Saffron Walden U18’s 4 St Ives Town Youth Team 0
Date: Thursday 16th March 2017
Kick Off: 7:45pm
Ground Address: The Meadow, 1 Catons Lane, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 2DU
Competition: Thurlow Nunn Youth Cup
A dismal away performance in which the young Ives were second best all over the park throughout this game against a rugged Walden team saw them unceremoniously dumped out of the League Cup at the first round stage. Things did not bode well even before the game started with Tiago Dias dropping out ill before the team left the ground and Reuben Eyles failing to arrive due to car problems. A quick re-shuffle saw Martin Saunders come in on the right wing with Sam Davidson moving into a central midfield role and Patrik Polhos slotting in just in front of the back four.
After their pre-match shenanigans it was no surprise when Ives started slowly and they had a huge let off after only five minutes as a cross from the left got right through the box and arrived at the feet of Tom Pluck who looked like he had a tap in, but he was beaten by a bobble on the firm and bouncy pitch and much to Ives relief lifted his effort over the top from six yards.
The closest Ives came to troubling giant Bloods keeper George Templeman in the entire game came on eleven minutes as Saunders delivered a high floating cross that seemed to deceive the keeper and he let the ball go and must have been mightily relieved as it held up in the breeze and dropped onto the top of his crossbar before bouncing to safety.
The above mention was the only time that Ives had ventured into home territory in the opening fifteen minutes the remainder of the play had been inside the visitors half and it came as no real surprise when the home side went in front after 18 minutes. Will Lawrence won the ball from two dallying Ives players in the middle of the park and played the ball into the feet of Taylor Williamson 25 yards from goal. The Bloods striker was given time and space to turn before trying his luck with a low drive that beat keeper Jordan Mitchell’s despairing dive and crept in the bottom corner of the net.
Things might have been very different if the inconsistent referee Mr Joe Wrigley had awarded Ives a stonewall penalty on 27 minutes. Ewan Smith played an excellent ball over the top to put Sam Davidson clear. Davidson had his marker Tim Jossaume beaten for pace, but was agriculturally scythed down from behind by the Bloods defender. Referee Wrigley was probably the only man in the ground who did not think it was a spot kick.
After things had not gone their way with the penalty claim Ives seemed to go back into their shells and the home side resumed their ascendency. Keeper Mitchell was almost caught out by a ball over the top on 32 minutes as he was quickly closed down by Ledwith and forced into a hurried clearance which went straight to Williamson 30 yards from goal. He had time to take a touch, but although his attempted curler cleared the stranded keeper it drifted just the wrong side of the post.
Ives relief at only remaining one down was very short lived as Callum Sheppeard endured a 30 second spell he will want to forget needlessly fouling Ledwith 25 yards out he then decided that he needed to be part of Ives defensive wall and only succeeded in deflecting Ledwith’s free kick inside Mitchell’s left hand post with the keeper struggling to get across to the initial shot in the opposite corner.
Pluck came close to making it three nine minutes before the break as he got onto Borley’s well weighted through ball, but only succeeded in firing wide of the target as Mitchell came out quickly to close him down.
Davidson was causing the home defence a few problems with his pace and he went on a sixty yard run in 40th minute that ended with him again being clattered by a Bloods defender. This time referee Wrigley deemed it a foul and even booked the offender Reece Bowater. The free kick did not get past the first man and lead to a break by the home side that saw Mitchell produce a flying save at his near post to push away a well struck shot from Ledwith.
Any hoped for revival by Ives after the break was quickly extinguished as they gifted the home side another goal on 53 minutes. Davidson conceded a free kick 30 yards from goal. The kick was taken quickly whilst the visitors were still trying to organise. Borley curled the ball into the box, Mitchell pushed it away at the far post, but the ball fell to Will Lawrence who clipped it back into the centre where Pluck turned it home from close range with Ives defence in disarray.
Ives defence continued to look completely at sixes and sevens. Mitchell did well to keep out a powerful header from Callum Sparrow after he had found acres of space in the centre of the box to get on the end of a Bloods corner on 55 minutes. Five minutes later Mitchell got in another mix up with his defence as he came for a long punt into the box, but did not call and a back peddling Sheppeard headed it out of his hands, but fortunately just past the post.
The inevitable fourth goal arrived only one minute later as the resulting corner was cleared, but the ball was quickly channelled down the right where Borley beat both Dawid Kwiatowski and Mitchell to the ball into the box and was left with the simple task of rolling it into the empty net.
Mitchell produced good saves to prevent Pluck and substitute Pedro Da Silva adding to the Bloods score in a two minute spell around the seventy minute mark. Williamson also squandered a good chance only seconds later. But with the home side now regularly rolling on and off their substitutes this had the effect of breaking up the flow of the game, and probably saved Ives from further punishment.
The only items of note in the remaining period were a shot on target from Jamie Short in 89th minute that needed a comfortable save and a free kick from Mark Lloyd deep in added time that sailed out of the ground to sum up Ives night. The referee played seven added minutes just to prolong the agony a little more, but finally the whistle blew and the Bloods deservedly marched on to the next round leaving Ives to slink off with their tails between their legs. Jack has a big job to do to lift the side before their two huge League games in six days starting a King’s Lynn next Wednesday.
St Ives Team : Mitchell, Ewan Smith, Parmenter (Kwiatowski 32), Jamie Short, Sheppeard, Polhos, Davidson, Saunders, Wright, Lloyd (capt), Anemou (Foster 53)
Unused subs : none
Goals : none
Attendance : 67