the box to put the hosts in front.
That lead only lasted seven minutes as a reckless tackle from skipper Michael Richens and an excellent advantage from referee Jorden Gibson cost them dear. Richens slid into Jed Abbey with a late challenge that was always going to pick up a yellow card. But the tackle was so late that Abbey had managed to feed on the ball before he was hit. It ran on to Tyrell Skeen-Hamilton who, as Ives defenders momentarily stopped, seized the opportunity to stride on and beat James Dadge in the Ives goal from 20 yards to level things up. Referee Gibson then caught up with Richens to add insult to injury by issuing the hosts midfield enforcer with the inevitable yellow.
The entertaining game continued at a fast pace with both sides creating chances but each guilty of failing to test the opposition keeper when those opportunities presented themselves. The 19th minute saw a chance at both ends within the space of a few seconds. Hickinson took on the Church defence and got past a couple of defenders before having the ball taken off his toe by the covering Aurio Neto Teixiera who in turn set up an attack at the other end that finished with Danny Waldron curling an effort from 25 yards just over the crossbar.
Ives next chance to get back in front came at exactly the midpoint in the first half as a teasing cross from the right by Paddy Casey caused panic in the Church box. Both Jordan Williams and Hickinson had close range shots blocked by the flying bodies of visiting defenders before the ball was eventually cleared.
Things settled down for the remainder of the half with very few chances appearing in the remaining time. The best of the half chances fell to the visitors ten minutes before the break when Jack Concannon found a little bit of space to run at Ives back line, but the Church midfielder got it horribly wrong when he went for his shot slicing his effort high and wide from 25 yards.
The visitors came out with the bit between their teeth at the start of the second half as they moved the ball around well and came close to getting their noses in front in 53rd minute. Jonny Edwards lost possession to Jamie Willets on halfway and the ball was fed into the run of Skeels-Hamilton. The Church front man was pushed wide but still managed to get in a fierce shot from a narrow angle that took the combined efforts of keeper Dadge and his near post to keep the ball out.
Excellent defending from Johnny Herd kept out the next two Church opportunities around the hour mark. In the 60th minute he put in a perfectly timed sliding tackle to stop a dangerous run across the face of Ives goal by Skeels-Hamilton but the ball fell to Abbey just outside the box his attempted shot was a poor one, but it went back across the face of goal and was almost turned home by Concannon at the back post but the power from Abbey’s attempted shot was just enough to prevent him hitting the target.
Herd was again in the right place two minutes later as overlapping full back Cassidy picked out Skeels-Hamilton on the edge of the box and his curled effort looked destined for the bottom corner until the Ives full back appeared to divert it away from goal.
Two other important things that changed the course of the game also happened around the hour. In 58th minute Shariff came on to replace Hickinson to give Ives a second striker alongside Edwards. Three minutes later Ives manager Marheineke unleashed the speed and trickery of Enoch Andoh replacing Kieran Higgs on the right to give the tiring Cassidy a whole new problem to solve.
Goal poacher Shariff did what he does best to put Ives in front eight minutes after coming on. Herd had already delivered a series of long throws into the Church box that Williams had managed to flick on but no one had got on the end of those flicks. Yet another missile launched into the box in 66th minute. Williams again got the flick and once more the visitors struggled to clear. The ball fell to Edwards on the edge of the box, he did not hit his effort cleanly, but Jezeph spilled it and sure enough first to react was Shariff just beating the scrambling keeper to the loose ball and firing home off the underside of the crossbar.
Going behind for a second time seemed to knock the stuffing out of the visitors and with the very busy Cowling and Richens taking control of the centre of the park and the pace of Andoh and Baker causing problems down both flanks Ives got back on top. A 74th minute cross from the right by Casey was met just inside the box by Shariff and his looping header had Jezeph scrambling before it glanced the top of the crossbar on its way over the top.
