Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 1 Burnham

   Saturday 20/10/2007   FA Trophy
Alan Reidy

Tiverton Town’s only chance of Cup success on the national scene was dashed at Ladysmead after falling to a late defeat against visiting Burnham. The visitors were sitting proudly on top of the Southern League South & West Division and went into this FA Trophy encounter brimming with confidence, while their hosts, keen to make up for a disappointing defeat against Shortwood in the FA Cup fielded new signing Matt Hewlett in the middle of the park as they strived to kick-start the season following an indifferent opening two months.

It was the Yellows who were the sharpest out of the blocks and when an early corner was cleared Tom Knighton sent a teasing cross in from the right wing which Chris Vinnicombe was inches away from turning into the net. Inside the first five minutes the action had already covered the whole pitch with Byron Bubb and Leon Yarnie stretching the Tiverton defence, and it was the former that just failed to turn in a pulled back cross from his strike partner. Yarnie then saw a side footed shot tipped around the post by Town goalkeeper Ray Johnston as the visitors pressed for a crucial breakthrough, but the home side held firm and as the first half wore on began to establish a degree of superiority on the game.

After Knighton had seen his weak effort comfortably saved, and Laurence Brown sent an audacious 35-yarder well wide Tivvy were gifted the chance to move ahead from the penalty spot. Knighton had freed Lee Groves on the left side of the area and the Tivvy midfielder was scythed down by a reckless Lee Canavan challenge. Carl Cliff-Brown took the responsibility but his half-hearted spot kick was turned away by Jon Beames and the game remained level and goalless.

Beames needed to be on his toes to push over a hanging cross from Hewlett while Bubb did well to create some space only for his grass cutting effort to bobble harmlessly into the hands of Johnston as both sides effectively cancelled each other out. Hewlett fired wide from distance and Tiverton skipper Nathan Rudge almost presented Dan Willment a glorious chance but was quick to make up for his loose pass by blocking the resultant low shot. With creativity lacking Tom Gardner pushed forward as Tiverton counter-attacked but showed a defenders instinct when he got within striking distance of the Burnham goal and as he fell over the ball the defence cleared the danger.

The second period began with the home side on top but they were unable to concern Beames unduly, with only a dynamic break down the right from Luke Clarke and a skied effort from Knighton to show for their early effort. Around the hour mark the visitors again began to settle and push forward, and Yarnie was once more involved but his shot was deflected over the top by Jak Martin, then shortly afterwards Canavan missed a simple far post header that would have given Burnham a deserved lead.

Paul Wyatt was introduced with twenty minutes still to play and his impact was almost immediate. Breaking loose in the inside left channel he fired in a shot from the edge of the area that lifted just too high to trouble the scoreboard, and then worked back to win the ball deep inside his own half, only to feed the misfiring Cliff-Brown whose shot was saved.

The game appeared to be heading for a replay and neither Wyatt at one end nor Simon Goodrham at the other could hit the target, but as added time approached, the Tivvy defensive line pushed up as the Yellows sought a late winner. This tactic backfired; Bubb escaped the attentions of Matt Villis, who had marked the forward out of the game for long periods, and was in space wide on the right wing. Skipping past the covering of Rudge Bubb reached the corner of the penalty area before pulling the ball back to Jeffrey Brown. The Burnham midfielder, anonymous to that point, unleashed a first-time drive from thirty yard which arrowed past Johnston into the top corner of the net, giving the visitors a late, late wining goal, and a goal that deserved to win any game such was the ferocity and accuracy of the strike. There was simply no time for Tivvy to recover; Rudge was pushed forward without effect and Burnham took the prize money and their place in the next round of the FA Trophy.

Tiverton Town: Ray Johnston; Luke Clarke (Paul Wyatt 70), Chris Vinnicombe, Matt Villis, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, Jak Martin, Lee Groves, Carl Cliff-Brown, Matt Hewlett, Tom Knighton

Attendance: 302

This report ©2007 Alan Reidy

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