Match report

Tiverton Town 3 - 2 Yate Town

   Saturday 11/10/2008   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

"That’s more like it!" everybody cried at Ladysmead last weekend and that despite trailing by two goals to one with thirty minutes to play. There was something about the attitude of the Tiverton Town players, something about the crowd, something about the low pressure weather system… Whatever it was it wore yellow, and after twice falling behind to a gritty yet unspectacular Yate Town side Tiverton turned fortunes in their favour and eventually ran out deserved winners.

The game against our old friends from just north of Bristol started inauspiciously for both sides – little creativity and inventiveness, little guile, little control. But there was plenty of gusto as both sides set about running around and cancelling each other out. The early chances, one at each end, came as a result of set pieces conceded in the middle third. It was Tivvy’s turn first and Paul Jarvis lofted an inswinger to the far post. Captain for the day Matt Villis rose highest, nutted goalwards, but Lee Matthews was alert and on guard and comfortably tipped the ball on his happy side of the crossbar.

The Tiverton corner amounted to nothing – they never do – and attentions turned to the Swimming Pool End a couple of minutes later as Yate made their first meaningful exploration into Tivvy territory. Again it was an initial long free kick that was bundled out for a corner kick, and the resultant set piece looked to have been cleared from danger when Tom Gardner got good distance on his header, but twenty-five yards from goal, and unattached waited Matt Beadle. The Yatesman blazed in a ferocious volley that caused more concern for the supporters congregated ten yards to the left of Steve Book’s goal than it did for the Tiverton goalkeeper, but it was a half-chance nonetheless.

The subsequent passage saw the Yellows on top, and Phil Walsh showed why he isn’t a ballerina as his awkward overhead kick bounced twice before finding it’s way into the gleeful arms of Lee Matthews, and soon thereafter a teasing free kick from Bobby Hopkinson evaded all in a crowded penalty area, all including the late arriving Villis who was a yard short of latching on and grabbing a certain goal.

Yate responded like only teams playing against Tiverton seem to know how, by breaking away and scoring out of nothing. Tivvy were in the ascendency and readily had players committed to attacking endeavours, but given half a sniff the visitors exploited the space left behind. As another Tiverton attack broke down the ball was spread out to Alex Stanley, and the former Cirencester player was quick to put his side on the front foot. A sharp ball down the flank to Aaron Blakemore was tuned to perfection, the subsequent cross had Book stranded and wondering whether to stick or twist. In the end the Tivvy ‘keeper did neither and Craig Davidge happily picked up the pieces and belted the ball into the net to give the visitors the lead.

Tiverton were not defeated yet and they sowed character to immediately get back on the front foot. After twenty-five minutes they came within a whisker of equalising, four times is quick succession. Phil Walsh’s header was scrambled off the line by former Yellow Paul Chenoweth, Mark Saunders and Bobby Hopkinson both had follow-ups hacked off the line and back into the danger area, and finally, in an intense ten seconds Matthews was finally able to get his mitts on James Fraser’s goalbound shot. Yate were leading and riding their luck; Tiverton were trailing, dominant, and had the crowd behind them.

The frenetic tempo tempered for a while, and Walsh’s wasted free kick was the only attempt on or off goal for some time, but the final five minutes of the first period saw a return of the action. Firstly it was the visitors who worked their way towards a golden opportunity to increase their lead, although the perceived wisdom is that it would have been harsh on Tiverton given how the chance initially presented itself. Darren Hawkins skipped over Alex Faux’s challenge as he headed towards the corner flag on the Yate left and unleashed a cross powerful enough for Mike Booth to try and take evasive action. The ball struck Booth - who had spun through half a rotation – on the backside, the linesman curiously thought it had struck him on the hand, and even more curiously had deemed it intentional, hence Yate won a free kick. With the ball on the edge of the penalty area and five yards from the goal line it was a fine chance for the Bluebells to work Book in the Tivvy goal, but another poor delivery was met and headed over the crossbar by James Fraser, away from danger and out for a corner.

Matt Villis picked up the first yellow card of the match as he fouled Hawkins, and the Tiverton defender was joined in the referee’s notebook three minutes later by Beadle as the Yate played cynically hacked at Fraser and thwarted a break from the midfield. A minute or two of added time was required following a clash of heads between Davidge and Tom Gardner, and in this additional play Hopkinson’s left peg delivered a swirling effort that had Matthews scrambling back, too late, but the ball clipped the top of the crossbar and nestled safely on the terraces, leaving Yate with their noses in front and more able to enjoy their quarter-cut oranges.

