Match report

Chippenham Town 1 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Wednesday 20/08/2003   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Clichs. How I hate them. But sometimes they fit the scenario so perfectly that they have to be used. And when better than when inspiration fails and your stuck with no introduction to a match report? None‚ that I can think off so I´ll jump straight in at the deep end and leave the reader to decide whether the use of a hackneyed expression is justified. I´m sure that those of you who were at Hardenhuish Park on this Wednesday evening will agree......
It was a game of two halves!

Chippenham were first out of the blocks from the kick off. Lofting the ball forward they attacked down the left getting trapped in the corner but battling on enough to retain the ball with a throw in. Tivvy regained possession and retaliated with their own foray down the same flank and exceeded their hosts achievement by dint of Steve Winter managing to get in a cross‚ albeit that Mark Hervin in the Bluebird´s goal collected the ball easily. The pattern had been set‚ at least for the early part of the game. Each side would take turns in making exploratory forward moves‚ testing and probing to see what the other team were capable off‚ whilst cagily protecting their own interests by taking no risks themselves. There was little deviation from the scenario‚ variation only coming through the length of time each side took taking their spell of having the better of things. One thing was certain and that was that the defences were both confident and capable. Each probing move was dealt with and cleared‚ unfortunately too often with a long ball forward that made things difficult for forwards to actually gain control. The only way to deal with the rock hard pitch was to play the ball low‚ and that was inevitably the cause of the see-saw changing direction and play becoming concentrated in the opposite half of the field. For the Yellows‚ in their spells‚ Jamie Mudge was lively and managed a shot on target without troubling Hervin‚ and a more than half decent move down the left saw Rob Cousins feed Danny Haines who´s cross was met by Winter´s head as he ghosted in behind Richard Pears in the penalty area. Hervin was again perfectly placed to gather the header‚ as he was minutes later when Tivvy won a corner and having taken it short‚ the second ball was floated in in more orthodox fashion. Chippenham´s turn came and it lasted a little longer. Charlie Griffin made a break down the right but his cross was cleared away for a corner by Haines before Martin Paul could make a claim to it. The pressure on the Yellows was briefly eased when Mark Harrington scooped the ball well wide from the edge of the penalty area‚ a feat he was to repeat more than once during the evening. Chippenham though‚ were seeing more of the ball‚ perhaps aided by the fact that the Tiverton midfield appeared to have gone AWOL - though how something can appear´ to be absent‚ I´m not sure. At the back‚ Matt Aubrey was looking sound‚ no doubt aided by his partners‚ Cousins and the redoubtable Jason Rees. The wing backs were wide‚ waiting like hungry puppies to be fed but the midfield were that involved in defensive duties that inevitably the ball was being skied forward over their heads for Pears and Mudge to chase. It was not a particularly edifying spectacle.

We waited until the 38th minute before there was anything close to becoming a goal. Kevin Nancekivell chased onto a long through ball‚ breaking into the penalty area on the left as he did so. Two attempts to bring the ball under control failed as it bounced awkwardly on the granite hand pitch but he was not the only one who failed. A Chipps defender could only deflect for a corner. We´d seen it against Moor Green and we saw it again. Winter across to the left to take the kick. Curled into the near post and Holloway´s head flicking it on to the far post. Mudge was there but the ball eluded him and span out for a goal kick. Back came the Wiltshire side and they too won a corner. Cleared. Back to the other end and a Tivvy move broken up with a hoofed clearance. Griffin cleanly turned past Rees but with a clear sight of goal his shot was about as powerful as the Iraqi WMD´s uncovered in the last three months and caused Fraser in the Tivvy goal just about as many problems. The Yellows wound up a pretty dour and uneventful‚ not to mention goalless first half with a cleverly worked free kick that came to nothing as Holloway´s final shot missed the target.

With the shades of dusk turning to darkness it was inevitable that something would brighten up the second period‚ even it was only the floodlights. But more than that there was the added bonus of a better contest. Just a minute in and Chippenham forced a corner. Four minutes later there was a brace of the same by Tivvy. Fifty two minutes gone and Pears collected a long clearance‚ turned round his marker and broke into space. He covered ground and sent the ball into the penalty area to Nancekivell. Nance was challenged‚ his shot was forced down‚ a scramble developed. Another shot‚ deflected again. Yellow shirts‚ blue shirts‚ all lunged in. Over the top of the pile went Hervin to grab the ball and close the incident. Before he could get it a colleagues boot half cleared it to the edge of the area. Paul Chenoweth let fly but it was a defender´s shot - high and wide. So at last we had some action and excitement. Nancekivell‚ who was spending more time up front than we had seen from him for a long while‚ headed a Haines cross into the grateful arms of Hervin‚ Scott Walker hammered in a shot from a Bluebirds´ free kick that went in and out of the Tivvy penalty area three times before being finally cleared. Holloway added to the collection of balls that had exited Hardenhuish Park by hitting a thirty yarder high and there was little doubt that a goal was on its way as both teams showed a more adventurous approach. Despite the fact that the Yellows had created most of the chances since the interval it was the home side that broke the deadlock. And worse‚ just like Saturday it was a defensive error that presented the lead to our opponents. Matt Aubrey had looked a little less secure defensively as Tivvy had pushed forward. He had been turned on a couple of occasions as Chippenham players broke. He looked to have made the right decision when under pressure and unable to turn to clear just outside the penalty area. His choice was to lay the ball back to Fraser. The fact that there was no call‚ and that he totally underhit the pass gave Walker the chance to pounce on the ball with a clear run at the stranded keeper and slip it between Fraser and the near post to put Chippenham in front.

