Match report

Billericay Town 1 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 27/10/2001   FA Cup
John Reidy

No angled introduction‚ no twisted slant on this fixture. Nothing that might distract or detract from the best performance by the team so far this season. This game was not just about the money. It was about Cup Glory and Town´s reputation as a Cup fighting side too. Spirit‚ fight‚ commitment‚ will to win. They were all there from the Yellows in distant Essex. And those things carried the boys through the opening minutes so that they emerged with confidence. And with that confidence came relaxation and in turn the skills that we knew they possessed came to the fore. No cockiness‚ just an assured‚ professional and controlled display.
With the number of rapid goals that have been scored in recent games‚ including Tivvy´s last visit to Billericay when Chelmsford were our hosts‚ I made certain I was in position well before Kick Off‚ and when the change of ends was called for‚ went via the open side of the ground rather than the shorter route behind the stand. I need not have worried. That fatal first minute passed and Town were through the Worcester/Chelmsford ´trap´ and still holding ´Riccy´ at 0-0.
Indeed they were more than holding their hosts‚ they had started the brighter and made the first forward moves. There was the usual exploratory air about both sides play in the first few minutes but Tivvy were the more adventurous and created the first serious chance in the seventh minute. A free kick half way into Billericay territory on the right was curled to the far post. Dave Leonard had moved into the goalmouth and ghosted away again towards the back edge of the penalty area leaving his marker in the middle. As the ball swung in Lensy moved forward again and rose to meet it. It was not to be the kind of header that found the net against Worcester City‚ this one flew off the top of the crossbar with King the Billericay keeper well beaten. It was the sign for the game to open up. Both sides were playing attacking football‚ though using different methods. The home side were relying on feeding their wide runners‚ the much vaunted Joe Baker who justified the pre-match warnings from the ´Riccy´ fans and the unheralded Tommy Morgan who had been brought on as an early substitute for the injured Jamie Wallace. Tiverton‚ for their part‚ were showing more versatility in their approach. A slower build up out of defence‚ through midfield and then out to either flank or through the middle with quick passing ground moves. A couple of times it was even the direct way - over the top for Everett or Lynch to chase. Scoring chances went begging at both ends. Simba‚ for all the adulation and expectations of his side´s fans fluffed three golden opportunities to score.
Perhaps that is unfair to Paul Edwards who twice saved from the former French International. On the other occasion the striker(?) latched on to a poor clearance by Eddie‚ but hammered his shot yards wide with only the Tivvy keeper to beat.
Town´s moves created chances for Scott Rogers‚ Antony Lynch‚ Kevin Nancekivell‚ Phil Everett and the constantly following through Steve Winter (poor chap!!) and though none of them were as clear cut as those falling to Simba at the other end they far outnumbered the Billericay efforts. With King being the busier of the two goalies and Tiverton´s tactics giving them the greater control of the middle of the field it was a little surprising to end the first half without a goal having been scored.
The half time break brought a change. No doubt the managers had had their say and thought they knew the way to open up the opposing defences. The Essex sides best moments had come when they ran at the Tivvy defence and it became clear from the restart that that was just what they intended to do. Main point of attack was their right wing. Baker was fed and was to prove a constant handful for Neil Saunders‚ but Neil chased‚ no doubt fired by the thought of extending his proud record of appearing in every 1st Round Proper tie that the Yellows had played in. Baker did get some crosses in‚ but the centre of Town´s defence was operating at full efficiency and there were few serious scares for the yellow bedecked fans.
