SWPL EAST Plymouth Marjon 1 Ivybridge Town 3

Ivys 600x600A LIVELY second half performance helped Ivybridge Town claim their second win in four days.

Despite having a good share of possession on the 3G pitch, Ivybridge struggled to break down the university side during the first half and suffered a blow on the stroke of half-time when Jake Lane put the ball into his own net while attempting to clear a dangerous cross from Alangel Joseph.

Ivybridge battled back after the interval, aided by the introduction of substitute Fletcher Williams in the 52nd minute. Within two minutes of his arrival Williams hit a well-directed free kick and skipper Scott Pocock took advantage to get on the end of it to equalise.

That was just the boost Ivybridge needed and Owen Raven put them ahead in the 83rd minute with a cracking shot for his second goal in successive matches after a similar strike in Wednesday’s 3-0 home win over Elburton.

Defender Todd Hanrahan wrapped up victory with his first goal of the season from a right-wing corner by Luke Forward in the 89th minute.

Ivybridge manager Darren Stewart admitted: “This is a difficult place, playing on the 3G pitch, but it is no excuse with our quality in the final third.

"We knew Marjon would sit back, which they did, and we moved the ball really well from defence into midfield, but when we got to the final third we found ourselves crowded out at times.

“We had good opportunities to get the ball in but our link-up play, and combinations around the edge of the box just did not happen for us. Then, just on half-time, we were caught with a sucker punch and we went in 1-0 down.

“There was definitely an increase in the tempo in the second half. The quality in terms of getting the ball into the box and the finish was there. I don’t think anyone will dispute that we deserved the three points, but we made hard work of it.”

The win keeps Ivybridge on course for a top four finish. In fact, they moved up to third place in the table but Brixham - whose game on Saturday was washed off - are only one point behind with five games in hand.

Successive victories over Elburton and Marjon have been a good response after a run that brought only two points from five games with Stewart commenting: “It has been well documented that it had been a tough three or four weeks for us. So to get two wins in a week keeps us in the top four. We have got some tough games coming up so in the last two games, local derbies, we said anything other than six points would not be acceptable if we want to finish in that top four, so we have given ourselves a good chance now.”

Ivybridge continue a run of away matches with trips to Bovey Tracey on Wednesday (March 22) and Honiton on Saturday (March 25).

Looking ahead to the match against Bovey Tracey, Stewart says: “They are a good side and I have a lot of respect for them. They will set up and look to hit us on the counter. We have got to patch-up some of our injuries and try and get a decent side out on the park that night.

“It is going to be a difficult game, but I have always enjoyed our games against Bovey. They have always been really well contested so I am looking forward to that one.”

Stewart is expecting injury victims defender Mitch Williams and striker Connor Rush to miss the remainder of the season while there are possible suspensions looming for leading scorer Jordan Ewing, attacker Fletcher Williams and left right back Curtis Legrice.

With that in mind, Stewart adds: “We are trying to get a couple of new signings over the line if we can before the season finishes.”

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