Manager Marheineke made his third change with ten minutes to go further reinforcing the centre of the park by replacing Edwards with Ed Hottor. The three substitutes combined to kill the game off four minutes later, Hottor won the ball in the middle of the park and put Shariff through the left channel. As the defenders and goalkeeper came to close him down Shariff unselfishly slid the ball sideways to the unmarked Andoh who had time to take a touch before firing home to delight the big Tuesday night home crowd.
There was still time for Andoh and Shariff to combine to almost add a fourth only ninety seconds later as Andoh danced his way down the right easily outpacing the tiring Cassidy before firing in a low cross that Shariff met at the near post, but the striker had gone a little to soon and the flag was up.
The win extends Ives unbeaten run to four games and takes them up to tenth place but that run will be tested in the next seven days as Ives visit fourth placed Leiston on Saturday and then make the daunting trip to league leaders Tamworth next Tuesday evening. Church on the other hand still sit in the relegation places. With up to eight games in hand on those around them following their FA Cup run everyone expects them to get out of trouble. But the cup run may have taken more out of them than they think and with no win since early December they have got to get back on track soon or they will find themselves very much in the dog fight at the bottom.
Final Score: St Ives Town 3 Alvechurch 1
ST IVES: Baker 10, Shariff 66, Andoh 84
ALVECHURCH: Skeels-Hamilton 17
Team Line Ups:
ST IVES: Dadge, Casey, Herd, Richens (capt), Williams, Toseland, Higgs (Andoh 61), Cowling, Edwards (Hottor 80), Hickinson (Shariff 58), Baker, Unused subs: Milne, Kaziboni
ALVECHURCH: Jezeph, Dugmore, Cassidy, Taylor (Hallahan 78), Willets (capt), Carter, Jed Abbey, Neto Teixeira (Jeremy Abbey 86), Waldron (Soule 65), Concannon, Skeen-Hamilton, Unused subs: Williams, Randle
Cards: Yellow: ST IVES: Baker (12), Richens (17), Williams (23), Casey (73) ALVECHURCH: none
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Myles Cowling
Report by Nigel Howlett. Interview by Andrew Dunn. Match highlights by Ollie Jones.
St Ives Town v Ilkeston Town
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 21-01-2023
A barnstorming second half comeback saw Ives claim a share of the spoils with the big spending Robins in a hugely entertaining game in front of a bumper crowd which was bolstered by supporters diverted from other games called off late owning to pitches which failed to thaw out following the heavy overnight frost.
Ives manager Ricky Marheineke made one change to the starting eleven following last weeks draw at Hednesford with Kellan Hickinson recalled to the number ten shirt in place of Nabil Shariff who took his place on the bench. By contrast Robins player manager Jamie Ward welcome three experienced new signings into his starting line up goalkeeper Rhys Davies, full back Henri Wilder and hugely experience ex Premier League striker Leroy Lita.
The game started relatively quietly with both sides sizing each other up. The first half chance for either side came in ninth minute when a probing run from Tyrone Baker allowed him to tee up Myles Cowling for a shot from the edge of the box but Cowling failed to hit the ball cleanly and it was scrambled clear. Ives Peterborough United loanee Kellan Hickinson spurned a much better opportunity three minutes later. Kieran Higgs cross from the left was headed down by Jonny Edwards onto the foot of Hickinson in a little bit of space just inside the box but the youngster snatched his first time effort wide.
Lita was already beginning to show touches of his ability at the other end and he cleverly drifted out to the left to set up the opening goal for the visitors in 17th minute. Finding space behind Paddy Casey he got to the bye line before driving a low cross along the six yard line to pick out Remayne Campbell unmarked at the back post. Robins number seven had the simple task of side footing the ball home.
Going in front lifted the visitors and they continued on top for the remainder of the first period. Despite Ives defence battling hard to keep them at bay the Robins started to carve out more chances usually with Lita and Campbell at the heart of things. In 24th minute the pair combined well on the right with Campbell teeing up Dempsey Arlott-John on the edge of the box. But the visitors winger screwed his shot wide of the post.
