The unofficial archives of Tiverton Town Football Club

King's Lynn 0 - 1 Tiverton Town

Tuesday 09/04/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

I never quite understood why the English ´Tommy´ heading for the trenches of Northern Europe in the 1914 - 18 war‚ when getting nostalgic‚ was purported to bemoan the fact that ´It´s A Long Way To Tipperary´. Being a cockney myself‚ ´Farewell Piccadilly´ and ´So Long Leicester Square´ I could relate to‚ but Tipperary.....? Even my Irish heritage didn´t help. Then I twigged. The song was possibly about the ´Tommies´ being sent to deal with that other conflict of the time‚ the Easter Uprising in the Emerald Isle. Then I twigged again! At the time Ireland was still part of the UK and therefore there were a fair number of the ´Boys with the Blarney´ serving in the British Army as well as a fair number fighting them in the IRA. Silly me. And Tipperary? Well‚ it was as good a place as any‚ it fitted the number of crotchets and quavers and had a certain romantic ring to it. Let´s face it‚ ´It´s A Long Way To Chipping Sodbury wouldn´t have had quite such lyrical panache; neither would ´It´s A Long Way To Kings Lynn´‚ which would have been totally irrelevant to most people. It was not irrelevant‚ however‚ to the faithful few who set out on the longest trek of the season to support Tivvy; from the rolling green hills of West Country Devon to the bleak flatness of East Anglian Norfolk. As the crow flies‚ or even as the linnet flies‚ Kings Lynn is only a score or so miles closer to Tiverton than Tipperary but the expedition´s members were happy to make the journey content in the belief that the cause was a just one‚ something some of the ´Tommies´ of the last century may have doubted. And the faithful few were a few. The coach had not been full for the original Saturday trip. It was hardly surprising then that numbers were further reduced for a Tuesday evening fixture and an end of season one with little at stake for the Yellows at that. But there were some devoted enough or crazy enough to make the trip.

The Tivvy contingent arrived in good time and swiftly took over the club house‚ well..... one table. Within minutes the hoard was doubled as the Peckham Peoples and Watford Wanderer and wife arrived. Kick off approached and we took up position and settled to watch a close game. The Yellows mounted the first forward move‚ quickly repelled. That was to be as close as the game was to come for us as the Linnets set about the task of strengthening their survival chances by laying siege to the Tivvy penalty area. It was like a scene from Hitchcock´s ´The Birds´‚ a frenetic feathered flock frantically fought off by the white shirted Yellows. The attacks came from the right‚ the left‚ the middle. They came high‚ they came low‚ they came every which way but‚ luckily‚ lose. The defensive wall was tight. Anything that did breach it was either grabbed by Paul Edwards or sent off target by the Lynn strikers. Off target includes the woodwork which joined in the Tivvy defence once. As if to mark fifteen minutes of survival Tivvy created a chance. Antony Lynch‚ re-united with Phil Everett as the front pairing with Steve Ovens in mid-field and Paul Chenoweth reverting to wing back‚ broke clean through the middle and homed in on the Lynn goal. One on one with Steve Wilson there was not much wrong with Lynchie´s shot but somehow Wilson managed to spread himself to get a hand to the ball‚ scramble across and gather it at the second attempt. It was an incident that illustrated the way the game was likely to go. Tivvy absorbing the pressure and scoring on the break. Three minutes later came an even better opportunity. Way out on the right Kevin Nancekivell burst through the sparse defensive line and followed the touchline to the corner flag before laying the ball back into the path of Scott Rogers‚ marauding forward into the penalty area. Scott was unmarked. We‚ all seven of the Tivvy contingent‚ expected a rocket. Scott‚ though‚ picked his spot and placed the ball sidefooted. It was the wrong place as again Wilson did his job and got a hand to the ball. As far as attack went from Tivvy that was it for the first 45 minutes.

