Match report

Tiverton Town 3 - 1 Exeter City

   Tuesday 16/04/2002   Testimonial
John Reidy

Few players can ever be‚ or have ever been‚ held in as high esteem at a football club as Phil Everett is at Tiverton Town. As if to disprove the old saying ´You can´t please everyone´‚ Phil has been all things to all men at Tivvy. Professional in his attitude‚ skilful as a player‚ and ´all round good egg´ off the field.

Over 700 fans turned up at Ladysmead to watch a strong Exeter City line up face a Yellows side that included players from a decade in which Phil had been an integral part of Tiverton´s climb from the Western League to the brink of the football Conference and to thereby honour the man that has topped 500 competitive appearances and found the net over 350 times for the club.

The starting line up included only one of the ´old boys´. Kevin Smith wore the No.8 shirt as he had done in the days when his pairing with Phil had caused many a defence to quake before their onslaught. A few pounds heavier‚ Smudger showed he still retained some of the old touches‚ even though the pace may have been lacking - and was that a pack of Marlboro´s tucked in his shorts? City took the initiative early on but unsurprisingly for such a match there was little urgency‚ the spectacle and occasion being more important than the result. On the half hour Exeter took the lead. A penalty. Such was the cruciality of the kick that Stuart Fraser left his station between the City posts‚ galloped the length of the field and crashed the spot kick home past Paul Edwards outstretched left hand. Town came back and nearly levelled things on the half time whistle when Scott Rogers hit the crossbar.

Mass substitutions at half time saw the remainder of the current Tivvy squad take the field and with them a replacement of energy levels. Jamie Mudge‚ eager as ever to show that he was a match for his former club mates‚ took just three minutes to make his mark. In a typically Jamie move he broke down the right and crossed into the box to present Antony Lynch with a simple sidefoot past Fraser. Town were not only back in the game they were in control and when Lynch set up Mudge for the second goal six minutes later they were deservedly in front and it was time for another bout of personnel changes. A few of the young hopefuls that still keep in touch with Ladysmead in the hope of getting a game were given their chance. Steve Hynds‚ Pete Conning‚ Paul Tatterton and the ever youthful Hedley Steele were all out there‚ joining Phil who returned to the fray after a prolonged half time break. Even Paul Edwards was given a rest as the redoubtable Ian Knott donned the gloves once more. And ´Knotty´‚ like Kevin Smith showed he had lost none of his old touch. The first time the ball came to him we were treated to a ´Diss moment´ as Ian grabbed it at the third attempt‚ raising cheers from those fans with memories far longer than the former Tivvy keeper´s kicks. It became all quite light hearted as the fans willed the man whose evening it was to find the net. The yellow shirted players endlessly tried to tee the ball up for Phil but the Grecians were having none of it and thwarted the attempts with the determination of hardened party-poopers. With seconds remaining Phil turned on a sixpence to crash the ball goalwards but Sub keeper Steve Johns scrambled the ball away and it seemed the goal was not going to come. One final attack. One last chance‚ and Everett on the score sheet as he bundled the ball over the line from close range. It completed the evenings entertainment both metaphorically and factually as no sooner had City re-started‚ the final whistle sounded.

It was the end of the game and possibly the end of an era. Hopefully we will still see a lot more of Phil Everett in a Tivvy shirt. If not‚ then we have ten years of memories to thank him for.

This report ©2002 John Reidy

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