Arlott-John thought that he had doubled the lead five minutes later as he was fed clean through by ex Peterborough United striker Lee Tomlin but the speedy wide man had gone just a little to soon and Ives were saved by the assistants flag. The visitors then had a very good shout for a penalty turned down by referee Dan Woolley as Johnny Herd got the wrong side of Campbell and gave him a hefty nudge to prevent him getting on the end of Kieran Fenton’s clip into the box.
It took a brilliant sliding block from Jordan Williams to prevent Lita turning home Campbell’s low cross from the right in 38th minute. But then the inevitable second goal for the visitors arrived five minutes before the break. Finn Delap delivered a long ball deep into Ives territory that Lita took down brilliantly and seized the opportunity to surge on into the box where he went down under a combined challenge from Casey and Williams. Referee Woolley took a moment to think about it before pointing to the spot. Campbell coolly sent James Dadge the wrong way from the spot to double his tally for the day and double the Robins lead.
Dadge earned his corn for the day two minutes later by ensuring that Ives went in at the break only two down plunging to his left to keep out Fenton’s 25 yard free kick that beat the hosts three man wall and was heading for the bottom corner. The free kick had been conceded by Myles Cowling who lost possession inside his own half to Jack Thomas and then chased back to bring down the Robins midfield man.
Ives desperately needed an early goal to lift their spirits and give them a potential route back into the game and they got just that as their impressive start to the second half earned reward. A long ball down the park was flicked on by Williams who had stayed forward after an early Ives corner. The ball fell to Edwards who fed in Higgs speeding down the left. Higgs got past Joe Wilson on the outside before pulling the ball back to Cowling on the edge of the box. A side step earned just enough space to allow him to get away a fierce right foot shot that flew high into the net past the outstretched fingers of Davies. Game on!
The Robins went in search of another goal to restore their lead and Arlott-John cleverly turned Casey before firing just wide from 20 yards in 62nd minute. But Ives had now got the bit between their teeth and a very well taken poachers goal from Edwards in 69th minute levelled things up. Hickinson delivered a ball in from the right that Delap looked favourite to win, but Edwards caught the young defender on his heels as he ghosted in front of him to prod the ball home past the startled Davies.
With twenty minutes to go and everything to play for both sides spurred on by the boisterous crowd decided to go for the win. It was the visitors who went close to getting their noses in front first. Only two minutes after Ives equaliser Tomlin got between players at the near post to direct a Wilson cross on target but Dadge held on well.
The closest either side came to finding a winner was in 73rd minute when the tricky Arlott-John turned on a ball just inside the box before unleashing a fierce right footed drive that beat Dadge but rattled the crossbar and rebounded to safety.
A strange incident unseen by anyone in the ground saw Tomlin go down claiming that he had been felled by Higgs in an off the ball incident. The incident had the effect of breaking the momentum of the game just as Ives were beginning to get on top again and it ended with no cards issued and a drop ball to the hosts. Ives were soon back in the ascendency and substitute Enoch Andoh was brilliantly put clear through the left channel by Cowling only to be denied by the assistants flag.
Back at the other end Tomlin was brought down by Ben Toseland just inches outside the box. Fenton got his free kick over Ives four man wall but was just unable to get it down again and it crept inches over the crossbar.
Both sides had chances to win it in the added five minutes at the end. Two chances went Ives way both falling to Williams. In the second added minute he managed to ghost in completely unmarked at the back post to get on the end of Michael Richens clever free kick. But he was stretching to reach the ball and although he directed his effort on target it was deflected out for a corner. The resulting flag kick was taken short by Greg Kaziboni allowing Hickinson to float the ball to the back post where Williams was again the target. This time he got power on his header but could only direct it into the side netting.
The final chance in the open and entertaining game fell to the visitors in the last minute when the two experienced ex-professionals combined. Lita held the ball up well just outside the box and laid it off to Tomlin his low drive was well held at the foot of his left hand post by Dadge to ensure that the points were shared.
