Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 0 Mangotsfield United

   Saturday 17/01/2009   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Following the extended exploits of the previous week Tiverton Town took to the pitch for the third time in seven days but found themselves frustrated by a determined Mangotsfield United side that were without a full-time manager, and for whom many players were still not eligible to vote. ’Field have endured a turbulent couple of months, with a number of budget cuts, several players departing Cossham Street, and the culmination of their woes earlier in the week when Paul Milsom was relieved of his managerial duties. They had lost their previous eight league matches, their previous ten in all competitions and were without a win in twelve games, but it was to prove lucky thirteen as the Sky and Maroon kitted side kept their concentration amid increased pressure to earn a first shut-out for three months.

Tivvy were not without their problems – neither Alex Faux nor Paul Jarvis were fit to play, Nathan Rudge was serving a one-match suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards, and Mark Saunders was still feeling the effects of the battle against Kettering the previous Wednesday. That meant that Paul Wyatt further increased his CV with a role in the left wingback position, Mike Booth slotted into the sweeper role, and Adam Faux returned on the right. Glenn Gould took Saunders’ midfield spot, but there was still no place in the starting eleven for Tom Knighton, with Lewis Powell once again preferred as Phil Walsh’s strike partner.

A few stray passes from both sides at the start of the game were dealt before Tiverton’s clear technical advantage began to show, and inside ten minutes the Yellows carved out a brace of excellent opportunities. The first came as a result of Faux’s hard work out wide, and when his cross was met by Arran Pugh it looked for all the world that Tivvy would gain an early lead. Josh Clapham in the Mangotsfield goal was beaten in the air but Danny Barwood covered and was able to hoof the ball off of the goal line at the last moment. Not long afterwards Wyatt broke from his unfamiliar role on the other side of the pitch, cut in past the full back and whipped in a stinging effort that Clapham palmed away, stretching to his left. The ball almost broke for Powell but Mangos captain Ellis Wilmot was this time in place to poke the ball upfield.

At the other end of the pitch Steve Book was full time spectator and part time entertainer for the small band of travelling supporters, and even when the visitors managed to explore the Swimming Pool End Book saw his defenders deal with any issues forthcoming. Mitch Tippins did find some space out wide but by the time he had shaped to centre a cross Matt Villis, captain for the afternoon, had suitably recovered enough ground to block the ball behind for the opening corner of the game. The corner was wasted, too long and out for a goal kick on the opposite side, and before long Tivvy was back in the ascendancy.

Faux was enjoying one of his best games in a Yellow shirt and came within a whisker or two of grabbing his first goal for the club when he volleyed an effort from the edge of the area, but Clapham flung himself upwards and rightwards and plucked the ball from somewhere near the top corner. It was a decent save, albeit one of those that was easier than Clapham made it look. They call it a ‘television save’, but Fulham had taken their cameras with them last Sunday! Still the Yellows came, looking for that elusive breakthrough, and yet to show any signs of fatigue, but the Brizzle side stood firm and kept good chances at a premium. Powell’s claims for a penalty were waved away as he tangled with the youthful yet assured Ryan Bennett, and Glenn Gould fire wide of the target after Powell’s volley had been blocked at close quarters.

Town’s best move of the half ended the same way – a shot the wrong side of the upright – this time courtesy of Wyatt’s right boot. Gould had instigated a move from inside the centre circle by sliding a ball in to Walsh. With back to goal Walsh had nowhere to go other than backwards where Pugh was waiting twenty yards from goal. The Mangotsfield defence was quick to harry and Pugh moved the ball onto Wyatt in space only for the temporary winger to fail to test Clapham. The Mangos ’keeper was having a good day but flapped at Bobby Hopkinson’s free kick as the ball swirled in the wind, Pugh’s presence disturbing the former Tivvy glovesman, but Steve Fitzpatrick managed to get a foot to the loose ball a split second before Powell and help retain parity, in score if not dominance.

Wilmot was the main protagonist for any Mangotsfield creativity and his free kick saw Book in action for the first time just seven minutes before the interval. Despite a rather hopeful effort, the gusty conditions made such attempts worth a shot and Wilmot’s curler was heading close to the far top corner as Book scampered across to palm the ball over the top and to the relative safety of the terrace. Wilmot then strolled across to mess up the resulting corner, allowing Tiverton the last two attacks of the first half. Walsh was at the centre of the first of those as he worked his way from the left into a shooting position, but his low effort was saved, and the same player was again denied by the increasingly annoying Clapham, an excellent save from a header after Walsh had met Wyatt’s cross.

For a match that was lacking a little in quality there were plenty of openings, but Tivvy were forced into a further reshuffle at the interval as Villis had suffered a strain. Knighton came into the action, Powell dropped into a deeper midfield role and Pugh took Villis’ man-marking place in the heart of the defence. And it was the visitors that settled quickest on the resumption as Mike Booth, now donning the captain’s armband under-hit a back-pass that allowed Mitchell Page a sniff. Page latched onto the loose ball and reached the edge of the area before Tom Gardner came sliding in with a tackle timed just as well as the one the previous weekend for which he was punished with the award of a penalty against. Different day, different referee, different (and correct) decision.

Powell and Walsh combined quickly at the other end as normal service resumed but the former was only able to shoot weakly on the turn at Clapham, and Knighton rammed a powerful effort at Bennett’s nether regions, the second ball (ha-ha) falling for Wyatt to aim straight at Clapham. Bennett, though, felt the effects of the initial shot and after lengthy treatment was replaced by Andy Criddle. By now the quiet James Pilling had also been taken off in favour of the burly Tolo Taylor, and soon after Hopkinson blasted one just wide Tivvy made a couple of substitutions of their own. Saunders took over from Gould, who had tried to use the ball intelligently with little success, while David Hood made his first league appearance as a replacement for Lewis Powell.

A second penalty appeal from the Yellows was turned down as Walsh hit the deck in the area, and with time running out Saunders drove a shot through a crowded penalty area that Clapham did well to pick out amongst the legs. There was just two minutes of regulation time left when the referee finally needed the use of his yellow card, waving it at Clapham for time-wasting, but with a number of lengthy stoppages the game would continue into the ninety-eighth minute. In the ninetieth Clapham was once again on top form as he stretched to push away an awkward Walsh cross from the right, an interception that needed to be made as Wyatt was lurking at the back post, and the final throw also came from Walsh in a similar position. This time the cross was delivered low and hard towards the near post, Hood got there before Geraint Bater but from three yards out he could only steer it a foot wide of the post.

And that was that, an ultimately frustrating afternoon for Tiverton, and a result that could have been very different but for a lack of decisiveness in front of goal and an inspired performance from Clapham between the Mangos’ sticks. Stand-in captain for the second half Mike Booth would admit there were some very tired legs on a heavy Ladysmead pitch, but that won’t be held as an excuse. Tivvy performed well enough to win the game, certainly there were enough chances to do so, but it was Mangotsfield, and Clapham in particular, that will go home the happier.


Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Adam Faux, Paul Wyatt, Matt Villis (Tom Knighton 46), Mike Booth, Tom Gardner, Arran Pugh, Bobby Hopkinson, Phil Walsh, Glenn Gould (Mark Saunders 76), Lewis Powell (David Hood 79)
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Mangotsfield United: Josh Clapham; Neil Arndale, Geraint Bater, Ryam Bennett (Andy Criddle 67), Danny Barwood, Matt Groves, Steve Fitzpatrick, Ellis Wilmot, Mitchell Page, James, Pilling (Tolo Taylor 58), Mitch Tippins
Booked: Clapham 88
Sent off: None

Attendance 328

This report ©2009 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