Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 2 Exeter City

   Wednesday 23/07/2008   Friendly
Alan Reidy

It is not all that long ago that Exeter City were beaten here at Ladysmead, when Tom Beddow popped up with a winner deep into injury time in the semi-final of the St. Lukes Bowl, but the Grecians certainly have a bit of a stranglehold on the pre-season spoils, and thanks to a pair of strikes ten minutes apart in the second half the Southerners kept up their excellent record against Tivvy. Ryan Harley curled a splendid free kick past Chris Wright seven minutes after the change of ends, and Craig McAllister was on the end of a flowing move soon afterwards to seal a win that meant Tiverton fell to their second defeat of the pre-season campaign.

It could easily have been a different story had the Yellows turned some of their excellent possession and approach play into goals in the first half. Indeed it was the home side that started the brighter, and with less than five minutes played City were on the back foot and defending a series of corners, swung in dangerously by Chris Vinnicombe on the right and Bobby Hopkinson on the left. Unfortunately the killer touch wouldnt come despite Town have height in abundance, added to by a second trial run for Lawrence Yiga, and Exeter clung on to parity. Jamie Densham sliced a shot wide when put through by Glenn Gould as Tivvy dominated the play, and Hopkinson saw Nick Jordan claw his free-kick beyond the post with Tom Gardner lurking with the appetite of a snake five minutes out of hibernation.

Gardner and the hugely influential Mark Saunders both put efforts over the top, Vinnicombe almost lost his top thanks to the stray boot of Richard Logan, and after being glued back together returned to the action looking like Mr. Bump from the Mister Men. All the while Tiverton piled on the pressure, and Yiga, despite his massive frame didnt have the height to get above Vinnicombes swirling cross - over again and City off the hook again. Exeter almost made a mockery of the sport on the half-hour when they finally posed a threat to Wrights goal but Adam Stansfield could only direct his shot straight down the keepers throat, and closer to half time he had Wright (and the crossbar) beaten from an acute angle.

It was genuinely entertaining stuff, and Yiga shot inches wide minutes after the restart, an attempt that would prove to be one of Tivertons last of the game. It was just sixty seconds later that a seemingly harmless ball was miscontrolled by Town captain Nathan Rudge on the edge of the area - miscontolled in that he controlled it with his hand, allowing Exeter a free kick in the most dangerous of positions. Three red and white shirts stood and looked, Ryan Harley, barely five minutes into his evening strode twice and struck past Wright to open the scoring.

A flurry of substitutions later and Tivvy were momentarily disjointed - Saunders was replaced by Booth and there was now no old head in the midfield, a role the 37 year old had played to perfection for an hour. City made the hosts pay by scything through with early passes, McAllister cut in from his haunt on the right and flicked the ball with the outside of his boot over the advancing but helpless Wright.

Two should have been three not long afterwards; Matt Villis, who had been as dependable as ever to that point played a stunning through ball, inch perfect, to Exeters Logan. It was one of those moments that simply cant be explained, executed to perfection, but wearing the wrong colours! Logan skipped beyond Rudge, around Wright and rolled the ball towards the near post and the unguarded net. That was three, surely, but no! Villis somehow made amends, scampered back furiously and swept the ball from the goal-line in the nick of time. In a matter of seconds he had been barracked and applauded, and deserved both.

Wright stretched acrobatically to palm away a long ranger from Marcus Stewart, but City controlled the game through to the full time whistle and deserved the victory on the basis that they took their chances. Tivvy created enough in the first half but proved to be goal-shy.

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright; Adam Faux, Chris Vinnicombe (Alex Faux 67), Matt Villis, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner (Arran Pugh 58), Glenn Gould, Bobby Hopkinson, Jamie Densham (Tom Knighton 58), Mark Saunders (Mike Booth 58), Lawrence Yiga (Ashley Barker 85)

Exeter City: Nick Jordan; Chris Long, Lewis Tasker, Neil Martin, Jack Furzer, Michael Clarke, Dan Green, Ben Osman, Richard Logan, Craig McAllister, Adam Stansfield

This report ©2008 Alan Reidy






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