Final Score: St Ives Town 2 Ilkeston Town 2
ST IVES: Cowling 51, Edwards 69
ILKESTON: Campbell 17, 41 (pen)
Team Line Ups:
ST IVES: Dadge, Casey, Herd, Richens (capt), Williams, Toseland, Higgs (Kaziboni 88), Cowling, Edwards, Hickinson, Baker (Andoh 63), Unused subs: Hottor, Milne, Shariff
ILKESTON: Davies, Wilson, Wilder, Thomas, Delap, Fenton (capt), Campbell, Ward (Bradley 63), Lita, Tomlin, Arlott-John (O’Grady 85), Unused subs: Dube, Bello, Woodward
Cards: Yellow: ST IVES: Cowling (43) MICKLEOVER: Ward (29), Thomas (55), Tomlin (56), Delap (90+1), Fenton (90+5)
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Myles Cowling
Report by Nigel Howlett. Interview by Andrew Dunn. Video highlights by Ollie Jones. Photos by Louise Thompson.
St Ives Town v Mickleover
Pitching-In Southern League Premier Central 07-01-2023
Manager Ricky Marheineke’s decision to freshen up his squad after three poor performances proved a master stroke as Ives not only took all three points from the play-off chasing Sports they also became only the second side all season to keep a clean sheet against their Derbyshire visitors. All three midweek signings very much played their part in this much improved display and although 18 year old keeper James Dadge did not have a tremendous amount to do his confident presence and excellent communication skills seemed to bring an instant solidity to the back four that had previously been lacking. Peterborough United loanee midfielder Kellan Hickinson brought a greater urgency to the centre of midfield. But the real star of the trio was last year’s St Ives player of the season Ben Toseland who made a triumphant return to quattro-tech Westwood Road on a loan deal from his new club Kettering Town not only putting in a solid defensive performance but also topping it off with a peach of a free kick to cement the victory twelve minutes from time.
When these teams me in the corresponding fixture early in the season it was a tetchy affair where Sports lost two players to red cards in the first half yet somehow still managed to win the game. This game also started off with the visitors picking up early cards as both Ryan Wilson and Jake Scott picked up booking for fouls inside the first fifteen minutes. The first of those came in 9th minute when Wilson unceremoniously ended Kieran Higgs run across the face of goal 25 yards out. Michael Richens failed to trouble keeper Jonathan Hedge with the resulting free kick. The same player went a little closer from a similar distance after Johnny Herd’s long throw had been only half cleared to him in 21st minute.
Hickinson showed a little bit of his quality two minutes later as he picked up a ball in the centre of the park confidently surged into the heart of the visitors back line before sliding a pass into the run of Nabil Shariff who had unfortunately gone a little to soon and was denied by an assistant’s upraised flag.
Dadge’s first real call into the action came only moments later when Ed Hottor lost possession in the centre of the park allowing Scott a chance to run at Ives back line before laying the ball off to Stuart Beavon who tried a curling effort from the edge of the D that the young keeper showed good footwork to turn into a comfortable save.
The only truly meaningful save in the first period from either side came just after the half hour when another of Hickinson’s powerful runs through the centre was clumsily halted 25 yards from goal by Sports skipper Phil Watt. This time Richens did much better with the free kick unleashing a powerful drive that took a deflection off the end of the visitor’s four man wall making keeper Hedge’s diving save low to his right even better.
The visitors were forced into a change at the break with Scott limping off to be replaced by Andy Dales who took up a position on the left allowing Will Trueman to take a more central role. Trueman had got no change out of Paddy Casey in the first period and an excellent cross field ball from Wilson gave Dales chance to try his luck in 51st minute but again a man who is becoming Mr Reliable for Ives Casey proved an impenetrable barrier.
