Yaxley FC v St Ives Town

Yaxley v St Ives Town

Huntingdonshire FA Senior Cup Semi Final 01-02-2022

A clinical performance saw Ives sweep aside an understrength Cuckoos as they recorded their largest victory in a long time to advance to the final of the Hunts FA Senior Cup where they will meet surprise opponents in Godmanchester Rovers on a date yet to be decided.

The direction of the fixture was somewhat predictable even before the kick off with the higher level visitors making only a single enforced change in their starting eleven from Saturdays excellent point at Royston. The in-form hosts with their focus on securing safety at step four for another season made seven changes from the team that had thumped Histon at Leading Drove four days earlier.

The game quickly settled into a predictable pattern with Ives showing their undoubted class as they got the ball down and moved it around on the 3G surface in their now familiar style whilst their opponents who have had the use of this very good surface for much longer than the visitors somewhat surprisingly tried to go long at almost every opportunity they had.

The pace and movement of Ives front players was causing the Cuckoos defenders problems right from the off and Ethan Johnston, Nabil Shariff and Tyrone Baker had already gone close before home keeper Will Larkin pulled off a brilliant save low to his left to deny Johnston with a little help from his left hand upright in 21st minute. The inevitable opening goal arrived in the simplest fashion from the resulting corner. A short corner routine saw the ball returned to Ben Toseland who delivered to the near post where Josh Flanagan knocked it home from close range.

With Ives front men now looking rampant a second arrived six minutes later despite some heroic efforts from Larkin to prevent it. Shariff’s initial shot from just inside the box was well saved to his left by the home keeper but the ball rebounded to Johnston. Larkin’s reaction save to keep out the Ives striker’s follow up effort was even better than his first save but he got absolutely no assistance from his defence who merely looked on in admiration like the rest of us whilst the ever alert Victor Aiyelabola nipped in to roll home the loose ball.

The one way traffic continued with Baker and Aiyelabola causing all sorts of problems down both flanks and both full backs getting constantly forward in support of their wingers to heighten the pressure on the struggling hosts. Johnston should have increased the lead in 35th minute as Baker once more broke at pace before feeding the overlapping Josh Flanagan who had time to pick out Johnston in space on the edge of the box. He had time for a touch but failed to hit the target with his rising effort.

Yaxley’s first attempt on goal of the evening, their only one in the first 45 minutes, came two minutes later as Florian Tsaguim fired a powerful 25 yarder over the top to end one of the hosts sporadic attacks. It looked like the Cuckoos were going to make it to the break only two goals in arrears but they switched off again one minute into added time as they allowed Michael Richens to stride forward from midfield. The Ives skipper unleashed a long range effort that took a couple of deflections on its way through. That took the sting out of it, but it proved to be Yaxley’s undoing as once again no one had noticed Aiyelabola ghosting in from the left. He was completely on his own eight yards out when the ball arrived at his feet and gleefully claimed his fourth goal in his last three games side footing past Larkin who looked as surprised to see him as everyone else.

The closest Yaxley came to getting what even at that point would only have been a consolation goal came five minutes after the restart. An Archie Elmore free kick from inside the D was blocked by Ives wall but the ball rebounded to ex Ives man, and the hosts skipper for the evening John-Paul Duncliffe his rising drive from 25 yards flashed across the face of James Goff’s goal and went inches wide of the post.

Normal service soon returned as Aiyelabola went in search of his hat trick wriggling past three Cuckoos defenders down the left before cutting in along the bye line. His low drive across the six yard box would have been turned home by the lurking Shariff but for the intervention of unfortunate home defender Bradley Gothard who stuck out a leg to knock the ball past his own keeper from point blank range.

Immediately after that Aiyelabola departed but if the hosts thought they were going to get respite down the left they were sadly mistaken as his replacement Liam Cross showed very quickly, timing his run to perfection to get clear onto a Shariff flick before drawing keeper Larkin and slotting the ball past him less than ninety seconds after entering the fray.

Shariff was the lynch pin of Ives front line and the provider for a host of the goals on the evening. The sixth arrived courtesy of another of his assists in 75th minute. He picked up the ball 25 yards out and ran at the retreating Cuckoos back line before feeding in the run of Baker arriving at pace his powerful first time finish from just inside the box beat Larkin comprehensively and was probably the pick of the evenings goals.

