Match report

Cambridge City 1 - 3 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 16/03/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Mid 1960´s. America had entered the post Kennedy era. It was the age of the protest song as the youth of the world questioned and challenged the standards of their elders. Civil rights‚ anti war and the music to accompany it. Rock/Folkies The Byrds blasted their unmistakable jingle jangle twelve string guitar sound over the airwaves with a song written by one of the ´Daddies´ of the peace movement‚ Pete Seeger. Well perhaps that´s giving him more credit than he fully deserves for he composed the tune for the ditty ´Turn‚ Turn‚ Turn´ but admitted to pinching the words from elsewhere. "To everything there is a season‚ and a time to every purpose under heaven. A time to.......etc." had been lifted from The Good Book. Ecclesiasties Chapter Two‚ I believe‚ though I´m not a Bible student; if I were I´d probably spend my weekends on the knocker as a doorstep missionary rather than dragging myself all over the southern half of the country watching football matches. Now‚ while I can´t disagree with the concept that there´s a time and place for everything‚ I have to wonder if mid March is the season or time that the writer of those biblical words would have designated as right for the purpose of travelling to Cambridge from the depths of Devon to watch a football match. I might have had my doubts; whoever composed the original words probably would have had theirs; but the fact that the reverse fixture saw The Lilywhites journey to Ladysmead in early February would indicate that the powers that be that decree such matters failed to share any similar concerns‚ after all it´s only weather. As it turned out the gods were benevolent and there was no wind and only a few spots of rain‚ so all was well.

For both clubs it was an important fixture. City looked to be on the brink of falling apart‚ hovering just above the relegation zone and suffering from internal strife. Tivvy were struggling to regain the form that had seen them climb to fourth in the table before a sequence of four games without a win‚ and after the Hinckley game‚ Martyn No.1 had reminded his players they owed him one. They´re all men of honour so Cambridge could be the time and place to make the payment........something had to give. Give it did‚ and quickly. The Lilywhites defence that is. Poor Matt Nurse in the City goal not only has to suffer the ignominy of being a dead ringer for Jamie Oliver‚ he also has the handicap of a defence that has as much covering power as gravy that has been thickened with water. Town sprayed the ball around the field with consummate ease‚ every pass seeming to reach its intended target. Unlike last weekend they looked capable‚ confident and totally in control. After simmering for five minutes they came to the boil. A dubiously awarded free kick on the left in their own half was spread out towards the right. Steve Winter dummied as if to intercept it in the centre circle but let it run to Marcus Gross making ground far out on the wing. Marcus carried the ball forward and wacked in an angled cross to the edge of the penalty area. Richard Pears´ first touch helped straighten out the angle and the ball carried straight towards the penalty spot. In nipped Antony Lynch to loop the ball past the unfortunately stranded Nurse. The Cambridge defence must have been impressed for as a man they raised their arms in salute. The linesman not so‚ he kept both his‚ including the one with the flag‚ down as he trotted back to the half way line.

Tivvy were in front and we were only five minutes into the match. There was little positive reaction from the home team who seemed to have remarkably little appetite for the contest. Hopeful route one attacks did little to threaten the Yellows rearguard and the fans behind Jamie Attwell´s goal had to wait until the eleventh minute for anything ´tasty´ to raise their spirits‚ when Kevin Wilkin fired in an effort from thirty yards that the Tivvy glovesman held with an acrobatic Hollywood save. A minute later the action was at the other end once more as the home defence was again sliced open‚ but wing back Phil Everett drove yards wide as he met the ball at the far post. Pears and Lynch were causing so many problems for the white shirted defenders that they adopted a new tactic. Ignore them. Run away from them. It worked a couple of times. Pears got in a header that had Nurse stretching to palm the ball over the crossbar. It turned out to be a spectacular but unnecessary save as the offside flag was up. Lynch‚ too‚ was caught as the defensive line moved out. Then the ploy failed. Tivvy won a corner out on the left. Taken short to Winter who sent in a curling cross. The defenders had moved out too late. There on the six yard line stood the two yellow clad front men. The ball sailed over Pears´s head‚ Lynch was behind him and met the ball perfectly. No dramatic heroics from Nurse this time‚ the ball flew decisively into the net. The Tiverton fans began to wonder if their heros were cooking up a repeat of the Ladysmead scoreline - or even a greater goal feast. City‚ to their credit‚ kept plugging away. They began winning a little more of the ball in midfield but were unable to make much use of it when they did. It was still the Lilywhites that looked more vulnerable at the back. Yellow was shown to Steve Wenlock for a clattering felling of Everett as he threatened level with the edge of the penalty area out on the left. Phil nearly had the last laugh as he headed the resultant free kick inches past the upright and with minutes to go to the break Pears just failed to reach a left side corner From Paul Chenoweth as it curled past the far post.

