Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 3 Merthyr

   Wednesday 10/10/2001   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

History has it (or is it merely legend?) that in the year of 1822‚ a certain young student at a Leicestershire
Public School‚ one William Webb-Ellis‚ when introduced to the ´new´ game of football‚ didn´t quite grasp the
rudiments of the sport. It was probably his tutors fault for skimping on their instruction and only explaining to
their prodigy that the object of the game was to get the ball between the posts and thus ´score´ a ´goal´. Young
Billy-boy can hardly be blamed‚ then‚ for scooping the ball up in his hands and running to the end of the pitch
with it‚ thereby ´inventing´ another new game. Rumour has it that when he reached the ´goal´ he turned and
asked‚ "What do I do with it now?"‚ and was coarsely told to put it where the fairy put the Christmas tree! Now‚
whilst such a manoeuvre might explain the peculiar elliptical shape of a rugby ball‚ it leaves as a mystery the
reason why the Welsh Nation should have adopted his version of football as their national sport in preference to
the original code. Wednesday evening´s visit of Merthyr Tydfil to Ladysmead may have given a clue to sorting
out the enigma. Ignoring the teams competing in the League of Wales‚ as most people do‚ our visitors were on
current standings in ´The Pyramid´ the fifth best team in Welsh soccer‚ so it would seem that the natives of the
Principality are on the whole‚ not very good at the game. What does that assumption then say about Tiverton
Town. Not a lot on this showing.

It all started normally enough. Merthyr were first out of the traps with an initial flurry that saw them spend the
first couple of minutes in the Tivvy half. Then the Yellows broke‚ and Scot Rogers hit high and wide as he shot
on the turn. Five minutes gone and we were on our way. Two minutes later and Dave Leonard was cutting in
from the left to deliver a swerving shot that had Thomas in the visitors goal having to adjust his position to take
the ball cleanly. Never mind‚ Tivvy were breaking through. Eight minutes down and a sweeping move from left to
right with six or seven yellow shirts involved‚ was reminiscent of those first minutes against Stafford. It was all to
end with appeals for a penalty as Kevin Nancekivell was given the two handed ´ heave-ho´ in the back as he
closed on Lensy´s cross. No foul said the men in black‚ to the delight of Thomas as he shaped to take the
resultant goal kick. If at this stage Tivvy deserved to be in front‚ then on the 10th minute they should have been.
Anthony Lynch was put through and was 1 on 1 with the keeper. The gap narrowed‚ Lynch shot‚ wide! Then
came the oh too familiar scenario. Merthyr broke for the first time in five minutes and before anyone‚ including
the Tiverton defence‚ knew Nicky Marker had left Paul Edwards stranded and the ball was in the net. Behind
again - no we´ve given up counting how many times it´s happened. The Welsh dragon had it´s tail up and rather
than defending what it had‚ went for more. The lanky Craig Lima pushing forward behind his strikers headed
over the top‚ Eddie was forced to dash out and smother the ball at the feet of a Merthyr man as the visitors
attacked on the ground‚ in the air‚ from the right‚ from the left. Town were at sixes and sevens. Lynch did have
another chance after 25 minutes but Thomas was out to parry his shot and the rebound found the side netting.
Half an hour gone and the Yellows notched up their first corner. It was not a sign that they were on their way
back. If anything it served as a reminder to the visitors that they were only a single goal in front. So back they
came. Danny Haines broke free. Paul Tatterton challenged and missed. Haines calmly advanced‚ slid the ball
sideways to Peter Knox who had the easiest task to make the score 0-2. Two minutes later it could have been
three. Marker mis weighted a pass which went straight to Danny Carter who´s first time lob had Edwards back
peddling desperately to get into range to hoist himself backwards and tip the ball over for a corner. With
seconds to go to the break there was a glimmer of hope. Leonard made another powerful cross field run‚
sending the ball out to the right. Back it came into the middle‚ to Nancekivell un-marked four yards out. Up it
went into - the netting above the advertising boards over the sponsors terrace. The half time whistle was a relief.
Tivvy always play better in the second half‚ don´t they? Maybe St George would appear on his mighty charger to
save the yellow maiden from the horrible dragon. We could but hope.

When battle recommenced there was little indication that anything had changed. Until the 51st minute that is.
Then it was the scoreline that altered - to 0-3. Again it was poor defending that left Eddie stranded. There was
no way back for the Yellows unless they could work some magical transformation. They couldn´t. For every
chance they created Merthyr created two. There was little relief for the Ladysmead faithful (?)‚ so little in fact
that the biggest cheer from behind the goal came when the referee needed attention from Dai Morgan - whoops‚
not a good name for a Tivertonian tonight.
The changes were made by both sides and Phil Everett thumped home an injury time consolation goal from a
David Steele cross‚ but it was too little - too late. Much too little.

This was‚ for me‚ one of the worse performances I can remember in 14 years of following Town. Frankly‚ they
were inept. Sadly I have to say it as I see it‚ and like it or not that is what I saw. I´ll be back though on Saturday‚
one can´t give up that easily. Meanwhile‚ has anyone got a rugby ball; perhaps we´d do better playing the Webb-
Ellis version!


Tiverton Town: Paul Edwards, Steve Winter, Neil Saunders, Paul Tatterton, Nicky Marker, Scott Rogers, Kevin
Nancekivell, Anthony Lynch, Richard Pears, Paul Chenoweth, Dave Leonard.
Subs: Phil Everett (Pears,65), David Steele (Nancekivell,69), Steve Ovens (Winter,82).

Merthyr Tydfil: Neil Thomas, Jimmy Rollo, Adrian Needs, Luke Statton, Niel Sharp, Craig Lima, Danny Carter,
Dean Clarke, Peter Knox, Danny Haines, Ryan Casey.
Subs: Grant Thomas (Sharp,76), Tom Ranasut (Casey,67), Mark Dodds (Lima,55).

This report ©2001 John Reidy






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