Match report

Worcester City 0 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 15/03/2003   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

I have always highly rated the importance of parental influence on the interests of their children. Highly rated but never over rated since from personal experience I have found that children can develop their own tastes. My father for instance‚ had no inclination to go to a football match unless there were more than a few whisky and ginger ales to be had. My mother´s love of musical shows‚ in contrast‚ certainly rubbed off . One of my earliest memories is of being taken to see a production of Oklahoma at the New Theatre in Oxford. It might have even been before the annual pilgrimage to Christmas ´Panto´ was started. I can´t recall if it was because she thought I would enjoy the show or if it was just that she was unable to hire a ´baby sitter´ for the evening. I remember the opening number‚ and the way the stage looked just like a bright sunny prarie morning as the chorus broke into ´Oh what a beautiful morning´. Little wonder then that waking up to brilliant sunshine on this Saturday‚ I mentally burst into that same refrain. Only mentally‚ for I didn´t want to startle my dogs. I didn´t progress very far with the visceral vocalising. Despite the uplifting brightness of the weather I couldn´t honestly complete the last two lines.....´I´ve got a beautiful feeling‚ everything´s going my way.´ Wednesday evening´s game against Crawley was still causing discomfort as the Yellows performance continued to stick in my gullet! I have to admit that I faced the trip to Worcester with more trepidation than confidence about the outcome. Oh! Ye (well - Me) of little faith!
The fact that some form of change to the Tivvy line up was needed was almost unanimously agreed; the problem being the lack of resources available. Martyn Rogers solution was to change the shape whilst retaining the personnel. Town lined up in an adventurous 3-3-3-1 formation. Three strikers was an appealing prospect but the thought of limiting the defensive numbers did little to lift my impending sense of potential disaster. How wrong I was! Worcester started brightly‚ but then as the home team you´d expect that - remember last season they were a goal in front within 32 seconds. This time the Yellows held them at bay‚ moved into gear and before five minutes were through showed signs of getting on top. The first corner of the game fell to Worcester. Ben Foster did what he was going to do all afternoon -he came‚ he leapt‚ he held. Tivvy replied with a corner of their own‚ as easily defended but they were pushing forward and with seven minutes gone Paul Chenoweth flighted in a cross from the left that Richard Pears headed straight at McDonnell in the City goal. Two minutes on and the ball was again in the quadrant for another corner as Jamie Mudge burst into the area but saw his shot deflected away by a defender. Town were by now definitely on top. City made an effort to make inroads into Yellows territory after 13 minutes but the threat was broken up and the ball cleared up field to Pears in the centre circle. Richard ignored the shouts of ´hold it´‚ and swivelled to lay the ball out to Mudge already motoring down the right flank. The ball was perfectly weighted and directed for Jamie to take it in his stride and make for the corner. Ignoring the attentions of defender Paul Carty Jamie cracked in a low cross that flew across the goal about two foot above ground level. McDonnell was beaten by the power. Not so Phil Everett at the back post who threw himself full length to make contact with his head and set the net bulging and Tivvy on their way back to the centre circle in the lead.
There was little change in the balance of play as Worcester restarted. They were unable to get themselves into the game. Town had control of midfield and City were unable to build from the back as Everett‚ Pears and Mudge kept them fully occupied - all three in perpetual; motion. And everytime the home back line won the ball they were harried into hurried hoofing to clear their lines‚ the ball inevitably falling to a yellow shirt for a resumption of pressure from Town. The Home side did manage one scoring chance when Chenoweth was caught in possession by Adam Webster who broke clear of the former City man to cut into the penalty area and set up Mitch Counsell for a drive that Foster held well. At the other end Pears had a snap-shot that cleared the perimeter fencing and was more threat to any livestock that might have been able to survive in the nearby canal than it was to McDonnell. Just past the half hour Worcester won their second corner of the afternoon. It was as ineffective as their first had been 30 minutes earlier and Tivvy showed their potential for destruction as they broke quickly through the middle‚ out to Mudge‚ into Everett‚ back to Cheno following up in support and a tremendous shot that was unfortunately deflected off target by Kevin Nancekivell‚ such were the number of yellow shirts that were pouring forward. City meanwhile showed little inventiveness going forward and other than lifting high balls into the penalty area gave Foster little cause for exercise. Town had one more chance before the interval but Everett´s lofted cross following a throw in was diverted off Pears´ head for another corner.
