Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 1 Chippenham Town

   Monday 21/04/2003   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

One of the saddest pieces of news I have heard over the last week‚ apart from the results filtering through from Stafford Rangers games‚ has concerned the demise of the ´Innovations´ catalogue. Freely and widely distributed through whatever means they could‚ the mail order company behind the catalogue has joined so many other concerns in finding the retail market to be shrinking in parallel with the disposable income of potential customers. When I heard that they were ceasing to trade I must admit that I felt a twinge of guilt. Like thousands of others who found a copy of the Mail Order catalogue included in the centre pages of their Sunday newspaper‚ and enjoyed browsing through it as much if not more than the ´official´ Sunday supplement‚ I have to own up to never having bought anything from it. And that perhaps was the problem‚ people loved the catalogue more than the goods within. Clever though some of the gadgets they advertised might have been the amusement value attached to each probably far exceeded their ´must have´ importance to the average‚ reasonably sane and rational citizen. The more practical appliances‚ for want of a better description‚ were normally available in gift shops on any high street: the less practical‚ more novel devices were good for a laugh - such as ´Willie warmers´ -‚ or only likely to be purchased by the terminally eccentric‚ which makes my failure to buy even more mysterious. Mind you‚ there is one item that I cannot recall ever having seen in the publication which‚ reflecting on this local derby‚ might have been worth the investment had some inventive genius come up with the blueprint. An innovative footballer capable of prising open a defence as rugged and resolute as that provided by the Easter visitors to Ladysmead. That truly would have been an ´Innovation´ worth digging into our pockets for.
One look at the league table was enough to give warning of what to expect from the Easter Fayre on offer on a sunny afternoon. Groundsman Gordon had pre- mpted any hosepipe bans from South West Water and got the sprinklers into use (sorry Wiltshire readers - my resistance is low after too many chocolate eggs!)‚ Mr Spence and his colleagues were at the ground in plenty of time to enjoy a gentle stroll over the firm but lush turf before a leisurely repast in the clubhouse prior to their changing ´rota´‚ so everything was systems go for the Chipps to give nothing away and perhaps improve their tally of draws or even grab a win. Fifteen games out of 38 involving our Wiltshire rivals‚ have ended unresolved so far this season and after a tentative start it was clear to see why. Solid organised defence. Grafting midfield. Hard chasing front men‚ or front man as the circumstances require. The Yellows‚ however‚ did create the first opening‚ or rather David Steele did in the fifth minute. Picking up the ball just inside the visitors half he made a flamboyant run towards the corner of the Chippenham penalty area‚ swaying past two challenging defenders as he went. Bursting into the box and faced with the foundations of what was to become a solid wall of blue‚ he slipped the ball inside to Phil Everett‚ maintained his momentum and direction to receive the return pass as he entered the six yard box but was thwarted by the smothering body of Chippenham keeper Liam Bull who managed to bundle the ball out for a corner. It was the first and‚ for a long period‚ the only time were to breach the defences‚ they could certainly give a certain Middle-eastern ´elite corps´ a lesson or two. Building on their organised strength at the back‚ Chippenham tried to extend their dominance into midfield. Paul Chenoweth was fine in space but he and his two younger colleagues Scott Rogers and Chris Holloway were never able to get to grips with the bustling play of their opposite numbers and neither side could stamp their authority on the central areas but it was the visitors that edged on top‚ looking marginally livelier and more ´up for it´ than the white shirted Yellows trio. (The Saturday rest day producing it´s silver lining?). With the competitiveness of the game it was inevitable that something had to give. Give being the operative word. Jason Rees and Chris Holloway were the two players involved in the donation. There were appeals‚ muted‚ that Jason had been fouled but never-the-less Chris should have done more with the ball than roll it into the path of Mark Harrington. The Chippenham No. 11 had had a longer break than even the rest of his team- mates‚ coming back from injury to make his first start since October‚ and was happy to accept the seasonal goodwill even though it was not gift wrapped. He pounced on the ball‚ pushed it forward unchallenged to the penalty area and calmly slipped it into the net under the advancing Paul Edwards.
