Match report

Corby Town 1 - 4 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 20/12/2008   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Tiverton Town rounded off their 2008 road trip in emphatic style with a resounding defeat of big-spending Corby Town at the windswept and unwelcoming Rockingham Triangle. Paul Wyatt’s first half strike was added to by goals after the break from Mike Booth, Phil Walsh and Paul Jarvis as Tivvy played the counter attacking game perfectly and struck through the heart of the Corby defence almost at will.

Nobody would have predicted such a convincing victory for the Yellows, and as the game settled into its early pattern there was little indication of what was to come later in proceedings. Corby were comfortable on the ball, their full back pairing of Dean West on the right and Mark Duckett on the left were free to advance down their respective flanks, and for long periods of the first half Tiverton were forced to pack all ten yellow shirts behind the ball. While it wasn’t pretty it was mighty effective – Phil Walsh and Paul Wyatt covered the flying full-backs, Alex Faux and elder brother Adam stifled any outlet to the more advanced Corby wingers, and the hosts were forced to keep the ball between their former King’s Lynn centre backs and the constantly retreating Steve Towers.

There was simply no way through – as soon as Towers picked the ball up from his defence he was under pressure from either Bobby Hopkinson or the hugely impressive Mike Booth, so back the ball would go. Any chance for the hosts was likely to come from Tivvy breaking down in what little possession they had themselves, so when Ollie Burgess fired well over the crossbar after eight or nine minutes it was the first half chance the Steelmen had conjured. That shot came as a result of Booth being tackled just inside his own half, but Burgess’ shot had to be taken from well outside the area as he still had a wall of yellow to negotiate if he wished to shorten the distance.

Confused that their game plan was being countered so effectively Corby reverted to plan B, the ball over the top. Having finally drawn the Tivvy midfield a few yards forward a lifted high ball was aimed at the red booted Steve Diggin, his flick fell nicely for Dean Brennan, and the eventual shot hit the cross-section of bar and post before flying far away onto the running track behind the goal. It was a decent move, but again the shot came from outside the Tivvy penalty area, and Steve Book would have been disappointed to have been beaten from that range.

Book almost beat himself when he fumbled a shot from Burgess just past his upright, but happily gathered in Brennan’s weak header from the corner that followed, and soon thereafter Tivvy decided the time was right to come out of their shell. The pace of Paul Wyatt was always likely to be the primary outlet, and Phil Walsh dropped deep into the midfield to play a direct ball to get his partner scampering. Off went Wyatt; out came Corby custodian Mark Osborn, the race was on! Wyatt won the race, but only just and he had to stretch in order to poke the ball onwards. Osborn was beaten but so was his right hand post, and the scores remained tied, but Tiverton had shown that they weren’t only about stoic defending.

Arran Pugh became the first player added to the referee’s notebook shortly afterwards when he totally mistimed a headed challenge and sent the equally lanky Leon Hibbert tumbling. No complaints, but it did temporarily stifle Pugh’s enthusiasm, and he became less involved in the midfield battle for the next ten minutes. What wasn’t stifled was Bobby Hopkinson’s eye for a pass, nor Booth’s enthusiasm for a chase, so when the two combined there was always the chance that something productive might happen. Hopkinson slid a cute ball between Mark Warren and Rikki Baines, Booth ran from deep and managed to keep the ball alive ten yards to the right of goal on the by-line. Osborn pursued the Tivvy midfielder and attempted to scoop the ball away but only managed to scoop Booth’s legs, penalty! James Fraser and Hopkinson had seen penalties saved already this season, the understanding was that Mark Saunders would take the next kick, but he wasn’t on the pitch so captain Rudge stepped forward, rolled a daisy-cutter and Osborn was able to watch as the ball bobbled wide of the post.

We were still without score, Tiverton were still deep, but increasingly their counter attacking caused problems for a slow Corby defence. Thirty-six minutes in and the shining Booth took his turn to dissect the Steelmen with a ball down the inside left channel. Wyatt, who had been occupied with silencing the threat of West reacted, leaving the full back in his wake, and cut in towards the edge of the area. He slipped onto one knee but kept control, picked himself up and bashed a right footed shot low into the bottom corner. Osborn was beaten and the Yellows were ahead, their first ever goal at the Rockingham Triangle.

