Match report

Tamworth 3 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 02/02/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Over the last couple of seasons as I have accompanied Tivvy on their journeys into the unknown‚ I have usually been stirred into some form of reverie. I have frequently been to the ground before with that other band of yellow clad warriors that I erstwhile followed‚ or at least have been to the town in pursuit of one of my other pleasures. Tamworth is an exception. As far as I´m aware I had never been there. The closest I had ever come had been the A5 and the Tamworth Services on the M42. Thus I can call to mind only the most tenuous of links to or associations with the place. And I do mean tenuous! In the early 60´s I was into the growing ´folk´ scene. One of the least edifying records in my collection‚ thankfully no longer in my possession‚ was by a ´dubious´ American group that revelled in the moniker of The New Christy Minstrels. They weren´t totally bad‚ indeed their one-time lead singer‚ a certain Barry McGuire‚ went on to have a No.1 hit worldwide with the daddy of all protest songs ´The Eve Of Destruction´. Sadly for McGuire´s credibility he was the main vocalist for the group when they recorded a ridiculous song that delighted in the title of ´Three Wheels On My Wagon´. And there lies the link‚ for the destination of the Yellows latest venture was the home of the company that built the butt of so many Jasper Carrott jokes - the Reliant Robin. Aluminium engine‚ plastic body (well‚ fibreglass to be honest) and one wheel short of a pair of axles full‚ it epitomised British innovation and eccentricity. Who but the English would attempt to build a car that didn´t have a wheel on each corner?

Tamworth had started the season with great expectations and though a few arrows had been fired through their spokes‚ their wagon was still rolling along. Tivvy´s mission was to play the part of the Cherokee´s and try and knock at least one wheel off that wagon - so making it a closer match to the town´s most famous product - and in doing so hoist themselves more solidly into the top group in the league table. If Town were the Indians then Tamworth were quite content to play the cowboys. Without waiting to see the colour of Tivvy´s eyes they went right on the attack. Former Ilkeston man Tony Hemmings was soon showing the pace that had drawn a 7‚500 transfer fee out of the Tamworth coffers. as he ran full tilt at the Yellows. Coupled to his speed were some darting runs on the right flank from the equally rapid Nick Colley and between them they gave the Yellows defenders a torrid time as they struggled to turn on the slimy surface. With ten minutes gone Tivvy had hardly ventured into their opponents half so it could hardly be claimed to be against the run of play when Tamworth took the lead. Having won a series of corners they eventually made the pressure count as Paul Edwards failed to hold one from the Tamworth left and Colley pounced to force the ball into the net. There was to be no let up in the home sides efforts. They continued to push forward and four minutes later were further rewarded. Colley again sped down their right and sent over a low cross that skidded across the penalty area evading forwards and defenders alike. A desperate lunge by Steve Winter left a Red shirt writhing on the sodden deck as the ball headed for the touchline. The referee took a good look‚ blew his whistle and pointed to the spot. Eddie went full length one way‚ the ball went firmly just inside the opposite upright and the task was going to be twice as hard.

It took a long time for Tivvy to give their fans anything to cheer‚ or indeed to show any play that might give us hope. It was exactly half way through the first period before the Yellows produced their first shot‚ a not particularly strong attempt from Scott Rogers that was far enough away from the net to bring chants of ´How wide do you want the goal´‚ from the locals. By the half hour mark Towns work rate had enabled them to force themselves part of the way back in the game. They were beginning to hold a greater share of the ball in midfield and though they were having little success in penetrating the Lambs defence‚ at least they were probing it. The home side´s attacks‚ too‚ were being repulsed further away from the Tiverton penalty area. At last‚ five minutes before the break‚ there came a spark of hope. Tivvy won their first corner. It was only a hope though as Rogers shot from outside the far post was easily scooped up out of the goalmouth slime by Darren Acton between the Tamworth posts. Two down at half time was harsh only in the manner that the goals had been conceded. Tamworth had controlled things for the overwhelming majority of the time and deserved to be in front.

