Match report

Dorchester Town 1 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 09/09/2003   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

I´ve never really been quick to take on board new technology. I resisted‚ and still do to an extent‚ the intrusiveness of mobile phones. Over 50% of homes had a personal computer before I succumbed. Even CD players were regarded with suspicion as my collection of vinyl records threatened to reduce my living space to uninhabitable minuscule proportions. Having finally capitulated and purchased one of the new fangled machines I imposed a self discipline. I would only purchase better quality´ music in the new high´ tech format‚ leaving the more run of the mill pop´ to vinyl or cassette tape. Thus the albums of Geordie guitar wizard Mark Knopffler and his band Dire Straits‚ French synthesiser maestro Jean Michelle Jarre and a selection of classical´ music were the roots of what was to become a four figure collection of CD´s as my resolve wilted and black plastic´ faded into the past. It was recalling this era of my personal history as I drifted into a doze on the return trip from Dorchester when one of those whimsical thoughts struck me. All Tiverton Town´s problems could be over by the weekend. Another defeat in their next game could prove to be the turning point. After all‚ there is a common belief that financial restrictions are at the heart of Tivvy´s current dilemma and their inability to bolster their injury hit squad. One more defeat‚ and the possibility of slipping into the bottom four in the table‚ would leave Town in Dire Straits - and that would surely bring the riches that might answer their prayers. Mr Knopffler is certainly not short of a bob´ or two. Stupid thought‚ I know‚ but I was grasping at straws to think of how The Yellows might fight their way out of the predicament they find themselves in after another uninspiring 90 minutes in Dorset.

The announcement of the line ups gave the hopes of the travelling fans a boost. Stoke City loanee Lawrence Hall was fit to make his debut after his bout of tonsillitis and was included to partner Steve Ovens in attack but any expectations of a free flowing attacking performance from The Yellows was soon put on hold as the game began and the home side attacked. Howls for a penalty kick came from the Magpies fans in the fourth minute as Jason Rees appeared to be attempting to remove Matthew Tubbs´ arm from his shoulder as the Dorchester man sped into the penalty area. Two minutes later and Chris Holloway took out Matty Holmes in a ferocious tackle in midfield earning himself the sight of the yellow card. It looked at that stage as if Town could be in for a torrid evening but appearances can be deceptive and the match settled down into a bland mediocre affair that offered little incident or excitement. Hall made a slow start‚ taking time to settle into what passed as Tivvy´s pattern of play. In fact there was little perceptible shape‚ particularly at the front where he and Steve Ovens were ploughing two separate furrows. Quarter of an hour in and Hall collected a long ball from the left on the edge of the penalty area. His close control was good but he was crowded out by two defenders. Briefly Tiverton managed to throw together a trio of passing movements in as many minutes that might have brought relief from the general tedium. A first corner in the 16th minute was wasted as it was sent out for a goal kick. Hall gave another indication of his potential with a perceptive through ball to send Ovens down the right. Ovo´s low cross was turned away for another corner‚ and a minute later Hall touched the ball through to David Steele who carried the ball forward a couple of yards before unleashing a solid shot that though on target failed to cause Mark Ormerod any serious problems. Dorchester responded with a couple of efforts of their own‚ both Justin Keeler and Martin Shepherd firing well wide‚ the later from forty yards out‚ before the game again slid into mediocrity with both sides bringing their own moves to an end through some abysmally inaccurate passing.

Tubbs took another long range poke for the home side and a series of crosses from alternatively left and right and left again criss-crossed the Tiverton penalty area before the final one landed on top of the net. There were another couple of corners as the game moved down to the Dorchester end of the field but neither resulted in any serious threat and with just a couple of minutes to go before the respite of half time it looked like remaining goal-less. Until‚ that is‚ the home side made a last effort. Up they pushed and the midfield followed forward in support. They didn´t really look like getting any reward for their efforts until an untypical lunge by David Steele left Alex Browne in a heap just inside the penalty area. For the too-many-th time Stuart Fraser was to face a penalty kick. There was a delay as the Browne received prolonged treatment and the seconds ticked past the 45 minutes mark. Keeler placed the ball on the spot and then to the left side of the net as Fraser threw himself to right. 1 - 0 and a half time lead for the hosts that‚ frankly‚ neither team deserved.