Just like old times‚ eh? A goal down and even more of a hill to climb. The trouble is‚ as I well remember from my walking holidays in Snowdonia‚ hills with walls are difficult to scale. By now the Chippenham wall was fully functional and apparently almost impregnable. Holloway nearly redeemed himself with a through ball to Steve Ovens that did penetrate a gap but despite being away on his own Ovo was foiled by the legs of Bull in the 17th minute. Three more second hand circuits of the watch and Harrington set up Charlie Griffin who obligingly miscued and sent his shot slicing wide. Chippenham may have been organised and efficient at the back but they were also dangerous on the break. with the half hour seconds away the energetic Harrington combined with Martin Paul to speed through the Tiverton back line and Edwards had to be on his toes to smother the later´s drive at the foot of the post. Next up it was the Yellows turn - long overdue - to create a realistic chance. From Eddie´s clearance Danny Haines pushed the ball down the left or Ovens to run at the Chipp´s defence. Ovo ran and fired in a more than half decent cross but it was marginally too close to a defender. Tivvy won a corner; Nathan Rudge came forward but was under Paul Chenoweth´s kick and the ball came to earth in the car park behind the swimming pool end terrace. The last five minutes of the first 45 saw Ovens on target with a weak shot from a Phil Everett touch on‚ and Gary Horgan screw a speculative shot from the edge of the Tiverton penalty area several yards wide.
There was a scrappy beginning to the second half. We had to wait seven minutes for an attempt on goal and then it came from the cornerstone of the Chippenham defensive wall‚ Gareth Davies. It was an on target looping volley from beyond the penalty area but Edwards saw it all the way and collected it with the minimum of effort. A further five minutes elapsed before the next true bid to score. An intercepted short pass from Rees allowed Paul to break for goal. Eddie was out and deflected the shot away but only as far as Griffin who again demonstrated just how bad a day at the office he was having by slicing wide with the goal at his mercy. A minute later Griffin did find the target as he just beat Rob Cousins to a 50/50 ball but Edwards managed the touch to turn it wide. Then it was Paul´s turn to hit one wide. If all these efforts from the visitors make it sound as if they were in total control then my words are misleading. Tiverton were having most of the possession but were going nowhere with it. Chippenham were getting the ball‚ taking one or two touches to get into range and unleashing shots as soon as they saw the net. Danny Haines picked up onto one ball out of defence from Cousins‚ went on a typical run, turned a challenging blue kitted opponent and crossed low to Scott Rogers on the edge of the visitors area. Scott swung his boot but only found the centre of the netting above the Sponsors end. It was Danny´s final contribution as Martyn Rogers decided it was time for a change. Despite his forays down the left flank being the only sign of Tivvy getting behind the Chippenham rearguard Haines was replaced with the more orthodox strike power of Jamie Mudge, whilst Phil Everett gave way to Richard Pears. A three pronged attack. Yet the way through came from the back. Steele made ground down the left and sent in a looping cross that was headed down to the foot of Ovens. Steve hit a cracking shot that flicked off Mark Badman with a wicked deflection. Somehow Bull managed to react to the change of direction and get a hand on the ball to send it past the post for a corner. Charity had another chance at the other end when he darted behind the Yellows line to pounce on a free kick from the halfway line and Cousins skied his shot when Rudge nodded the ball down to him from a Tiverton kick. The game had livened up but the chances were all going begging.
Into the last quarter of an hour, with the Yellows pushing harder and harder, attempting to give birth to an equaliser. Every white shirt looking to get forward. A corner deflected wide from a Rudge header. The second corner cleared upfield for Paul to break away and close on goal. Edwards came and forced Paul wide. By the time he recovered and forced in a cross, defenders were back and the danger was cleared. It might have been the classic breakaway sucker punch. Ten to go. Kevin Nancekivell replaced Rees. Another attacking player. Tiverton kept the pressure on. Crosses from the left, crosses from the right. A curling shot from Mudge flew wide and there were just five minutes left on the watch. Again Tiverton forced their way forward. Down into the left hand corner. Chenoweth flighting the cross into a crowded goalmouth. Up went what seemed like a dozen heads, and Bull´s arms among them. It was Steve Ovens that made the contact; the right contact too as he forced the ball over the line for the equaliser. Elation for the Tivvy fans, deflation for the Chippenham fans, but whatever your colours a dramatic climax - only it wasn´t. There was more drama two minutes into added time. Steele underhit a cross field pass and presented the ball to Griffin. Charlie´s angels, though, were still not smiling. With the goal gaping and glory for the grabbing, Griffin was left gawping as his final contribution mirrored his earlier efforts and he sliced wide. Tiverton held on to the point and Charlie was certainly their ´darling´.

Tiverton Town: P Edwards, D Steele, D Haines (J Mudge,63), J Rees (K Nancekivell,79) , N Rudge, R Cousins, P Chenoweth, C Holloway, P Everett (R Pears,63), S Rogers, S Ovens.
Subs not used: S Winter, L Vinnicombe.
Bookings: Holloway, Everett, Rudge.

Chippenham Town: L Bull, S Charity, W Thorne, C Towler, G Davies, M Badman, S Walker, G Horgan, C Griffin, M Paul (A Mings,89), M Harrington (M Rawlins, 83).
Sub not used: S Andrews, R Kear, J Bittner.
Bookings: Walker, Paul.

Ref: Mr C Spence (Newquay)

This report ©2003 John Reidy






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