Shariff richly deserved a goal on the evening and that should really have arrived in 81st minute when Johnston put him clear. He drew Larkin to him and knocked the ball past the exposed keeper but it rolled agonisingly the wrong side of the post. Cross pulled another spectacular save out of the Larkin two minutes later as the overworked keeper flung himself to his left to push away the substitutes curling effort from the edge of the box.

The reprieve was only momentary for the struggling hosts though as debutant Elliot Kettle opened his account for the visitors from the resulting corner. This time a deep one from Toseland that was kept alive beyond the back post by Callum Milne who laid the ball back to Kettle on the edge of the box. The American had time to look up and pick his spot carefully threading the ball through the crowd it crept inside Larkin’s left hand post with the unsighted keeper making no effort to keep it out.

There was still time for Ives to put the icing on the cake and claim their eighth of the evening again in very simple fashion. Once more Flanagan galloped away down the right overlapping substitute Fayed Rhaman who fed the ball on to him. Leaving his struggling marker in his wake the Ives full back strode on almost to the bye line before picking out Johnston arriving at pace at the near post. A trademark flick did the rest giving Larkin no chance from close range.

This comprehensive thumping of what on paper are at the moment the second best team in little Huntingdonshire again shows how far Ives have come in recent years. Fellow supporters, who have been with the club for many more years than I, were racking their brains to try and remember the last time the team racked up eight goals. That is a challenge that I leave to you all to try and identify. Obviously the priority must be to preserve our step three status for another season but the chance of a brief break to challenge for silverware in the closing stages of the season will be a welcome relief for all. 

Final Score : Yaxley  0  St Ives Town  8      

Goals : 


ST IVES: Flanagan 22, Aiyelabola 28 & 45+1, Gothard own goal 59, Cross 63, Baker 75, Kettle 84, Johnston 87


YAXLEY: Larkin, Duncliffe (capt), Rowell, Buccerio (Hamill 56), Tinkler, Gothard, Baughan, Nolan, Tsaguim, Elmore, Battersby (Sparrow 87), Unused subs: Cotton, Smith, Watson

ST IVES: Goff, Flanagan, Davison-Gordon, Richens (capt) (Kettle 64), Toseland, Milne, Baker (Fayed Rhaman 76), Aiyelabola (Cross 61), Shariff, Johnston, Williams, Unused subs : Hottor, Manangu

Ives Supporters man of the match : Nabil Shariff

Attendance : 112

Report by Nigel Howlett. Video by Dave Hook. Photos by Louise Thompson.


Yaxley FC vs St Ives Town

Yaxley 2 St Ives Town 2 (2-0 Penalties)  

Southern League Challenge Cup Preliminary Round  04-09-18

The dreaded penalty shootout hoodoo struck again as Ives tumbled out of the League Challenge Cup at the first hurdle to local rivals Yaxley. To rub salt into the wounds the Cuckoos shootout hero was ex Ives keeper Ollie Sutton. He denied Ben Seymour-Shove, Danny Kelly and Owen Wallis with Declan Rogers failing to hit the target to test him as Ives amazingly failed to score in four attempts from the spot. 

With an important FA Cup tie looming at the weekend manager Ricky Marheineke took the opportunity to rest a few players in this game giving squad players a chance to stake their claim ahead of Saturday. Tom Smith, Lewis Leslie, Jamie Short and Jordan Patrick all made their first starts of the season alongside recent signing from Banbury Ben Baker leading the attack.

In spite of the many changes Ives began positively and captain for the day Owen Wallis played a perfect clip over the top to put Baker away in ninth minute. Baker outpaced Dalton Bettles, drew Sutton towards him but only succeeded in hitting the keeper’s legs with his low driven shot.

The hosts first attack of the game came only seconds later as the resulting corner was cleared and Kyle Nolan broke away at pace before feeding in Jack Saunders cutting in from the left. Saunders well struck shot from the left corner of the box was straight at Smith who held on well.

The lively early opening continued as the Cuckoos again went close only ninety seconds later. The aptly named Matt Sparrow got away down the right and delivered a low cross to the near post where Nolan got across in front of his man, but only rattled the boards with his effort from inside the six yard box.

Play immediately swung to the other end where Short played a telling ball down the right and Seymour-Shove got to the bye line before delivering a low cross into the mix where Baker got between two Cuckoos defenders but just failed to get enough contact to guide the ball home.

