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St Ives Town attract a hopper


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Taken from the Tony Kempster forum.

Cornwall Combination League
St Ives Town (2) 3-2 (2) St Just


With the weather forecast being predominantly dry, I decided to take a trip down on the train for what was not just a first visit to St Ives but the first game I have seen anywhere in the Cornwall Combination. St Ives do not actually play in the town (not much flat ground for football pitches!), but right next to the Park and Ride station at Lelant Saltings, the first stop on the branch line from St Erth. I decided not to get a connecting train from St Erth but rather to walk as the journey is less than a mile and only about 15 minutes on foot. I did however sit on the platform at Lelant Saltings to have my lunch - very nice views out over the estuary of the River Hayle and with the ground right behind you, you really can't miss it.

The ground has a nice new changing room block, opened in 2011 by Sir Geoff Hurst, from which refreshments were served - but no cover, so thankfully there was no more than a few drops of rain. The ground has the unusual feature of blue hosepipes being used to join together the posts of the pitch barrier, and the regular sight of the small trains running back and forth between St Erth and St Ives right past the ground. The match today was not just a local derby but a meeting of two sides next to each other in the table and level on points (albeit only due to St Just having had three points deducted).

The home side started stronger and should have taken the lead on six minutes - the ball played across from the left to a man unmarked at the back post, but he had to stretch to get a shot in and the ball went tamely back to the St Just keeper. The visitors did not learn from the let off though as St Ives did score just a minute later, the ball this time coming in from the right and the striker left unmarked at the near post for a close range tap-in. St Ives seemed to be on top, but on 11 minutes St Just levelled with their first real chance. A throw-in was taken right next to the corner flag and the ball run into the area, where the St Ives keeper came out to try to close the forward down only to see the ball poked past him into the six yard box - from where one shot was blocked on the line but the follow-up knocked in to make it 1-1.

Just a minute later, St Just got themselves in front when a looping cross from the left was met by a terrific leap and superbly headed home, and having started so well St Ives found themselves 2-1 down. They fought back strongly though, the St Just keeper having to be quick off his line to clear the danger when a great ball through the middle threatened to set up the equaliser. On 22 minutes though St Ives did level, a throw on the right going into the area and again the keeper coming out quickly but this time beaten to the ball, which rolled into the unguarded net to make it 2-2. Shortly afterwards St Just had a loud appeal for a penalty turned down but really from that point on, St Ives looked much the more likely to score next.

The home side saw a header from a corner go just over, a close range shot lifted over the bar after a great cross to the back post and a possible one-on-one with the keeper slip away when the ball was not controlled well enough. St Just managed to get through to half-time level at 2-2, but St Ives continued to look the more threatening in the early stages of the second half - a terrific recovery tackle saving the visitors when they appeared to have been cut open and then a few minutes later a well hit half-volley from about 20 yards flying just over their crossbar. The best St Just were really able to offer were a couple of free-kicks from just outside the box which were curled high over the bar.

Just inside the final 15 minutes, St Ives deservedly edged ahead again. Twice they had been infuriated by close offside decisions against them (one right, one wrong in my opinion) but this time a perfectly placed ball through the middle caught St Just looking for a flag which did not come and the ball was slotted under the keeper to make it 3-2. The visitors responded with another free kick from just outside the box which this time they got on target, but the St Ives keeper brilliantly tipped it over the bar to keep his side ahead. Seven minutes from time, St Ives thought they had sealed the win when they burst into the right hand side of the box and a ball across goal was tapped in from almost on the line, but again the St Just assistant raised his flag to the anger of the home players and fans.

Into stoppage time, St Ives seemed to be holding on comfortably as they continued to look the more threatening but suddenly they were the ones to benefit from a tight offside decision as they gave the ball away from a goal kick and looked in danger as it quickly came back - the flag this time angering St Just. The visitors were getting increasingly frustrated, seeing one man booked for his reaction after running straight into the referee, who really couldn't have got out of his way. After five added minutes, the final whistle gave St Ives a deserved 3-2 win in a really enjoyable game, both sides having gone all out to try to win it.

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