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Ebanks bides his time against former teammate

St Ives Town 1 Stratford Town 3

WITH a number of players unavailable due to injury and suspension, Bards boss Gav Hurren was forced to ring the changes for the trip to St Ives, a side who are notoriously difficult to beat on their own plastic pitch, reports Steve Wood.

Liam Daly came in for the suspended Jack Storer and the rejig saw him play alongside skipper Paul McCone in the centre of defence with the experienced Chris Hussey slotting in at left-back which allowed Alex Worley to move up into midfield where he made a number of marauding runs down the left.

In the opening ten minutes, former Bards centre-half Jordan Williams appeared to have the Stratford’s leading marksmen Callum Ebanks under control but it appeared that the Bards’ forward was just biding his time. The warning signs went unheeded by Williams and on 19 minutes the striker opened the scoring, calmly stroking the ball into the empty net after Callum Smith’s goal kick completely deceived the St Ives defence.

Action from Stratford Town’s match at St Ives Town. Photo: Paul Grant/STFC
Action from Stratford Town’s match at St Ives Town. Photo: Paul Grant/STFC

An injury to Dan Vann midway through the half saw him replaced by Lewis Wilson but the visiting defence held firm as the hosts bombarded them with diagonal balls and long throws which kept Daly and McCone busy with regular help from Lewis Ison.

Without keeping count St Ives must have a had more than a dozen corners and just as many long throws into the box during the 90 minutes.

At the other end, Ebanks was beginning to dominate and on the half hour he played in Worley on the left who drilled the ball across the six-yard box with Dan Lafferty just missing out at the far post. There were also some impressive moments from Callum Coyle on the right whose quick feet and low centre of gravity saw him drift past defenders.

St Ives started the second on the front foot and equalised from the penalty spot on 68 minutes. The decision looked harsh with Lafferty adjudged to have handled but Jonny Edwards made no mistake with his kick.

Smith made an excellent save from a Michael Richens free-kick, one of a number in the second half, while Ebanks continued to torment the St Ives defence with Josh Hawker having a shot that grazed the crossbar.

On loan Peterborough United midfielder MacKenzie Lamb came on for his Bards debut and was immediately into the action, his tenacious tackling and work rate impressing the travelling fans.

Stratford regained the lead on 75 minutes and Ebanks was again involved, forcing a mistake in the Ives defence which allowed Lafferty the opportunity to fire home from ten yards.

Action from Stratford Town’s match at St Ives Town. Photo: Paul Grant/STFC
Action from Stratford Town’s match at St Ives Town. Photo: Paul Grant/STFC

Coyle picked up a knock and was replaced by Molyneux going into the final 15 minutes and the game was then held up whilst waiting for a corner as the players drew the referee’s attention to an object that appeared to have been thrown onto the pitch.

The final goal for the Bards came on 86 minutes. Ebanks forced his way into the box and hit a rasping shot which the keeper could only parry and Worley was alert at the far post to poke the ball home.

St Ives Town: Patching, Casey (Harris 73), Smith (Kaunda 82), Richens, Williams, Hutchings, Barton, Cowling (Kaziboni 82), Edwards, Alexandrou, Tomlinson. Subs (not used): Hotter

Stratford Town: Smith, Vann (Wilson 22), Worley, Daly, McCone, Hussey, Coyle (Molyneux 75), Hawker (Lamb 61), Ebanks, Ison, Lafferty. Subs (not used): Barkers, Hewlett

Referee: Harry Price

Attendance: 333

Bards Star Man: Callum Ebanks

Opposition Star Man: Michael Richens

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