Match report

Yate Town 0 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 20/01/2009   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

A fine documentary entitled "Goal!" from many moons ago centred on England’s successful 1966 World Cup campaign, and during the sparse narration it was clear to hear the Wembley crowd chanting following the opening goalless draw against Uruguay: "We want goals! We want goals!" Having been frustrated by our Hispanic friends form across the water England then faced a determined if somewhat uninspiring Mexico side that sat behind the ball, causing the Union Flag waving hoards to build up frustration. "We want goals!" repeated Nigel Patrick, the narrator of the film, echoing the sentiments of the Wembley crowd, "And they got one, a beauty from Bobby Charlton."

Tiverton don’t have their own modern day yellow version of the great man, not do they have close to 100,000 supporters demanding of them, or a nation that expects weighing them down. But the supporters they do have want goals, and one can only hope that when we get one it will be a beauty. The 0-0 draw at Yate came on the heels of an identical result at home to Mangotsfield United and a 1-0 defeat at Chippenham, making it now three full matches and 303 minutes since Mike’s Booth’s penalty against Clevedon marked the last time Tivvy scored a league goal.

We want goals! And against Yate they nearly got one as Tiverton pinned back their struggling hosts for the first five or six minutes, racing out of the blocks with purpose and determination, keen to show that there were no ill effects from the testing couple of weeks just past. Arran Pugh, still in midfield despite a host of absentees in the defensive quarters, linked up well with Lewis Powell and the ball was swiftly moved out to the left flank and the experienced toes of Chris Vinnicombe. Vinny feigned one way, cut back and delivered an inswinging cross towards the back post. Phil Walsh was in place but couldn’t free up enough room to get a shot away, and as the ball broke in the direction of Paul Wyatt Walsh managed to get in the way and thwart any potential effort at goal.

Six minutes gone and Tiverton had only attacked. As the game progressed there would inevitably be testing times at the other end of the pitch, and a reshuffled back line would need to be on their guard. Paul Jarvis was still out, as was Alex Faux. Matt Villis joined them on the treatment table while Tom Gardner was busy navigating the virgin-white pistes of Austria or Switzerland or France. Fortunately Nathan Rudge was back after a one-game suspension, and he was joined in central defence by Mike Booth and Adam Faux, with Vinnicombe and Wyatt on the flanks. Adam has done nothing other than sprint up and down the wing all season, and done it well, so to ask him to move into a man-marking role after such a lengthy period elsewhere was always going to be a risk, and although he won’t thank me for saying so there was some rustiness on display in the first half. Alongside him Booth was unusually sloppy with his distribution as Yate harassed the Tivvy defence, but the wayward passes across the line and into midfield ultimately caused no damage, and both players raised their game progressively throughout the evening.

Inside ten minutes Yate showed that despite their lowly position in the table – the red zone had become home for the Lodge Road outfit recently – they were not short of pace when pushing forward. The main protagonist in everything good from the Bluebells’ attacking intentions was the habitually injured Jason Wood, who along with Alex Stanley and Jake Reid did his best to stretch the new-fangled Town defence into submission. The triumvirate worked a good opening that Reid fired into the advertising hoardings a yard or two on the safe side of Steve Book’s right post, and moments later Wood’s corner caused enough panic in the area for Booth to be called upon to belt the ball away from just in front of the line.

Booth may have rescued the Yellows then but he almost gifted Yate an opening goal in the next passage of play with a careless sideways pass that Dean Griffiths was onto in a flash. Griffiths took a touch on the edge of the area but smacked his shot just wide of the mark, and another move down the left instigated by Wood eventually amounted to nothing as Vinnicombe read the flight of the cross and sneaked in ahead of Reid to nod the ball nonchalantly back to his goalkeeper.

