Match report

Tiverton Town 2 - 0 Weston-super-Mare

   Tuesday 16/09/2003   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Weston-Super-Mare and women. Both occupy a similar niche in my mind - and not because of any conquests of the later at the former. No‚ both have filled similar roles in my life; both have said´ much to me‚ but meant something different. Both have promised enlightenment and education but at the best only delivered disappointment and perhaps a little fun in passing. My first promise of education came on a school trip. The learning ended at Wells - Weston was supposed to be fun. The tide was out and so therefore was fun...and so was swimming unless it was after a ten minute trek over the mud flats of the Bristol Channel. Next up were a couple of weekends in the 70´s at the time that Barbara Castle was Minister of Labour and introduced her White Paper In Place Of Strife´‚ to try to curb the Trade Unions. Weekend Schools taught me little about the proposed Act of Parliament though I did learn how to drink a pint of Guinness whilst standing on my hands and how to catch peanuts flicked three foot in the air. Yes‚ Weston never seemed to be what it promised to be and that seemed to be an ongoing trait when‚ in more recent years‚ I´ve come into contact with their football team. The games between them and Tivvy always promised the atmosphere‚ excitement and fierce competitiveness of a local derby but inevitably turned up with an anti-climax. Perhaps the first Dr Martens Premier Division meeting between the two clubs would live up to potential‚ or would I once more be feeling betrayed as the prospects were unmet by the reality?

Another new face was welcomed to the Ladysmead squad to bolster the depleted troops. Graeme Power had been hauled on board. The former Exeter City man was straight into the starting line up to cover the left side of midfield vacated by Paul Chenoweth as he served a one match suspension in retribution for his red card against Merthyr Tydfil. The possibility of a full bloodied fast and furious derby´ showed every sign of being realised as the contest started at frantic pace. With just 25 seconds on the watch David Steele showed his goal at Worcester four days earlier had given him a taste for finding the net when he fired in a fearsome drive that gave Weston keeper Stuart Jones an early alarm call. Breaking away‚ the Seagulls responded through Danny O´Hagan firing wide followed up with a lively run down the left by Mark McKeever who saw Ryan King get his head under the ball at the far post to send it looping just over Stuart Fraser´s crossbar. Back came the Yellows when Kevin Nancekivell put Steve Winter free on the right and his low cross into the foot of Lawrence Hall saw the Tivvy No 10´s first time glancing shot bring a sharp reaction save from Jones. Just five minutes gone and it could be two apiece! It was‚ I realised‚ too promising a start to continue for long - but it tried. Hall had another effort when the ball was laid back to him from a corner but his low drive through a jungle of legs in the sixyard box was well spotted by Jones who was swiftly down to hold cleanly and on ten minutes another cross from Winter was missed by Hall and defenders alike‚ even Power lurking on the left failing to make contact. Town were having the better of things as the frequency of chances reduced‚ with Power quickly settling into the Yellows shape and combining well with Richard Pears on one occasion‚ to set up Nancekivell to scythe through the middle only to be crowded out as defenders closed ranks.

Not that it was all Tivvy. Weston were having their moments. McKeever was proving a real handful as he drove forward from the left side of midfield and O´Hagan´s strength was keeping the home defenders busy containing his threat and midway through the first half Fraser was forced to punch an Ian Howell swirling cross off the Weston strikers head and out for a corner. Fed across low‚ the kick was driven in low from the back of the penalty area by Michael Jackson. This time it was Fraser´s turn to spot the ball coming through the mass of legs in front of him‚ which he did‚ and held cleanly. In fact for ten minutes or so Weston were edging on top and Tivvy had to step up their work rate to keep themselves in contention. This they did and the pendulum began to swing back their way. Graeme Power was looking lively down the left and made a run that carried him parallel with the edge of the penalty from that touchline across the entire width of the pitch area as he sought the gap that would accommodate a shot. Unable to find what he was looking for he was forced to accept a corner as the ball was edged out of play by a defender. David Steele had no such inhibitions about taking a sot and hit a 25 yarder straight at Jones‚ nor even was Rees who took a long range poke that was well left by Hall‚ but the Weston keeper was alert enough not to fall for the dummy. There were further openings before the half time whistle for Hall‚ Pears and Rees again (!) before the break while the visitors could only reply with a free kick on the edge of the Tivvy penalty area that was blasted right at the wall‚ after Rees had upended O´Hagan in full flow. Things were looking good for The Yellows at the break - even though the scoresheet was still blank.

