Match report

Swindon Supermarine 1 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 28/02/2009   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

If Tiverton Town’s playoff bid eventually ends in disappointment then one of the defining factors of the season will surely be the clear inability to string together a sequence of victories. Having beaten Bashley and Hitchin in the two previous league games Tiverton once more failed to add a third win to the run, so for the fourth time this season back-to-back wins were followed by a 1-0 defeat. But at Swindon Supermarine things could have been very different but for an inspired performance by home goalkeeper Matt Bulman, and a dozing Tiverton at the very beginning of the second half.

Early exchanges were cautious and both sides more or less cancelled each other out throughout the first forty-five minutes. Early on Phil Walsh and Jamie Mudge combined to free Mike Booth but the midfielder could only cross into nobody in particular, and five minutes later the same player launched a long range sighter that threatened a bird’s nest high in the trees behind Bulman’s goal.

Joe Harris shot at Book at one end of the pitch having been set on his way by Alan Griffin, while Walsh tested Bulman at the other end, the Swindon shotstopper comfortably pushing the ball over the bar. Back down the pitch the home side went, and again Griffin was the architect, his flick allowing Nick Stanley a shot which was weak and wide. Griffin looked useful until he had the chance to shoot himself (I mean, he himself had the chance to shoot). Perhaps he should have shot himself for his finishing was woeful in the extreme and a scuffed shot from Chris Taylor’s pass was the first of many openings he fluffed comprehensively.

Close to the change of ends there was one more half-chance for Walsh, but having nodded a back-header from Bobby Hopkinson’s free kick Bulman was once again in place to help the ball over the top and out for a corner that the home side defended with the minimal of fuss. So the first period ended goalless and the chances that had been created were on the whole only moderately threatening at best. It was not a particularly good game, being played out between two sides, neither of which was anywhere near in their best form.

But less that thirty seconds had passed after the restart when the deadlock was broken in favour of Swindon. Stanley was sent on his way down the left and appeared to be heading nowhere fast, but managed to skip inside towards the corner of the penalty area. Once in place he banged in a low shot with his unfavoured right foot, Steve Book went down but the ball squirmed through, inside the near post and softly into the net.

For Tiverton there was now only one game plan and that was to push forward. That they did, almost relentlessly for the entire second half, and almost equalised within a couple of minutes. Booth found Mudge wide on the right, and after feigning to cross once Mudge delivered a fine centre to the back post and to Walsh’s head. Up rose Walsh, met the cross perfectly and was only denied a goal by a stunning save from Bulman who made up ground to his right like a cat with his tail in the fire.

Supermarine quickly countered but Justyn McKay found himself a foot or three too short to reach Stanley’s powerful cross, and soon after Mark Saunders slid a perfect through ball to Mudge as Tivvy went back on the attack. Mudge beat the offside trap but the recovering Leigh Henry forced him to check. A quick jink inside opened up enough space to shoot but Mudge could only aim straight at the previously exposed Bulman.

On they poured in search of that elusive leveller; Walsh powered his way into the area only to drag a low shot wide of the mark, and not long afterwards saw an effort from Hopkinson’s corner chalked off as Bulman was adjudged to have been impeded by a combination of Rudge and Saunders in the build up. A second goal was also not allowed to stand due to Rudge’s arm playing a big part in wrong-footing the home defence, while at the other end Griffin comically and haplessly fell over his own feet when he found himself ten yards from goal with only Book ahead of him. One last push saw Walsh slice a cross that had Bulman on edge until the ball dropped onto the roof of the net, and a much improved second half from Tivvy bore no points.

Other results were not too friendly; if they could go above us they did. Brackley, Oxford and Evesham joined Swindon in leapfrogging Tivvy, and sending the Yellows down to thirteenth place, the lowest standing since early October. Games are now coming thick and fact, but perhaps the fact that they will be thicker and faster for many other teams will play into Tiverton’s hands.


Swindon Supermarine: Matt Bulman; Sean Wood, Danny Allen, Justyn McKay, Leigh Henry, Chris Thompson, Joe Harris (Ashley Edenborough 76), Gary Horgan, Alan Griffin, Chris Taylor, Nick Stanley (Mark Draycott 81)
Goals: Stanley 46
Booked: Bulman 35, Thompson 90

Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Adam Faux, Alex Faux (Paul Wyatt 61), Matt Villis, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, Mike Booth, Bobby Hopkinson, Phil Walsh, Mark Saunders, Jamie Mudge
Booked: Booth 34

Attendance: 178


This report ©2009 Alan Reidy






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