Match report

Bashley 2 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 16/12/2008   FA Trophy
Alan Reidy

FA Trophy First Round

Tuesday saw Tivvy make the trip to Hampshire to play the rearranged FA Trophy game against Bashley, our second midweek visit to the ponies in the short history we share against Bash, and after a contrasting two halves of football honours were even, the teams inseparable, and thus we reconvene at Ladysmead in a week’s time. We shouldn’t have had to make plans though, as Tivvy were cruising at 2-0 ahead midway through the first half, had plenty of goalscoring opportunities to nail Bashley’s coffin, but paid the price for sitting back and playing defensively through much of the second half, or perhaps in fairness to Bashley we were forced onto the back foot. Either way the result was the same.

Town kicked off with their usual party trick – the one that never works – as Bobby Hopkinson launched a high ball towards the Bashley right back position. As if by magic Bashley’s right back was in position and headed back towards the centre spot unchallenged and the pessimists probably felt that the pattern of keeping the ball in the air had already been set. But it wasn’t so, Mark Saunders collected in the ball in the central third, moved it out to the right (on the green stuff) for the returning Paul Jarvis, and Jarvis in turn fed the ball back inside for Glenn Gould. The young midfielder was thirty or more yards from goal but with no amber and black shirt in his close vicinity decided to have a pot-shot. The ball sailed harmlessly over David Elm’s crossbar, and we had played just twenty-one seconds.

Things settled, Bashley tried in vain to move things around quickly, paying particular attention to their own left flank and the lively legs of Charlie Knight, but what possession they enjoyed amounted to little and soon enough the ball was back up in the heavens and both defences took it upon themselves to try and bypass their respective midfielders and play a more direct game. In the thirteenth minute Hopkinson finally managed to get his foot on the ball, again from a simple pass from Jarvis out on the right. With Elm twiddling his thumbs while play was in his distance Hopkinson took a gamble and let one fly. The contact with the outside of Hopkinson’s right foot caused the ball to swerve viscously, Elm took a step to his right as the ball moved to his left, got half a palm on the audacious shot, but it was too hot and dropped into an otherwise unguarded net. Hopkinson scored a total fluke against Truro a couple of months ago – this one was no fluke. He knew what he was doing, but it needed a goalkeeping error to bear fruit, Elm delivered and Tiverton were ahead.

The home side tried to rally but couldn’t, and a brace of corners delivered by James Rowe, one from each side proved to be of little threat as Tivvy held firm at the back. Midway through the first half the Yellows in white opened up a comfort zone as Elm once again was left with egg on his face. A routine clearance from a back pass was scuffed out for a throw-in after Paul Wyatt had hurried the custodian; Alex Faux combined neatly with Saunders from the restart and swung in a low cross towards the edge of the goal area. Elm failed to gather up under pressure from his own defender, the ball broke for Phil Walsh, clattered off the front man’s knee and bobbled slowly towards goal. To make absolutely sure Walsh followed it up and tapped across the line. Two-nil, and at this stage there was only one team in it. Bashley were decent enough in the wide areas but soft in the centre, and Rowe his midfield partner Chris Knowles were looking hapless and lost, with the score line reflecting the domination of Tivvy’s trio of central players.

The hosts managed to gradually improve the quality and both Matt Finlay and Justin Keeler fired wide of the mark as the home side came into the game. Walsh almost benefitted again from Wyatt’s tenaciousness but shot weakly straight at Elm, and at the other end Steve Book used every ounce of his experience to maintain Tivvy’s two-goal advantage as he saved superbly from the generally anonymous Rowe who had broken through and shot to the Tiverton number one’s right. Keeler then curled another effort just wide of the post at the end of the first half as the interval arrived with Bashley starting to get on top of the game. Meanwhile, Mike Booth picked up a caution for the second game on the trot when he needlessly skied the ball half way to Bournemouth long after the referee had peeped his whistle for a Bash free kick.

