Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 1 Havant & Waterlooville

   Wednesday 19/09/2001   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Supporting a football team can be a little like entering into a human relationship. It can be a casual
aquaintanceship‚ a lasting and meaningful friendship‚ or it can develop into a full blown love affair. For many of
the Ladysmead faithful the later has become the case but the depth and resolution of that relationship is being
seriously tested these days‚ the fabled ´seven year itch´ is beginning to rear it´s ugly head. When a human love
affair cools then changes have to be made‚ on both sides‚ if it is to continue. There will be highs‚ there will be
lows‚ there will be times when one partner feels let down. If the bad times become too frequent then eventually
the lawyers will be called in and there will be a ´divorce´. The lovers of Tiverton Town are showing signs of
reaching that point beyond reconciliation. Wednesday evening´s disappointing performance against Havant &
Waterlooville will be‚ for some‚ the final straw that causes them to drift away in search of pastures new.

It all started brightly enough. When the two teams had met just over a month ago in Hampshire the Hawks
had run Tivvy ragged for the best part of 90 minutes. This time it was the Yellows that were quickest out of the
traps. Kevin Nancekivell was looking as lively as he had done for a number of games and with Steve Ovens his
usual sprightly self‚ Steve Winter probing down the right and Richard Pears winning the ball and spraying
passes out from a deeper than normal position it was the visitors defence that had to absorb pressure.
Nancekivell had the ball in the net after seven minutes though he was well offside and Paul Nicholls was busy
fielding crosses from both wings‚ though he seemed to have a ´dodgy´ penchant for knocking them down to the
ground before holding them on the bounce. But it was not to last. Gradually Havant worked their way into the
game. Having organised themselves at the back they battled to take control of mid-field. It was not a very hard
battle for them. They seemed more composed on the ball‚ more able to find space and most importantly
hungrier for possession. By the time quarter of an hour had gone they were in control‚ and were forcing the
Yellows onto the back foot. From the centre of the park‚ balls were sent down towards the corners with pacey
men in pursuit. When a visiting player latched onto such a ball there was inevitably a team-mate moving in
support. They understood what was happening‚ where their colleagues were likely to be. Paul Edwards matched
the early efforts of his counterpart‚ in fact improved on them in as much as he was holding them first time. Tivvy
were reduced to quick breaks and to their credit when they did manage to force their way forward they did look
threatening if not incisive.
Tiverton were let of the hook twice as the pressure began to tell. Another of those ´misunderstandings´
between Eddie and Tatts was rescued from disastrous consequences as the keeper managed to scoop up the
ball and hold it as the two of them collided. Then a goalmouth melee which saw the ball fly inches wide
developed after a mis-hit clearance had flown almost vertically instead of horizontally away. Town looked
ragged. When they won possession in defence and started to move forward there was no shape‚ no format‚ no
plan: it was suck it and see. Pears did manage to knock one ball down for Ovens to test Nicholls with‚ and
Ovens worked a beautiful double one-two with Dave Leonard on the left which resulted in a cross from Lensy
being intercepted by the keeper. Otherwise there was little for the home fans to cheer and there was no score at
half time. But there was little doubt about which side was ahead on points.

The second half began where the first half left off. The visitors controlling the middle and therefore the
game. Their midfielders were able to find the space to look up‚ see their men moving into spaces and lay the
ball into their path. Play making‚ something sadly lacking in Tivvy´s approach. it was no surprise then when they
took the lead‚ though the manner in which they did it was a little cruel. Havant won a corner on their left. It came
across high at the near post. Eddie was up for it‚ clasped it and‚ for the first and only time during the evening‚
dropped it. One mistake‚ one goal as Jamie O´Rouke pounced to poke the ball home. Now we were to see
something from the Yellows that we only seem to be seeing when they go behind. There was an infusion of
passion and fire. True the skill level was the same but there was a sense of urgency‚ a visual increase in the
degree of effort. The balance of play became more even as Tivvy sought an equaliser. They had 37 minutes to
find it. Ovens burst clear but was unable to shake off the attentions of former Welsh international Gareth Hall
who seemed to be all elbows‚ Scot Rogers had a blast and followed up minutes later with a header from an
Ovens right wing cross that again Nicholls could only beat away.
The predictable substitutions were made - Lynch for Pears‚ followed by Everett for Nancekivel - and this time
there was a game for David Steele too as he replaced Tatterton. Havant should have increased their lead‚
O´Rourke skying the ball from six yards with only Eddie to beat after a swift break and at the other end Nicholls
finally managed to hold the ball cleanly; unfortunately for him it was from a back pass. The resultant free kick
came to nothing as ten white shirts massed between the ball on the angle of the six yard box and the goal-line.
Steve Winter let fly with an excorcet of a shot from a corner that Nicholls managed to get his body behind‚ and
the keeper held on to his third consecutive ball as Nicky Marker thundered a header down and into the ground
that bounced up right into the keepers hands.At the other end Winter missed a long Havant clearance that sent
O´Rourke free on a run. Eddie advanced to narrow the angle and the strikers shot flew wide across the
goalmouth. And so it was that no goal came. At either end.

There were few cheers and little applause at the final whistle except from the 40 or so highly vocal Havant fans
that had made the trip. They had good reason to celebrate. The three points take them to the top of the table.
Yes they´re not a bad side‚ but neither are Tivvy when they play as we know they can. Tiverton´s yo-yo existence
in mid table continues. The Ladysmead ´faithful´ are far from happy. Time to make changes to prolong the affair?
Time to‚ maybe‚ make a note of Bevan Ashford (Solicitors) phone number?


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 74), Anthony Lynch (Pears 65), David Steele (Tatterton 74).

Havant & Waterlooville: Paul Nicholls, Ben Price, Chris Ferrett, Gary Connolly, Gareth Hall, Shaun Gale, Dean
Blake, Tim Hambley, Jamie O´Rourke, James Taylor, Neil Champion.
Subs: Neil Davis, Craig Anstey, Lee Waterman.

This report ©2001 John Reidy






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