A brief flurry of action at the recommencement saw Kevin Nancekivell denied by a point blank range save by Jones before the game became briefly bogged down in midfield‚ and scrappy with it. A goal was needed and ten minutes into the second period it came. We could have been watching Wimbledon of the 80´s for al the finesse shown in the build up. Typical route one strike. Fraser applied substantial welly´ to a clearance. The ball came to earth deep inside the Weston half with Winter ducking under it as it dropped - maybe getting the faintest of touches to change its trajectory‚ maybe not. Either way the ball fell perfectly for Hall as he burst through the middle to bring it under control ‚ steady himself‚ and crash it past Jones to put Tivvy in front. It was just the tonic that both The Yellows and Hall needed. Tivvy began to play with renewed confidence in their own abilities and Hall was hungry for more striking success. It nearly came within two minutes. Another long ball‚ another chase. This time he drifted left before changing direction‚ cutting in - leaving a defender to unravel his ankles - and firing in a shot that was too hurried and flew yards high and wide. Then‚ with everything in the garden looking rosy‚ the jinx struck. Gareth Owen pulled up. Another pulled hamstring for Dai´ to deal with. Not to worry‚ there was a defender of proven capabilities on the bench. Enter Everett. Phil had probably expected to have a run at the front‚ if at all‚ but with Hall performing the way he was there was little need for changes in that department as right on the midway point in the half he again turned inside his marker to fire in a shot that was deflected away by Jones´ feet. Just to show that they were not entirely out of it‚ Weston managed a shot through Guissepe Sorbara who had been introduced as a substitute‚ presumably to bring a little Italian flair to an increasingly ineffectual Weston attack. It was not a particularly successful move as Sorbara´s effort was well wide.

Time‚ then‚ for Hall to show how it was done again‚ and to add a bit of variety. Winter motored down the right and flighted in a cross. Hall was 10 yards out just beyond the back of the goal. He was alone. Jones decided the ball was too far for him to go and collect. It fell just right for Hall‚ who directed a looping header that dropped neatly over the Weston keeper to add the second goal of the evening in the 69th minute. Five minutes later and it might well have been Hat-trick´ celebration time. This time hall met a similar cross and directed the ball downwards. Unfortunately his geometry wasn´t up to scratch and the ball descended too steeply‚ bouncing back up and harmlessly over the crossbar. It was to be Town´s last real attempt on goal despite a spell where they played some smooth passing exhibition football. Weston‚ to their credit didn´t give up and as they had in the first half upped their game and made a contest of it for the last ten minutes or so. Town were forced to defend in numbers but held on‚ though it did take a goal-line clearance by the head of Rees to preserve the two goal margin in the 85th minute. A final push by the Seagulls saw them denied by a great save by Fraser whose reactions to a close range header by Jon French saw the ball beaten away and then hoofed clear by the boot of Rees. The save was important‚ not only to the Tiverton goal difference but to Fraser´s morale. At last he had a clean sheet in a league game.

Fraser´s shut-out´ was no more than he deserved. Town´s three points were equally well earned. There were some exceptional moments of football that bode well for the future. Hopefully that future is bright, maybe the future is yellow. Only time will tell and we know only to well that Time Changes Everything´.

Tiverton Town: Stuart Fraser, Steve Winter, Gareth Owen, Jason Rees, Nathan Rudge, Graeme Power, Kevin Nancekivell, Chris Holloway, Richard Pears, Lawrence Hall, David Steele.
Subs: Steve Ovens (Pears 46), Phil Everett (Owen 65), I Patchett (Winter 69), Simon Hill, James Mudge.
Bookings: Winter 21, Hall 62.

Weston-Super-Mare: Stuart Jones, Ryan King, Mark McKeever, Ian Howell, William Clarke, Stephen Benton, Michael Jackson, Stuart Slater, Daniel O´Hagan, Jonathan French, Anthony Davis.
Subs: Jonathan Mills (O´Hagan 65), Giuseppe Sorbara (King 50), Joseph Lott, David Mehew (Davis 81), Ian Ganfield.
Bookings: Benton 90.

Referee: Paul Norman (Sherbourne)

This report ©2003 John Reidy






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