Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 1 Dorchester Town

   Tuesday 21/10/2003   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

It can be disquieting to pick up a mug of tea‚ take a slurp‚ and find that the brown liquid hitting your larynx is coffee. Not necessarily disappointing‚ both beverages might be perfectly acceptable to one´s taste buds‚ but just the unexpectedness of what has been served up can cause a mild degree of shock and take a little adjusting to. What would be even stranger would be to get halfway down the mug and find that the refreshing liquid you had been imbibing had suddenly turned into a pottage of stale sludge. Nearly five hundred followers of Tivvy underwent just such an experience - and not for the first time - on the first winter-like match night of this vital season at Ladysmead. After seeing‚ or reading about‚ The Yellows exploits of the weekend up in Nuneaton‚ they would have been justified in expecting more of the same to follow just 72 hours later - a sweet jar of invigorating tea. And that what it seemed was being served up until halfway through when a taint of something else appeared and the pot was suddenly filled with a familiar bitter concoction which by the time it was consumed left a distinctly unpleasant aftertaste.

There must be something in the water over in Dorset. Last season Weymouth came to Ladysmead in a blaze of publicity of how their squad was decimated by injury to eight first team players and ended up fielding five of the claimed crocks. Dorchester were similarly hit - even their goalkeeper was going to be unavailable.....until they arrived with only their two wide men missing. Despite their threadbare´ outfit the visitors claimed the first shot on goal‚ a free kick in the second minute that was blazed high and wide from twenty five yards. Tivvy settled and were son into the pattern that had seen them take the spoils from the first half of their previous game. Jamie Mudge and Richard Pears were both looking lively‚ the midfield pairing of Paul Chenoweth and Chris Holloway were getting the better of things in midfield‚ if not controlling the region‚ and Kevin Nancekivell was flitting back and forth energetically acting as the link. At the back the central trio were not under any great pressure though Danny O´Hagan was obviously prepared to put himself around and Matty Holmes wasted little time in showing the touches that gave a clue to his pedigree and a hint of what might happen if he was allowed off his leash. But with Tiverton pushing forward hopes were high for the home fans‚ even more so as the chances started to be created. On 5 minutes Pears‚ surrounded by a flock of Magpies‚ managed to force in a lobbed shot that had Dorchester´s regular goalkeeper‚ Mark Ormerod‚ stretching upwards to clasp the ball above his head. Two minutes later and Steve Winter played a ball down the right touch line for Mudge to chase‚ catch‚ and carry past a defender to send in a low cross from the by-line that Pears should really have buried‚ so perfectly was it positioned‚ but scooped up and over the bar from five yards out. Before another sixty seconds had passed Mudge threatened to do the job himself‚ sprinting through the middle‚ evading the challenge of Alex Browne but sending his shot just an inch or so too low which enabled Ormerod to deflect the ball vertically before grabbing it at the second attempt. Three chances in as many minutes - but still no goal. The visitors were not out of things entirely and could well have taken the lead on the quarter hour when from their first corner of the game Chris Holloway headed off the line and the ball was scrambled away. The second cross was floated in from the left by Stuart Cooper‚ fell to O´Hagan who swung a boot and missed completely allowing the ball to continue to Matty Groves (any Fairport Convention fans out there?) who was so surprised to receive it he sliced it way over the top. It was the signal for Dorchester to come more into the game‚ indeed for a while they began to look as if they might get the upper hand.
As the midway point of the first half was reached the game had both opened and evened out. There were chances‚ or half chances being created at both ends. Mark Rawlinson lifted a free kick over the crossbar for the visitors; Pears broke through the middle‚ hotly pursued by Carl Poore‚ but maybe tired by his 50 yard dash‚ lifted the ball where so many had gone previously - over the crossbar. Mudge was still the most sprightly player on the pitch‚ making runs on either wing or through the middle. And those runs were resulting in a series of varied and dangerous crosses that were keeping Ormerod as the busier of the two keepers. The Magpies enjoyed a purple patch for five minutes after the half hour was past. O´Hagan connected well with a firm header. Holmes shot wide after starting a move that saw first touch passing between himself‚ O´Hagan and Groves. For the Yellows‚ Pears continued his run of missed opportunities when a diving header to meet a Mudge cross from the right flew wide and Chenoweth joined the over the top´ brigade from six yards after Nancekivell had escaped but been forced wide where he did well to turn and chip the ball back into the danger area. Dorchester had far fewer openings but came closer to converting them. Rob Cousins returned to last season´s role of saviour by heading a Holmes shot off the line and the watching fans were just resigning themselves to a goal-less half when fortune smiled on the Yellows. Deep into added time Pears scooted free down the left with the Dorchester back line appealing for offside‚ and admittedly it did look suspiciously so. Playing to the whistle Pearsy kept going to the by-line and pulled a low cross across the goalmouth that beat Ormerod but‚ with no yellow shirt following in‚ looked as if it would be an easy task for Simon Radcliffe to guide clear of the goalmouth. Radcliffe´s boot didn´t make the contact he intended though and the ball shot into the net to give Town a lead that they may have deserved but had looked unlikely to attain. The protests continued‚ resulting in a banishment from the dugout and a great deal of moaning at officials from the Magpies as they left the field for the break.

