Match report

Tiverton Town 5 - 1 Cinderford Town

   Wednesday 31/01/2001   Southern League First Division
Nigel Davis

There must be a chance that Martyn Rogers is in line for the Manager of the Month award for January with Tivvy incredibly registering six wins out of six - including two victories over Premier opposition.

Indeed the fact that just two goals have been conceded in over 800 minutes of football is nothing short of amazing and must surely be the springboard for a realistic push for promotion. But let´s not get too carried away just yet.

This game completed the first half of the league campaign which started over 22 weeks ago. There are just 14 weeks remaining in which the second half - 21 games - are still to be crammed in. And then there is the FA Umbro Trophy‚ the Dr Martens League Cup and the defence of the Devon St Lukes Bowl.

It´s going to be wall-to-wall football from hereon in‚ so hang on to your hats!

The game against basement side Cinderford‚ from whom Dave Toomey joined and Ian Howell almost came‚ was always likely to be a banana skin following the recent managerial change which brought about the signing of a couple of players from Forest Green Rovers. The regulars in the side were also rejuvenated‚ no doubt trying to impress the new boss as to their pedigree. And‚ for three quarters of this game it was nip and tuck with either side capable of grabbing maximum points.

Tivvy came closest in the opening quarter with Steve Daly seeing one effort disallowed for a foul by Dave Toomey on goalkeeper Andrew Fisher and then Kevin Nancekivell squandering a superb chance after Stuart Smith had slipped the ball into his path.

But give credit where credit is due‚ Cinderford battled away to keep chances to a minimum although one outrageous tackle by skipper Howell on Steve Winter on the half hour was‚ to say the least‚ over the top. He was quite rightly yellow-carded. Then‚ to add insult to injury‚ Cinderford dared to take the lead! But it was exceedingly well worked.

Adie Harris‚ a Frannie Lee lookalike if ever I saw one‚ had beavered away at every opportunity and his vision and trickery was enough to release Daryl Addis who calmly slid the ball past Paul Edwards who was rushing out to narrow the angle. This 33rd minute strike was the first time that Tivvy had conceded a goal at Ladysmead in over 450 minutes‚ since Atherstone lost 2-1 on December 16th.

Undaunted‚ Tivvy fought back and‚ following an appeal for a penalty when Scott Rogers´ momentum had propelled him over Harris´ legs‚ the ref curiously awarded a corner when‚ in fact‚ a goal-kick should have been the right decision. When the ball came over‚ Nick Marker´s header was knocked off the line by Steve Campbell with Fisher well beaten.

Stuart Smith then picked up a booking in the centre of the park in the 41st minute and two minutes later Tivvy´s persistence paid off as Phil Everett managed to squeeze the ball home from a tight angle for the equaliser.

Tivvy had now got the bit between their teeth and Nance was close to giving Tivvy the lead but superb defending by Paul Donnelly denied him the space to get in a telling shot.

An injury to Steve Daly saw Tivvy temporarily down to ten men and when he reappeared deep into injury time it coincided with Danny Iddles collapsing and having to be helped off the park. So sudden was the injury that Cinderford were caught napping and so were down to ten men when Tivvy took a corner. Stuart Smith was unlucky to only get his thigh to the ball as it rocketed across the box - any other part of his anatomy and it may well have gone in. Instead‚ the ball looped lazily over the crossbar. Then John Lang belatedly came on as the replacement for Iddles.

The second half started as the first had ended - with Tivvy on the attack. Had it not been for Campbell once more on the goalline‚ Neil Saunders would surely have scored in the second minute after the resumption. But this was to prove to be just the beginniing of 20 minutes of pure frustration for the Tivvy fans as their favourites failed to turn the game their way.

Indeed‚ Cinderford showed flashes of ingenuity and could have regained the lead. Scott Medcroft came closest with a curving shot/cross that hit the woodwork with Paul Edwards stranded and it served as a stark reminder that there could be a real upset on the cards.

Tivvy immediately launched another attack and were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty for handball as Everett twisted his way inside the box. It was unfortunate that his eventual shot was inches off target. Within seconds of that escape‚ Cinderford´s Paul Donnelly was cautioned for a foul committed in the build-up to this attack.

The turning point came in the 71st minute when Martyn Rogers again made an uncharacteristic tactical change by bringing off defender and skipper Neil Saunders‚ replacing him with striker Steve Ovens. At the same time Pete Conning took over Scott Rogers´ midfield mantle and the stage was set.

With his first touch of the ball‚ Ovens´s pace bedazzled Howells at left back. With his second‚ Fisher had to bend down and pick the ball out of the net. Ovens had only been on for two minutes when he and Nancekivell hared forward. It was Nance who picked up the defence-splitting pass and‚ with Ovens free on his right‚ he unselfishly passed for the supersub to crash the ball home.

Three minutes later it was Ovens again in the thick of the action. With close control he cut inside from the right to take the ball into the six yard box before Donnelly pushed him over right in front of the referee. No question about the decision. Penalty.

For a moment it looked as if Nick Marker and Dave Toomey couldn´t decide who was to take the spot kick‚ but up stepped Toomey to rattle the ball home. Boy was he delighted.

That left 13 minutes on the watch and Luke Vinnicombe came on for Steve Winter before play could resume. Tivvy survived one more scare three minutes later when a poor clearance by Edwards‚ under pressure from Harris‚ saw the ball fall to Addis. Had it not been for Steve Daly´s quick thinking he would have had a clear shot on goal but Tivvy´s rejuvenated midfielder managed to block the shot and the ball spun out for a corner.

The final ten minutes belonged to Tivvy. Dave Toomey doubled his tally in the 84th minute when he slipped the ball under Andy Llewellyn´s feet before crashing the ball home off the underside of the crossbar. This heralded the arrival of David Bird for Medcroft. Then‚ two minutes later‚ Tivvy opened up their visitors with a four man‚ one-touch passing move‚ finished off with aplomb by Pete Conning for Tivvy´s fifth of the night.

And‚ had it not been for a great tackle by Donnelly to deny Ovens a minute later it could have been a repeat of last season´s scoreline. Yet Cinderford had the final chance of the game only for Paul Edwards to take the sting out of Campbell´s shot at the death‚ his scamper back ensuring that he grabbed the ball before it went over the line.

What an excellent end to a game that at half time looked as if it would drift away meaninglessly. And what a fillip for the side as they prepare to do battle with Conference newcomers Boston United. They should not fear them. After all‚ it was only a few months ago that Boston were in the Dr Martens League. Whilst it would be foolhardy to predict a home win‚ Tivvy could well give their lofty opponents a scare. What they won´t want is a replay‚ scheduled for next Wednesday evening‚ kick-off 7.45, in deepest Lincolnshire.

Mind you, I could think of worse places to celebrate or drown ones sorrows...

Tiverton Town: Paul Edwards, Steve Winter (Luke Vinnicombe 77), Neil Saunders (Steve Ovens 71), Paul Tatterton, Nick Marker, Scott Rogers (Pete Conning), Kevin Nancekivell, Dave Toomey, Phil Everett, Steve Daly, Stuart Smith.

Cinderford Town: : Andrew Fisher, Andy Llewellyn, Ian Howell, Paul Donnelly, Clayton Hook, Danny Iddles (John Lang 45), Bradley Thomas, Steve Campbell, Daryl Addis, Scott Medcroft (David Bird 84), Adie Harris

Referee: Tim Curtis (Bath)

Attendance: 449

This report ©2001 Nigel Davis

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