Match report

Merthyr 1 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 04/09/2001   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

I admit that I have at times risked the wrath of the entire Welsh Nation and even the Race Relations
Commission (as did Ann Robinson) by‚ in my more cynical moments cracking the odd anti Welsh joke‚ including
that hardy old chestnut about the best thing to come out of Wales being the M4. To put the record straight in
case any of our Celtic friends should ´log onto´ this report‚ it has always been tongue in cheek. I love Wales‚
particularly Snowdonia. Harry Seacombe was a very funny man and could certainly sing. The husky voiced
Bonnie Tyler could have had me any time when we were younger. But now there´s something of even greater
value that´s come out of Wales. The three Dr Martens premier Division points that accompanied Tiverton Town
over the Severn Bridge and down into Devon on Tuesday evening. The events of the previous week had left
many people asking questions. One of the answers was the last time the Yellows lost four consecutive league
games was May 1986 in Div.1 of the Great Mills Western League. Surely it wasn´t about to happen again - was
it? Despite the outcome of the three previous games there was a feeling that Tivvy deserved more from them
and there was still an almost full coachload plus the normal contingent of self drive fans prepared to journey to
Wales to encourage their favourites and find out first hand if the natives really do keep a welcome in the hillside.
There was certainly a belief among the supporters that Tivvy were NOT going to equal that unwanted 15 year
old sequence.

That belief among the fans was mirrored by the determination of the players. The Yellows were up for it from
the first kick. The home side broke up Town´s first move forward. Dean Clarke broke down the left and was
unceremoniously clattered by Steve Winter. 25 seconds gone and the first yellow card. Play moved from end to
end as both teams sought to establish early dominance and Paul Edwards was the first of the keepers to be
called into serious action‚ being forced to punch clear under pressure from a cross into a crowded goalmouth‚
whilst at the other end Scott Rogers thundered in a 30 yard shot that failed to trouble Neil Thomas. Paul
Tatterton was the second Tivvy man to see a yellow card before 5 minutes were on the clock as Town´s no
nonsense attitude to defence saw him unceremoniously and illegally halt Andy Mainwaring in full flight. The
alternative strike partnership of Richard Pears and Steve Ovens were causing problems on the Welsh back line
and Tivvy were looking the more promising and aggressive side. Pears saw a rising shot fly inches over the
crossbar after good work by Kevin Nancekivell‚ Rogers and Ovens and the majority of chances were falling to
the visitors.
Then disaster struck. Dean Clarke cracked in a long range shot which Eddie failed to hold. Recovering‚ the
keeper scrambled to smother the ball outside the right hand post but Clarke tumbled over him. It was a harsh
decision. It was a 50/50 ball. Grant Thomas stepped up to take the kick. Sent it to Eddies left but the keeper was
well down to it‚ not only saving‚ bit holding the ball cleanly. Justice?
Tivvy´s reaction was to attack. They took control. It should have been expected though with their recent luck -
against the run of play Merthyr took the lead. Again it was a momentary lapse of concentration that led to the
goal. The ball was put out for a Martyrs throw in just in the Tivvy half. The ball ran the length of the field down
into the corner. Whilst the town defenders were organising themselves and waiting for the ball to be retrieved‚
another ball was produced‚ the throw taken and before anybody in yellow knew what was happening former
Cheltenham Town star striker Jason Eaton was stroking the ball‚ unchallenged‚ past Paul Edwards to give the
home side the lead after 33 mins. There were protests and anger but the goal stood and Merthyr held on until
the break.

The second half started where the first half left off. Tivvy creating openings‚ if not actual chances. There was a
feeling for the first five minutes that a goal would come as the Yellows poured forward. And come it did after 8
minutes. Steve Winter charged full tilt down the right and started to cut in towards the edge of the penalty area
where he was callously hacked to the ground. the ball was placed just outside the ´D´ of the penalty area. The
wall was 5 men long. Winter himself took the kick‚ curled it over the wall and though Thomas reached it with his
right hand there was enough power behind the kick for it to hardly change course as it flew into the net. All
square and things looking bright. Surely Tiverton would go on to take the lead. They certainly tried‚ but Merthyr
were equally determined to hang on and if possible restore their lead but the chances were still predominately
Town´s‚ only rugged defending and some hefty clearances keeping them at bay. As the doubts began to
surface the best chance of the evening fell to Eaton. A long through ball looked to be easily covered by Tatterton
but appeared to skid off his head falling right into the path of the Merthyr goal machine. Eaton rounded Eddie
and somehow contrived to blast the ball a yard over the top‚ albeit from an angle.
With the doubts about a winning goal coming starting to form in the minds of the travelling fans‚ the first
substitution was made.Phil Everett was brought on to replace Kevin Nancekivell. A little more bite in midfield
perhaps. Maybe but still no goal. Then with 7 minutes left‚ the second substitution‚ Anthony Lynch replacing this
man´s Man of the Match‚ the industrious Richard Pears. Still no goal. Plenty of forward motion but......Then with
45 minutes on the watch and the supporters near me saying things like‚ ´Well at least we´ve stopped the rot´‚ one
of those magic moments. Scott Rogers burst free from midfield‚ robbing a home player. On he charged‚ and
charged‚ and charged‚ down the right. Anthony Lynch kept pace with him‚ peeling away from his marker. Scott
crossed. Right into ´Lynchies´ path. The new boy kept his cool. Moved forward a couple of paces and drove the
ball under the advancing Thomas. Job done!

Time for the home fans to make their way to the exits. Time for the away fans to celebrate a deserved‚
overdue victory. Time for the referee to blow the final whistle.

Tiverton Town: Paul Edwards‚ Steve Winter‚ Neil Saunders‚ Paul Tatterton‚ Nicky Marker‚ Scott Rogers‚
Kevin Nancekivell‚ Steve Ovens‚ Richard Pears‚ Paul Chenoweth‚ Dave Leonard.
Subs: Phil Everett (Nancekivell 75)‚ Anthony Lynch (Pears 83), David Steele.

Merthyr Tydfil: Neil Thomas, Ian Edwards, Danny Haines, Adrian Needs, Craig Lima, Jimmy Rollo, Grant
Thomas, Danny Carter, Andy Mainwaring, Jason Eaton, Dean Craig.
Subs: Richard Jones, Mark Dodds, Andrew Newton.

Att: 564

This report ©2001 John Reidy






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