Match report

Cirencester Town 2 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 27/02/2001   Southern League First Division
Nigel Davis

Martyn Rogers will be glad to see the end of February. It has been a torrid time for Tivvy over the past three weeks after starting so brightly with the scalp of Boston United. Ousted from the Dr Martens League Cup and then the Trophy‚ two valuable league points were snatched from Tivvy's grasp deep into injury time at mud-bound Smithfield.

March is likely to be equally as troublesome because the flu bug is still rife in the squad‚ Nick Marker's dismissal will see it depleted further and next Tuesday's defence of the St Lukes at home to an on-fire Bideford will be attempted without the cup-tied Kevin Nancekivell and Richard Pears.

This game began without Dave Toomey‚ devastated to be left out as‚ being a Swindon lad‚ this was his 'home' game and all his family were due to be attending. But no-one could have legislated for his freak injury that saw him rushed to hospital on Saturday evening after he was accidentally poked in his left eye by the butt of a pool cue.

Fortunately for him the damage was superficial but it left him with a bloodied eye‚ welled up with fluid‚ that was still evident on Tuesday night. The most surprising thing was that he was in the squad at all.

The game very nearly failed to get under way as‚ twice in the half hour before kick-off‚ the floodlights failed. Rumours flew around that the effect of using the cooker was tripping the electricity supply although there was scant evidence of the cooker being on judging by the cold burgers being dished up... Fortunately the game passed without further interruption.

So‚ Steve Ovens started up front with Phil Everett‚ with the flu-bound Steve Winter returning to the right-back slot. He lasted around twenty minutes before he ran out of steam and‚ not surprisingly‚ failed to reappear after the break.

By this time‚ though‚ Ovens had capitalised on a rare error by youthful goalkeeper Kevin Sawyer in the thirteenth minute. Whilst attempting to fly-kick the ball away‚ he was deceived by the mud and the ball slithered under his boot. Quick as a flash‚ Steve nipped in to steer the ball towards the far post and it was a photo finish between it and Cirencester's Steve Richardson‚ the ball just creeping in before the defender could prevent it from crossing the line.

The rest of the half saw lots of midfield action with Tivvy reduced to long range shots‚ the highlight of which was a rampaging run by Stuart Smith which ended with a savage shot that cannoned off a defender for a corner.

Four minutes from half-time‚ Jimmy Carter was the first to be booked‚ dissenting following a foul on Steve Daly. Having picked himself up‚ Dales was then booked for a foul on home skipper Gary Horgan.

The second half started with Luke Vinnicombe on for Steve Winter and it was obvious that Cirencester had been fired up by manager Ray Baverstock‚ as they came out with all guns blazing. Tackles were flying in as if they had gone out of fashion and their forwards peppered Paul Edwards' goal as they went all out for the equaliser. Eight minutes in and they hit the bar and a minute later it looked as if Horgan was booked‚ presumably for dissent‚ as Cirencester were awarded a free kick.

Having weathered the best part of fiften minutes of pressure‚ Tivvy turned up the heat with Kevin Nancekivell setting up a chance for Scott Rogers that just missed the target.

On 70 minutes‚ Nance had a shot blocked for a corner and it was here that Cirencester showed their commitment to attack as they‚ amazingly‚ left four up on the half-way line. This tactic bamboozled Tivvy and the corner went begging.

The fourth booking of the evening then befell Cirencester's Dave Gee for a foul on Stuart Smith. He was lucky that he had not been booked earlier as he had 'put it about a bit'. But sixty seconds later the game turned in Cirencester's favour. Steve Coleman scampered into the box. Paul Edwards came out to block. Coleman stabbed the ball towards the corner flag and went down in a heap - penalty!

Nick Marker foolishly talked himself into the ref's book for disputing this decision and Giles Harris then blasted home the spot-kick to make it 1-1. Three minutes later‚ Marker slid in on the flying Justin Miller and knew instantly that he was off for an early bath.

With ten minutes remaining‚ Gary Horgan was booked for sliding in. Surely his second booking of the game??? Obviously not‚ as he stayed on the park.

A minute later‚ Paul Tatterton was crocked on the halfway line as he went in for the ball and was left hobbling for the remainder of the game but the other limping athlete‚ the home side's Miller - still struggling from the injury sustained by Nick Marker's final contribution to the game - was replaced by last season's top goalscorer‚ Scott Griffin‚ himself back from long-term injury and trying to re-establish himself back in the squad.

With Dave Toomey looking to come on‚ ten-man Tivvy then had a rare penetrative foray as Steve Ovens zipped down the right before putting in a pinpoint cross to Phil Everett who‚ despite the close attention of home defenders‚ managed to leap above them all and nod the ball home just inside the post and it was 2-1 to Tivvy. Toomey put his track-suit bottom back on again...

It looked as if three points would be Tivvy's as a quick check on the watch showed that there were just six minutes of normal time remaining. Two minutes into injury time and Dave Gee was booked for a wild tackle on Steve Daly and‚ he too‚ was dismissed for his second bookable offence. Although I am amazed that Horgan had not preceded him as‚ barely ten yards from the ref, he had hollered "F***ing hell ref" at the official as Neil Saunders lined up to take a free kick. When, oh when, will officials clamp down on this vociferous swearing? The FA have told them in no uncertain terms to do so, yet they blatantly ignore them. Maybe I should start a 'Name them and shame them' column in the Non-League Paper, showing which referees are shirking their duties?

With seconds remaining, Luke gave away a needless free-kick wide on Tivvy's right. By this stage I would have preferred to have seen Phil Everett back in defence as, I am afraid to say, Luke had looked rusty all half. But it was not to be and disaster struck when substitute Griffin popped up to ram home the equaliser. Tivvy had just about time to kick-off before the full time whistle went.

There really is little more to say...

Tiverton Town: Paul Edwards, Steve Winter (Luke Vinnicombe 46), Neil Saunders, Paul Tatterton, Nick Marker, Scott Rogers, Kevin Nancekivell, Steve Ovens, Phil Everett, Steve Daly, Stuart Smith

Cirencester Town: Kevin Sawyer, Dave Gee, Steve Bennett, Andy Minturn, Steve Richardson, Andy Grange, Steve Coleman, Giles Harris, Jimmy Carter, Justin Miller (Scott Griffin 83), Gary Horgan

Referee: E. W. Pritchard

Attendance: 148

This report ©2001 Nigel Davis

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