Match report

Newport IOW 2 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 27/09/2003   FA Cup
John Reidy

Another Saturday‚ another football match‚ another journey. But not just any Saturday or just any match. FA Cup Saturday‚ and Tivvy´s first dabble in the World´s greatest‚ most historical - and at times hysterical - club competition. Sure‚ we would have probably preferred to have come out of the hat first and thus been playing the game at Ladysmead. At this stage of the competition‚ while the money spinning ties at Old Trafford‚ Highbury or Anfield remain mere dreams‚ then the ideal venue will always be the home patch. But if there has to be a journey then at least a trip across the Solent to the Isle of Wight makes it a little different‚ a little special‚ a little bit of an adventure. So off we went to grab our fairies and head for the Island. And before you grab your keyboard to e-mail me to point out another typical Reidy typo´ or suggest I upgrade my spell check‚ I do mean fairies as well as ferries. After the second half collapse against Chelmsford seven days earlier many of the travellers were sure that Tivvy needed a wave of a fairies magic wand to restore some of the yellow twinkle to the team´s performance.
A full week without a game had given some of the injuries in the squad a chance to heal‚ or at least ease. Just as well‚ as Stoke City´s decision not to allow Gareth Owen and Lawrence Hall to become Cup Tied´ reduced the numbers and consequently Tivvy could still only name three substitutes.

At kick off‚ and through the early stages of the game it looked as if the mass exodus of fairies from the bottom of Devon gardens might have worked‚ to a degree at least. Town looked quite sprightly and set about playing some pretty triangular football through two thirds of the field. Despite this‚ the first goalmouth action developed in the Tiverton penalty area in the third minute when the ball bounced erratically around with neither forwards or defenders able to make useful contact ‚before being cleared away and more delicate patterns from Town carrying them forward. For all their dominance of the possession Tivvy were unable to make much impression as they approached the Newport penalty area and it was not until the sixth minute that they threatened the home goal. And then it was as a result of a more direct approach. Steve Winter down the right wing‚ a lofted in cross‚ and Richard Pears nodding the ball wide of the upright. The Islanders were guarding their penalty area well‚ pulling extra extra bodies back from midfield to add to the strength of their barricade. Tiverton played the ball around the edge of the penalty area well but were effectively held at a distance that kept the whites of keeper Simon Arthur´s eyes beyond the range of their vision. Frustration began to show. Winter attempted to blast the ball through the massed ranks and even Jason Rees tried a lobbed shot from outside the area that Arthur had no trouble in catching above his head. Pears nodded a cross down and into the path of David Steele but the midfielder eschewed the shooting opportunity and slipped the ball forward and wide to Paul Chenoweth‚ a move greeted by a mass of raised arms including that of the Referee´s Assistant - offside. Either side of the midway point in the first half we saw another effort from Winter - wide - and a race between Steele and Arthur for a long through ball from Rees. The Newport keeper got to the ball first‚ five yards clear of his box ‚ to hack it away. Then‚ 25 minutes in‚ Newport created their second chance‚ Adam Barsdell latching onto a loose ball 30 yards out to lash in a snap shot that flew only inches wide and it was the sign for the game to even out. The home side gained more of the ball in midfield. The pretty patterns from Tivvy stopped and it was back to hoofing long balls forward for the frontmen to chase. Or at least Pears chased‚ whilst Paul Milsom tried to bring them down and under control. Tried being the operative and perhaps debatable word. When Pears did break down the right he found himself alone with nobody in the middle to receive a cross and was reduced to trying a speculative lob that was well over the crossbar.
The wands‚ if they had been working‚ no longer seemed to function. Town had lost their shape. They still looked reasonably sound at the back but midfield had vanished and the attacking force had become dulled to the point of holding less threat in reality than Iraq´s WMD´s. Like the US‚ Newport attacked. They won a corner. After last weeks weak defending of such positions the eyes were on who was marking who. It seemed to have been organised more efficiently and when the ball came across Nathan Rudge was up to head firmly clear. Great - until the ball fell to Glenn Howes lurking on the edge of the area who drove it back from whence it had come‚ with interest‚ through the jungle of legs and into the net. Shirt off time for Howes and why not? He´d put the Eastern Division underdogs in front in the 33rd minute! The goal gave Newport confidence. They´d withstood the early pressure and been rewarded when they pushed forward. They liked the feeling and went for more. Three minutes on and Adam Lang tried his luck from the edge of the box but was wide of the mark. A minute later and O´Rourke was set free by Barsdell and the impressive No. 9 unselfishly spread the ball across field towards Lee Chudy who was only denied by Stuart Fraser bravely spreading himself at the feet of the charging Islander. Into added time and Danny Hatcher joined in Newport´s fun. Leaving both Rees and Chenoweth wondering which way he´d gone‚ he fired in a cross come shot´ that Rudge intercepted to deflect for a corner. All that Tivvy could offer was another cross that Arthur held under pressure in the jump from Milsom. Things were not looking good for the Devon side as the whistle brought the action to a temporary halt.

