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Salisbury 3 - 3 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 29/09/2001   FA Cup
John Reidy

Ah! The magic of the FA Cup. The best club competition in the world - probably. (Whoops‚ wrong sponsors slogan). With the refurbishment of Wembley there has had to be something of a rethink of some of the clichs‚ ´The Road to Cardiff´ doesn´t have quite the same ring to it‚ but since clubs of the level of Tiverton Town and Salisbury City are unlikely to reach the final‚ where the road is leading to is of little significance. What is important is the taking part‚ being involved and making a little progress‚ made even more important this year by the increase to prize money in the early rounds. The magic comes with the chance to win through to an opportunity of facing one of the ´Big Boys´ and perhaps etching your club´s name in history by creating an upset. Whichever way the tie in Wiltshire went it was only going to be a step along the path; no great glory‚ no great giant-killing.
Salisbury had to be considered the underdogs; beaten by Tivvy just two and a half weeks ago and on a goal-free run that took them back five games and eighteen conceded. The danger was that the ´Yellows´ might be complacent‚ a point not unnoticed by Martyn Rogers in the week leading up to the tie‚ despite all the other distractions emanating from further down the Exe Valley‚ and duly countered by the manager; a fact underlined by the way in which Town started the game.
When Tivvy last visited The McEnhill Stadium ´Sarum´ had been smarting from a 6-0 drubbing three days earlier and‚ having something to prove‚ had come out of the trap like a bullet from a gun. This time it was the visitors that started more sprightly as they sought to continue where they had left off. There was less than two minutes gone when Tivvy won their first corner and though nothing came of it‚ ´twas a good sign. Salisbury had also learnt something from the previous encounter - Steve Ovens was dangerous. The ´Yellows´ dynamo was being closely watched and not by scouts from Football League clubs! Ovens is nothing if not tenacious and was still able to find space as he was fed from mid-field. Tivvy were not having things all their own way. There was a minor scare as a long cross from the left found its way between Paul Tatterton and Paul Edwards after 5 minutes but Eddie managed to scramble the ball away for a corner. At the other end Ovens escaped the attention of his markers and whipped in a cross that Richard Pears crashed against the crossbar and then headed the rebound inches over the top. It was the best chance so far and minutes later Steve Winter blasted wide. Play was flowing from end to end‚ the home side having more possession but the visitors looking sharper as they broke quickly. On the half hour it was Ovens again that made the break‚ prompted by ´Wints´‚ splitting the defence with his cross that left Emms‚ the Salisbury skipper‚ happy to crash the ball out for a corner.
Then it all went pear shaped for Tivvy‚ or perhaps it was a moment of the famed ´magic´ if you were a Sarum supporter. After 500 goalless minutes‚ like a magician producing a rabbit from a hat‚ the home side conjured up a goal. A free kick half way inside the Tivvy half on the Salisbury left was floated across. Nicky Marker and Martin Shepherd both went for the ball. The official verdict was that it was Shepherd´s head that met it‚ but it could have been either or both. Eddie flung himself low to his right‚ got a hand to the ball but could only push it into his net off the upright. Yes‚ the home fans were beginning to believe in magic.
Two minutes later they were convinced‚ as the ball was in the Tiverton net again. If the second goal had any connection with magic then it was of the Tommy Cooper brand. Frankly the entire thing was a farce; a shambles. ´Tatts´ picked up a long clearance and looked to be comfortable with ample time. Edwards advanced in anticipation of a possible backpass. ´Tatts´ was harried and hurried into his clearance out to the wing which was lobbed straight back over Eddie‚ hitting the base of the upright. The ball was scrambled clear to the edge of the area where Marker was pressured‚ robbed as he tried the dreaded backpass and Tyronne Bowers was left with just the keeper to beat.
