Youth Team Result St Ives Town 3 Haverhill Rovers U18’s 0

St Ives Town Youth Team vs Haverhill Rovers U18’s

Date: Monday 27th February 2017
Kick Off: 7:45pm
Ground Address: Jubilee Park, Kings Ripton Road, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 2NR
Competition: Thurlow Nunn Youth Cup

In spite of a well taken early goal from Annoncio Anenou the young Ives struggled to break down a well organised and resilient Rovers team. Their patience and ability eventually prevailed as they added two second half goals to progress into the first round of the League Cup on a testing pitch at Jubilee Park.

The opening goal came after only five minutes. Matt Wright showed his pace getting down the right flank and cutting in before being brought down right on the edge of the box by Tom Hogg. Home skipper Mark Lloyd served up a tempting free kick to the back post where Anenou rose highest to power home a header into the top corner.

A similar opportunity arrived for the Ives only four minutes later as Sam Davidson sprinted down the right before being brought down by the corner flag by the struggling Hogg. Lloyd again served up the free kick and this time picked out Davidson in the centre of goal eight yards out. The winger got good contact, but directed his header straight at visiting keeper Charlie Hutchinson who did well to block the effort and the ball was scrambled away.

In these early stages Haverhill were struggling to get the ball out of their half with their only outlet being the ever willing Jamie Judge who was ploughing a lone furrow up front for the visitors. Even though Ives were enjoying the lion’s share of possession they were struggling to find a way to get through the massed ranks of the Rovers back line who were well supported by a deep lying midfield.

The next good opening did not arrive until the half hour and it fell to the visitors. Lloyd was caught out on the half way line by Harry Daniels who fed the ball down the right to Jamie Cullerton. His low cross to the near post was turned behind for a corner by Callum Sheppeard. The resulting corner was met at the near post by Luke Moule who managed to get his effort on target, but it lacked power and simply presented a comfortable save for Tom Smith.

Ives continued to probe away at the Rovers back line without any real success. The closest they came to increasing their advantage came seven minutes from the break. Patrik Polhos powered his way into the Rovers defence before feeding the ball into the feet of Wright who was brought down on the left corner of the box. Charlie McManus curled the free kick over the wall forcing keeper Hutchinson to push the ball away with a diving save low to his left. The resultant Lloyd corner from the right arrived at the feet of Anenou. He struck his shot well, but Keelan Boon was well positioned by the post to block the effort and it was scrambled out for another flag kick. This one from the left was headed just wide of the near post by Polhos.

McManus had another chance from a free kick right on the break. The opportunity was won by another surging run from Polhos as he carried the ball across the face of the Haverhill back line and was unceremoniously brought down on the edge of the D. McManus’s free kick failed to beat the five man wall and the ball was cleared.

The home side started the second period in identical fashion to the first as they caught their visitor’s cold, doubling their advantage after only four minutes. Davidson set off on a surging run into the heart of the Rovers defence and released the ball at the perfect moment to slip in Wright and Ives leading scorer made no mistake prodding the ball home from close range past the exposed Hutchinson.

Going a second goal behind forced the visitors to be a little more adventurous. Tom Smith in the home goal had a very quiet first sixty minutes of the game. In these circumstances a vital part of every keeper’s game is to maintain your concentration. Just after the hour Smith showed us not only how good his concentration is, but also what a good keeper he is as he pulled off the save of the night. Rovers substitute Jake Mingay went down the left and managed to get to the bye line before trying to pick out a colleague with the pull back into the centre. He did not quite succeed, but Ives attempt to clear the ball only succeeded in knocking it down into the path of Judge twelve yards from goal. He hit the ball perfectly and it was flying into the roof of the net until Smith flung himself to his left to palm the pile driver over the top and leave a disbelieving Judge with his head in his hands.

Smith was called into action again three minutes later as he did well to block a close range effort from Mingay who had got on the end of a long Rovers free kick into the box. The visitor’s continued to probe into the Ives half without really creating much more in the way of shooting opportunities. Smith was smartly off his line to beat Ben Tait to a through ball after Cullerton and Judge had combined down the right to create the half chance 13 minutes from time. The Ives keeper had to be even quicker to react three minutes later as a Sheppeard back past stuck in the mud and Judge almost capitalised on it.

Ives weathered the visitor’s mini storm and began to get back in full control of the game as their superior fitness began to come more into play in the closing ten minutes. A Lloyd free kick swung in from the left on 82 minutes was spilled by keeper Hutchinson and the ball ran out for a corner. The resulting flag kick was just tipped away from the head of Sheppeard.

By this point in the game Ives had introduced all five of their substitutes. One of these Kyrle Foster showed us a flash of his potential four minutes later as he jinked his way past four Rovers defenders to get to the bye line on the left. His attempted cross was blocked out for a corner by a covering defender. The corner arrived at the feet of another substitute Owen King at the back post. King did everything right hitting a clean shot on target only to be denied by a spectacular header off the line by Mingay.

The third Ives goal arrived three minutes from time as skipper Lloyd exploited a tiring Rovers defence. He picked up a loose ball in the centre of the park and strode forward. Unlike earlier in the game he was not closed down quickly and unleashed a dipping shot from 25 yards that seemed to go under the body of the diving Hutchinson and then somehow found it’s way through a hole in the net sparking a debate between referee and his assistant over whether the ball had gone in or not. Justice was finally done when the pair concurred to award the goal.

Overall a good test for the Ives who had to learn how to be patient and break down a well organised defensive side. They march on to play either Saffron Walden Town or Royston Town away in the next round in two weeks time.

St Ives Team : Tom Smith, Ewan Smith (Kwiatowski 74), McManus, Jamie Short, Sheppeard, Polhos (McDaid 68), Davidson (Morris 75), Eyles (King 75), Wright, Lloyd (capt), Anenou (Foster 63)

Unused subs : none

Goals : Anenou 5, Wright 49, Lloyd 87

Attendance :  40