Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 1 Swindon Supermarine

   Saturday 20/09/2008   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Leading up to the league encounter with Swindon Supermarine Tivvy had been paired with Bracknell Town in the FA Cup, but administrative errors on the part of the Robins meant that Bracknell were forcibly eliminated from the Cup leaving Tiverton with the task of travelling to league rivals Oxford City instead. While this was the main talking point at Ladysmead, the matter in hand was to be the first team this season to deny Swindon a league victory on their travels, Supermarine having already taken three points at Merthyr, Hitchin and Banbury earlier in the season. James Fraser had recovered from a knock he picked up against Wimborne and was fit to start, but Bobby Hopkinson began a three match suspension meaning that Mike Booth returned to the Tiverton side for the first time in nearly eighteen months.



It was Fraser that set the game in motion with a jinking run early on that culminated in a weak shot that Matt Bulman fielded with comfort, and just sixty seconds later Tiverton contrived to keep the scores level when Tom Knighton skied an effort onto the roof of the stand from little more than six yards out. The opening was created by the determination and refusal to fall over under attempted trips from Paul Wyatt, and when a Swindon foot finally missed Wyatt’s leg and poked the ball away as he advanced Knighton was in prime position. The ball, however, did little more than strike the Tiverton forward at pace and ballooned upwards uncontrollably.



Slowly but surely the visitors forced their way into contention, and having escaped unpunished they set about capitalising on a constant string of Tiverton errors as the afternoon wore on. Mark Saunders, Tom Gardner, Fraser and Scott Hiley all conceded possession in the softest possibly way through the first half leading to a constant sequence of chances for Swindon. The first was wasted by Joe Harris, sliced high after Nick Stanley had intercepted a wayward pass, Mark Draycott headed off target from Stanley’s cross, and Alan Griffin contrived to miss at the far post after Draycott’s deep corner from the left had eluded everyone in a crowded goalmouth.



Tiverton were riding their luck, and on 33 minutes that luck ran out. Another tardy pass across the middle of the pitch, another interception from Harris, another direct run towards goal; Harris moved the ball on to Draycott who cruised into the penalty area, sidestepped Nathan Rudge and was felled, somewhat theatrically as he sought a leg to fall over. The leg belonged to Arran Pugh, the penalty kick belonged to Draycott, and the lead belonged to Swindon Supermarine.



The penalty was soft but the lead was deserved at that stage, although it remained intact for less than ten minutes of relative inactivity. Tiverton tied things up out of nothing; Saunders, with little ahead of him to seek put his head down and moved through the inside-right channel. Over one challenge, through a second and around a third, the veteran was unstoppable. Witnessing perhaps the most unskilful destruction of a defensive line ever Knighton bode his time, kept himself free of any Swindon marking, and waited for the inevitable break as Saunders steam – equally inevitably – ran out. He made it well inside the area before Danny Allen recovered to challenge, the ball broke, Knighton gleefully swivelled through 270 degrees and rammed the ball into the net.



Saunders twice fired into orbit, once either side of the half time interval, and Fraser was unlucky to find himself in the way of Knighton’s long range effort, but on the whole Tiverton were still sloppy in midfield, and had Rudge to thank for reading everything in the defensive quarters. Rudge was indeed in inspired form, and delivered a performance that caused Martyn Rogers to deservedly single him out for special praise, but it was goalkeeper Steve Book who made the best attempt to steal the back-page headlines on the hour mark. Gardner conceded a free kick five yards from the corner of the penalty area, substitute Ashley Edenborough stood over the ball, having been on the pitch less than a minute and played a short pass to the left. Chris Taylor struck viciously, Book launched himself full-length and finger-tipped the stinging shot wide of his right upright and out for a corner.



Edenborough later shot over, and fellow substitute Steve Cook spurned a glorious change to win it for ‘Marine with time running out but having found space in the area he was unable to direct the ball beyond Book’s immediate vicinity. And so it was that Tiverton, poor home record extended, became the first side this season to take points off a travelling Swindon Supermarine team. It wasn’t pretty, in the main it wasn’t particularly good, but it was a point, which is better than the Yellows had mustered in the previous two matches at Ladysmead.



Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Scott Hiley, Alex Faux, Arran Pugh (Paul Jarvis 73), Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, James Fraser, Mike Booth, Tom Knighton, Mark Saunders, Paul Wyatt

Goals: Knighton 41

Booked: Knighton 18, Saunders 79

Sent Off: None



Swindon Supermarine: Matt Bulman; Kyle Lapham, Danny Allen, Gary Horgan, Leigh Henry, Chris Thompson, Joe Harris (Steve Cook 77), Mark Draycott, Alan Griffin (Ashley Edenborough 62), Chris Taylor, Nick Stanley

Goals: Draycott 33 (pen)

Booked: Draycott 9, Henry 75

Sent Off: None



Attendance: 318

This report ©2008 Alan Reidy






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