They defended‚ Lynn attacked. Tivvy had a few attempts at breaking out as Phil and Lynchie collected hoofed clearances but all the active play was in the Town half. Thankful to be holding out‚ the half time text messages were prepared to be transmitted as the whistle blew. Last piece of action; 46 minutes showing on the watch. Tivvy awarded a free kick halfway inside the Lynn half‚ wide on the right. Crowded goalmouth with Lynch‚ Everett‚ Nance‚ all in jostling. Oh yes‚ and Steve Peters too. Steve Winter delivered‚ up went the heads and Wilson´s hands. It was Peters´ head that made the contact but the keeper´s attentions prevented him from directing the ball towards the net. It flew out to Chenoweth lurking beyond the back edge of the penalty area. Cheno steadied himself as the ball dropped‚ swung his foot and sent it right back where it had come from - almost. It curled across the six yard line as it passed the first upright‚ was three yards closer as it passed the centre of the goal and three yards and six inches closer still as it reached the second upright i.e.. six inches into the net! The ball had not touched the ground since leaving Steve Winter´s foot. The text messages had to be changed. We didn´t mind. We had plenty of time to do it as the half time whistle sounded.

I´m not sure how long the Siege of Troy went on before the horse appeared‚ probably more than 45 minutes but it couldn´t have seemed any longer than the second half at the Walks. Lynn pushed, Tivvy defended, sometimes desperately. Eight minutes in and a free kick was conceded on the edge of the area. It looked as if the home side had found the target until Eddie got the slight touch that tipped it over the cross bar. A third of the way through and Steve Peters limped off after receiving a knock that had left him heaped on the concrete hard pitch five minutes earlier. Luke Vinnicombe replaced him and showed that his spell at Clevedon has done him the world of good. He was up to the task in every way. There were brief moments of respite for the tireless defenders as Tivvy mounted the odd breakaways. Lynchie down the right, Ovens down the left, Lynch and Everett through the middle, Lynch down the left. Goodness the man was chasing everything that crossed the half way line. The Lynn forwards were tiring and Tivvy took advantage to ease the pressure. That´s all they could do for the Lynn back line were comparatively fresh, not having had a lot to do, and coped comfortably with the visitors incursions. Ovo did go close after Scott Rogers had burst down the left flank but the threats were minimal.

Fresh blood was introduced by the Norfolk men as they attempted to redouble their assaults. It worked in as much as the pace of the offensive was stepped up. Bush looked particularly lively and should have equalised from a move that he started just inside the Tivvy half but having sent his team-mate sprinting free down the left wing, got himself into position for the eventual return cross, firmly headed the ball a yard wide with just Eddie to beat. Mind you, Eddie would probably have got to it such was his form as underlined when another free kick from the edge of the area was curled round the wall by David Staff only to be clasped to the keepers waiting bosom with fifteen minutes left. That last 15 minutes was stretched to 22 as the man in black added time for the injuries, substitutions and, no doubt, some time consuming tactics by Town. It was a lifetime. Nailbiting gave way to finger chewing, Cheno deflected a shot for a corner. Knuckle nibbling became wrist biting, Vinnie deflected a scrambled shot away from the base of the post. Just as the elbows were reached the final whistle blew. Mafeking had been relieved and so were we. Over half the crowd had dispersed in disgust over the last ten minutes. I can´t really understand why. It may not have been what they expected, what they hoped for, but it was not the kind of thing I could have turned my back on.

We returned to the bar to celebrate and wait to congratulate the troops. If we´d had medals every man jack of them would have had one for the sheer tenacity of the way they hung on. Mad to go all that way for a soccer match? Mad, yes; but happy. Bring on the men in their clean white coats.

They´re coming to take me away, ha ha. They´re coming to take me away, he he, ho ho, to the..........

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

Subs: Jamie Mudge, Luke Vinniconbe (Peters,60), Richard Pears (Lynch,88).

Kings Lynn: Steve Wilson, Dave Staff, Jamie March, Martin McNeil, Glen Fuff, Steve Welsh, Wayne Anderson, Paul Raynor, Paul Watts, Brett McNamara, Adie Hayes.

Subs: Zeke Rowe (Staff, 85), Jamie Clarke (Watts, 78), ???? Bush (Anderson, 69).

This report ©2002 John Reidy