Match report

Rugby 2 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 07/03/2009   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Hopes and dreams of an extension to the Southern League season were all but swept away at Butlin Road as a depressingly lacklustre Tiverton side fell to a despondent two-goal defeat against struggling Rugby Town. The Warwickshire side were in awful form going into the game, failing to record a victory since a surprising 4-0 win at Halesowen seven games ago, and with the Southern League’s top goalscorer David Kolodynski missing through suspension there was every reason for the visiting supporters to feel optimistic. Unfortunately that positive feeling was soon consigned to futile hope as the game unfolded with Rugby very much in the ascendancy.

Even before Tivvy had settled into any sort of pattern Stephan Morley fired in a free kick that ricocheted about in the Tiverton penalty area, and it required Matt Villis to punt the ball clear from the goal line. Just sixty seconds further on and another last-gasp clearance, this time by Tom Gardner, ensured that the scores remained tied as Matt Gearing was denied. The traffic was one way for an extended period, with Rugby hungrier for possession and more inventive with their movement and use of the ball. The Yellows were forced into an unwelcome long-ball game which was even less effective than usual due to a swirling wind. In contrast the Valley kept it on the green stuff and looked assured and technically superior. It was a wonder that it took until the thirty-fourth minute for the hosts to finally make a breakthrough.

Before then through, Tiverton did work a couple of half-chances, with both openings being born from the feet of Mark Saunders. The first, a through ball, sent Bobby Hopkinson on his way but an early shot was blocked at close range; the second, a flowing move (the only one of the game from Tivvy) incorporated Adam Faux, Nathan Rudge and Phil Walsh, but when the ball eventually arrived with Jamie Mudge the striker was only able to crash a shot wide of the mark.

At the other end Steve Book saved well from Gearing before Tiverton’s offside trap was dubiously breached. Paul Jarvis lost out in a 50/50 challenge on the half way line and Dave Pearson quickly played a forward ball for Turner to latch on to. With Faux and Gardner stood, arms aloft in appeal, Turner raced on unperturbed, reached the area and slotted the ball calmly past Book.

Mudge skied a shot into the heavens from the edge of the area after a corner was only half cleared, and Saunders missed the target on the brink of the interval, but Rugby should have extended their lead through Pearson before the break, only for Book to once again come to the rescue with a save that the Tiverton goalkeeper held.

The second half began with Glenn Gould replacing the mainly disappointing, and particularly frustrated Villis, but the young midfielder’s afternoon was set to be cut short just seven minutes after the restart. Gould and Rugby’s Craig Herbert battled in midfield, under the shadow of the visitor’s dugout, Gould nicked the ball away and crashed to the floor as Herbert slid in late and caught him on the ankle. Crumpled, Gould was able to immediately gesticulate to the bench before losing colour and writhing in agony on the half way line. Lengthy attention was dealt but Gould’s afternoon – and his season – was over, and Arran Pugh entered the fray with as little product as any of his teammates had managed to muster. For the brief time Gould was on the pitch he showed a degree of calm and tried to use the ball intelligently, but once his presence was truncated prematurely Town quickly lost shape, and with it any real hope of getting back in the game.

Pugh’s first act was to lose possession to the diminutive and peroxide Scott Musgrove, but Pearson was unable to capitalise and saw Rudge, Tivvy’s best player by a mile, move across and tackle just as the trigger was about to be pulled. Home substitute David Stone, who had been left out of the starting line-up due to disciplinarily reasons then replaced Turner and caused no end of problems for the Tivvy defence. One particular dribble was as mazy and penetrative as it was ultimately futile – Rudge, Gardner and Hopkinson had all been left spinning before Adam Faux finally crunched into a challenge and nicked the ball away.

Mudge sent a difficult volley from the corner of the penalty area a yard or two wide and at the other end Book was able to cushion a snapshot from Musgrove. Rugby still had more ideas and more inventiveness, although Tiverton’s determination was keeping hem in touch, without ever really threatening to pull level. A series of long throw-ins from Hopkinson were gobbled up at the first or second attempt by the unflappable Andrew Stevens in the host’s goal, and a second Rugby goal arrived a couple of minutes from the end. Another run from Stone released Gearing behind the defence, no questions of offside this time, and the midfielder finished with aplomb.

By this time Alex Faux had entered the game on the left flank, taking over from Gardner who had struggled in a wide berth since the half-time reshuffle. He made a couple of useful forays forward, showing more progressive intent than anyone else in Yellow had managed but his introduction came too late. The only decent chance Faux the younger created went begging as Mudge shot over the bat from the edge of the area, and Faux earned a yellow late in the game for a cynical tap of Tom Breward’s ankles.

Rugby Town: Andrew Stevens; Liam Nicell, Stephan Morley, Craig Herbert, Delroy Gordon, Tom Breward, Matt Gearing, Scott Musgrove, Jason Turner (David Stone 68), Dave Pearson, David Staff
Goals: Turner 34, Gearing 88
Booked: Herbert 54
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Steve Book, Adam Faux, Paul Jarvis, Matt Villis (Glenn Gould 46 (Arran Pugh 57)), Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner (Alex Faux 85), Mike Booth, Bobby Hopkinson, Phil Walsh, Mark Saunders, Jamie Mudge
Booked: Alex Faux 90
Sent off: None

Attendance: 173

This report ©2009 Alan 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