Match report

Tiverton Town 2 - 1 Newport IOW

   Saturday 05/01/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

The human memory and the way in which it works is one of the things that set us above our fellow animals. The fact that we store past occurrences and can control‚ to a degree‚ their recall is something that other species probably do not enjoy. Certainly I know that if your darling pooch fouls the carpet while you´re out‚ it is a waste of time chastising it when you get home. It will not know what it has done wrong; it will have forgotten. Sure‚ you can train it not to do the dirty dead on your best Wilton but as Pavlov proved‚ that is conditioning not memory. Apart from the length of time memories are stored - is it true that it´s only three seconds for a goldfish - the fact that we can associate happenings with occurrences and therefore trigger recollections gives the human race a head start over our contemporaries on this planet. Even the visit of Newport IOW to Ladysmead‚ though‚ didn´t spark my ´chips´ into much activity. I crossed the Solent for the first time on a school trip sometime around 1960‚ bringing back the compulsory Phial of multi-coloured sand‚ and didn´t set foot on the Island again until last August Bank Holiday when Tivvy went in search of Dr Martens League points. The first visit was pretty insignificant‚ the second I would rather forget! True it was a gloriously warm sunny day‚ prompting many of the yellow clad hoard to paddle off the slipway as we waited to board the return ferry but we´d made the trip for football and were making our way back to the mainland disappointed with both the 0-3 reverse and the manner in which it had been inflicted. In contrast Saturday was grey and dank. The Yellow´s form had dramatically improved‚ that of our opponents was at best inconsistent. Optimism was rife.

It all started brightly enough. Town went forward from the off‚ ´Port got stuck into defending. Stuck in on Jamie Mudge a little too hard as it happened and within a minute there was a free kick to Tivvy on the edge of the visitors penalty area. Referee Green sought to stamp his authority on the game by issuing a long lecture on English‚ its usage and mis-usage to a protesting Newport player‚ but failed to get his point across and likewise failed to stamp said authority on the game. Like most lectures it was ignored. The kick was taken and then ordered to be taken again as the defence encroached. Second time round Paul Chenoweth curled in a shot that had the enormous Matthews in the Newport goal reaching up and back to tip the ball over the crossbar for a corner. It was a preview of what was to come as the giant ´Keeper was to dominate his six yard box for the next hour and a half. Standing six foot four and built like the proverbial brick outhouse his agility belied his size and his handling was inevitably impeccable. By the time the action had been underway for just five minutes the die had been set for the afternoon. The yellows were going to have most of the midfield possession as they built from the back before sending the ball wide for the final thrusts to be made from the flanks. Newport would be making their forays‚ albeit less frequently‚ swiftly and via the more direct route. Neither tactic was to prove very rewarding. Not until halfway through the first half did Tivvy prise open the Islanders defence sufficiently to get a real sight of goal. Mudge used his undoubted ball control to create himself some space after being closed down by two defenders in the right-hand corner. His cross into the crowded goalmouth was flicked on by the head of Steve Peters to Nicky Marker lurking beyond the six yard box. Too high for his boot‚ too low for his head‚ Nicky chested the ball down and fired in his shot. Past the upright.

With just twenty four minutes gone the visitors approach to the game was evident. They had a point and if they could defend well enough they were going to keep it. They were a little to blatant about it though and Mr Green delivered another lecture‚ this time on time wasting‚ to Matthews who spent that much effort on preparing the ground before placing the ball for goal kicks one might have thought he was auditioning to replace Alan Titchmarsh on some gardening show. And so things continued. Tivvy attacked‚ Newport defended en-masse. They were well organised‚ well disciplined‚ strong and powerful. Sometimes a little too strong. Price collected a yellow card for clattering Phil Everett. The resulting free kick was cleared‚ fell to Steve Winter who unleashed one of his missile like shots. The ball travelled just inches before testing the cushioning effectiveness of a defenders posterior. Ouch! but it did the job. It was to be ´Wints´ last touch of the game. As the ball was cleared up field he was left writhing on the deck. It took Dai seconds to realise he was unlikely to respond to the magic sponge. The signal went to the bench and Richard Pears started to strip off. Phil dropped back into the wing back role. Newport´s quick breaks had produced a couple of chances for them but they lacked fire power‚ or rather direction‚ as when they carved their way through‚ as they did almost every time they tried‚ the swimming pool roof was threatened more than Eddie´s net. There was another yellow card for the visitors back line when Jamie was tripped as he cut in on goal but the break came with both keepers able to boast clean sheets.

