Match report

Worcester City 1 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 13/09/2003   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

It is said that it never rains‚ but it pours.

Not that there was any sign of precipitation as the Yellow Platoon - we can hardly call ourselves an Army these days - made their up the M5 to Worcester. Happily heading against the flow of late holiday makers and gloating at them queuing to get into Devon; bathed in the glow of warm sunshine marking the final throes of summer; all was contentment.

But then such were the conditions that it would have been difficult to have been anything other than of sanguine disposition. Even the inactivity of lazing on a sun kissed river bank placidly drowning the odd maggot and worm or two could have its appeal on such a day. So what on earth induces us to speed hundreds of miles against the flow only to stress ourselves out and wind ourselves up‚ particularly when there are all the indications that the outcome of the afternoon may well not be what we would wish? I guess we just have a masochistic trait. Even when things appear to be on the up´‚ we don´t really believe it. We believed that the sun was once more about to shine on Tivvy. The Injuries were easing. We´d have a full bench. Only two players were discounted. It was a fine day to start the recovery......until we arrived at St George´s Lane to find that there was a shadow. Jamie Mudge would not be in the line up‚ though Paul Chenoweth was fit to face one of his former clubs. Could be worse - at least there appeared to be three fully functional substitutes.

Tivvy started brightly‚ but sadly only in as much as their kit reflected and radiated the sunshine. From the first kick of the ball they were on the back foot. So swift was the onslaught that before sixty seconds were out Worcester had won two corners - and they were from separate attacks‚ not the first one being defended away for the second. And the pressure from the home side was relentless as they turned on the power in an attempt to put their defeat at Weston in midweek behind them. For the Yellows there was no respite and in the fifth minute it seemed as if they might have cracked but Adam Webster´s effort from a right wing cross‚ cannoned of the crossbar. Tiverton´s back to the wall stance was causing them to give away a mass of free kicks in the first ten minutes the only reason the score sheet stayed blank was that The Yellows defending seemed to be rushing City´s players into their shots. Whatever the reason‚ their attempts on goal were remote enough to cause little concern for Stuart Fraser. What was of concern was that Town seemed almost unable to advance past the halfway line‚ and with the boost that a win (or even a point‚ for despondency was beginning to take over) could bring being so important‚ goals had to be found from somewhere and it wasn´t going to be from within their own half of the field. Yet still Worcester pegged em back. Jason Rees was all over the place‚ in the best sense of the words‚ as he dashed from side to side‚ back and forth‚ wherever the danger appeared. Unsurprisingly being everywhere´ included the referee´s book as he made one enthusiastic tackle too many‚ sliding unceremoniously under the feet of City´s much vaunted striker Mark Owen. Much vaunted´ by others‚ perhaps‚ but shown little quarter by Rees and by the end of the afternoon able to add much overrated´ to his CV in the opinion of most of the Tivvy fans and many of the home crowd too.

Rees´ yellow card marked the turning point for Tivvy. As if fired by a sense of injustice‚ or maybe realising that they needed to relieve the pressure‚ they began to gradually edge their way forward and just as the halfway point in the first period launched their first serious expedition into enemy territory. Chris Holloway sent a long through the middle to Richard Pears who headed for the penalty area but drifting left as he went. Reaching the box Pears turned inside and hit Tivvy´s first shot on target but having dragged two defenders with him was restricted for space and could not impart much in the way of power and Danny McDonnell in the City goal scooped the ball off the ground with ease. Two minutes later and there was no lack of power as he hit a second effort. David Steele was the architect on this occasion‚ collecting the ball in midfield and embarking on a route one run towards goal before poking the ball beyond the challenging Worcester back line for Pears to run onto. Richard´s rocket rounded McDonnell but crashed back into play from the upright and was cleared but only as far as Rees´ following up - I did say he was all over the place! - who hammered the ball back to give McDonnell another chance to make a save. Worcester´s reply was almost predictable. They attacked and midfielder John Snape fired in a shot - high and wide. The game had come to life. Pears sent a cross-field ball that sent Steele jinking through for another shot to bring the best out of McDonnell‚ Paul Carty‚ Leon Kelly and David Foy were all off target for the hosts whilst Pears was likewise for Tivvy. There was only one further noteworthy incident before the break. Noteworthy because it was indicative of the frustration creeping into the City squad. Referee Mr Sarginson found it necessary to speak to two players to tell them to cool it´ after a heated exchange. Two City team-mates...McDonnell‚ who was feeling vulnerable and exposed and central defender Carl Heeley‚ one of the culprits in the keeper´s view. So with the sun still radiating down at the interval it was Tivvy that were brightly reflecting the solar rays‚ and not only in their attire.

