Unwanted records laid to rest as superb St Ives beat Biggleswade

St Ives Town joint-manager Ricky Marheineke helped his team to victory over Biggleswade Town.

St Ives Town joint-manager Ricky Marheineke helped his team to victory over Biggleswade Town. - Credit: DUNCAN LAMONT

St Ives Town laid a couple of unwanted ghosts to rest with a superb second half showing at home to Biggleswade Town.

Amazingly it was their first victory in a Boxing Day fixture since their United Counties League days, more than nine years ago.

And the 2-1 success made it back-to-back Southern League wins for the first time since September 2019.

The two halves were chalk and cheese though with Ives a shadow of the side who had banged five goals past Barwell in their last outing during the opening 45 minutes.

However, after the interval the rejuvenated hosts tore into their visitors from the off and should have won by more than the one goal.

St Ives Town joint-manager Mike Ford helped his team to victory over Biggleswade Town.

St Ives Town joint-manager Mike Ford helped his team to victory over Biggleswade Town. - Credit: CLIVE GEE/PA

There was a scare for James Goff in the Ives goal in the opening minutes as he slipped trying to deal with a back pass.

It looked to have gifted a goal to the lurking Joe Neal but fortunately the keeper had the presence of mind to pounce on the loose ball as it rebounded off the shins of the startled Waders striker.

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Kyle Davison-Gordon went close with a deflected effort that whistled just past the post and Biggleswade also had two shots from Neal saved by Goff.

Ives had a couple of chances too though and they came the closest to breaking the deadlock just before half-time.

A well-worked corner saw a teasing Dylan Williams cross to the back post put Josh Hill into all sorts of trouble and the struggling keeper was hugely fortunate not to score an own goal as his attempted clearing punch rattled into the upright and deflected wide off a defender just before Brett Solkhon could prod home.

A change of personnel and formation and a completely new level of endeavour from Ives saw them take the game to the Waders straight after the restart.

Williams should have put the hosts in front only 90 seconds from the resumption as a Nathan Hicks through ball put him clear.

Hill denied the one on one opportunity.

That chance was quickly forgotten though as Ethan Johnston found the net four minutes later to put Ives in front.

Nabil Shariff showed brilliant close control to take in a ball into the box and lose his man before unselfishly picking out Johnston arriving at pace inside the six-yard box.

It was almost two in 54th minute as the struggling Waders were again almost caught out by the Shariff/Johnston combination.

Shariff was again the provider but this time his low cross was just inches in front of the sliding boot of the scorer.

But having looked in complete control, Ives suddenly found themselves back on level terms as the Waders caught them on the break from their own corner.

A quick throw from Hill picked out Joe Howe in a bit of space and his cross-field ball fell perfectly into the run of Luca Cardines who outpaced Callum Milne before slamming the ball home past the exposed Goff.

It proved to be just a minor irritation as Ives were quickly back on the ascendency.

Only two minutes later Williams fired over from 25 yards and then Johnston spurned a much better opportunity, steering his header just wide of the near post.

The pressure continued to build with a 25-yard effort from Michael Richens tipped over the top by Hill and from the corner, Urijah Gordon-Douglas snatched at a chance six yards out and fired well over.

But the goal that had been threatening to arrive finally came eight minutes from time.

Hicks played a superb ball from the centre of the park to pick out Tyrone Baker cutting in from the right.

He took a touch before unleashing a fierce drive that would probably have beaten Hill even without the slight deflection it got off a desperate defender.