Match report

Chelmsford City 2 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 22/09/2001   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Memories from my previous existence in the Southern League circa 1960 do not for some unknown reason
include any of Chelmsford City even though they were one of the leading teams of that era. Perhaps there were
no notable games between Headington United and the Essex side‚ I certainly never travelled to their ground.
Even if I had Saturday´s trip would have prompted no recall since the club now play at Billericay Town´s New
Lodge ground. And the only associations I have with Billericay from that era is the fact that they were always the
first result to be declared at General Elections and it was said that‚ ´As goes Billericay - so goes the Country´.
Could Tivvy win at Billericay? Would such a win mean Martyn Rogers would form the next government? Such
outlandish fantasies were soon shattered as the Yellows rapidly found themselves with a mountain to climb that
would have shaken the belief of even the most die-hard supporter of a minor political party.

With the supporters of both camps still changing ends the home side moved straight into attack mode. They
won a throw deep in Tivvy´s half down the left. The throw was defended and pushed out for a second throw.
This time the thrower found Danny Hockton who flicked the ball onto Ian Cambridge on the left hand corner of
the Tiverton penalty area. The Clarets man let loose with a first time shot that flew past Paul Edwards and into
the bottom left hand corner of the goal. Fifty four seconds since kick off and Chelmsford in front. Even the home
fans were stunned. With 89 minutes to get it back together the Yellows kept their heads up and set about the
task with resolve. Dave Leonard´s nuptials and subsequent absence‚ along with Phil Everett also having a prior
engagement‚ had forced changes to the squad. Steve Winter had switched to the left and his right wing back
slot was comfortably filled by David Steele‚ leaving a benched threesome of Anthony Lynch‚ Peter Conning and
Luke Vinnicombe. Chelmsford were high with the euphoria of the early goal but a little resolute defending saw
Town work their way into the contest and gradually they began to push forward and mount threats themselves.
Steve Ovens was his usual energetic self as Tivvy applied pressure. He harried a defender into giving away a
corner on the right in the 13th minute and from it Richard Pears had a chance to level the scores but was denied
by a deflection for a second corner. The attack finally broke down when Ovens was caught offside but the
visitors had shown that they were still in the game. It was not to be long before the score was to reflect how
much they were in it. Ovens was blatantly pushed‚ two handed in the small of the back‚ by a defender but with
even some of the other Chelmsford players hesitating in expectation of the whistle the referee shook his head
and waved play on and moments later Paul Edwards was called on to fall at the feet of Striker Hockton at the
other end. From the clearance it was Ovens again that chased and despite the close attentions of two defenders
he broke between them‚ gained a yard of space and placed the ball under the advancing goalkeeper and into
the bottom right hand corner of the net. Chelmsford could not really complain. They had failed to capitalise on
greater possession and Town had battled away‚ found their weak spot and taken advantage of it. The home
side tried once more to take control but as Tivvy absorbed the pressure neither side dominated.
Come the 25th minute and Chelmsford did manage their second breakthrough. A good four man build up down
their right ended as Kris Lee flipped the ball inside to Hockton on the edge of the area and he‚ like Cambridge
for the first goal‚ hit a first time shot that flew across Eddie and into the bottom corner of the goal. The
restoration of the lead fired up the Essex side. Within minutes they could have increased it but for a goal-line
clearance by Paul Chenoweth. Tiverton were still pushing forward though and Pears and Ovens were not giving
the defenders an easy time. Steve Winter was not looking as comfortable and easy on the unaccustomed left
flank but was still able to make some telling moves forward‚ as was David Steele on the right. Town had
weathered the Chelmsford storm and were beginning to look the most likely next scorers. Pears fired just wide‚
Ovens sent in a cross that might have fallen to the Tiverton No.9 had not the keeper plucked it easily out of the
air and Winters latched onto a headed clearance and the ball crashed against the back of the covered terrace
behind the goal as he unleashed a missile of a shot that scraped the paint off the top of the crossbar. The
pressure bought the worse out of the home defenders as they collected two yellow cards in as many minutes in
their efforts to contain the Yellows. At the other end Edwards performed acrobatics to flip backwards and reach
a looping header that was falling just under his bar and flip it away for a corner. It was entertaining stuff until the
break.

