Youth Team Result Holbeach United U18’s 2 St Ives Town Youth Team 3

Holbeach United  U18’s 2 St Ives Town Youth Team 3

Date: Thursday 17th November 2016
Kick Off: 7:45pm
Competition: Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division

The young Ives came to the Tigers lair knowing this was going to be a tough challenger and it certainly was. The task was made tougher as they were missing midfield pair of Reuben Eyles, injured in training and Tiago Dias who did not make the trip. Sam Bond was also on the bench, but unwell leaving only two fit substitutes.

With these gaps in the team there was an opportunity for others to step up to the plate. The gaps in midfield were filled by a first year pairing of a returning Patrik Polhos and Jake McFarlane making his debut in Thurlow Nunn football. Both did a cracking job and had a huge influence on the result of this game.

The game started as we might have anticipated with the Tigers looking to take the game to their visitors and they wasted a glorious chance to go in front in their first attack after only three minutes as Calum Davies fired in a cross from the right that took a deflection and rebounded into the path of an unmarked Levi Butland ten yards from goal. But fortunately for Ives he snatched at the chance and fired well over the top with only Jordan Mitchell to beat.

To match the home sides effort Ives went very close with their first attack on ten minutes as skipper Mark Lloyd played a clever flick down the right to put the speedy Matt Wright away. He tried to pick out Sam Davidson at the far post with his low cross and only an excellent sliding block by covering defender Max Ground prevented the visitors going in front.

However they did not have to wait long as the corner was headed clear to McFarlane who up to this point had been very quiet. However he took a touch a slammed in a powerful dipping drive from fully 35 yards that keeper Harry Ford did remarkably well to tip onto the crossbar. The ever alert Wright was first to react as the ball bounced down into the six yard box and he coolly slotted home before Ford, or his defenders could recover.

Ives lead lasted only 13 minutes as the home side battled their way back on terms. Butland and the dangerous Davies combined well down the left with the latter curling in a cross that Mitchell got a fist to under pressure from both Brandon Mahin and a couple of his own defenders. His punch dropped on the edge of the box where Dan Dougill happily slammed it home through the crowd.

The remainder of the first period became a midfield battle with neither keeper called upon to make a meaningful save and a level score line at the break was a fair reflection of the ebb and flow of the game.

Both sides seemed keen to grab the bull by the horns straight from the start of the second period and the game quickly started to open up with chances appearing at both ends of the park. Joseph McDaid threaded a ball through the left channel to put Wright clear on 51 minutes. The keeper came to close him down on the edge of the box, but Wright managed to pick out Polhos 20 yards from goal in the centre, however the hard working midfielder fluffed his lines with a miss kick and the chance was gone.

Only two minutes later it was the turn of Wright to turn provider as he threaded through a perfectly weighted pass to put Lloyd clear. The Ives skipper strode into the box and tried to beat the advancing Ford to his left, but the keeper anticipated well and acrobatically palmed the effort away.

Davies was still proving a threat at the other end and he went close with a fizzing drive from 30 yards that thudded the boards inches wide of Mitchell’s left hand post on 56 minutes.

Ives manager Luke Cox made two changes on the hour replacing McDaid and Sam Davidson with Annoncio Anemou and Martin Saunders. The latter put the visitor’s back in front in bizarre fashion only six minutes later. Lloyd threaded the ball into his feet on the left corner of the box. Rather than try to dribble his way into the area Saunders tried a first time effort that lacked power and looked likely to be a comfortable save for Ford. But the previously excellent keeper was completely deceived by the bobbling ball and simply watched it bounce past him into the net off the far post.

For the second in the game Ives lead was short lived as Jamie Short was adjudged to have fouled Tigers substitute Josh Lawrence 30 yards from goal only three minutes later. Davies lined up the free kick and hit a low drive around the wall that surprising beat keeper Mitchell low to his left and crept in the net to level things up again.

This time the visitors reacted quickly to go regain their lead for the third time on 74 minutes. Polhos won a crunching tackle in the centre of the park and played the ball through the channel to put Wright clear into the box. Yet again keeper Ford sprung to his left to keep out Wright’s stinging drive. But this time Polhos was following up to net the rebound.

Ives were determined to hang onto their lead, but the Tigers lead by Davies started to lay siege to the visitors goal. He fired another long range effort inches over the top with ten minutes to go. He also robbed McFarlane 30 yards from goal two minutes later, but Mitchell held on well to his crisp drive from just outside the box.

Mitchell again saved the Ives on 84 minutes as he bravely plunged in to hold a low cross from Daniel Mason who had robbed Callum Sheppeard as he tried to shield a through ball out for a goal kick. Sheppeard made up for his error with two vital blocks in the next few minutes as the visitors battled hard to stay in front.

Ives had one chance to make the game safe two minutes into added time as Lloyd and Wright broke at pace with the latter getting clear for a one on one with Ford. But the big keeper stayed upright and again blocked Wright’s close range effort.

The game ended in controversy as the Tigers were awarded a penalty in the last seconds of the game. A shot from Lawrence struck Adam Parmenter and went out for a corner. The unsighted referee looked to his assistant who flagged for a corner, but the man in the middle misinterpreted his signal and pointed to the spot. Fortunately the two officials got together and eventually came to the correct decision and awarded a corner which was half cleared to Davies whose final effort from the edge of the box was well held by Mitchell to claim a very hard earned victory for the Ives.

St Ives Team : Mitchell, Parmenter, Land, Jamie Short, Sheppeard, Polhos, Davidson (Anemou 60), McDaid (Saunders 60), Wright, McFarlane, Lloyd (capt)

Unused substitutes : Bond

Other substitutions roll on/roll off : none

Goals : Wright 11, Saunders 66, Polhos 74

Attendance :  44