Roger´s recess rollicking revived the forces. Heading down the slope the ´injuns´ looked a far more formidable force as they set out on the second period of the battle. Within a minute Steve Ovens chased a defender into the left hand corner. For a change Ovo´s chase didn´t result in him coming away with the ball but he did force a hurried and wayward clearance. Regaining possession on the opposite wing the ball was rapidly sent back into the danger area where Paul Chenoweth was cutting in and Acton had to get down quickly to beat his shot out for a corner. The slope must have had more influence than it appeared to have‚ as for the first six or seven minutes Tivvy were buzzing around the Tamworth area like bees round a honey pot. They were certainly on the move and it was no more than they deserved when they pulled a goal back. A free kick to the Yellows half way inside the Tamworth half‚ out towards the right. A certain amount of faffing around over who was going to take it. Eventually it was floated in to the front edge of the penalty area. Phil Everett helped it on with his head and the ball looped up and over the rooted Acton before dropping into the net. The yellow´s fans began to feel a little more optimistic. It was short lived. The rain had been continuing to steadily fall‚ (will someone give me a ring when it does anything else?) and the conditions were getting decidedly dodgy. The ball was sometimes running on‚ sometimes skidding forward and sometimes stopping short. The home forwards had been reduced in effectiveness as Tivvy had increased the pressure and forced them to drop back to aid their beleaguered colleagues in defence. They were reduced to chasing long balls and it was just such an occurrence that led to Tamworth´s third goal. Long ball‚ stop on sodden pitch‚ misunderstanding between Eddy and two defenders and in nips Robert´s to lob home into an empty net. A soft goal but they all count and the Lambs were two goals in front again.

Tivvy‚ though‚ were still having the better of things even if there was a lack of penetration. The remedy for that‚ from Martyn Rogers standpoint‚ seemed to be to bring on another striker. Difficult to do anything else - there were three named as substitutes. 14 replaced 7 (!). Lynchie‚ given a bit of luck could have repeated Wednesday evenings feat. Within a couple of minutes Cheno again found himself in a shooting position out on the left. His drive was just too far out from the goal to trouble Acton but just too close in for Antony to slide on to. The rain reached deluge proportions‚ abandon was heard in the comments on the terraces. More changes were made. Jamie Mudge and Richard Pears were bought on for Nicky Marker and David Steele. There was only one way to play with that line up. Forward charge! Ovens forced Acton to push the ball round for a corner. Over it came; out it came; to the foot of Steve Peters. Back in it went and just inside the upright. Three - Two. Ten minutes left. The rain eased. We´d make it to the end. All still to play for. Remember Hinckley.......... But it was not to be. Ten final minutes of pressure‚ Acton in action again from Ovens but no reward. Tamworth´s wagon is still rolling on. When the other results came through they were an even happier bunch of cowboys as their challengers for the title all slipped by the wayside. The fact that Tivvy held them to a single goal on their own puddle‚ possibly deserving a point for their second half efforts‚ shows that there was not a lot between the sides over 90 minutes.

In just over two weeks time Tamworth are due at Ladysmead so we´ll have a chance to level things up. Let´s hope they check their destination though. Their programme wished us a safe return to Somerset after the game. If they stop in that county they might end up playing T**nt*n Town and that would be ´no contest´.



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

Subs: Jamie Mudge (Steele,73), Anthony Lynch (Nancekivell,66), Richard Pears (Marker,73).

Tamworth: Darren Acton, Rob Warner, Rob Mutchell, Rob Gould, Paul Hatton, Gary Mills, David Foy, Tony Hemmings, Darren Roberts, Frazer McHugh, Nick Colley.

Subs: Mark Hallam, Richard Follett (Foy,66), Scot Rickards (Colley,82).

This report ©2002 John Reidy






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