How the Newport goal remained intact through the opening minutes of the second period verges on the miraculous. Tivvy came out determined to reap some reward from their superior possession of the first half and set about the visitors penalty area like a pack of hungry wolves. Crosses poured in. Shots were beaten down‚ headers palmed away‚ the ball went every where but in the net. The Islanders packed the box and weathered the storm. Eventually they cleared their lines but back came Town. Jamie Mudge broke through the middle. One on one with Matthews he shot. The keeper went the wrong way but spread himself well. There was a lot of him to spread and Jamies shot flew of the keepers boot. Even more than the first half it was Tivvy that were providing all the attacking moves. Pears found the top of the net from a Mudge cross‚ even David Steele‚ quietly getting on with the job as usual‚ found space to fire in a shot. With 25 minutes gone the aurora of frustration that so frequently rises from the Ladysmead terraces began to materialise. Frustration but not desperation. Time for changes to be made. Antony Lynch and Marcus Gross joined the fray. Paul Chonoweth and Nicky Marker retired to check the water temperature in the changing rooms. There was little change in the pattern out on the field. Fifteen minutes left and Anthony saw his shot beaten down by Matthews. Ten minutes later he flung himself full length at Jamie´s right wing cross but failed to make contact as the ball rearranged his parting. I admit I was thinking about my first ´web´ report of a goal-less game. I should have known better after last week. For the ´umpteenth´ time the Yellows pushed down into the right hand corner. David Steele was the man this time. We expected him to send in a right foot cross but he checked‚ pulled back as if to send in a left footer‚ checked again back onto his right. ´Too long´‚ somebody beside me groaned but Steelie thought otherwise. Back onto his left and over it came. Matthews must have been mesmerised‚ for the first time he was nowhere near it. Kevin Nancekivell was. On the far post his head made perfect contact. The keeper threw himself to his left. Tall as he was‚ long be his reach‚ he couldn´t get to it and Tivvy had beaten him for the first time.

When your side is behind‚ a packed defence is a totally inappropriate tactic. The islanders had to come forward if they were going to get anything from the game other than a respectable scoreline. They did. It is just as true that a two man defence is going to be far less efficient than a nine man defence and so they were caught again within minutes. If Jamie Mudge is not scoring goals he´s setting them up. A Newport attack was broken up and there was Jamie in the middle third of the park with the ball. With amazing perception and accuracy he laid the ball forward to Lynch. It was the kind of ball Anthony thrives on. A yard or so in front of him‚ on the deck. He beat the offside trap, such as it was, advanced with the ball in his stride and crashed the ball under the stranded Matthews. A true strikers goal perfectly executed. The points were Towns. There was still time for the copy book to be blotted though as the visitors were gifted a soft consolation goal. Allowed space down the right, Dave Wakefield´s cross went unchallenged to the similarly unattended Danny Gibbons who had the simplest of tasks to sidefoot past an isolated Paul Edwards. Reminiscent of some of the seasons early lapses we can only hope that it does not herald a return to those bad old days.

Three points patiently fought for. Seventh place in the table. Yeovil to be, hopefully, beaten in the Trophy next week. The future could be bright. The future could be Yellow.

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: Antony Lynch (Chenoweth,70), Richard Pears (Winter,32), Marcus Gross (Marker,70).

Newport IoW: Colin Matthews, Ian Buckman, Chris Collins, Adam Holbrook, John Price, Dave Wilson, Danny Rofe, Gary Green, Joeseph Alcott, DaveWakefield, Adam Bardsell.

Subs: Ben Thompson (Green,61), Danny Gibbons (Bardsell,75), Adam Connor.

This report ©2002 John Reidy






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