Tiverton had a glorious chance early in the second period, but Faux was denied as Elm gathered in the leftie’s low shot smartly. Then moments later the livewire that is Wyatt once again raced free down the wing and centred the ball for across the turf towards Walsh in the penalty area. With the defensive attentions of Matt Parnell thwarting any chances of a shot on goal, and with back more towards goal than front Walsh moved the ball further across as Saunders belied the years to power forward. Saunders belted in a first time shot, as sweetly struck as he could have wished for, Elm was beaten all ends up, but his right goalpost stood firm as the ball clouted the inside of the upright, flashed back across the face of goal and spun behind for a goal kick.

And from then it was predominantly Bashley that had the forward momentum; little guile and science to their onslaught, but an effective use of the wings in the most direct manner. Chris Ferrett was pushing further and further forward from his left back spot, and when one of his curling crosses sailed too long Dave Allen was in place on the far side to pick up the pieces. Allen lifted the ball back into the area, Keeler stole in and diverted a backwards header into the net, well beyond Book’s reach. We had a game on our hands now.

Tivvy were under intense pressure, and their only outlet was a long ball for Wyatt and chase. Twice he did and twice he was denied by Elm. One move ended with a weak daisy cutter, but midway through the second period a better chance went begging as Wyatt appeared to stumble slightly as he made his way from the right and into the area. The final touch or the punctuated forward momentum was not favourable and Elm slid out to smother the ball at Wyatt’s feet. Knighton replaced Wyatt late on and had a decent sight of the net, but his shot was a weak as his colleagues earlier effort, and Saunders also had a chance to seal the tie but was bravely denied by Elm as the Town midfielder struggled to sort his feet out quickly enough to get a decent purchase on his far post shot.

Paul Gazzard fired into the side netting from another Ferrett cross as Bashley continued to prod and probe in an agricultural manner that was of enough quality to at least disconcert the Tivvy defence, Pete Castle drilled a shot just past the upright that Book was paying full attention to, and with just two minutes of normal time to go the home side earned the deserved equaliser. Allen skipped around on the edge of the area, the ball was poked away from him but fell perfectly for Jeremy Tarr to blast into the roof of the net. Tarr had been on the pitch for sixty seconds or less, an inspired substitution if ever there was one. That was that, bar Allen heading wide from a near post cross. Bashley were delighted with the comeback, and so they should be. They didn’t play the second half like a team struggling at the foot of the league, and showed more than enough desire to get back on level terms after their nightmare opening to the game. Conversely Tiverton were left to rue an opportunity lost. Having dominated the first thirty-five minutes they should have been home and dry, and had enough chances in the second period despite being deep and on the back foot. The difference between the FA Trophy game and the league game six weeks earlier was clear – Bashley now had their first choice goalkeeper back between the sticks. David Elm made a number of fine stops that kept his side in touch, whereas when Tivvy won 3-0 on the same ground in late October the young Grant Porter had a Bashley debut to forget as everything he touched went wrong, and some things he should have touched but chose not to.

And so we meet again. Next time there must be a result, and if Tiverton can find the form they are capable of and maintain it for a bit more than half of the game then Kettering will be making the trip to Devon. If, on the other hand, the Mr. Hyde version of the Yellows turn up then the Northants Poppies will need to make plans for a trip closer to the seaside.


Bashley: David Elm; Paul Gazzard (Marc Fairbrother 77), Chris Ferrett, Pete Castle, Matt Parnell, Chris Knowles, Matt Finlay (Jeremy Tarr 87), James Rowe, Dave Allen, Justin Keeler, Charlie Knight
Goals: Keeler 52, Tarr 88
Booked: Rowe 45, Gazzard 70
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Steve Book, Paul Jarvis (Adam Faux 73), Alex Faux, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Matt Villis, Glenn Gould, Bobby Hopkinson, Phil Walsh, Mark Saunders, Paul Wyatt (Tom Knighton 82)
Goals: Hopkinson 13, Walsh 22
Booked: Booth 36
Sent off: None

Attendance: 165

This report ©2008 Alan Reidy






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