Match report

Hinckley United 3 - 4 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 29/12/2001   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

By nature we British are conservative‚ we normally resist change. I can only recall one occasion when change for change´s sake alone has been successfully advocated and that was the best part of forty years ago when Harold Wilson´s Labour Party fought and won a General election not on policies but solely on the slogan‚ ´Time for a Change´. Before we ´Brits´ accept the disruption to our establishments that change may bring we seek out the reason or logic behind such moves and even if convinced‚ proceed with caution. Unlike the people of some other nations we tend to follow through and consider the likely consequences. Take the French. They held a revolution to free themselves from the clutches and excesses of a corupt monarchy without planning what was to replace it‚ endured a decade or more of bloodshed‚ and ended up with an Emperor who was just as great a tyrant; and anybody who likes the occasional restorative brandy knows who he was. Sometimes change is forced upon people by necessity. In our football world sometimes it works‚ sometimes it doesn´t. Just last season Blakenall and Bloxwich felt forced to merge for the mutual benefit of both clubs. A notable failure. Far more rewarding was the similar operation carried out by Hinckley Athletic and Hinckley Town in 1997 that resulted in the formation of the club that were to be Tiverton Town´s final opponents of 2001‚ Hinckley United. Two struggling clubs got together‚ pooled resources and emerged as a potent power in Dr Martens League football. This all coincided with the rise to prominence of the Yellows and a friendly rivalry and kinship developed between the clubs and their supporters‚ fuelled by a parallel climb to the Premier Division and a mutual respect of each others appreciation of good‚ fair‚ competitive football. So there was every expectation of an enjoyable day in prospect as blue skies welcomed Tivvy to Leicestershire.

The reception may have been friendly off the field. The treatment on the pitch in the early moments of the game made it obvious that our hosts had not gift wrapped any presents‚ intending to keep all the goodies for themselves. With the setting sun glaring in the face of Chris Taylor in the Knitters goal. Tivvy soon mounted an attack. It didn´t come to much and the ball was rapidly worked out to the home teams left flank. It bounced to and fro along the touchline for a few moments before a United boot made a solid connection and sent it soaring towards the centre circle. Scott Huckerby was alone‚ waiting for just such a ball. Not quite alone since Neil Saunders was keeping a close eye on him. Neil lost the challenge for the ball and remained in close attendance as the ´on loan´ Woking striker bounded towards the Tivvy goal. Close but behind. Huckerby reached the edge of the penalty area. Paul Edwards came to meet him. Huckerby hit his shot straight past Eddie and the home side were in front. Three minutes twelve seconds said my watch. Not an auspicious start for the Yellows but they´d come back from quicker setbacks so there was no panic. Not for a few minutes at least. Of we went again‚ expecting the visitors to settle down and fight their way back into the game. There were the usual early match exploratory moves. Tivvy probed down the middle‚ tried down each wing. Hinckley did likewise and probably were surprised that their first foray down their right produced another goal. Wing back Neil Cartwright got well down into the corner and sailed across a centre that flew to the back of the penalty area. Jamie Williams who had been the scourge of Tivvy on their previous visit to Millfield Road was sprinting in from his left wing position‚ met the ball fair and square with his head and the Yellows were two adrift. Six minutes eight seconds said my watch. I told it to shut up and waited with dread for the ninth minute. If came and went and the Town fans started to relax as the team also settled. They began to push forward. Steve Peters missed a golden opportunity to narrow the margin‚ blasting wide from four yards out. Jamie Mudge was getting in among the Hinckley defence and causing them to drop a few stitches.

By halfway through the first half it was Tivvy ever going forward‚ Hinckley defending for all they were worth and relying on swift counter attacks. Huckerby had taken a knock and was replaced by Andy Lucas on the half hour but it failed to change the pattern of play. A Yellows corner was cleared only as far as Steve Winter whose shot skimmed the upright. Mudge continued to bustle and harass the home back line who were forced to resort to some dubious tactics to contain him‚ not the least being a remarkably well executed head lock applied by Tim Wilkes. When the Tivvy pressure eventually breached the Red and Blue wall there was an element of good fortune about the goal. A corner was won on the Yellows left. Scot Rogers had swung it in but it was forced away to the right. Paul Chenoweth had switched to that side for the corner and returned the ball into the middle. Steve Peters and Nicky Marker were still dodging around the six yard box. Peters got to the ball but without much power. Up went keeper Taylor to take what should have been a simple catch. Whether Andy Penny has a lack of faith in his keeper or didn´t realise it would be a simple catch only he will know. Penny headed the ball away from Taylor´s hands right into the path of Marker. Nicky gratefully accepted the belated seasonal gift‚ nodded his head and watched the ball loop into an undefended net. Tivvy celebrated. Taylor swore. Penny received treatment after his head had collided with his keeper´s gloved fist. Just six minutes to half time and at last a way through had been found.

