The unofficial archives of Tiverton Town Football Club

Tiverton Town 0 - 2 Welling United

Saturday 23/03/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

I used to have a mate who was a bit of a womaniser. Well not so much a womaniser more a girliser since we were both in our teens and had yet to learn the subtle differences between women and girls. I have to admit that many of his fancies‚ and they seemed to change weekly - and frequently weakly - left me totally uninspired; I just couldn´t see the attraction. Then I learnt that there was no accounting for taste; that beauty was in the eye of the beholder; there was more to ´love´ than mere physical attraction etc.etc. All the old clichés in fact; which was just as well since I myself made little in the way of in-roads with the more glamorous members of the opposite sex. The lesson has stuck with me to this day. Don´t judge a book by it´s cover. ( I had to save that cliché from the earlier lot!) Welling United are a case in point. Hardly the team to set the heart pounding with excited expectation and anticipation. Bluntly put: to many supporters of other clubs they are not the most ´glamorous side´ in the Dr Martens League . As the fans of their rivals down the road at Crawley point out‚ the number of paying spectators that the respective teams attract must say something. Never-the-less they were Tiverton´s latest visitors and were desperate for points to haul themselves away from the lowly position in the table from which the vista of the Eastern Division was a little too clear. And so‚ though they may not have been the most attractive of opposition‚ I was not going to pre judge. Let´s face it the best pre season entertainment at Ladysmead was served up in the game against ´unfashionable´ Team Bath.

There was little evidence in the opening few minutes that the Wings were going to do anything much to alleviate their proximity to the drop zone. The game was being played at a frantic pace but it was the Yellows that were finding their men whilst their visitors were crashing first time clearances way up field for their front men to chase. And it was amazing how many of those clearances‚ that were being soundly connected with‚ were being collected by the Welling runners. But once they had been collected the Tivvy defence soon regained possession and built another attack. The variety was there. Steve Winter made several excursions down the right flank‚ Phil Everett likewise down the left. Richard Pears as the target man was holding the ball up well and spreading it out to either flank. With Antony Lynch roaming from side to side‚ things were looking quite bright for the first quarter of an hour or so. Even Marcus Gross playing in an unaccustomed mid field role as Steve Peters returned to action‚ looked comfortable and started the move that lead to Town´s first real chance. A perceptive through ball to Lynch split the Welling defence. Antony chased hard‚ turned the ball back to Winter whose cross was a foot too far in front of Pears. For the next 15 minutes the story was the same. Plenty of Tiverton attacks‚ the Men Of Kent defending determinedly in numbers. For the visitors it was survival football and they played it well. The Tivvy edge became blunted‚ the fire reduced to a smoulder and the Wings began to claim a greater share of the territorial advantage‚ though both defences looked to be on top. It was an evenly balanced battle as the half time break approached. A mid field battle bereft of much excitement. Not to mince words it was a scrappy‚ boring battle. Thank goodness for the whistle.

Act 2: Ten yellow clad footballers and one custodian of the net enter stage right and wander around aimlessly awaiting their opponents. Their opponents eventually also enter stage right and move to the left. All players take up their allotted positions and the play re-starts. The yellow clad team continue to wander around aimlessly and soon find themselves in arrears as the red clad players‚ complete with No. 12 understudy‚ show that they were only pretending to have no forward motion in the first Act. Welling attacked down the right‚ and won a corner. High and looping it came out of orbit near the far post was pushed out further and driven back in hard and low....and into the net. Gary Abbott. Golden Boot. Star man. Very expensive. Done just about nothing in the first 45 but earns his keep in the 47th. So the Yellows have to chase the game. They do‚ after a fashion. Forward motion is plentiful but it all comes to nothing. Too many high balls against a tall‚ solid defence that reaches 90% of them with ease.

Coming through midfield Tivvy look quite threatening but as the clock ticks down they begin to get frustrated at their failure to break down the defence. Welling get bodies behind the ball and every body has a couple of legs with feet attached. The feet stick out this way and that way and everyway the ball goes. And again the Wings weather the onslaught and work their way into the game. The Yellows can´t string more than a couple of passes together without giving the ball away. Long balls down the wings fly yards out for throw ins to the visitors or are mis-controlled with the same result. Even the normally reliable and consistent Steve Winter is having a nightmare. Thirty odd Welling fans successfully out-shout and out sing seven hundred Tiverton fans. You can hardly blame the Ladysmead faithful (?)‚ this is dire stuff. A couple of goalmouth scrambles is all Tivvy muster in the way of penetration. Not enough. With ten minutes remaining‚ substitute Curtis Johnson runs at the Tiverton defence‚ finds himself clear wide of the penalty area far out on the right. There´s no colleague in the middle but he still lobs the ball into the goalmouth. Was it a cross? Was it a shot? Did the wind catch it? Whatever it was‚ it dropped over Jamie Attwell and just inside the far upright. Welling had won. Tivvy ran around like headless chickens. They didn´t look like breaking through the red wall. If the game had gone on ´til midnight the Yellows would not have scored. There was no obvious gameplan‚ no shape‚ no cohesion ‚ no anything.

We got what we deserved. Zilch. Welling got what they wanted‚ what they fought for. Three points that will almost certainly bring them back to Ladysmead next season. Unfashionable maybe; unglamorous maybe; but winners‚ and that´s what matters to them. Against Merthyr Tivvy we were a dreadful team: Against Hinckley we were a terrible team: In this game we were a Singularly Hopeless Inept Team. Why‚ after last week? WHY?

Tiverton Town: Jamie Attwell‚ Steve Winter‚ Neil Saunders‚ Steve Peters‚ Nicky Marker‚ 6. Marcus Gross‚ Kevin Nancekivell‚ 8. Richard Pears‚ 9. Phil Everett‚ Paul Chenoweth‚ Antony Lynch .

Subs: Steve Ovens (Marker‚63)‚ Jamie Mudge (Lynch‚71), David Steele (Winter,85).

Welling United: Glen Knight, Lew Watts, John Farley, Mark Hone, Dave Powell, Scott Lindsey, Anthony Reviere, Mark Rutherford, Gary Abbott , Tommy Tyne, Antony Hogg.

Subs: Dean Standen (Reviere,46), Anthony Boot (Tyne,88), Curtis Jonson (Abbott,70).

This report ©2002 John Reidy