Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 2 Fulham

   Saturday 08/07/2000   Friendly
Nigel Davis

Fulham‚ true to their word‚ brought their star-studded team to sunny Devon to kick-off the football festivities that are the pre-cursor to Tiverton Town´s seasons these days. It brought to an end a week long stay at Nigel Mansell´s hotel and golf course in Woodbury and was intended to brush off any cobwebs and give manager Jean Tigana a first look at his new charges.
Originally Fulham hoped to play Exeter City but‚ with them unavailable‚ Tiverton Town were recommended as worthy opponents. And so it proved to be‚ despite the fact that Tiverton had only had one training session since the end of last season.
The pitch‚ as always‚ was magnificent and contributed to the high quality of passing portrayed by both sides and‚ from the off‚ Fulham showed their class. Tiverton held their own with some sparkling defensive performances coupled with their own crisp passing style that brought applause from the visiting support who swelled the crowd to an impressive 1‚405.
Played in excellent spirits‚ the game came to life after six minutes when Fulham´s Kevin Betsy put Barry Hayles through but his shot was blocked by home custodian Paul Edwards - with his legs.
A minute later‚ Hayles was again on target but once more it was Edwards´ legs that came to the rescue. Then it was star signing Louis Saha who was denied in the same way.
Fulham´s pacy attack tested Tiverton´s defence to the full but they were equal to the task with Paul Tatterton often in amongst the thick of the action. But it was only going to be a matter of time before the First Division stars made their mark and it nearly came courtesy of the talented Saha who outpaced the Tivvy defence from the half-way line. With Edwards haring out of his goal‚ Saha was hurried into his shot and the ball ended up hitting the base of a post before being cleared to safety.
Six minutes later it was that man Saha again. He unleashed a wicked left-footed shot that brought another fine reaction save from Edwards‚ but Saha appeared to injure himself in the process. After five minutes of treatment‚ he retired back to the dressing room‚ with Paul Peschisolido replacing him with ten minutes of the half remaining. By now‚ Fulham were finding gaps and they opened the scoring in the 41st minute from Eddie Lewis´ corner - Andy Melville ghosting into the box to head home unmarked. They then doubled their lead in the first minute of injury time when a deep cross from Wayne Collins picked out the head of the smallest player on the park - Peschisolido - who made no mistake from six yards.
The second half heralded widespread changes in the Fulham camp - goalkeeper Maik Taylor and the rest of his defence being substituted. This was probably some relief to Taylor who‚ when with Farnborough in the Conference‚ had faced Tiverton in the FA Cup‚ conceding nine goals in a 4-4 draw at Ladysmead and a 5-1 defeat in the replay.
The final 45 minutes were played at a more sedate pace with again Paul Edwards the star of the show as he pulled off another string of super saves to keep the scoreline respectable. His only mistake was to pick the ball up from skipper Neil Saunders´ back pass after 56 minutes but he redeemed himself with another fine stop.
Tiverton´s rare forays forward almost resulted in a goal. First‚ substitute Ryan King was flattened in the box but appeals for a penalty were denied. Then Stuart Smith´s diving header from Pete Conning´s flighted free kick almost reaped dividends but Marcus Hahnemann was positioned well to save smartly.
All in all it was an excellent workout for both sides. Fulham now travel to France whilst Tivvy prepare for a visit from another West London side‚ Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday July 18th.

Line up: 1 Paul Edwards‚ 2 Micky Fallon 3 Neil Saunders‚ 4 Paul Tatterton‚ 5 Nick Marker‚ 6 Scott Rogers‚ 7 Kevin Nancekivell‚ 8 Pete Varley‚ 9 Richard Pears‚ 10 Steve Daly (returning for 7‚ 81m)‚ 11 Dave Leonard (returning for 3‚ 81m)‚ 12 Pete Conning (for 10‚ 59m)‚ 14 Stuart Smith (for 11‚ 59m)‚ 15 Dom Richardson (for 9‚ 59m)‚ 16 Luke Vinnicombe (for 2‚ half time)‚ 17 Ryan King (for 8, 59m), 18 Kevin Squire (for 5, 75m), 19 Russell Jee (for 6, 79m).

1 Maik Taylor, 2 Wayne Collins, 3 Terry Phelan, 4 Andy Melville, 5 Chris Coleman, 6 Kevin Betsy, 7 Sean Davis (returning for 8, 72m), 8 Lee Clark, 9 Barry Hayles, 10 Eddie Lewis, 11 Louis Sahagk, Marcus Hahnemann (for 1, half time), 12 Kevin Ball (for 2, half time), 14 Kit Symons (for 4, half time), 15 Alan Neilson (for 5, half time), 16 Rufus Brevett (for 3, half time), 17 Steve Hayward (for 7, half time), 18 Paul Trollope (for 10, half time), 19 Paul Peschisolido (for 11, 35m).

This report ©2000 Nigel Davis

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