Shariff was denied by an assistant’s flag for the second time in the game in 55th minute. This time he went a little to soon to get on the end of Richens wicked free kick to the edge of the six yard box from the right. Ives went close again only seconds later as another of Hickinson’s surges through the centre gave him chance to feed in Tyrone Baker arriving at pace down the right his first time effort from a narrow angle only ruffled the side netting.
With Ives bench hosting a wealth of talent it was no surprise that manager Marheineke made a couple of changes on the hour introducing leading scorer Jonny Edwards and Myles Cowling in place of Shariff and Hottor respectively.
Dales was still looking like Sports most likely player to break the deadlock and he cut inside from the left and let fly with a right footed effort from the corner of the box in 64th minute. Again, Dadge’s positioning and handling were good as he made a comfortable save.
The controversial incident that proved so pivotal came only sixty seconds later. Herd launched a long throw into the box from the right touchline, with wind assistance the ball sailed over the melee at the near post and arrived at the feet of Edwards inside the six yard box. He simply helped it goalwards where it was blocked on the line by James Butler. The ball appeared to strike the arm of the defender and Ives appeals were answered in the affirmative by well positioned referee Joe Woolmer. Once he had given the spot kick his only course of action was to also dismiss the unfortunate Butler for denying the goalscoring opportunity. Edwards calmly waited for the arguments from the Sports players and bench staff to subside with the ball under his arm then compounded the visitor’s misery by sending Hedge the wrong way with his spot kick.
To give them their due the visitor’s heads did not drop which is probably not surprising if they remembered the earlier game. They had two efforts at goal inside sixty seconds in 73rd minute as first Wilson failed to hit the target from the left corner of the box after being teed up by Dales then Rhys Dolan fired over from 25 yards out in a more central position seconds later.
Ives put the game to bed with twelve minutes left on the watch courtesy of the exquisite free kick from Toseland. Edwards was clumsily taken down by Watt 25 yards from goal. There was some initial debate over whether Richens, or Toseland should take the shot on with the skipper gracefully giving way to his centre back who curled an absolute peach, up and over Sports four man wall and just out of each of the desperate dive from Hedge.
With the game now decided it was good to see Ives remaining positive rather than sitting back on their lead. Enoch Andoh had been introduced for the tiring Hickinson in 75th minute and he had two chances to add to the host’s lead in the closing stages. In 88th minute he took on a mazy run through the visitor’s back line that ended with the covering Joe Bateman whacking the ball against his shins the rebound forcing a save out of Hedge as it ricocheted in a goal bound direction. As the game entered an added five minutes he galloped away onto a poor defensive header from Ethan Mann only to be taken down inside the box by Bateman, but this time referee Woolmer waved away Ives appeals.
Ives ninth win of the season takes them up four places to a respectable mid table twelfth spot whilst their visitors saw their local rivals Ilkeston and Hitchin both move above them as they slipped to eighth, only five points above Ives in the crowded middle part of the table in a season where everyone is capable of beating everyone else in the Premier Division Central.
Final Score: St Ives Town 2 Mickleover 0
ST IVES: Edwards 66 (pen), Toseland 78
Team Line Ups:
ST IVES: Dadge, Casey, Herd, Richens (capt), J. Williams, Toseland, Higgs, Hottor (Cowling 59), Baker, Hickinson (Andoh 75), Shariff (Edwards 59), Unused subs: D. Williams Johnson
MICKLEOVER: Hedge, Mann, Wilson, Butler, Watt (capt), Scott (Dales 46), Bateman, Dolan, Marshall, Beavon, Trueman, Unused subs: Mills, Rose, Bosworth, Greaves
Cards: Yellow: ST IVES: Hottor (27), Richens (35), Casey (48), Herd (81) MICKLEOVER: Wilson (9), Scott (13), Watt (54), Beavon (83), Bateman (90+1)
Red: MICKLEOVER: Butler (65)
IVES SUPPORTERS MAN OF THE MATCH: Ben Toseland
Match report by Nigel Howlett. Interview by Andrew Dunn. Match highlights by Dave Hook & Ollie Jones. Photos by Louise Thompson.