Vinnicombe then advanced upfield to loft a free kick well over the bar after Pugh was upended more than thirty yards from goal, and Mark Saunders had a pop from distance that never threatened to test Danny Woodhall between the Yate sticks unduly. Tiverton were back to the front having not so much weathered a storm as having dispensed of all their bad passes for the day. More and more Paul Wyatt pressed down the right side, not frightened to run at the defence, although seldom did the direct approach pay dividends. But from a supporters’ standpoint it was encouraging and as the travelling fans willed on their team so Wyatt saw more and more of the ball. One shot he saw blocked by Scott Brice, another sailed over as half time approached (this second effort was from a difficult angle, and with Walsh better placed perhaps the decision making was poor.)

Moments before the interval Brice was forward for the home side but fired wide having met Wood’s teasing corner and Tiverton quickly regrouped, moved swiftly to the other end of the pitch and won a corner of their own. Bobby Hopkinson, who was not alone in failing to impose his presence on the game to this point delivered a cross that was hanging in the air for an age; Walsh was beneath it alongside Woodhall, both jumped, neither gathered and Kes Metitiri panicked as he sliced the loose ball behind. Hopkinson trotted over and swung in a dangerous kick but Rudge was penalised for a foul that only the referee saw, and that was that, goalless, and a twenty minute spell that was as poor and disorganised as we have seen this season.

At least those twenty minutes didn’t come immediately leading up to the interval, as the break may have made it difficult to get back on track. The players had already improved their performance by the time the referee signalled towards the changing rooms, and Tiverton resumed back in the ascendancy. In fact the first five minutes of the second half was probably the strongest Tivvy played, and Wyatt was desperately unlucky not to finally find the net. Hopkinson was typically at the heart of a clinical Tivvy move, sliding a through ball from inside his own half perfectly into Walsh’s path. The pass – and Walsh – had comprehensively dissected the central defensive pairing of Brice and Metitiri, and as the latter raced back to pressure so Walsh made a simple yet effective poke out to the advancing Wyatt. The wingback had made up ground rapidly enough to leave left-back Stanley well behind, and whacked a shot towards the near bottom corner, only for Woodhall to get down quickly and push the ball away.

It was a devastating counter attack that wasn’t quite devastating enough but proved that Tivvy had what it takes to open up the Yate defence. It also gave them hope for the remaining forty minutes, a period they dominated, and a period in which Stanley was perplexed enough to work his way into the book with a mistimed tackle on Walsh. But before utter domination there was enough time for Matt Beadle to fire tamely into the wall from a free kick, and for Book to hold onto a shot from Paul Metheringham that presented itself when Tivvy struggled to deal with a long free kick into the area.

Tom Knighton replaced the generally ineffectual Powell, Beadle lofted a shot miles over the top and from then on it was the Paul Wyatt show. Off he went on countless occasions, teasing the cautioned Stanley and crossing into the area. Once too long, another time close to the end perfectly, only for Knighton to fall under instant pressure. The diminutive front man was alert enough to see Hopkinson in space and helped the ball on but Bobby’s shot was deflected a foot over the bar by Metitiri’s lunging and desperate challenge. When things aren’t going for you such deflections always go safe – if Tiverton were three goals ahead it would have gone in the net.

Time was running out when Vinnicombe found time and space on the left wing and curled in a cross, but Woodhall backpedalled hastily as the ball fell onto the roof of the net just inches behind the crossbar. The resulting goal kick was just about the last touch of the game, a second goalless draw in succession, both against teams in the relegation places. Martyn Rogers will be scratching his head, the Tiverton supporters will be frustrated, and the resonant sounds of Nigel Patrick will be ringing in the minds of all associated with Tiverton Town Football Club. We want goals!


Yate Town: Danny Woodhall; Edd Vahid, Alex Stanley, Scott Brice, Kes Metitiri, Paul Metheringham, Jason Wood (Jack Dempsey 78), Paul Chenoweth, Dean Griffiths, Jake Reid (Joe White 66), Matt Beadle
Booked: Wood 67, Chenoweth 69, Stanley 83
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Adam Faux, Chris Vinnicombe, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge Arran Pugh, Lewis Powell (Tom Knighton 64), Bobby Hopkinson, Phil Walsh, Mark Saunders (Glenn Gould 71), Paul Wyatt
Booked: Faux 77
Sent off: None

Attendance 127


This report ©2009 Alan Reidy






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