From the moment Town kicked off the second half their intentions were clear. All out attack was the order of the day. They knew there was a way through and they intended to find it. Hinckley were being outplayed and their defending became less confident‚ more erratic and at times quite desperate. Wave after wave of attacks from the Yellows‚ odd swift one or two man breaks from the home side. A goal had to come. When it did it stunned the Hinckley fans. Their side scored it! One of their expeditions into Tivvy territory had resulted in a bit of a scramble down in a corner as the Yellows for once failed to clear cleanly. The ball came across the edge of the penalty area to the uniquely named Morton Titterton. The Hinckley skipper picked his point and lofted a precise sidefooted shot over the crowded area in front of him and into the top corner of the net. It was the kind of goal that makes giant killers out of minnows in cup competitions. Totally against the run of play but admirable for its execution. Two behind again and with fourteen minutes remaining plus whatever time the officials might donate. It was a mountain to climb for the Yellows. Two minutes later it was only a hill. Town tried their left wing to mount an attack. They made it to the corner‚ got in the cross. For once Phil Everett managed to get the better of his multi-armed shadow‚ Penny‚ who had spent most of the afternoon trying to share Phil´s yellow shirt. As the ball came into Phil on the angle of the goal-line and six yard box the Tivvy stalwart flicked it on into the middle where Jamie Mudge struck it firmly home. Grab the ball‚ back to the centre spot‚ let´s get going again‚ we can get another! The bench agreed. Antony Lynch for David Steele. Richard Pears for Phil.

The changes were a declaration of intent‚ it was no time to be conservative. On went the pressure again. Mudge put Nance through the middle. Taylor´s legs saved the day for the Hinckley keeper. Jamie charged wide down the right‚ a rarity in this game since most of his runs had been through the middle‚ dinked in a little cross that Lynchie just failed to connect with at the far post. The Hinckley defence was showing so many holes it looked more like crochet than knitting. But time was running out‚ there were only three minutes left. Hope. Pray. Will the Yellows on. A corner on the left. Near post. Flicked on. Richard Pears at the far post. Oh how Pearsy loves to come off the bench and find the net! Three a-piece! As Hinckley kicked off there were calls from all round the ground for the final whistle. The home fans were ready to settle for a point‚ fearsome that the marauding yellow hoard could yet grab a winner. Tivvy thought so too. Deep into added time they besieged the United goal. Defenders hacked the ball anywhere. Three corners one after another were scrambled away. Back came Tivvy. Down into the corner went Lynchie‚ two defenders in close attendance. Antony lost it‚ won it back‚ found space to poke it into the middle. The ball came across waist high half way between Jamie Mudge and Taylor. Jamie got there first. Foot to ball‚ delicate little lob‚ past Taylor´ left hand‚ into net. Jamie was down into the corner proving that his mum uses the right washing powder to bring whites up ´Whiter than White´. We had to wait whilst he turned his yellow shirt back in the right way and got dressed again before the game could restart. It gave us time to celebrate. There were another two minutes of play. Hinckley had a chance but didn´t take it.

The whistle sounded and The Tivvy fans sang.........

´Jingle bells‚ jingle bells........Oh what fun it is to see Tivvy win away.´ The players came across and joined in. The home fans wandered away in a daze‚ well and truly yellowed.

The home players were still in the dressing rooms when we left just after 5.30pm. I doubt manager Dean Thomas´s words were conservative‚ I´d not be surprised if he made changes. I just hope there´s no bloody revolution in the offing, I wouldn´t wish that on our Leicestershire rivals.

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 (Steele,79), Richard Pears (Everett,81), Marcus Gross (Marker,64).

Hinckley United: Chris Taylor, Neil Cartwright, Jamie Williams, Tim Wilkes, Andy Penny, Scott Eustace, Stuart Storer, Morton Titterton, Scot Huckerby, Lyndon Rowland, Jamie Lenton.

Subs: Andy Lucas (Huckerby,30), Guy Hadland, 15. Gavin O´Toole.

This report ©2001 John Reidy






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