Match report

Newport IOW 3 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 25/08/2001   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Martyn Rogers labelled as ´a pantomime´ the own-goal which sent injury-hit Tiverton Town tumbling to their first Dr Martens League Premier Division defeat. Paul Tatterton´s comical gaffe typified the visitors´ defensive uncertainty as fellow league new boys Newport Isle of Wight ran out surprising 3-0 winners at a sundrenched St George´s Park on Saturday. There seemed no danger when a back-tracking Tatterton‚ 40 yards from his own net‚ angled a firm back-pass across the box towards the preferred left side of ´keeper Paul Edwards. But it foxed the normally dependable Edwards who misjudged the pace of the oncoming ball and‚ unable to use his hands to block‚ chased in vain as it rolled embarrassingly into the bottom corner of the net.Rogers said: "Even at 1-0 down I thought we could come back and get something‚ but the own goal was a killer. It was pantomime stuff. It looked innocuous. Whether it was too firm or not I would have expected Eddie to deal with it because it was not a million miles away from him‚ but it looked like his feet were superglued to the ground. I still cant get over it. You can´t cater for that sort of thing happening - it was crazy."

The goal‚ sandwiched by a brace from former 1.2 million man Guy Whittingham‚ dampened the spirits of the 150 fans who made the journey across The Solent. The outcome could have been so different had Tivvy made their superiority count in an entertaining first half. Kevin Nancekivell was denied by a last-ditch tackle after a delightful one-two with Antony Lynch‚ before the combative midfielder dragged a 12-yard shot wide of the post when it appeared easier to find the target. But Edwards had to be alert when opposite number Chris Matthews‚ aided by the deceptively strong breeze‚ launched a long ball which he had to pluck from the air after just one bounce as it headed amazingly for goal. Matthews then made two saves‚ first from Lynch´s tame drive from the edge of the box as Nancekivell screamed for the ball to his right and then from Steve Ovens´s half-volley on the turn. The Yellows‚ ironically playing in an all white strip due to the clash of colours‚ were looking clearly the better side against last years Eastern Division Champions. But Newport defender Chris Collins missed the best opportunity of the half when he pulled his close-range shot wide after Eddie flapped at Stuart Smith´s attempted headed clearance for a corner. The indecision in Tivvy´s backline was displayed again just seconds later - much to the delight of the home crowd - when Dave Leonard told Tatterton in no uncertain terms to let him take a free kick despite Tatterton´s call for him to move into space on the left wing.

Striker Danny Gibbons blazed wide from the edge of the box after beating Nicky Marker with ease‚ before he was booked moments later for scything down makeshift wingback Phil Everett. Whittingham‚ who leapt to prominence by scoring 47 goals for Portsmouth in 1992/3 before spells with Premiership giants Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday‚ then drove powerfully but straight at Edwards from 25 yards. But it was Tiverton who were constructing the better passing movements‚ after one of which Sieve Ovens was denied by a brilliant saving challenge from man-of-the-match Adam Holbrook as he was about to pull the trigger. Lynch‚ looking for his third goal in as many games‚ again shot weakly at Matthews before winger Dave Wakefield´s cross somehow found it´s way to the far post where full-back Dave Wilson´s vicious shot was deflected wide as he looked certain to break the deadlock. Ovens looped a cross in towards Lynch‚ who saw his brilliant volley - reminiscent of his acrobatic strike at Havant and Waterlooville three days earlier - come back off the post before the ball was scrambled to safety. Tivvy already without injured defenders Steve Winter and Neil Saunders were then dealt another blow when Stuart Smith was forced off with a medial ligamnet problem which ruled him out of yesterday´s home clash against Weymouth and is likely to sideline him until October.

The Yellows reshuffled‚ with veteran Pete Conning slotting into midfield‚ but their plans were ripped to shreds just three minutes into the second half when the generally quiet Whittingham blasted the Port into a shock lead. The 36-year-old ran through unchallenged from just inside Tiverton´s half before unleashing a screaming 25-yard blockbuster which fizzed into the top left corner leaving Edwards no chance. Lynch spurned a great chance to level minutes later when he sliced the ball wide from eight yards following Leonard´s penetrating through ball. And the miss was to prove costly as the Yellows slipped two goals behind for the second successive game on 62 minutes when Tatterton comically put through his own net to cheers from the home fans after Whittingham forced him into a rushed layoff back to Edwards. The goal seemed to raise the temperature of an already sizzling day and within seconds of the restart the officials had to step in as a 15-man melee erupted. Nicky Marker fired a free-kick narrowly over‚ before he had to clear off his own line as another own goal threatened after Edwards´ save from Gibbons deflected off him and towards the net. Rogers sent on frontmen Richard Pears and Dave Toomey and employed attack-minded Everett and Paul Chenoweth as full-backs in a bid to pull a goal back‚ but the ploy backfired as Newport grabbed the clinching third just minutes after. Gibbons sprung the offside trap and chipped straight at Edwards‚ Whittingham burst through the leaky Yellows´ defence before‚ in acres of space‚ he rounded the ´keeper and tapped the ball joyously into the empty net.

Martyn Rogers said "In the first half I thought we were well in it and I couldn´t see us losing. We had plenty of possession but we defended badly. We gave away two bad goals - the first one was like the parting of the Red Sea as nobody closed Whittingham down. Goals change games and that gave them a lift‚ but it was never a 3-0 game. I thought they were the worst side we´ve played so far. It´s so disappointing to lose to a team that we could have got points off. I hope this is just a game we can disregard - it just wasn´t our day. But it was a bad defeat because the difference between winning and losing is the difference to being 12th or fourth in the table." And he again warned his men he would dip into the Ladysmead coffers if they failed to make the early impression he was so desperately hoping for. He said‚ "After about 10 games I will decide whether we need to change things‚ and it could be before then. We´ll give the players a chance to adjust‚ but if I need to change things around I will. If we are doing okay‚ I may leave it a bit longer."

Line up 1. Paul Edwards‚ 2. Phil Everett‚ 3. Stuart Smith‚ 4. Paul Tatterton‚ 5. Nicky Marker (capt)‚ 6. Scott Rogers‚ 7. Kevin Nancekivell‚ 8. Antony Lynch‚ 9. Steve Ovens‚ 10. Paul Chenoweth, 11. Dave Leonard.

Subs: Richard Pears, Dave Toomey, Pete Conning.

Att: 555

This report ©2001 John Reidy






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