Match report

Weymouth 2 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Wednesday 26/12/2001   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Being of a certain age‚ and not an avid television watcher‚ almost every room in my home has a radio in it permanently tuned to the station of the TOGs‚ Radio 2. It is noticeable that when a particular artist is about to embark on a tour or release a new album the stations playlist becomes swamped with all their old ´Hits´. As the festive season creeps up on us and the tills begin to jangle all the old Christmas songs are dusted off and given an airing. To music lovers‚ and I count myself among them‚ many are at best described as terrible. Some‚ not many‚ are tolerable and a few are really quite good. I know such things are a matter of opinion but one I like was the No.1 hit of 1980 by 70´s ´Rock Star´ Terry Dactyl camouflaging his reputation by hiding behind the name of Jonah Lewie. Don´t Stop The Cavalry was a simple but catchy little ditty that always called to mind images of the WW1 Christmas truce in the trenches of Northern Europe when the opposing forces sang ´Silent Night´ together and Germany beat England 3-2 in an impromptu football match. There would have been other games along the front but few balls were available‚ though by the time the next bout of hostilities broke out 40 or so years later Kings Regulations called for every unit in the British Army to carry a football as part of their equipment. That was not such a novel idea as it might seem. Apparently the ancient Babylonian‚ Persian and Chinese forces did the same. No doubt if one excavated round the base of the great wall of China or the Terracotta Army one would find pieces of leather stamped with ´Gilbert´ or the name of some other ball manufacturer. Those statues in the wilderness of the land of Mandarins were intended to make the number of defending troops look greater than it really was. As a deterrent they had to be fearsome. Big‚ ugly‚ beetle browed and big mouthed since their object was to intimidate unwelcome visitors. Weymouth FC have their own ´Terra´ Army but the Yellows fans were not that easily cowed and had crossed into Dorset confidently following their favourites recent upturn in form. Weymouth for their part had seen their fortunes dip in the opposite direction and had obviously received some flack both from their management team and supporters. They were desperate to get their act back on the road.

And they started as if they meant to do just that. From the outset they looked more sprightly than their visitors carving their way towards the Tiverton penalty area incessantly for the first quarter of an hour. Tivvy´s defence were under pressure and clearances inevitably fell to a maroon and blue shirt‚ which would promptly mount another attacking move. Phil Everett and Jamie Mudge were the front runners for Town but saw little of the action. As the Yellows came to terms with the pace of the Weymouth moves and started to see more of the ball the game developed into a dour affair sited mainly within fifteen yards or so of the centre circle. Both sides were guilty of innumerable misplaced passes and long high balls hoisted speculatively forward. It was not pretty stuff. Highlights‚ such as they were‚ in the first 25 minutes included Paul Edwards fielding a couple of long range shots‚ one from a free kick by Jason Rowbotham another from lively left wing back Matthew Hale who was giving Steve Winter an unaccustomed torrid time. Then suddenly‚ as if the early morning alarm had gone of to awake them from their slumbers‚ Tivvy sprang into attacking life. Kevin Nancekivell won a race for the ball down into the left hand corner‚ sent in an inch perfect cross that was just poked off Everett´s toe as he set himself to test Potter in the Weymouth goal. The clearance fell to Steve Winter who unleashed one of his excorcet shots that travelled only inches before crashing stingingly off a defender and away to safety. A minute later Paul Chenoweth again released Nance down the same wing. Again Nance got his cross over to Everett who was closely marked. Phil controlled the low ball and neatly back healed it further across the penalty area towards Jamie Mudge lurking behind him. Unfortunately there were two defenders between the two Tivvy men and again Potter was able to watch as the ball was cleared away and the Terra´s resumed their forward motion.