The opening of the second half can be best described as scrappy. The visitors heads had not been lowered by the late goal‚ or its nature‚ and they gradually worked their way on top. Largely instrumental in the transformation was Holmes who began to shine as the class player on the pitch. His drive saw Dorchester actually begin to control midfield and with that their three front runners‚ O´Hagan‚ Groves and Cooper became more and more threatening. The majority of chances started to fall to the team in black and white. Rawlinson twice had good shooting opportunities but was as accurate in his finishing as Pears had been in the first period. Then it was Cooper´s turn. A shot wide in the 66th minute‚ another from a corner that hit a mass of bodies and was then sent wildly wide when it rebounded back to the Dorchester man in the 69th. It was Tivvy that were reduced to the breakaway attacks and inevitably they were fired by live-wire Mudge. A thirty yard run rounded off with a shot that was deflected wide to Graeme Power on the left. Power let fly but his shot was deflected away for a corner after Ormerod made an excellent save. From the set piece the ball was deflected down to Mudge who joined the High and wide Club´. By this time the Dorset side were clearly on top and duly pulled themselves level in the 73rd minute. Cooper‚ who had been becoming more and more of a handful‚ pounced on a ball down the left that Winter should have cut out. Off went Cooper, in the clear, and fired in a low cross that O´Hagan coolly sidefooted home from close in. It was a replica of Tiverton´s goal, apart from the offside doubt and the fact that it was scored by someone that intended the ball to go where it did.
The Yellows fought to restore their lead, Nancekivell coming close in a scramble with Ormerod in the 77th minute. It was to be Nance´s last contribution, Paul Milsom replacing him. Tiverton edged their way briefly and narrowly back on top. Jason Rees found Power on the left and the ball was pushed forward to Chenoweth whose cross goal shot was well wide when it should have at least tested the keeper. Dorchester were hopeful that they had found a winner when Cooper found the net but everybody but the scorer´ had stopped play ten seconds earlier as the whistle had gone for offside. There was an air of acceptance of the draw from both sets of players as added time was entered but even then the Magpies almost flew the nest with all three points. Rees chased a long ball from the Dorchester half, back towards his own goal-line. Options were a-plenty. Turn it inside for Fraser to boot upfield. Turn it out for a throw. Turn round and face the opponent chasing over a yard back, before selecting either of the previous. Jason chose to let the ball run out for a goal kick. Two yards short of the line he realised it wasn´t going to make it and swung the ball across his own goalmouth, past the bemused Fraser and only just failing to tuck it inside the far post for what would have been an own goal to rival Paul Tatterton´s on the Isle of Wight three seasons ago. As it was the ball crossed the line outside the upright to give Dorchester one last chance. It was a chance they almost took. The corner came across. O´Hagan got the first touch,,. The ball fell to Browne. How the ball lifted so sharply to clear the crossbar by so much from such short range is a mystery. It did...and the score remained the same for the remaining seconds.

So the roller coaster performances continue. I, for one, wish for a little more predictability. Variety might be the spice of life but I like my cup of tea and get upset when it turns out to be anything other than what I was expecting. The old pump can´t stand the strain of so many surprises.....


Tiverton Town: Stuart Fraser, Steve Winter, Gareth Power, Jason Rees, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Kevin Nancekivell (Paul Milsom, 77), Chris Holloway, Richard Pears, Paul Chenoweth, James Mudge (David Steele, 82).
Subs not used: Danny Haines, Ian Patchett, Shaun Goff.
Bookings: Cousins 31, Winter 43, Fraser 69, Pears 87.

Dorchester Town: Mark Ormerod, Carl Poore, Simon Radcliffe, Mark Rawlinson, Alex Browne, Michael White, Jamie Brown, Matty Holmes, Danny O´Hagan, Matt Groves, Stuart Cooper.
Subs not used: Mark Jermyn, Les Elsworth, Michael Walker, Steve Legg, Andy Harris.
Bookings: Brown 28.


Referee: R Ganfield (Weston-s-Mare)

This report ©2003 John Reidy






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