Michael Gyasi swoops late against Leiston to preserve St Ives Town’s perfect home record

St Ives left it late to seal victory over Leiston in their Southern League match. Picture: ST IVES TOWN FC

St Ives left it late to seal victory over Leiston in their Southern League match. Picture: ST IVES TOWN FC - Credit: Archant

A goal deep into stoppage time preserved St Ives Town’s perfect home record this season and gave them a 1-0 win over Leiston.

It came from Michael Gyasi and was brilliantly taken but Leiston, rock bottom in the Southern League Premier Division Central, will be wondering how they didn’t leave Westwood Road with at least a point.

The visitors hit the woodwork twice and were twice thwarted by the excellent Martin Conway in the home goal, as well as spurning at least two other good opportunities.

With Saturday’s trip to Peterborough Sports becoming their third game to fall to the pandemic this season, there was a little longer for the injured to recover.

Marc Richards was deemed fit enough to start and Oran Jackson got through a pre-match fitness test leaving only skipper Robbie Parker missing out of those that had limped out of the previous game at Nuneaton.

Ives had the first effort on goal in only the second minute, Brett Solkhon’s effort though lacked power and was straight at Sam Donkin who made a comfortable save.

The two sides showed high energy and endeavour but little inspiration and vision in the next 20 minutes as both seemed to want to go long ball rather than work their way through their opponents’ back lines.

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This seemed particularly the case with Ives who struggled badly to create anything much at all against opponents who were very quick to get everyone behind the ball as soon as they lost possession and had a very immobile man mountain in Adam Bailey-Dennis at the centre of their defence.

He had a header flash across the face of goal and Dylan Switters hit the post for Leiston and Ives’ injury woes continued when Richards was lost to a recurrence of his groin strain.

He was replaced by Ben Seymour-Shove and the change in physical stature meant Ives needed to change the focus of their attack, but also meant a potentially more difficult challenge for the immobile Bailey-Dennis.

The hosts did have one half chance in added time at the end of the first period as Nathan Hicks was fouled by Matt Richardson but Williams curled the set-piece straight into the grateful arms of the waiting Donkin.

The change of home tactics did come at the start of the second half and they had the first half-chance when Hicks got in front of his man to meet an Ed Hottor cross but failed to hit the target with his effort.

Leiston though had two more golden opportunities come their way in the space of a minute around the hour mark.

Initially a quick break gave Davies chance to feed in Barnes, Conway did brilliantly to block a Barnes shot but was beaten convincingly moments later by an Eaton-Collins howitzer from 25 yards out.

Again, the crossbar came to St Ives’ rescue.

More blocks with 20 minutes to go again prevented Leiston from opening the scoring but slowly St Ives got on the front foot and enjoyed their best spell of the night in the closing stages.

Switters made a desperate deflection from a Liam Bateman effort and then Leiston’s George Keys stopped a Jackson shot from 10 yards.

And with the clock beyond the 90 minutes, the home side grabbed the winner.

A free-kick from inside the D was taken by Williams and although his shot hit the wall, the ball ricocheted to Gyasi and he did the rest, swinging his right foot through the ball to lash it home through the crowd.

St Ives Town: Conway, Bateman, Ballinger, Gyasi (Clifton 90+4), Jackson, Solkhon, Hottor, Howell, Richards (Seymour-Shove 45+2), Williams, Hicks

Sub (not used): Toseland

Goal: Gyasi 90+1

HT: St Ives Town 0 Leiston 0

Attendance: 156