John Barton the City manager probably used a high percentage of the profanities of the English tongue in his half time ´chat´ with his players. They certainly showed a little more enthusiasm and effort as the second half commenced. Within two minutes they had won another corner! The enthusiasm and effort might have increased but the ideas certainly hadn´t and the kick was once again comfortably defended. City were having at least 50% of the ball and with it were taking over half the territorial advantage‚ but to little effect as Town matched their effort and commitment in defence. The Yellows continued to threaten when given the chance and Phil Everett had a couple of half chances from ambitious long range shots that had McDonnell scrambling across his goal as the ball flew wide. By the hour mark almost all the action was in the Tiverton half but little of it was constructive enough to suggest that it might alter the scoreline. City pumped in high balls‚ Ben pulled them out of the air and cleared up field where Tivvy were now reduced to two men as Pears was called back into midfield. Invariably that meant that the ball soon found its way back into the Tiverton half of the field - or at least the air above the Tiverton half of the field. Mudge made a couple of solo runs but unlike in the first half he did not have the support in numbers. One shot was curled wide‚ another run was curtailed as he was tumbled to the ground on the edge of the penalty area only for Chens to blast the resulting free kick against the wall and set his team-mates scampering back into their defensive positions.
The frustration of the City fans at their team´s lack of originality and penetration was growing and when Tivvy broke away to win two corners in rapid succession around the 75th minute manager Barton took decisive action. Darren Middleton and Mark Owen were introduced in an attempt to add more fire power to the front line‚ and with his first touch the former tested Foster with a drive as he cut in from the left of the penalty area. Minutes later Foster was again in action touching the ball round the upright for a corner after Cousins and Chenoweth had contrived to present the ball to City. Perhaps it was all part of an unlikely cunning plot‚ for from the corner Town regained possession and with almost the entire City side forward cleared up field to Mudge hovering on the half way line out on the left flank. Jamie gathered the ball and made a bee-line for the City penalty area. Half way into the Worcester half he twisted and turned past a lone defender‚ cut inside and across the front of the penalty area to slip the ball under the desperate dive of McDonnell and into the net. It was a slip of the tongue‚ but the radio commentator sat in the press box beside me announced to his audience ´ It´s ended with a 2-0 defeat for City here at St George´s Lane´. It might have been premature by eleven minutes but it was a view shared by a large proportion of the 1000 ´fans´ who swarmed for the exits. Middleton had one more chance for the home side‚ as did the singularly unimpressive Adam Wilde - fresh from his England call up -‚ both of which were skyed. The Yellows were content to sit on their two goal lead‚ something they did with grim determination‚ though they were hardly ressed. The final whistle bought a deserved win which along with results elsewhere confirmed that the battle for the minor placings in the table was far from over.
The difference between the two consecutive performances from an identical squad of players‚ just three days apart‚ is confusing. As confusing as the rave notices that heralded Oklahoma´s appearance on Broadway. The result of Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II´s first collaboration was greeted with newspaper late edition placards that declared ´ Oklahoma - pronounced success´. What better way to confuse New York´s multi racial‚ multi lingual‚ immigrant society as they attempted to grasp the vagaries of the English language? Like them‚ perhaps we will just have to accept the inconsistencies....for this season at least.

Tiverton Town: Ben Foster‚ David Steele‚ Paul Chenoweth‚ Jason Rees‚ Nathan Rudge‚ Rob Cousins‚ Kevin Nancekivell‚ Richard Pears, Phil Everett, Scott Rogers, James Mudge.
Subs not used: Steve Ovens, Danny Haines, Steve Winter, Luke Vinnicombe, Paul Edwards (GK).
Cards: Yellow: Rudge, Chenoweth, Rogers.

Worcester City: Danny McDonnell, Alan Davies, Paul Carty, Carl Heeley, Mark Shail, Jon Holloway, Mitch Counsell (Dan Jones, 59), Marc Burrow (Darren Middleton, 76), Adam Webster, Stewart Hadley (Mark Owen, 76), Adam Wilde.
Subs not used: Liam McDonald, Paul Wyatt.
Cards: Yellow: Heeley, Middleton.

Referee: Neville Brimming (Bristol)

This report ©2003 John Reidy






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