Wisbech St Mary U18 v St Ives Town U18
Thurlow Nunn Youth League – Western Division 30-04-19
A much changed Ives side shipped four goals away from home the second game in succession but this time thanks to a very coolly taken winner deep in stoppage time from Mihayl Mitkov they managed to snatch all three points from a gallant home side. But make no mistake this last gasp winner really papered over a few cracks in a very Jekyl and Hyde performance as they came close to losing a game they were in control of at the break and should have put to bed early in the second half. But missed chances allowed the home side to come back from a two goal deficit to set up the rousing finale.
Zac Hope had the beating of his marker from very early in this game and should have put Ives in front in only the fourth minute as he sprinted past George Napier to get on the end of a through ball but he powered his first time foot across the face of goal from just inside the box.
Having ruled the first ten minutes of the game the visitors then presented their hosts with the opening goal. Aaron Buckley delivered a low cross from the right that skipper Jordan Locke allowed to roll under his foot on the edge of the box. Ethan Goodale pounced on the loose ball and rifled it home past a startled Kai Bradley from fifteen yards.
The Saints could have doubled their advantage two minutes later as Leon Quinsee struggled to clear a low cross from the right and was robbed by Pawel Kalvzny just outside the box. He broke into the box but rather snatched at his shot and fired wide from a good position.
Skipper Locke then made recompense for his early error by lashing home an equalising goal in 16th minute. A free kick was half cleared to Ethan Rudd who played an excellent one two with Adam Kelly before threading the ball in to Locke on the edge of the box who finished clinically despite vain appeals for offside from the hosts defence.
Ives continued to get on top with the hosts resorting to strong arm tactics to stop them on occasions. Both centre backs Napier and Charlie Wait picked up yellow cards in quick succession for chopping down Hope and Tom Wakley respectively. Hope came within millimetres of putting Ives in front in 27th minute as he lost his marker to get across in front of keeper Ashley Clarke and just needed to get a touch on Seb Darnell’s wicked in-swinging cross from the left. But he missed it and Clarke did very well diving to his left to keep the ball out.
Hope had another opportunity to put Ives in front in 31st minute as he again got clear of the lumbering Saints back line to get on the end of Wakley’s flick on from Bradley’s long clearance. The speedy winger beat Clarke to the ball but the spreading keeper did just enough to force him to hurry his shot and he fired over the top.
Three minutes later Ives did finally get their noses in front as Wakley timed his run to perfection to get onto a Louis Bald through ball. Keeper Clarke came way off his line at pace and was completely beaten as Wakley touched the ball past him. The big striker was driven wide but had presence of mind to wait for Hope to arrive in the centre to roll his square pass into the empty net.
Two minutes before the break Kelly made it 3-1 as he picked up a ball from Mitkov and drove straight at the heart of the Saints defence which opened up for him expecting a pass but he just kept going and slid the ball past the exposed Clarke from the edge of the box.
Now two goals in front and well in control Ives just needed to do the simple things well but Saints made four changes at the break and shuffled players around to try and shore up their rocky back line and it seemed to work as the hosts battled their way back into the contest. Goodale went close with a free kick that deflected off Ives wall before substitute Willis Wright cut the arrears with a well struck low drive from 25 yards that beat Bradley low to his left in 50th minute.
Only ninety seconds later a Mitkov corner from the right caused panic in Saints defence. The loose ball falling inside the six yard box to the feet of substitute Teddy Lee but he snatched at the chance and pulled his shot wide of the post. Hope will probably tell us that the goal which restored Ives two goal advantage five minutes later was always an intended lob over the keeper but to me it looked like a miss hit cross which certainly beat the struggling Clarke and went in off the inside of the far post.
Back to two goals in front and back in control but Ives just could not kill off their battling opponents. Losing Jordan Locke to injury and blooding three new youngsters to Thurlow Nunn football made things a little more difficult for the visitors. Goodale set the nerves jangling a little by reducing the arrears again with ten minutes left. The Saints skipper pounced on a loose ball just outside the box and beat Bradley low to his left with a well struck right foot drive.
The jangling nerves got louder five minutes later when the hosts levelled things up. A long Clarke punt down the centre was not dealt with by Ives back line and the ball fell to Wright who slammed it home emphatically from just inside the box to set up a pulsating finish as both sides went for the winner.
Ives had first go as a Hope corner from the left was met perfectly on the volley by Jamie Stork at the near post but Clarke was equal to the effort and made a brilliant reaction save to keep it out. It took a brave block from debutant Ben Shirley to prevent Wright clinching it for the Saints at the other end in 89th minute as a cross from the right managed to get clean through to arrive at the substitute’s feet just inside the box. He took a touch before belting it just giving Shirley time to slide across and block the shot.
There were four minutes added by the excellent referee Peter Howard and it was in the last of those that Ives grabbed the winner. Lee battled his way into the heart of the hosts defence and was only half stopped on the edge of the box the ball bounced up and Napier inexplicably tried an extravagant back heeled clearance. He did not make clean contact and the ball ran loose to Mitkov who stayed cool as a cucumber to clip it past the advancing Clarke and into the net to spark wild celebrations amongst the Ives players.
Ending the season with a win is always good although this one was a roller coaster ride it certainly kept the supporters entertained throughout but a few more simple victories next season would be good please.
Final Score : Wisbech St Mary U18 4 St Ives Town U18 5
Goals : Locke 16, Hope 34 & 56, Kelly 43, Mitkov 90+4
St Ives team : Bradley, Quinsee (Hayden 72), Darnell, Rudd, Locke (capt) (Shirley 56), Pillin, Hope, Bald (Burnham 77), Wakley (Stork 39), Kelly (Lee 51), Mitkov
Other substitutions roll on roll off : none
Unused Subs : none
Attendance : approx. 35
Report by Nigel Howlett.