Match report

Merthyr 1 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 27/01/2009   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

The trip to Merthyr saw Tiverton revitalised, with only Matt Villis stillon the doctors table, but Lewis Powell, it was decided, was surplus to requirements. That meant that Paul Wyatt was back where he belonged up front but he lasted little more than five minutes before pulling up with a hamstring strain. Enter Tom Knighton, for whom the pressure was on if you believe all you read, but before that, indeed before most people had settled into the game Tivvy were ahead. Kick off went thus: tap, tap, ping upfield. Merthyr defenders stumble a little and scuff a clearance to Bobby Hopkinson thirty yards out. One touch to control, another to shoot. Martyrs goalkeeper Andrew Delve could only look on in amazement as Hopkinson’s shot skidded off the wet surface and into the bottom corner. Tivvy led after just twelve seconds!

Knighton, now in place of Wyatt, clashed heads with Jamie Rewbury and was forced off for medical attention, the game continued and five minutes later a similar fate hit Alex Faux. While Faux was getting himself bandaged up Knighton returned. The game continued, Alex returned and Knighton as good as passed out, the initial collision and the subsequent concussion proving too much. Jarvis entered the battle zone in place of Knighton and his first touch almost set up a second Tivvy goal, a cross from the right found Phil Walsh but the forward’s header was cleared by the chest and maybe a bit of hand belonging to Matt Driscoll.

Arran Pugh was booked for something only the referee and the disgusting Merthyr supporters saw, the linesman made more worthwhile decisions that anyone all evening and a gritty first half saw no more goals, just an audacious forty-yarder from Hopkinson that went a yard of five over the crossbar. Merthyr’s Ashley Evans also brought out a good flying save from Book in one of the five minutes of added time.

Tivvy were fully patched up, except for Knighton who was by now in hospital, and the headbanded Alex Faux was in an unfamiliar yet effective forward role alongside Walsh. Tom Gardner swept up perfectly off the toes of Craig Steins but six minutes after the restart we were level again when Paul Keddle picked up Mark Saunders’ headed clearance and swept in a low shot from distance that gave Book no chance.

But in the face of adversity and failing body parts Tivvy held themselves together on an evening when losing tempers would have been easy. Book tipped Garry Shephard’s low shot around the post, and the game gradually became bogged down in midfield. One such bog ended up with Tivvy gaining a free kick ten yards or so into the opposition half and ten yards from the left touchline. Cometh the moment, cometh Hopkinson to whip another free kick into the area. That he did, onto the head of Saunders, who in turn aimed the ball back across the face of goal with all defensive players wrong-footed. Gardner, however, was on his toes and met the ball with vigour and intent, bish, bosh, bash, the net rippled and the Yellows were back in front.

This time it was a lead Tiverton kept. Book made a further series of saves, denying Evans and Shephard again, while a cautious exploration of the Merthyr half ended fruitlessly as Arran Pugh launched a shot half way up the Rhondda Valley from a difficult angle. But it didn’t matter, and Driscoll’s booking for dissent late on typified the frustration that the generally well behaved Tydfil players must have felt, their first home defeat since the beginning of September. And yes, Tivvy’s first victory of 2009, hopefully the first of many.

Merthyr Tydfil: Andrew Delve; Steve Williams, Paul Keddle, Matt Driscoll, Dale Griffiths, Jamie Rewbury (Craig Steins 40), Ashley Evans, Dean Clarke, Marcus Griffiths (Garry Shephard 55), Michael Jones (Sam O´Sullivan 76), Matthew Harris
Goals: Keddle 51
Booked: Steins 76, Driscoll 88
Sent off: None


Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Adam Faux, Alex Faux, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, Arran Pugh, Bobby Hopkinson, Phil Walsh, Mark Saunders, Paul Wyatt (Tom Knighton 6 (Paul Jarvis 27))
Goals: Hopkinson 1, Gardner 71
Booked: Pugh 29
Sent off: None

Attendance: 289

This report ©2009 Alan Reidy






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