Having rehearsed the comeback act on Saturday‚ the Tivvy heads were not even bowed‚ let alone down. Back they bounced with continuous attacks on the home goal. But their hosts hadn´t read the script and there was no instant equaliser. Mudge found the target but lacked power in his shot. Pears directed a header from a Winter cross wide. Nancekivell shot wide after Holloway´s forward ball had been nodded on by Pears. It was all Tivvy....until the 18 yard box where Chippenham stood firm. Even Chenoweth forsook his usual blast the ball and hope to hit the target tactic when a chance came his way. With all the guile of a regular forward he chipped the ball over the defence and had Hervin reaching back to clutch it. All the pushing forward left Tivvy vulnerable to the break and they came astonishingly close to conceding a second when Griffin sprinted clear and unleashed a fearsome shot that cannoned off the underside of the crossbar. Had the linesman been Azerbaijanni (NOT Russian as is commonly believed) and named Tofik Bakhamov‚ it would have been signalled as a goal. As it was the ball dropped on the outside of the line‚ bounced up to the head of Martin Paul who‚ with the goal at his mercy and Fraser still scrambling to his feet‚ reprieved the Yellows by heading wide. It was a rare moment of action at that end of the field and Tiverton were soon laying siege to the Chippenham penalty area again. The home side were content to block the way through the middle and force Tivvy wide into the corners. And that is just what lead to the equaliser. Down in the right hand corner Chenoweth battled for the ball and eventually won it with enough space to force in a low cross to the back of the penalty area. Mudge was the man to collect it‚ immediately being challenged by a bevy of defenders. A jink this way, drag the ball that way, lean the other way, and he created the narrowest of gaps through which to shoot. Through that gap went the ball just wide of Hervin but not wide of his goal and with twelve minutes to go it was all square. It proved to be an epic dozen minutes as Tiverton pushed for the winner and Their hosts also made the effort to restore their lead. Even Rob Cousins was far enough forward to send in a looping shot that cleared the crossbar. Nancekivell got involved in another piece of close quarters action down on the right hand corner and won out to lay the ball into the danger zone. Prodded clear it fell to Chenoweth whose scuffed shot was inches wide of the upright with Mudge unable to get the touch that would have added his second, despite a desperate lunge. Griffin made another break and did all the hard work to create yards of space for himself by turning Rees and the once again confident looking Aubrey, but rounded it off with another feeble shot that barely reached Fraser. A swift charge down the left flank saw Haines flight in a dangerous cross that was headed out for a corner but left Danny in a heap on the turf. Goff was quickly bought on and the corner was taken. Aubrey took his turn at a shot from the back of the area but was way off target. With full time passed according to the watches of everybody but the referee Chippenham had their final fling. A corner. In close. Off the bar, fell to Paul. Crackshot. Fraser one handed. Ball vertical in the air. Came down to a Tiverton foot and away. One last corner for the Yellows and Mr Gooding´s watch caught up with the rest and he sounded the final whistle.

It was a memorable evening, if only for the contrast between the two halves. Few could justifiably complain about the outcome, few could complain that they hadn´t had their money´s worth of entertainment. The fact that it was crammed into the second half was irrelevant;. It was still far better than watching England going through the motions on the box...at least I thought so.

Tiverton Town: S Fraser, S Winter, D Haines, J Rees, M Aubrey, R Cousins, K Nancekivell, C Holloway, R Pears, J Mudge, P Chenoweth.
Substitutes: S Ovens, D Steele, Shaun Goff (Haines, 85), L Vinnicombe, S Peters.
Bookings: None

Chippenham Town: Mark Hervin, Simon Charity, Wayne Thorne, Colin Towler, Tom Gould, Mark Badman, Scott Walker, Gary Horan, Martin Paul, Charlie Griffin, Mark Harrington.
Substitutes: Shane Andrews, Lee Collier (Badman, 90), Nathan Edwards, Matt Rawlings (Harrington, 87), Adie Mings.
Bookings: Wayne Thorne, 78.

Referee: Mike Gooding (Bristol).

This report ©2003 John Reidy






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