Match report

Bishop's Stortford 0 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 22/11/2008   FA Trophy
Alan Reidy

FA Trophy Third Qualifying Round

On the back of a fine sequence of results and with noses on the scent of the promotion playoffs Tiverton Town were thrust into the unknown for the final qualifying round of the FA Trophy, and a chance to set up a lucrative tie against one of the Blue Square Premier big hitters. The venue was the splendid Woodside Park, home of Blue Square South strugglers Bishop’s Stortford and the Yellows would not enter the game intimidated in the slightest, having proved consistently over the past few months that they know what it takes to win away from home.

Tivvy were almost at full strength although Matt Villis was still absent so Nathan Rudge continued in the sweeper role, while Tom Knighton and Mark Saunders returned to the starting line up in place of Paul Wyatt and Arran Pugh. But despite this welcome selection headache it was the hosts that dominated the early exchanges, keeping the ball on the excellent playing surface and moving it briskly as they prodded and probed at the Tiverton defence. Jamie Forshaw was the first to set his sights on goal but his volley went well over Steve Book’s crossbar, and Roy Essandoh was denied as Alex Faux tracked back to block his goalbound shot. Danny Green was pulling the strings for the home side, free kicks, corners, long throws; and it was his alertness that created a chance for Ashley Miller, but Book was well placed to claw the ball away from just inside his right post. Other than those three early chances there was little in the way of clear cut goalscoring opportunities for the Bishops despite the fact that they were bossing possession and had a distinct territorial advantage.

Tiverton were not without their chances, and might have nosed ahead on a number of occasions in the opening period. Paul Jarvis struck a free kick from wide on the right flank that Stortford goalkeeper Nicky Eyre gathered cleanly, and with only thirteen minutes on the clock Mark Saunders benefitted from a loose ball after Alex Faux and Tom Knighton had combined, but the veteran midfielder sliced a left footed shot horribly wide from the edge of the area. Back to the other end of the pitch and Craig Edwards blazed high and handsome when Tivvy failed to clear Green’s corner, and full back Matt Jones galloped forward to meet Forshaw’s cross only to find Rudge in perfect position to intercept.

Rudge, who was head and shoulders above every other player on the pitch and put in a performance as good as has been seen in a Tivvy game for some time, started a swift and direct counter attack from which the Yellows should have taken the lead ten minutes before the interval. Having made yet another timely interception the Town captain stepped out of defence and fed the ball down the left for Phil Walsh to chase. Walsh shook off the attentions of Jones and powered from the half way line until he was well inside the area. Eyre moved to narrow the angle and Walsh softly passed the ball into the side netting on the wrong side of the goalpost, a golden chance missed.

A goalless first forty five minutes then, and at the beginning of the second half Adam Faux replaced Jarvis, who had been in the wars and was clearly not fully recovered from a hamstring injury suffered against Rugby Town two weeks earlier. Having been on the back foot for much of the game Tiverton reversed the roles and enjoyed the bulk of the attacking play after the change of ends, with Knighton getting the ball in the net early in the second half only to have his effort ruled out for a clear foul on Eyre. Just a few minutes later Eyre was alert to pull off an excellent safe from James Fraser’s rasping shot, and in a flash Bishop’s Stortford countered, catching the Tivvy defence cold. Green burst beyond Alex Faux, over the sliding challenge of Mike Booth and into the Tivvy area. A certain goal was denied when Green ran out of legs, stumbled and shot weakly from close range into the body of the relieved Book, leaving every eyewitness stunned that the game remained deadlocked and goalless.

Tiverton’s second half dominance increased as the game wore on; Tom Gardner had a header saved, Bobby Hopkinson forced Eyre into a full stretch save and Fraser belted in the daddy of all belters only for the ball to whizz narrowly over the bar with Eyre spectating and rooted to the spot. In the closing stages, with Paul Wyatt now on in place of Knighton Tivvy piled forward but Miller diverted Fraser’s low shot wide and out for a corner, Gardner volleyed over from the resulting centre, and Miller then worked his way into the referee’s notebook following a late challenge on Adam Faux. Jason Mason fluffed a good chance for the hosts five minutes from time, and the last throw fell to Stortford but the stoic Tiverton defence scrambled Green’s free kick away from danger after a brief game of ping-pong in the penalty area, the ball eventually breaking to Booth who launched towards the half way line as an entertaining 0-0 draw was brought to a close. If the replayed game is played in equal spirit and equal quality by both teams then Ladysmead will be in for a treat.


Bishop’s Stortford: Nick Eyre; Matt Jones, Ashley Miller, Jason Mason, Paul Goodacre, Tom Champion, Danny Green, Craig Edwards, Roy Essandoh, Danny Harris, Jamie Forshaw (Richard Howell 69)
Booked: Harris 69, Miller 90
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Paul Jarvis (Adam Faux 46), Alex Faux, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, James Fraser, Bobby Hopkinson, Phil Walsh, Mark Saunders, Tom Knighton (Paul Wyatt 74)
Booked: Alex Faux 47
Sent off: None

Attendance: 271

This report ©2008 Alan Reidy






Please note: The � or ? character in some older reports denotes where an error has occured in translation when the reports were transfered between databases