Part two started as had part one‚ only the scenario was compressed by 50% and within ten minutes the Worcester assault had been dimmed and Town were again looking the team most likely to find the net. After 10 minutes of City buzzing and Tivvy coolly defending‚ we were back to where we had been towards the end of the first half. Lawrence Hall had the option to send Pears clear but elected to shoot himself. It was a weak effort. Twelve minutes in and Hall did send Pears who then set up Steele for a shot that yet again brought a save from McDonnell. On the hour mark Fraser was‚ at last‚ tested as a Heeley shot deflected up and over him but was clasped safely as it dropped behind the keeper. That was the sign for Worcester to wake up again but their efforts were no where near as threatening as they had been in the opening twenty minutes and again it was Pears that came closest to scoring on 70 minutes. Breaking to the right he cut in towards goal as he made it into the penalty area and hit a cross goal shot that passed over the advancing keeper‚ bounced down from the crossbar and along the goal-line before being hooked away by Heeley. Steve Ovens replaced Hall and was hit by disaster before he could even get up to pace or judge the bounce of the ball. Losing possession in the centre circle to City substitute Pat Lyons he chased in vain as the ball was spread wide to Adam Wilde on the left. Wilde sprinted down the wing in open space and flighted in a perfect cross to bisect the space between Fraser and the retreating Tiverton defence‚ presenting Kelly with an open route to goal at the back of the six yard box. Town were undeservedly behind.

Not for long! from the restart there was a little see-saw movement before The Yellows were awarded a free kick midway inside the Worcester half and out towards the right. Paul Chenoweth took the kick‚ flighting it in left footed and curling in towards goal. Highest jump in the area was down to (up to?) Nathan Rudge who glanced the ball beyond McDonnell´s leap for the leveller. Stung by the equaliser the home side again tried turning up the wick. But wicks are useless unless doused in fuel and they lacked that vital ingredient. Town smothered their flame with blanket defending and with ten minutes to go it was Pears again firing in a shot that was not far wide. Tivvy were once more beginning to break out and in the 82nd minute Ovens was showing his persistence in a struggle with two defenders deep in the left hand corner. Steve lost this one but the effect was the same as his harassment caused a short pass between the two of them to drift within the reach of Paul Chenoweth as they tried to play the ball clear. Cheno lunged‚ and thought his contact was minimal it was enough to deflect the ball into the path of Steele advancing from the back. This time David completed the job he had looked like carrying out several times earlier‚ by pushing the ball ahead of himself and then firing decisively past McDonnell. There must be something about the transport arrangements in the St George´s Lane area of Worcester. With eight minutes remaining there was a mass exodus from the ground. Maybe there is a stagger your travel´ policy in force. Not that the locals missed anything.

Worcester pressed‚ Tivvy defended.

Worcester were unable to find a way through‚ Tivvy blocked all channels.

Worcester got nothing‚ Tivvy got three points.

They deserved them.

Tiverton Town: Stuart Fraser‚ Steve Winter‚ Gareth Owen‚ Jason Rees‚ Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Paul Chenoweth, Chris Holloway, Richard Pears, Lawrence Hall, David Steele.
Subs: Danny Haines (Cousins, 33), Steve Ovens (Hall ,71) Kevin Nancekivell (Haines, 63).
Bookings: Rees 21, Chenoweth 66, Nancekivell 65.

Worcester City: Danny McDonnell, Allan Davies, Paul Carty, John Holloway, Carl Heeley, John Snape, David Foy, Adam Webster, Mark Owen, Leon Kelly, Adam Wilde.
Subs: Darren Middleton (Foy, 80), David Holmes, Pat Lyons (Owen, 58), Dan Parker, Shaun Hayes
Bookings: Snape 77

Referee: Christopher Sarginson (Rugeley)

This report ©2003 John Reidy






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