Tivvy came straight back and again the crossbar denied Pears as he let fly‚ turning onto a throw in. Hardly a true reflection of the balance of play but 2-0 was the half time score. Despite the nature of the second goal there was a remarkable degree of optimism among the Devon contingent at half time. Town were playing well enough to repeat the scoring antics of their previous visit - three second half goals.
If the last five minutes of the first half had seemed like magic to the home fans they were made to look like mere conjuring tricks by the Yellows performance in the opening ten of the second period.
Having learnt that goals can happen in the first minute after kick off I didn´t risk the half time tea queue‚ but it took a little longer this time - four minutes. Tivvy were stringing the passes together‚ spreading play across the park and back again. A multi-man move started with Steve Winter covering ground on the right‚ moved across the field through Ovens‚ Rogers‚ Nancekivell and out to Leonard. ´Lensy´ returned the ball to ´Nance´ who squeezed a shot past the legs of two challenging defenders and into the far corner of the goal. Tivvy were back in it.
Three minutes later Scot Rogers blasted wide following a free kick given when Ovens was wrestled to the floor and another minute on saw the equaliser. A long through ball from Nancekivell to Steve Ovens‚ who was onto it. Emms couldn´t stay with him and under the keeper the ball went. All square.
To say that the game became competitive would be an understatement. There had been a rash of yellow cards in the first half as the referee‚ one Mr. R. Barnard-Smith‚ had struggled to assert his authority on a game that had got away from him in the first few minutes. It was not particularly dirty‚ just a typically combative cup tie. It was inevitable that the change in the scoreline would wind the players up still more and there would be more ´yellows´.
First to get one was Robbie Harbut. Unfortunately for the City man he´d already seen one in the first half and so saw a red one too. Eleven minutes gone and Tivvy had a man advantage - could they make it count? They didn´t have much time to find out as five minutes later It was Paul Chenoweth´s turn‚ though there could be an appeal since he protested that his first half card was a case of mistaken identity‚ Dave Leonard being the intended target.
With the teams level once more so the game settled into the pattern of the first half‚ Salisbury pushing but not really going anywhere and Tivvy looking sharp on the break. Steve Ovens ´did´ a hamstring and had to be replaced‚ Richard Pears leaving at the same time. The home keeper was struggling to remain mobile after slipping as he took a goal kick early in the half. When he got into a race with Anthony Lynch near the edge of his area right on the goalline he lost it. As he tried to back track‚ ´Lynchie´ fed Phil Everett, who went past one man as he cut across the face of the area. As he went past the second and set himself to shoot he was tripped. The referee was on the spot - and so was the ball. Kevin Nancekivell continued his role as penalty taker and duly planted the ball in the net with ten minutes plus added time to go. The pressure from Salisbury was tremendous. They poured forward and Tivvy seldom managed to break out of their own half.
Right on 90 minutes the home side won a corner. Every City man except the ´keeper went forward. The cross came in, it fell to Emms, he hit it through the mass of players of both sides and into the net. 3-3. Eight minutes of injury time couldn´t settle it, so it´s back to Ladysmead on Wednesday night. Perhaps Martyn should issue the players with wands so that they might introduce a little more of the magic they wove at the start of the second half - it was certainly a pleasure to watch.
Mr. R. Barnard-Smith will not be in charge of the replay.

Line up: 1. Paul Edwards, 2. Steve Winter, 3. Neil Saunders, 4. Paul Tatterton, 5. Nicky Marker, 6. Scot Rogers, 7. Kevin Nancekivell, 8. Steve Ovens, 9. Richard Pears, 10. Paul Chenoweth, 11. Dave Leonard,
Subs: 12. Anthony Lynch (Steve Ovens 70), 14. Phil Everett (Richard Pears 70), 15. Luke Vinicombe, 16. Pete Conning , 17. David Steele.

Salisbury City: 1. Clive Lyttle, 2. Scott Bartlett, 3. Andy Cook, 4. Graeme Mathie, 5. Roger Emms, 6. Matt Davies, 7. Robert Harbut, 8. Paul Sales, 9. Martin Shepherd, 10. Tom Killick, 11. Tyronne Bowers.
Subs: 12. Darren Crook , 13. Paddy Rynne, 14. Robbie Matthews (Killick 56), 15, Ben Madgewick (Mathie 81), 16. Robert Speakman (Bartlett 85).

This report ©2001 John Reidy

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