St Ives Town Youth Team 5 March Town United U18’s 2
Date: Monday 28th November 2016
Kick Off: 7:45pm
Ground Address: Jubilee Park, Kings Ripton Road, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, PE28 2NR
Competition: Thurlow Nunn Youth League West Division
The young Ives moved to the top of the table with what on paper looks like a comprehensive win over the Hares. But they certainly did it the hard way in a very much Jekyll & Hyde performance where their first half display was probably as poor as they have been all season and the half time whistle arrived with the visitors two goals to the good and well worthy of their advantage. A change of formation and some wise words at half time saw a transformed Ives lift themselves back to their normal selves to blow their opposition away with five unanswered second half goals.
Having beaten their visitors quite comfortably only a few weeks previously it is quite possible that the home side came into this game thinking they had only got to turn up to win it. They also started very well and had the ball in the net after only six minutes as Sam Davidson latched onto a Matt Wright flick, out muscled Brett Liddy and rifled the ball home only to have the goal chalked off for an alleged foul on the defender.
From this point the Ives seemed to take their foot off the gas and allowed March to take control of the game. The visitors should have gone in front from their first corner on 13 minutes as a poor clearing header was only directed onto the head of Archie Murfitt who failed to hit the target with a free header from inside the six yard box.
Patrik Polhos seemed to be the only man playing up to his usual standard for the Ives and he went close to putting them in front on 18 minutes as he broke into the box at pace and fired in a rasping drive that Hares keeper Mitchell Smith did well to tip over the top.
This proved to be only a sporadic raid into Hares territory as the visitors continued on top and were winning the ball all over the park. The opening goal arrived with the run of play on 22 minutes as Brendan Robinson robbed Jake McFarlane in the centre of the park and strode forward in spite of McFarlane’s attempts to pull him back. He finished the run with a low drive from 25 yards that Tom Smith got a hand to and will be disappointed that he failed to keep out.
Worse news followed for the home side on the half hour as the all action Polhos limped out of the game with a recurrence of a knee injury that saw him replaced by Joseph McDaid. The pain was heaped on Ives even further as six minutes later the Hares doubled their advantage. Danny Atkins powered through the left channel before pulling the ball back to Will Curtis who saw his well struck shot pushed away at close range by Smith, but Rob Conyard was following up and fired the loose ball home.
Still Ives did not lift themselves and they were very fortunate not to go in at the break three down as Conyard sprayed an excellent cross field pass to pick out Murfitt cutting in from the right. He skilfully clipped the ball over the advancing Smith and was only denied by an excellent covering header off the line by Callum Sheppeard.
Manager Jack Cassidy made two changes of personnel and a switch to a 3-4-3 formation at the break and suddenly Ives were transformed. Skipper Mark Lloyd had a shot well saved by keeper Smith only ninety seconds after the break. But the rampaging Ives were not to be denied for long as pacey substitute Annoncio Anemou raced into space on the left and slid the ball through to Wright who calmly slotted the ball under the advancing Smith to halve the arrears on 49 minutes. Three minutes later the home side were level as a low Lloyd corner from the left was flicked on at the near post and smashed home from point blank range by Jamie Short arriving at the back post.
Sam Davidson thought he had put the Ives in front only thirty seconds later, but for the second time on the evening he was denied by the match officials this time a flag from the assistant for a marginal, but probably correct offside decision.
The Ives continued to pour forward in search of the winner and Liddy was perhaps a little fortunate to escape with only a yellow card as he hauled down Wright to prevent the speedy striker getting clear on the hour. Wright’s free kick went through the wall, but was well held by keeper Smith.
The game evened out a little for the next fifteen minutes as Ives seemed to take a breather and home keeper Smith was twice called into action to keep the scores level. On 75 minutes he stood up well to parry a fierce Curtis drive after the powerful striker had fought his way into the box on the left. He pulled off a fantastic save to deny Conyard only sixty seconds later Murfitt delivered a cross from the left and Conyard got across his man at the near post to power in a header from eight yards that was destined for the top corner, but Smith flung himself to his right to fingertip the ball over the top to earn the admiration of all in the ground.
Having had their breather the home side began to exert their authority on the game again as the battling Hares began to tire and two goals in two minutes from substitute Sam Bond settled the issue. His first arrived with eight minutes to go as Lloyd clipped a ball over the top that Wright raced onto beating keeper Smith to the ball on the left. Wright had the presence of mind to look up and float the ball over the retreating keeper to the far post where Bond arrived with a well timed run to head the ball home from close range. The young striker’s second came two minutes later this time set up by a sprint and excellent cross from Anemou on the left. Bond attacked the cross at the near post to bullet a header into the roof of the net.
The icing on the cake was provided one minute from time as Sheppeard ranged forward from defence before playing an excellent through ball to put Bond clear. Keeper Smith came racing off his line to try and beat the striker to the ball, but got it all wrong and simply took out young Bond. Lloyd calmly placed his spot kick low past the keeper to make the final score 5-2 to the Ives and take them to the pinnacle in the Western Division.
St Ives Team : Tom Smith, Parmenter (Bond 45), Ewan Smith, Jamie Short, Sheppeard, Polhos (McDaid 30), Davidson, McFarlane, Wright (Texter 87), Lloyd (capt), Foster (Anemou 45)
Unused subs : none
Other substitutions roll on/roll off : Parmenter for Ewan Smith 67
Goals : Wright 49, Short 52, Bond 82 & 84, Lloyd 89 (pen)
Attendance : 42