Match report

Bashley 0 - 3 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 25/10/2008   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Tiverton Town’s fine form away from home continued in the New Forest at the weekend as the Yellows morphed into the Whites for the afternoon and comprehensively saw off Bashley, a side that reached the playoffs last season. A Phil Walsh header and a volley from Mark Saunders, his first league goal for Town since 1995 gave Tivvy a comfortable half time lead, and having soaked up everything Bash could muster - which wasn’t a great deal - Paul Jarvis sealed the victory five minutes from time.

Whoever it is up there with a voodoo doll of the Tiverton Town team coach must be questioning the merits of the surreal – for the third time this season a psychotic pin prick debilitated the bus. Previously a cracked window and a major oil leak had thrown the squad’s travelling plans into a mild form of disarray; in the middle of nowhere amongst the ponies of the New Forest a tyre was punctured on the way to the ground, but Tivvy yet again showed character amid fractured pre-game preparation to overcome adversity and answer their critics and the voodoo instigator in the best possible style.

An impressive and lively opening from both sides proved a good indicator of what was to be offered to a disappointing crowd of just 285 at Bashley Road with attacking intent being shown at either end of the park. Nic Eastham, Bashley goal-machine Richard Gillespie and Chris Knowles set about giving the Tivvy defence food for thought, while the visitors, when they won the ball, were happy to move play around at speed between Jarvis, James Fraser and Bobby Hopkinson. It was the hosts that worked the first sight on goal after three intense and furious minutes but the lanky Gary Middleton and his defensive partner Matt Parnell both saw shots blocked inside the area following a half-cleared corner, and Town cleared the ranks and set about an attacking move of their own. Jarvis, as is his want, cut in from the right as dispatched a goalbound effort that had the inexperienced Grant Porter in the host’s goal clambering. The shot was half fumbled but Porter eventually scooped up the pieces as Tom Knighton raced in to pressure the inexperienced debutant goalkeeper.

The first major turning point in the game after fourteen minutes saw Pete Castle booked for a crudely mistimed tackle on Hopkinson that left the Tiverton midfielder requiring lengthy treatment, but Hopkinson was back on his feet soon afterwards to bomb in a textbook long throw that led to the opening goal. Walsh sauntered towards the near post to meet the throw and flicked a header backwards. A slight deflection off an Amber shirt helped lift the ball up and over Porter’s head, and serenely into the net on the opposite side of goal.

Glenn Gould picked up a yellow card of his own – it isn’t clear why – before Bashley came within a whisker of drawing level. Another corner from the right was curled in; Castle met the cross and headed powerfully onto the underside of the crossbar. With the locals in the stand already celebrating Steve Book grabbed the loose ball from the goal-line much to the chagrin of the home supporters. It was close but the Russian linesman said “Niet? and play continued with Tivvy still marginally ahead. Book then turned over a deep cross from tastle and Knowles sliced hideously wide from the edge of the area, endangering the corner flag more that the back of the net.

Hopkinson, who had staggered on determinedly for fifteen minutes since the foul by Castle, was forced to retire hurt on the half-hour mark, and Mark Saunders came off the bench to slot into the vacant midfield role. Saunders presence allowed Jarvis more freedom but the match had begun to simmer after such a frenetic opening so Jarvis and Alex Faux on the opposite flank became less involved as the match approached the interval. When Faux did manage to get his foot on the ball just inside the Bashley half of the pitch he was quickly upended by the diminutive James Rowe, giving Fraser the opportunity to ping a free kick into the danger area. The ball was knocked deep; deeper than Walsh at the near post, over the head of Knighton on the penalty spot and the advanced Tom Gardner, and perfectly for Saunders who had sneaked in at the far post. Before hitting the ground Saunders met the cross and placed a side-footed volley just inside the upright, again with Porter in no-man’s-land.

Jarvis forced Porter to save low down and Walsh just failed to reach Faux’s cross as the first half ended with Tivvy in the ascendency and the initial exchanges after swapping ends followed a similar pattern with no reward. Gradually, however, Tiverton began to sit back and stifle Bashley with numbers behind the ball, and the home side were reduced in the main to efforts from distance. Marc Fairbrother was finding space on the right wing but seldom delivered into the area with Faux and Gardner combining on several occasions to nullify the threat. Book gathered cleanly from substitute Justin Keeler, Knowles headed wide of the mark and Town were in control.

At the other end Gould seemed to have broken through only to be thwarted by a fine recovering tackle by Middleton and both Jarvis and Knighton failed to hit the target, the latter a chance that might have been converted had Knighton been aware of the support being offered by Saunders’ evergreen legs galloping forward through the inside right channel. While happy to sit deep and see out time Tiverton did take the chance to explore the clubhouse end of the pitch, and one more than one occasion their comfort on the ball actually proved detrimental, with Fraser, Jarvis and Walsh playing swift triangles around the penalty area only to ultimately lose possession after one silky back heel too many. It was pretty to watch but it amounted to nothing; with a two goal lead it didn’t really matter of course. With time running out, and Bashley’s ideas and hopes all but extinguished Tivvy countered once more; a crisp move instigated by Gould led to Fraser feeding Jarvis on the edge of the area, another sequence of quick passing that is confirmation of the adage that you should let the ball do the moving. Jarvis fired low past the hapless portero Porter to ice the cake of a convincing victory, and with a three goal lead Nathan Rudge and Adam Faux were given a minute or two to stretch their legs after enforced lengthy layoffs, Rudge replacing Gould, the youngster gradually getting back to his best form both for the first team and the Under 18s, while Faux took over from Jarvis who had worked his socks off on the right and elsewhere.

Bashley: Grant Porter; Gary Middleton (Justin Keeler 65), Chris Ferrett, Pete Castle, Matt Parnell, Chris Knowles, Matt Finlay, James Rowe (Aidan Sainsbury 72), Nic Eastham (Marc Fairbrother 55), Richard Gillespie, Jeremy Tarr
Booked: Castle 14, Rowe 46, Fairbrother 66
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Paul Jarvis (Adam Faux 90), Alex Faux, Matt Villis, Mike Booth, Tom Gardner, Glenn Gould (Nathan Rudge 90), James Fraser, Phil Walsh, Bobby Hopkinson (Mark Saunders 29), Tom Knighton
Goals: Walsh 18, Saunders 38, Jarvis 86
Booked: Gould 20
Sent off: None

Attendance: 285

This report ©2008 Alan Reidy






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