It was long range viewing for most of the first ten minutes‚ but Town were still looking dangerous themselves as they broke. When the breakthrough came it was probably against the run of second-half play. Unsurprisingly it came from a foray down the right. Winters cross hung in the goalmouth. Nancekivell - not the tallest of players - went up for it with King and directed his header back to Rogers who was following up at the edge of the area. Young Scott´s volley was hard and true and although the recovering keeper´s fingertips reached the ball they couldn´t change it´s course and Tivvy were in front.
Billericay had to chase the game. It was all out attack for them‚ nothing less would do. The Yellows were well and truly pinned back but seemed to be coping comfortably with their hosts unimaginative efforts. Right wing attack after right wing attack was all the home side mounted. Eventually‚ after five minutes‚ the tactic paid of. A dangerous cross from Baker was deflected away from two Billericay forwards lurking in the penalty area by Dave Leonard. Unfortunately for Lensy and Tivvy it was also diverted away and past Edwards and into the goal. Simba claimed to have touched it in but it was debatable. The Blues and their fans celebrated. Tivvy got on with the job.
One would have expected the equaliser to have spurred on the home team but remarkably it did nothing of the sort. The Yellows took the game by the scruff of the neck and completely controlled proceedings from then on. Richard Pears came on to replace Antony Lynch and increased the ´chase rate´ at the front. The Essex side had expended so much energy in that first fifteen minutes since the break that they were beginning to flag. Their back line looked positively pedestrian‚ and that coming from a Tiverton Town watcher is serious criticism.
Left wing or right wing‚ Tiverton were getting round the back of ´em. It was a cross from the left that put Billericay captain Moore under pressure. He got to the ball but didn´t have the strength to hoof it away. His weak clearance fell to ´Wints´ on the right who pushed it back towards him as he tried to regain control. Just as it appeared he might get a second chance to clear‚ Winters poked the ball past him to Everett. Phil carried the ball unchallenged to the goal-line‚ cut in until he reached the edge of the area before sending over an inch perfect cross to the far post where Pears rose unmarked to firmly head home.
There were twenty five minutes to go‚ plus any stoppage time. Still the home side failed to take the initiative. They were having difficulty getting forward as Tivvy shut them down before they could get a dozen yards into the visitors half. The Yellows were in control and knew it. They were oozing confidence and apart from the odd ´Riccy´ breaks set up camp in the Essex men´s territory and King was being kept busy. It was Tivvy that should have sewn up the game‚ for they created enough chances. Kevin Nancekivell missed a golden opportunity in the final minutes when he darted through the middle‚ slipped past Moore‚ rounded King and somehow managed to miss the vacant goal from eight yards out. It didn´t really matter though. Tivvy were under no threat whatsoever. As the minutes ticked away‚ the evidence of how the Yellows have learnt was made public. Down into the corners they forced the play. No rash centres that might have precipitated a quick break by the blues. Play for the corner or throw in. If it went your way send it back into the corner and start again‚ if it went your opponents way‚ shut them down‚ defend even if you were deep in their half‚ win the ball back and keep possession as you worked it back into the corner. Not pretty, but it wins games when you´re in front. When the fans have been as well entertained for 85 minutes they´ll be happy if you do it for the last 5. The cheers that rang out in Essex as the final whistle went proved that.
This was the Tivvy we all remember and love. Now that it´s back, long may it remain.

Tiverton Town: 1. Paul Edwards, 2. Steve Winter, 3. Neil Saunders, 4. Paul Tatterton, 5. Nicky Marker, 6. Scott Rogers, 7. Kevin Nancekivell, 8. Anthony Lynch, 9. Phil Everett 10. David Steele, 11. Dave Leonard.

Subs: 12. Richard Pears (Lynch, 57), 14. Luke Vinnicombe, 15. Pete Conning, 16. Paul Chenoweth, 17. Steve Ovens

Billericay Town: 1. Gavin King, 2. Steve Dickinson, 3. Kevin Jordan, 4. Jeff Woolsey, 5. Chris Moore, 6. Martin Carthy, 7. Joe Baker, 8. Lee Williams, 9. Amara Simba, 10. Dean Morris, 11. Jamie Wallace.

Subs: 12. Danny Snowsill, 14. Tommy Morgan (Wallace, 11), 15. ?. Taylor, 16. Lee Williams (Jordan,70), 17. ? Hart.

This report ©2001 John Reidy

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