Blakemore, who had been involved barely at all in the opening period except for delivering the cross that led to Yate’s goal, was replaced prior to the recommencement of the game, Dean Griffiths taking his place alongside Reid in the visitor’s attack. And Griffiths’ physical presence and eye for goal almost paid dividends ten minutes into the second half when his goalbound overhead volley was cleared from between the posts, and Beadle’s follow-up was gathered in by Book.

The Yellows responded with some attacking movement of their own, and Jarvis fired a shot well wide of the target having scampered in from his right wing slot and muscled his way into a shooting position. Tivvy regained possession immediately from the restart, and once again probed down the right; Jarvis’ quick throw allowed Fraser to turn close to the by-line and roll the ball into Tom Knighton’s feet. The forward, closely attended, flicked the ball up in front of his chest on the edge of the goal area and leaped to scissor-kick the ball past Matthews and into the net for a deserved equaliser.

Parity had been restored but parity didn’t last for long. Straight from the kick-off Yate broke away – a sloppy pass from Hopkinson – and Griffiths and his fresh legs made a beeline for goal. The substitute brushed off the attentions of Villis, reached the edge of the area and hammered a low shot that Book was unable to reach, the ball striking the inside of one post and creeping across the line on the other side of the goal. Yate had been pegged back for less than sixty seconds; Tivvy had to rally once more.

Rally they did, as again home chins stayed raised and barely another minute further into the game Jarvis crossed from the right and forced Matthews to palm the ball out for a corner at full stretch. Davidge crazily lunged in on Knighton to become the third name taken by the referee, and with twenty-five minutes left on the clock Marcus Mapstone lifted a free kick in a dangerous area high over the crossbar following a foul by Villis on Reid.

There was still an air of optimism being transposed from the Yellows side of the pitch to the 288-strong crowd, and Tiverton kept coming forward in search of a second equaliser. Jarvis again, he was dynamic to the full, broke free and crossed into the area, the ball bobbled around between Fraser and Beadle, hit the Yate player on the hand and the linesman on the clubhouse side spread his flag across his chest to signify a penalty kick. Yate protested, Griffiths more so than most and he added his name to Mr. Greenwood’s collection as Fraser calmly waited to take the spot kick. Once the furore had died down Fraser paced up, Matthews went to his left early and the ball went the other way, inside the post and into the side netting. We were level once more.

Paul Metherinham had by now replaced Paul Chenoweth, and a final substitution by the away side saw Nick McCootie (bless my soul) added to the fray in place of Reid, but Yate offered little resistance as Tiverton dominated the final stages of the game. If a winner was going to come it would be for the hosts, and with ten minutes remaining Walsh lifted a difficult volley over the bar and over the stand after the even increasingly influential Fraser had opened up the defence on the right wing. Fraser once again crossed from the Clubhouse side in the eighty-fifth minute, the ball just too high for substitute Glenn Gould, on for Mark Saunders, to be able to control his headed. Wide it went, and with the pause in play Alex Faux took his place on the bench as Chris Vinnicombe entered the fray from the last act.

And what a last act it was! Fraser and Jarvis had by now terrorised Stanley in the Yate left-back position, and the pair were at it again in the final minute of normal time. Jarvis moved the ball down the line and cut inside, Fraser waited, skimmed past Stanley and sought out a return pass to Jarvis who by now had made his way into the area. The pass was perfect, and Jarvis needed just one tough to calmly place the ball well beyond Mathews’’ reach and into the same spot that Fraser had found from the penalty kick twenty minutes earlier. Tivvy had done it, turned around a deficit and finally managed to win a home league match in the 2008-09 season. Jarvis rightly took the plaudits and the bottle of bubbly for a Man-of-the-Match performance, Fraser wasn’t far behind, and both Book in goal and Booth, playing the sweeper role will come out of this game with a huge amount of credit. A truly positive performance from Tiverton, and the perfect preparation for the FA Trophy game against North Leigh.


Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Paul Jarvis, Alex Faux (Chris Vinnicombe 87), Matt Villis, Mike Booth, Tom Gardner, James Fraser, Bobby Hopkinson, Phil Walsh, Mark Saunders (Glenn Gould 79), Tom Knighton
Goals: Knighton 56, Fraser (pen) 68, Jarvis 90
Booked: Villis 41
Sent Off: None

Yate Town: Lee Matthews; Edd Vahid, Alex Stanley, Scott Brice, Marcus Mapstone, Matt Beadle, Aaron Blakemore (Dean Griffiths 46), Paul Chenoweth (Paul Metheringham 64), Darren Hawkins, Jake Reid (Nick McCootie 74), Craig Davidge
Goals: Davidge 19, Griffiths 57
Booked: Beadle 44, Davidge 61, Griffiths 68,
Sent Off: None

Attendance: 288


This report ©2008 Alan Reidy






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