Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 1 Hemel Hempstead

   Saturday 14/03/2009   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

In a league where it seems anyone can beat anyone Hemel Hempstead arrived in Devon on a run where they were beating just about everyone they faced.  But they made the long trip with a few unfamiliar faces on the team coach, including Irish right-back Jesse Kehoe and diminutive midfielder Lewis Hillard. It was the latter who made the largest impact, to the point where Martyn Rogers’ half-time team talk centred on how to combat the threat posed by the blonde busy-bee in the centre of the park. Nobody was more surprised, therefore, than Rogers, when Hemel manager Paul Byrne made a double substitution, changed to an almost suicidal 4-2-4 system, and sat Hillard back on the bench!





The livewire midfield man made and wasted the first chance of the game after three minutes, cutting in from wide as Tivvy laboured to clear a corner, and then thrashing a low shot harmlessly into the side netting. It was a wake-up call of sorts for the Yellows who promptly went down the other end and took the lead. And what a goal it was, with throwbacks to Leonard-esque wingplay. Adam Faux pegged with all his might down the right flank and put in the most perfect cross possible, behind the retreating defence but curling outwards and far enough in front of Ian Brown in the Tudors’ goal to keep the big man on his line. Paul Wyatt raced in from his unusually deep role out on the left, met the cross with a textbook first-time volley that Zidane or Eusebio would have been proud of, and Brown didn’t even have time to blink before the ball whizzed past his static frame and into the net.





Nathan Rudge headed a Paul Jarvis corner over the top as Tivvy looked to consolidate their early lead, Jarvis himself cut in from the left and shot wide of the post, while Mark Saunders also caused a degree of commotion amongst the visiting defenders. But Hemel are not at the healthy end of the league for no reason and they weren’t without their chances. Steve ales shot wide, so did the reliable Paul Edgeworth, and Drew Roberts left the crossbar shaking, Steve Book beaten all ends up after a quick pass from loanee Elliott Charles. Hemel deservedly levelled the game five minutes before the break when Hillard crossed from wide on the right and Chris Herron stole in at the far post to head home. 1-1 at the interval.





The half-time double substitution unsettled Hemel and Wyatt and Jamie Mudge both came within a whisker of putting Tivvy back ahead in one move, Wyatt’s cross-shot inching just wide as Mudge slid in a valiant attempt to prod the ball into a waiting net. Brown saved comfortably from Jarvis, and then bravely at the feet of Saunders, the rebound falling to Wyatt whose follow-up was blocked at close quarters. At the other end Tom Gardner made a timely tackle to thwart Drew Roberts, and Saunders was placed perfectly at the post to hack away a Chris Dillon shot that had ‘goal written all over it. Gardner blotted his otherwise perfect copybook with a late caution, a rare yellow card for the centre-back, just a minute after releasing Mudge to try an audacious lob from distance that Brown saved and held.





Value for money, great entertainment, a fair result, and one that left the majority at Ladysmead quietly satisfied with their afternoon. If Hillard played the full game it may have been different, but that is the way things go sometimes.





Tiverton Town: Steve Book, Adam Faux, Paul Jarvis, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, Paul Wyatt (Arran Pugh 87), Bobby Hopkinson, Phil Walsh, Mark Saunders, Jamie Mudge
Goal: Wyatt 5
Booked: Rudge 63, Faux 64, Gardner 90
Sent off: None





Hemel Hempstead Town: Ian Brown, Jesse Kehoe (Anthony Thomas 46), Simon Sweeney, Nathan Bowden-Haase, Paul Edgeworth, Adam Martin, Steve Wales, Lewis Hillard (Chris Dillon 46), Drew Roberts, Elliott Charles, Chris Herron
Goal: Herron 40
Booked: Thomas 63, Herron 70
Sent off: None





Attendance: 270




This report ©2009 Alan Reidy






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