Match report

Gloucester City 2 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 24/01/2009   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Tiverton’s recent form was disappointing and certainly wasn’t that of a playoff hunting team. Four draws in four, a defeat at Chippenham before that, and therefore not a single victory in 2009. All that was needed then was a trip to Cirencester to play Gloucester City, a team we simply can’t seem to beat in recent times on a ground that saw Tiverton’s worst performance of last season. Yes, that was all that was needed because Tivvy away from home were a force, and tearer up of form books, a defier of odds. Oh no sir, not this time. Steve Rogers probably said (although I didn’t speak to him after the game) that Gloucester were too cute; Brother Martyn was pragmatic in defeat and admitted that we were left wanting in the hustle and bustle of midfield.

There was unease apparent at the start as Adam Faux under hit a backpass that Steve Book needed to sprint to clear under pressure, so when Tivvy gained a sixteenth minute advantage it came as a surprise to all 285 witnesses. 319 minutes of goalless league football since Mike Booth’s penalty against Clevedon in December was brought to a close thanks in no small part to Gloucester defender Tom Hamblin. Bobby Hopkinson threw in a throw-in; Hamblin raced from far post to near post, mistimed his jump and glanced a header backwards. Big Kev Sawyer in the Tigers goal was left grasping at nothing and Phil Walsh (who Hamblin had left unattended) sauntered in at the far post to tap the ball over the line.

Arran Pugh set up Mark Saunders but his attempt was cleared to safety and Hopkinson then lifted a shot high and handsome before Gloucester tied things up just past the half hour mark. A long free kick was pumped high into the area, Steve Book jumped under pressure and failed to gather, and Jack Pitcher rammed home the loose ball from close range. Approaching the interval Paul Wyatt (at left back again) skipped through only for his cross to be blocked and Gloucester countered through Lee Smith. The midfielder was allowed the freedom of the county, jinked almost unchallenged three parts the length of the pitch and eventually shot wide.

Nathan Rudge was soon in the referee’s bad books for persistent fouling, but the crucial foul in the game was committed by Booth on Smith. The latter had wriggled his way from wide into the area, Booth got his foot in and came away with the ball, Smith rolled around like a baby and the referee obliged the home team with a penalty. Step up Alex Sykes, straight down the middle and despite a solid hand from Book he converted his seventh successful spot kick of the league season.

For all their huffing and puffing Tivvy could find no way back; Walsh had a shot on the turn saved, Pugh had a backwards header easily gathered in by Sawyer and Tiverton were still left searching for their first win of the year. At least the squad would be back to nearly full strength for the awkward trip to Merthyr three days down the road.
 








Gloucester City: Kevin Sawyer; Alex Sykes (Matt Rose 79), Marc Richards, Neil Mustoe, Tom Hamblin, James Palmer, Lee, Smith, Tom Webb, Jack Pitcher, Will Morford, Luke Ballinger (Adie Harris 64)
Goals: Pitcher 31, Sykes 52p
Booked: Harris 90
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Adam Faux, Paul Wyatt, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Glenn Gould, Arran Pugh, Bobby Hopkinson, Phil Walsh, Mark Saunders, Lewis Powell (Alex Faux 64)
Goals: Walsh 16
Booked: Wyatt 42, Rudge 51, Booth 52, Alex Faux 72
Sent off: None

Attendance: 285




This report ©2009 Alan Reidy






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