Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 1 Kettering Town

   Sunday 11/01/2009   FA Trophy
Alan Reidy

Games between Tiverton Town and Kettering Town always have a talking point or two that will be remembered for years to come. In 2002 a couple of league meetings were played – the first at Rockingham Road where Poppies goalkeeper Ian Bowling suffered a terrifying injury when he collided with his goalpost, and a couple of months later Kettering secured the Southern League championship at Ladysmead after coming from behind on the day to pip Tamworth to the title. Part three of the saga last weekend initially seemed to have passed by without anything too memorable happening and Bobby Hopkinson’s goal after seventy-seven minutes looked to be the deciding factor. But Richard Graham volleyed home an equalising blow in the ninety-sixth minute, leaving Tiverton with the arduous journey north for a Wednesday night replay.

Early indications were of a scrappy game as both sets of players struggled with the awkward Ladysmead surface, and Arran Pugh and Hopkinson combined to hack clear a Kettering flag kick inside the first sixty seconds. But the Yellows found their feet (as much as was possible given the conditions) and gradually eased into contention, not being overawed by a team two levels higher up the football pyramid. However, only five minutes into the game Paul Jarvis slipped, aggravated his hamstring again and battled on only to be forced out of the action a few minutes later. Lewis Powell was added to the fray with Paul Wyatt moving to the right wingback position vacated by Jarvis.

Kettering were generally on top and the returning Chris Vinnicombe headed off the line following a long throw-in by the powerful Exodus Goehaghon, while Hopkinson sold Matt Villis short, forcing the Tivvy centre back to bring down his man, but again Vinnicombe was on hand to clean up the threat. At the other end Pugh headed wide from a long Hopkinson free kick, and Powell did the same as Mark Saunders and Phil Walsh combined to release Vinnicombe, peculiarly on the right.

Craig Westcarr worked the visitors best chance of the first half as he slipped through the defence only to fire wide and Steve Book saved well from the ineffective Jean Paul Marna, with Kettering now starting to boss the midfield and put their hosts under increasing pressure. Saunders had an effort on a Tiverton break that was comfortably saved by Lee Harper, and when Richard Graham could only shoot softly at Book the first half was brought to a goalless close.

Tivvy found themselves under pressure again for long periods of the second half, but the home side were not without their openings. Walsh headed straight at Harper when he was left unmarked from a left flank corner kick, but the Poppies were still in control and should have taken a fifty-fifth minute lead but Book saved from Iyseden Christie after the striker had been released by a neat through ball courtesy of Andre Boucard. The next chance fell to new Kettering signing Craig Braham-Bennett but his scrambled effort was hacked clear by Villis, and Christie then put a shot into orbit from long range.

Having weathered an incessant storm Tiverton probed forward as the game entered its final stages, and Walsh spurned a glorious chance with fifteen minutes remaining. Vinnicombe had stolen in at the far post and fired a stinging shot that Harper did well to save, but the ’keeper couldn’t hold the strike and parried into his goalmouth. Walsh was in place but somehow managed to side-foot the rebound over the crossbar. But two minutes later Tivvy were ahead, rather fortuitously as Harped blundered and spilled Hopkinson’s shot over the line at his near post.

Marna was immediately replaced by Chris Beardsley but Kettering was unable to break down a determined Tivvy defence until deep into stoppage time. Braham-Barrett once again forced the issue on the left and was adjudged to have been unfairly upended by Tom Gardner inside the area. Despite the inevitable protestations from the home side the penalty was awarded and Christie stepped up to set up the replay. However, Book had other ideas, stood up and batted Christie’s poor penalty away with Brett Solkhom skying the rebound.

Tiverton were off the hook, or at least they should have been, but Book’s save proved to be just a delay of the inevitable as two minutes later Graham found himself with time and space at the far post, met Beardsley’s sweet cross and forced Book to finally pick the ball out of the net. Tivvy kicked off, won a throw deep in the Poppies territory, but no sooner had Hopkinson failed to find Pugh’s head that the referee decide ninety-seven minutes was quite enough for the time being.


Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Paul Jarvis (Lewis Powell 10), Chris Vinnicombe, Matt Villis, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, Arran Pugh, Bobby Hopkinson, Phil Walsh, Mark Saunders, Paul Wyatt
Goals: Hopkinson 77
Booked: Rudge 39, Walsh 56
Sent off: None

Kettering Town: Lee Harper; Darren Wrack, John Dempster, Jean Paul Marna (Chris Beardsley 78), Andre Boucard, Exodus Geohaghon, Iyseden Christie, Craig Westcarr (Brett Solkhon 74), Craig Braham-Barrett, Dale Bennett, Richard Graham
Goals: Graham 90+6
Booked: Dempster 73, Solkhon 90+3
Sent off: None

Attendance: 604


This report ©2009 Alan Reidy






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