At last the game had opened up a little. By the time the half hour mark came Town had tried down the opposite flank‚ winning a corner‚ and were looking more competitive in midfield‚ though it has to be said that the majority of adventurous motion was coming from the home side. There was a landmark in the 37th minute‚ Potter made his first save. A long ball into the area was nodded on by Nancekivell to Mudge who hit a firm shot that hit the Weymouth keeper solidly in the midriff but as at Ladysmead earlier in the season‚ every thing Potter touched stuck. With the half time whistle approaching the Yellow´s faithful were beginning to believe that it was going to take another second half improvement to break the deadlock. The Terra´s had other ideas. They pushed ahead up to the last and won a corner on their right. Over it came and fell to Darren Rowbotham. Cool as the ice in yesterday´s drinks the No.9 controlled the ball‚ slid it sideways to make space and crashed it past Paul Edwards left hand. Right on the break is as bad a time as any to concede a goal but before the whistle sent the teams in for their slices of orange it could have been two but for the intervention of Eddies left hand post. It was not an auspicious end to the first 45 minutes Town had ever played at the Wessex Stadium.

The second period started in the same fashion as had the first with the home side looking as if they´d been the ones torn off a strip for falling behind to such a late goal. Forward they pushed‚ but Town settled faster than they had first time round and the match evened out. Scot Rogers lifted the spirits of the Tivvy fans after five minutes‚ winning the ball in midfield‚ making ground before finding Everett to his right. Phil sent the ball back into the middle but Kevin Nancekivell scuffed his shot wide of both Potter and the post. Weymouth had switched their main route of attack to their right and several times looked to have broken through but the Yellows defence held‚ albeit sometimes shakily. Tivvy were having far more of the play than in the first period but still could not find a way through the Terra´s defence which was well organised and efficient. Antony Lynch was brought on to vary the attack in place of Phil Everett who dropped back to left wing back as Paul Chenoweth retired to the bench. Still Weymouth were shading possession though the Yellows were breaking more frequently‚ Mudge finding Potters body again and Lynch sending an underpowered shot wide. Then with 75 minutes gone the constant threat materialised and Weymouth increased their lead. Their efforts down the right wing finally paid dividends as a cross from that side went right across the goalmouth to find Lee Phillips in space on the far side. The first shot was beaten away but Phillips pounced to poke the ball home.

Festive cheer for the home fans‚ not a lot for the visitors. The Yellows kept plugging away and within five minutes had lifted themselves back into contention. Jamie Mudge‚ chasing like the teenager he is‚ lobbed the ball over a defender to send Steve Winter away into the right hand corner. The ball was perfectly weighted and as the Terra´s man turned he was a yard behind as Steve and the ball reached the goal-line at the same time. There was no time to steady himself so Steve sent the cross straight in. Pears and Lynch were both in the middle. Richard´s head it was that met the ball‚ added more pace to it with a flexing of the neck muscles and left Potter flat footed as the ball hit the back of the net. At last Tivvy had beaten the former Exeter City keeper. Sadly it was too little too late. The Yellows pressed for the equaliser but though they had the better of the remaining ten minutes they were beaten by the clock. Not only by the clock but by the ´hungrier´ side. Perhaps the Yellows deserved a draw. They certainly didn´t deserve the win.

Another Tivvy record bites the dust. Congratulations to the Terra´s. They are the first team to ´do the double´ over Tiverton in the Dr Martens League.Now the challenge is to start another unbeaten run at Hinckley on Saturday and restart the climb towards the top reaches of the table.



Tiverton Town: Paul Edwards‚ Steve Winter‚ Neil Saunders‚ Steve Peters‚ Nicky Marker‚ Scott Rogers‚ Kevin Nancekivell‚ Jamie Mudge‚ Phil Everett‚ David Steele, Paul Chenoweth.

Subs: Anthony Lynch (Chenoweth,58), Richard Pears (Nancekivell,72), Marcus Gross (Marker,64).

Weymouth: Danny Potter, Mark Rawlinson, Matthew Hale, Simon Browne, John Waldock, Ryan Cross, Jason Rowbotham, Ian Hutchinson, Darran Robotham, David Laws, Lee Phillips.

Subs: Mark Robinson (D.Rowbotham,65), Kevin Parker, Martin Underhay.

This report ©2001 John Reidy






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