What a difference a few minutes can make. Tivvy came out for the second half without Nicky Marker. He had
felt a slight ´twinge´ from a hamstring after about ten minutes‚ a problem he´d never experienced before in his
career‚ and as a precaution was replaced by Luke Vinnicombe making his Premier Division debut. If Chelmsford
thought the change would upset Tiverton´s defensive balance they were mistaken. Young Luke slotted straight
into the central spot in the back line and acquitted himself well. He looked comfortable and poised on the ball
and determined and solid in the tackle. And there were to be plenty of tackles as almost the entire half took
place in the two thirds of the field nearest to the Tiverton goal. The crick in my neck as I watched from level with
the home penalty spot became that uncomfortable that I moved round to the opposite side of the ground to ease
it. The strange thing was that despite the territorial advantage and the vastly superior proportion of possession‚
the home side never looked to be in control. Town were making raids on the break and when they reached the
last third of the pitch they looked dangerous. Ovens had the best chance when he broke clear‚ found himself on
the edge of the area with only the keeper to beat and hurried his shot‚ putting it just past the upright. Pears
displayed his ball control by bringing down a high ball and hitting a looping shot that the keeper had to reach
backwards to tip over the bar. Time wore on and the splattering of loyal Tiverton fans that had made the long
cross country trip were beginning to despair.
Oh we of little faith and short memories. we should have remembered Merthyr - the Yellows do not give up.
Two minutes left according to my watch. Anthony Lynch had replaced Pears but though he had added fresh
impetus to the Tivvy raids had made little impact. Ovens was still there though and still running. He made a
break. He cut across the face of the penalty area. He was wrestled to the floor. Silly place to give away a free
kick - right on the edge of the ´D´. A seven man wall was formed and edged back to about eight yards by the
referee. Scot Rogers placed the ball at his feet as he stood with his back to goal. ´Cheno´ to the right‚ ´Wints´ to
the left. Scot side-stepped‚ ´Cheno´ took one pace and struck. Straight through the wall. Just the slightest of
flicks off a defender or a shirt or a pair of shorts. It was that powerfully hit that it made little difference. It was 2-2!
There was still time for Eddie to be called into action. A full length save from a ´one on one´ situation kept the
point for the Yellows.

Chelmsford fans put their failure to win down to their lack of shooting power but credit must
go to the Tivvy defence that prevented them from getting the shooting chances‚ and the whole teams tenacity in
battling to make the breaks that eventually led to the goals. For that alone they deserved a point.


Tiverton Town: Paul Edwards‚ Steve Winter‚ Neil Saunders‚ Paul Tatterton‚ Nicky Marker‚ Scott Rogers‚ Kevin
Nancekivell‚ Steve Ovens Richard Pears‚ Paul Chenoweth‚ David Steele.
Subs: Anthony Lynch (Steele 75)‚ Pete Conning‚ Luke Vinnicombe ( Marker 46).

Chelmsford City: Richard Hurst‚ Brendan McElholm‚ Richard Skelly‚ Ben Lewis‚ Ian Wiles‚ Russell Wiliamson‚
Ian Cambridge‚ Kevin Dobinson‚ Danny Hockton‚ Junior Samuels, Kris Lee.
Subs: Gary Cross, John Bishop, Chris Payne.

Att: 705

Footnote: The man with the filofax and wearing a Gillingham F.C. tie that had asked the Tiverton fans to point
out Steve Ovens and had stood at the same end as those fans throughout the game had wandered off by the
time Steve made the run that led to the final goal. If he was no longer in the ground it probably made little
difference to his report, it was only about 1% of the work Ovens did during the afternoon.

This report ©2001 John Reidy






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