Match report

Mangotsfield United 0 - 3 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 22/07/2003   Friendly
John Reidy

There was a strange feeling of de ja vu as I piloted the little Renault 5 through the twists and turns that occupy the last few miles between the M32 and Cossham Street‚ Mangotsfield. Once a separate Town‚ now merely a suberb of the sprawling Metropolis that is Bristol‚ The Field was one of the first venues I visited as a travelling Tiverton supporter‚ or leastways‚ one of the first that required a journey worth calling such. Hardly surprising‚ for in those days The Mango´s were one of the few sides capable of providing serious opposition for the Yellows as my adopted team (and yes I freely admit I jumped on the bandwagon of success) swept all‚ or almost all‚ before them. That first visit‚ too‚ was for an evening game though if I recall correctly it was towards the end of a season. It endended in an unexpected and heavy defeat that cost Tivvy a place or two in the Great Mills - for I´m sure that company were still the Western League´s sponsors - final table. The comparative rivallry between the two clubs was to continue until the pull of the Doc Martens League became too great and Tivvy made the step up. The Millenium came and went and only once more were the two clubs to meet despite Mangotsfield following in the Devon club´s fotsteps. And that too brought victory for United that caused a lingering doubt over Tivvy´s promotion hopes. It was a doubt that did not linger long as the epic 15 games in 30 days push saw Town once more put a division between the two sides. So my feelings were that with home advantage favouring the home side‚ we were in for a close encounter. I was wrong.

A programme that hardly mentioned the evening´s match and gave no indication of the players names‚ combined with the fact that there was no PA system in operation‚ made the entire presentation resemble a Sunday League fixture so I hope you´ll forgive the rather vague references to Tivvy´s opponents. It has to be said that for the opening few minutes the home side looked livelier. They buzzed around at full speed‚ charging hither and thither when they had the ball and challenging at full tilt when they didn´t. It was as if they were expecting the game to be a fifteen minutes each way finale to an evening´s training. Fired by an undoubted enthusiasm and no doubt a desire to secure a starting place when the serious business starts in a few weeks time the blue shirted squad expended a mountain of energy going nowhere. For their part Tivvy absorbed the pressure‚ settled steadily into their alloted roles - there were changes from the Plymouth game - and reduced the early threat to nothing. A further change to the Town line up was enforced in the 6th minute when Jamie Mudge limped off with a pulled calf muscle‚ a left over from last Thursday´s game that became evident from his first sprint down the left flank. On came Kevin Nancekivell and with him‚ within a couple of minutes came the first goal. It was almost comical. Nance was deemed to have ducked under a Mango´s player as they both challenged for a high ball on the halfway line and the home man tumbled over the top of Kevin. The referee awarded the kick and retreated having words with the Tiverton man as he went. Before the pair of them were more than two yards away Mangotsfield took the kick blasting the ball forward. Well‚ it went forward as far as Nancekivell; then‚ crashing into the Tiverton man and/or the official it changed direction heading back past the kicker into the Mangotsfield half. Steve Ovens was first to react‚ collected the ball and headed unchallenged towards the goal. Defenders gave chase but were left in Steve´s wake as he closed on the keeper and calmly slid the ball under him and into the net. Nine minutes and 0-1.
Even though the goal came in somewhat fortuitous fashion it was a fair reflection of the game. Tiverton were in control without having to exert themselves unduly. If the home attack tried to make inroads through the middle they were forced wide leaving them with the only option of sending in speculative crosses which were safely dealt with by the two big Tivvy central defenders‚ Marcus Gross looking as if he were a veteran of the squad and the white armband wearing Nathan Rudge. And when the ball was cleared it inevitably was collected by a Tivvy man as the Yellows comfortably controlled proceedings. In midfield the Yellows were equally as dominent‚ though it was one area in which the home side continued to compete‚ and in attack Town always looked more likely to score. And score they did in the 35th minute. Steve Winter was the architect. Making rapid ground down the right‚ his chipped cross found the lively Steve Ovens whose shot beat the keeper but was scrambled off the line by a defender. A melee developed.Again the ball was cleared off the line. The whistle sounded. I couldn´t see from the half way line if it had been a hand ball‚ a bit of holding or a foul tackle‚ probably the former. Whatever it was‚ when the bodies had been disentangled and the various recriminations dealt with‚ the ball was on the spot briefly until Winter despatched it into the net with more than a certain degree of aplomb. Two - nil and Tiverton were cruising to the half time break.

For all of two minutes after the restart Mangotsfield were on top. It was that enthusiasm again‚ but even shorter lived than that which drove their first half effort. It was effectively ended in the 50th minute when a move down the Tiverton right looked to have been contained deep in the corner before the ball was laid back to Chris Holloway closing in from midfield and in clear space about 25 yards from goal. Chris saw a gap and went for it. His shot curled wide of a spectacular flying leap from a somewhat rotund substitute goalkeeper‚ connected with the upright and rebounded across the goal and into the net to make the remainder of the contest no more than an excercise. Never was there any doubt about the outcome as Town showed that there is a gaping chasm between the standards of the two DM divisions. There was the expected bout of substitutions‚ it might have made the evening more interesting if the home side had been allowed to have brought a man on without having to take one off‚ such was the Yellows superiority. When Mangotsfield did manage to find space to get in a shot on target‚ Stuart Fraser dealt with it comfortably and even when‚ pushing forward‚ the Tiverton defence was caught out and Fraser upended a rampaging solo burst by a United forward the resulting spot kick was easily turned round the post for a corner by the Yellows keeper. Such was the evening for Mangotsfield.

I´d hesitate to say Mango´s were a bad side - they did finish in 6th place in their league last term - but they had very little to offer in this match. Perhaps they did have something to offer but were prevented from doing it by a Tivvy performance that made them look decidedly average. Shaun Goff and Ben Harris fitted in well‚ though Harris´s 20 minutes was hardly enough on which to judge him. Marcus Gross had an excellent game and must have been a contender for MoM - shame about the lure of the USA!

Tiverton Town: Stuart Fraser‚ Steve Winter (Ben Harris‚72)‚ Danny Haines (Goff‚ 78)‚ Marcus Gross (Luke Vinnicombe‚46), Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, David Steele, Chris Holloway, Steve Ovens (Gross,88), Jammie Mudge, Shaun Goff (Paul Chenoweth,46).

Mangotsfield United: .Malessa, Pendrey, Drysdale, Hendy, Cozens, Loydon, Sims, Campbell, Edwards, Pitcher,
Subs : Ward, Griffiths, Massiato, Bishop, Cogan. GK.Yeo.

This report ©2003 John 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