The East Anglians responded to their half time rollicking from besieged manager David Batch by resuming the action firing on all cylinders. Throwing caution to the wind they poured forward and started to string passes together. It paid off. Three minutes in and they narrowed the margin. Everett and Chenoweth contrived to lose possession as they attacked down the left. City gained the ball and countering quickly broke. A long ball into the edge of the area was beautifully brought down by Adam Wilde´s first touch. His second touch wrong footed Gross‚ the third steadied the ball and the fourth planted it past the advancing Attwell. City were lifted. It was time for Tivvy to defend. Pack and hack seemed to be the order of the day as the Lilywhites applied the pressure. It was a policy that worked‚ though the action was peppered with a series of free kicks as desperate tackles were adjudged unfair. Town rode the storm. Ten minutes on from the interval and Nurse was back in the action as Everett´s head met Winter´s cross to bring a repeat of the first half tip over from the City keeper. The corner was cleared but the Yellows came straight back on the offensive. Winter‚ who seemed to be delighting in showing his ball skills‚ made space down the right. Closed down and unable to get in a telling cross he laid the ball back into the path of David Steele. David´s forward ball was knocked through by Pears and Kevin Nancekivell rode the tackle‚ recovered from the secondary trip‚ and poked the ball under Nurse.

The appeals for the penalty from the handful of fans behind the goal were stillborn as the ball trickled into the net. We were happy for the goal to stand. It killed off Cambridge´s resistance. They huffed and puffed and ran around but there was no rhyme or reason to their efforts as they became increasingly more desperate. Steve Ovens replaced Lynch who had gradually faded as the game wore on and Ovo nearly made a name for himself with his first touch. Nurse sliced a back pass right to him. Deja vu. Last week Steve´s lobbed return sailed into the net‚ this week it went inches wide. It was the last real excitement of the afternoon as the contest died on it´s feet. As if to comment on the scene there was a spattering of rain to dampen the City fans spirits even further. Just to add a little spice to the final moments Luke Vinnicombe appeared in a Tivvy shirt again‚ along with Jamie Mudge‚ for the last five minutes.

Tivvy were worth their three points. It is open to debate whether Cambridge are a poor side or a reasonable side made to look poor by a good Tiverton side. On this showing I´ll go for the later and if that is so‚ then Welling should be warned.



Tiverton Town: Jamie Attwell‚ Steve Winter‚ Neil Saunders‚ Marcus Gross, Nicky Marker, David Steele, Kevin Nancekivell, Richard Pears, Phil Everett, Paul Chenoweth, Anthony Lynch.

Subs: Jamie Mudge (Nancekivell,85), Steve Ovens (Lynch,70), Luke Vinnicombe (Marker,85).

Cambridge City: Matt Nurse, Jack Wignall, Richard Skelly, Matt Beale, Colin Vowden, Tim Wooding, Steve Wenlock, John Challinor, Kevin Wilkin, Adam Wilde, Martin Fox.

Subs: Steve Holden(Challinor,46), Leon Gutzmore(Wilkin,73), Sean Comrford (Fox,82).

This report ©2002 John Reidy






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