The hosts went in front with a hotly disputed opener in 27th minute. A quick break down the centre saw Sparrow play an excellent reverse pass into the run of James Ward who rifled home into the top corner of the net past Smith from the edge of the box. But manager Marheineke and a host of Ives supporters, plus a few from Yaxley, who were in line when the through ball was played were all convinced that the Cuckoos striker was at least two metres offside when the ball was played.

Going in front lifted the confidence of the hosts and they enjoyed a period where they began to look less shaky at the back and create a few more chances of their own. Smith pulled off a smart save to deny Sanders in the 41st minute after the Cuckoos winger had run onto a Tom Waulmsley flick to a long ball down the middle and tried his luck from 20 yards.

The Cuckoos second goal arrived in bizarre fashion right on the break. Sparrow got away down the right again and tried to deliver a cross into the centre but the ball carved off the outside of his right boot and arrowed inexorably over Smith at his near post dipping in behind the disbelieving keeper and into the far top corner of the net much to the delight of Sparrow who will probably claim that he intended it.

Ives were quick out of the blocks in the second half and a teasing Seymour-Shove free kick from the right just evaded Wallis on the edge of the six yard box and flashed away to safety.

Smith was called upon to make another save on the hour as he turned away a powerful Sparrow drive from the right corner of the box after the Cuckoos winger ran onto another Waulmsley flick from a long Sutton goal kick. After that point Ives took control of the game. Jordan Patrick sparked them into action as he was allowed to run onto a Short throw from the right and unleashed a stinging drive that beat Sutton but rebounded to safety off the underside of the crossbar.

That was Patrick’s last action of the evening as he was replaced by Danny Kelly only seconds later. Only seconds after that change Baker got Ives back into the game as he got around the hosts defence on the left and was running along the bye line as he was clipped by a desperate challenge by John-Paul Duncliffe. Referee Ryan Williams was right on the spot and immediately blew for a penalty. Seymour-Shove sent Sutton the wrong way from the spot to halve the arrears.

Ives now had the wind in their sails and went in pursuit of the equaliser. Kelly should have done better in 75th minute after being put clear into the box by Seymour-Shove but rather than try a left foot effort he tried to turn inside onto his right and was quickly closed down by covering defenders.

Two minutes later the visitors did get level a flowing move all the way from a quick roll out by Smith saw the ball quickly fed through Wallis, onto Kelly with an excellent lay off to substitute Gordon Torkornoo who fed in Baker cutting in from the left. The young striker’s shot was blocked but Seymour-Shove was on the loose ball in a flash to turn and fire low past Sutton from eight yards.

There was only looking one likely winner now and three minutes later Declan Rogers picked out Seymour-Shove in space on the right a quick lay off allowed Joe Hood to hit a rasping drive from the edge of the box that Sutton managed to palm away Kelly just failing to latch onto the rebound.

The resulting corner was delivered deep to pick out Jack O’Connor whose header back into the centre picked out Wallis, but the skipper’s diving header from eight yards flew inches over the top.

The Cuckoos were stretched but did not break in the remaining few minutes until fifth minute of added time when Seymour-Shove again got put away on the right he delivered a low bouncing cross into the box that looked like it was going to arrive at the feet of Baker coming in late at the back post. In a desperate attempt to prevent the ball getting to Baker Duncliffe threw his body in the way. The ball clearly struck his arm, but with the referee unsighted he looked to his assistant on the near side for guidance but the man with the flag signalled that in his opinion the ball had hit the defender’s chest.

The final whistle blew only seconds later with the Ives players and management team still claiming they had been severely wronged. Manager Marheineke took the argument with the officials a little too far and was eventually dismissed by the referee. Perhaps he knew what was coming in the shoot out as Seymour-Shove’s first penalty was brilliantly saved by Sutton. Kelly’s effort lacked power and proved a comfortable save. Rogers’s effort went well wide of Sutton’s left hand post. In between Ward and Joe Butterworth scored for the hosts and although Smith denied Josh Pike. Sutton’s save from Wallis’s finished the Ives involvement in the Challenge Trophy at the first hurdle for the second year running. 

Result :  Yaxley  2  St Ives Town  2     Yaxley won 2-0 on penalties

Goals : Seymour-Shove 69 pen, 77

Team : Smith, Hood, O’Connor, Leslie (Jarvis Wilson 90+4), Cartwright (Torkornoo 65), Short, Wallis (capt), Patrick (Kelly 87), Baker, Rogers, Seymour-Shove

Unused subs : Parker, McGowan

Man of the match : Ben Seymour-Shove

Attendance : 97

Report by Nigel Howlett