The odds had to be stacked in favour of an improvement in the second period. Tivvy started in far livelier fashion. A free kick was won two minutes in‚ on the edge of the Magpies penalty area but right down on the goal-line to the right. Not the place for an intricate pre-rehearsed set piece. Crossed beyond the crowd‚ the second ball in was met by the head of Gareth Owen whose dropping header didn´t drop enough. Two minutes later and Steve Ovens chased the ball down into the right hand corner in what should have been a lost cause. When Ovo chases there is no such thing as a lost cause and true to form Steve won the ball and hammered in a cross but there was nobody keeping pace and Ormerod palmed the ball down and unchallenged‚ followed it out of the penalty area to start an attack down the Magpies right wing. Maintaining the momentum Ovens again made a solo spurt‚ rounded a defender and found a shooting gap as he crossed the face of the penalty area but failed to connect strongly enough to trouble the keeper. Down at the other end Dorchester´s Tubbs rounded Steve Winter and fired in an effort that brought a fine save from Fraser. Yes‚ at last we seemed to have a contest to view. Even Jason Rees treated us to a shot at goal‚ a speculative effort from thirty yards that had Ormerod at full stretch to clasp the ball above his head and Nathan Rudge brought back memories of the previous game by moving up for a corner but getting under the ball to send it high above the crossbar. And Rob Cousins was also pushing further forward than is normally expected of him‚ rounding off a move that saw Steele break from the back‚ feed Winter who in turn spread the ball wide for Cousins to crash in a shot on the run that flew straight at the keeper. But for all the greater number of openings that Tiverton were creating‚ the home side still threatened on the break and again brought voracious shouts for a penalty when Winter won the ball dubiously from Matt Hann as the Dorchester man made a 66th minute break into the Tiverton area. Having come close to becoming a villain‚ within minutes Winter almost became The Yellows hero as a long looping cross from the left nearly crept inside the near post and with twenty minutes remaining saw a long curling shot creep past the upright - on the wrong side.

Tiverton were well on top. The home fans were subdued. Steele flicked a header inches wide from a Cousins cross‚ and Richard Pears‚ introduced to replace a largely anonymous Kevin Nancekivell‚ connected with a neat flicked on header from Hall but was yards high when he had ample space to make sure he at least tested Ormerod. The Magpies made a late flurry and a slick one - two between Tubbs and Hann almost saw them double their lead until Fraser´s legs saved the day in the 81st minute. Sixty seconds later it looked as if his efforts were in vain as Rees hesitated on the ball in defence‚ Mark Jermyn won possession and fed the ball back into the penalty area where Rawlinson was judged to have been tumbled over in a melee that developed between the Dorchester midfielder‚ Rudge‚ Rees and Fraser. Another penalty! Too many! Fraser to the rescue as he spread himself in the middle of the goal to deflect the ball away with his legs. There was a brief moment of hope for the travelling support as Pears netted in added time. Sadly it was not a neat flick of the head that directed the ball home‚ it was a neat flick of the wrist. No goal as a reward‚ just a yellow card.

There was to be no last minute reprieve for The Yellows this time round. Worcester City on Saturday begins look an even more formidable task.

Tiverton Town: Stuart Fraser‚ Steve Winter‚ Gareth Owen‚ Jason Rees‚ Nathan Rudge‚ Rob Cousins, Kevin Nancekivell, Chris Holloway, Lawrence Hall, David Steele.

Subs: Danny Haines (Winter, 74), Ian Patchett ( Holloway, 82), Richard Pears (Nancekivell, 71), Jamie Mudge.

Bookings: Holloway 6 mins., Pears 90.

Dorchester Town: Mark Ormerod, Mark Jermyn, Michael Walker, Mark Rawlinson, Alex Browne, Andy Harris, Matt Hann, Matty Holmes. Martin Shepherd, Matthew Tubbs, Justin Keeler.

Subs: Michael White (Browne, 46), Jamie Brown (Shepherd, 61), Simon Radcliffe, Carl Poore, Stuart Cooper.

Bookings: None.

Referee: R Palmer (Bath)

This report ©2003 John Reidy






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