Corby had a brace of good chances to tie things up before the interval, but Book diverted Burgess’ shot wide for a corner, and Warren headed the resultant set piece towards goal only for Alex Faux to nod the ball off the line by the post. Faux then clumsily lost possession but West’s long range sighter was straight at Book, and the advantage the Yellows had worked so hard for was intact as the half time whistle sounded.

The Steelmen tried in vain to increase the tempo and break through the Tiverton defence as the game resumed, and Towers flashed a volley high into the evening sky when he was positioned well to meet a West cross that Rudge could only help on into the area. But Tivvy kept their composure and their game plan, and Wyatt once again raced onto a Walsh pass from deep only for Osborn to save well and keep his side’s arrears at one. But two minutes later a comical error from Warren led to Tiverton’s second and a comfort zone. Booth was the instigator and the beneficiary as he was the chosen one to force pressure on the defence with his strikers still covering the wide areas, and as Warren looked square to Bains Booth intercepted thirty-five yards out. Sprightly legs were too much for the ageing Warren in chase and Booth kept his nerve to drop a shoulder as Osborn narrowed the angle, skip wide of the goalkeeper and roll the ball into the waiting and gaping net.

Wyatt shot wide as Rudge quickly began another counter attack, and Corby finally managed to penetrate a moment later but Towers’ header was high and handsome after West had finally created some space to deliver a cross from the right. A flurry of substitutions from the home side had little effect, and when the recently introduced Martin Wormall hit the deck under a challenge from the quietly effective Matt Villis the home supporters cried foul, only for the referee to give Tivvy a goal kick instead of giving Corby a penalty.

Those home supporters had been vocal throughout, mainly foul mouthed and derogatory, mainly aiming insults at the Tiverton players or the match officials. Now their team was trailing the energies had shifted to cries of anguish at the inability of their own team to do anything other than pass the ball sideways. Corby did try to move forwards, but each and every pass that approached the edge of the Tivvy area was intercepted by the dominant Rudge and the increasingly influential Tom Gardner. Simply put Corby had no chance to get anything from the game, their own supporters saw to that.

Wyatt was duly applauded by the loyal followers of Tiverton as he was withdrawn with a few more miles on the clock, and Wormall earned a yellow card for a crude tackle and petulant reaction as he chopped down Alex Faux. With just six minutes remaining any doubt about the outcome was removed with the perfect route one goal – Book with a long punt, Baines watching pathetically as the ball bounced in front of him and over his head, and Walsh stealing in behind to ram a low shot beneath Osborn. The ripple of the net sealed the three points and sparked a mass exodus from the ground of despondent locals that had seen their team picked off with aplomb.

Three just wasn’t enough for the tail-wagging Yellows, and Hopkinson once more opened the home defence with a clever pass towards substitute Paul Jarvis. Like at Wealdstone, Evesham and Bashley before the winger had only one thing in mind – cut in, left peg, bottom corner. It seems that for Jarvis it is easy; he cut in and fired a left footed shot into the far bottom corner, and for the fourth time in the afternoon sorry Osborn was retrieving the ball from the net. Corby did finally score but nobody cared by then, except perhaps Book who was denied a clean sheet. Gary Walters’ cross from the left defied the attentions of Book and Rudge, and Brennan nipped in at the far post to tap home from close range. A few ironic cheers were all the recognition the goal received, and upon the restart the match was brought to a close.

On this form Tiverton are genuine playoff contenders, Corby aren’t. But one swallow doesn’t make a summer and Tiverton will be well aware that they must maintain their form well into 2009 if they are to harbour any hopes and dreams of an extension to their season. Likewise, Corby will know that one Turkey doesn’t make a Christmas, and the chances of them delivering such a flat and woeful again this season must be slim. Unless Tivvy knocked their stuffing out!

Corby Town: Mark Osborn; Dean West, Mark Duckett, Rikki Baines, Mark Warren (Phil Watt 74), Leon Hibbert (Martin Wormall 59), Ollie Burgess (Leon Mettam 66), Steve Towers, Dean Brennan, Steve Diggin, Gary Walters
Goals: Brennan 90+3
Booked: Wormall 79
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Adam Faux, Alex Faux, Matt Villis, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, Arran Pugh, Bobby Hopkinson, Phil Walsh (Tom Knighton 88), Mike Booth (Glenn Gould 90), Paul Wyatt (Paul Jarvis 77)
Goals: Wyatt 36, Booth 52, Walsh 86, Jarvis 90+1
Booked: Pugh 23
Sent off: None

Attendance: 240

This report ©2008 Alan Reidy






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