For three whole minutes at the restart Town buzzed around the home side´s penalty are - with exactly the same effect as they had at the opening of the game - Zilch. Newport were well prepared for the expected onslaught and dealt with it comfortably before embarking on their own adventures. Clearing their lines and getting the ball into the Tiverton half for the first time since the interval‚ O´Rourke motored down the right flank before heading in towards the corner of the penalty area. Chudy had kept pace and was free to the left. O´Rourke´s cross was returned to him as he continued into the box. A couple of touches to control the ball and a third to slot it across the advancing Fraser to curl inside the far post. Two - nil and the Islanders were in the driving seat. Before the ball was back on the centre spot the Tiverton bench were sorting through the substitution boards. Jamie Mudge to replace Rob Cousins who had seldom been involved in the game. Mudge made a run and was bought up short by defenders who were again expecting an onslaught. Tiverton tried again and were awarded a throw in deep inside the Newport half on the Tivvy right. For some reason Steele´s long throws to the near post had not been used much and nor were we to see one on this occasion. What we did see was a short one to Mudge who made a bee-line for the corner of the area. He rode the first two challenges and before the third could be launched slid the ball forward and diagonally across the box to Pears six yards back from the upright. Pears reduced the deficit with a simple sidefoot shot under the body of Arthur. Forty minutes remaining and we had a match on our hands...or so we thought.
Newport were not content to sit on their single goal. Tiverton´s strike did nothing to cause them any doubt about their ability to contain their visitor´s best efforts so they adopted the best means of defence and attacked whenever they could. The game opened out but it was still the home side that looked the more dangerous. The tension began to build and we were treated to a spate of yellow cards. As the battle for midfield developed so the clear-cut chances were limited and goalmouth action at either end was restricted to each keeper comfortably holding high crosses. There was nearly disaster in the Tiverton penalty area as Fraser‚ Rees and Rudge all went for a long ball from the halfway line and contrived to present it to Chudy who fluffed his glory moment by firing wide with the goal at his mercy.
With the last quarter of an hour underway Steele headed wide from a Chenoweth cross but there was little sign of a storming finish from Tiverton. Ovens shot wide‚ weakly‚ and it was not until Mudge brought the save of the game from Arthur in the 85th minute that there was even a glimmer of hope for the travelling fans. Graeme Power got well forward for one of the rare occasions in the afternoon to hoist in a cross from the left. Mudge and Pears were both in the middle and Jamie made contact. Arthur threw himself up and back to touch the ball over for a corner. From the kick Pears had his chance of becoming the hero but his nod was wide. Added time and Newport kept the ball away from the danger area by attacking. Two corners - no result. The dying seconds and the Islanders broke. The Tiverton defence was forward in desperation and were caught. Gareth Keeping made the run‚ placed the shot and held his head as retreating Rees cleared the ball off the goal-line. It would have been a fine final touch for the home side‚ not that it mattered since as the ball was cleared away the final whistle sounded.

It will take more than the fairies at the bottom of your garden or mine to sort out the problems at Tiverton Town. Individually the players have the ability as they have shown us. What they do not seem to be able to produce is the consistency of play as a unit or‚ and I suspect more importantly‚ the commitment to the cause. Do I sense an attitude akin to It´d be nice to win‚ but it´s not the end of the world if we don´t? I hope not.

Tiverton Town: Stuart Fraser, Steve Winter, Graeme Power, Jason Rees, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Paul Chenoweth, Chris Holloway, Richard Pears, Paul Milsom, David Steele.
Subs: Jamie Mudge (Cousins, 33), Steve Ovens ( Hall ,71), Ian Patchett (Haines, 63).
Bookings: Chenoweth 55, Rees 63, Winter 71.

Newport IoW: Simon Arther, Adam Darsdell, Adam Lang, Peter Tagg, Simon Pilcher, Taffy Richardson, Gareth Keeping, Glenn Howes, Jamie O´Rourke, Danny Hatcher, Lee Chudy.
Subs: Joe McCormack, Chris Bridges (O´Rourke 90), Liam Gearing, Jon Holmes, Alex Perry.
Bookings: Tagg 65, Hatcher 71.

Referee: W Lillington

Att: 378

This report ©2003 John Reidy

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