Match report

Tiverton Town 2 - 0 Evesham United

   Wednesday 18/04/2001   Southern League First Division
Nigel Davis

Any thoughts that Tivvy were about to throw in the towel following the abysmal first half performance at Mangotsfield were soon discarded as we witnessed another stunning display‚ helped in no small part by an Evesham side full of attacking ideas and sparkling individual performances.

The hardy 630 who braved the cold‚ almost wintry‚ night were treated to exhibition football of the finest calibre and even a first half hailstorm followed by torrential rain failed to put a dampner on the occasion. And when the floodlights failed five minutes into the second half‚ optimism was still rife amongst the crowd.

It was a personal triumph for Steve Ovens who‚ once again‚ picked up the man-of-the-match award for his two stunning strikes but‚ to be honest‚ it was difficult to find fault with anyone on a night that proved once and for all that Tivvy have the ability to claim that elusive promotion slot.

The morale in the camp could not be better. Phil Everett even drove all the way from Kent to play his part‚ and Dave Leonard made another welcome appearance following his masterful display against Gloucester on Saturday.
The match started at a furoius pace with Steve Daly picking up another booking in the fifth meeting. But it was to be a rare bad challenge on a night when football was the winner.

End to end was the order of the day and both sides came close to breaking the deadlock‚ the nearest being from Steve Ovens whose angled drive after 17 minutes just cleared the frame of the goal. Seconds later Phil was clattered to the ground and it looked as if it was Evesham´s number 5‚ Jay Powell‚ that was booked although it has to be said that the one fault with thereferee (Kevin Hawkes) - and it was really the only fault he had - was that he didn´t call players to him and then wave his card‚ he just thrust it in the air at no-one in particular...

Nine minutes later‚ Paul Edwards had to be on his toes to deny a Steve McCartan header and then Tivvy attacked once more with some classic passing before the ball landed at Steve Winter´s feet down the right wing. He delivered a great cross that was just out of Damien Beattie´s reach andthere was Steve Ovens to pivot on his left peg before cracking the ball into the top right hand corner of the goal to give Tivvy a 29th minute lead.

Evesham were not to be outdone and‚ had it not been for a great Paul Tatterton header followed by a further superb goalline clearance by Nicky Marker after the ball had been pumped back into the danger zone‚ the game could have turned round all square.

In Tivvy´s next attack‚ Steve Daly fell badly and was in some agony on the half-way line. Sportingly‚ Andy Smith kicked the ball out for Arfur to receive treatment and‚ thankfully‚ he got to his feet‚ albeit gingerley.
With four minutes remaining before halftime‚ Tivvy had claims for a penalty when Steve Ovens had his ankles clipped as he sprinted inside the box‚ but the ref turned a deaf ear to their pleas.

With the rain easing slightly at half-time‚ there was an element of nervousness amongst the crowd. Would one goal be enough? Would Tivvy defend as well in the second half as they had in the first? Most people thought they could and would.

It all seemed academic five minutes after the break as darkness descended upon Ladysmead. The floodlights had failed...

Fortunately‚ having a chairman who runs an electrickery outfit‚ our MrWright came to the rescue and‚ ten minutes after the failure‚ the lights started to come on one-by-one. It seemed as if this was designed to work out which pylon had caused the failure but optimism increased as first one half of the pitch was lit and then‚ finally‚ the other half was illuminated.

After a break of 13 minutes the game restarted with a dropped ball in the centre circle. Evesham were certainly up for it but overstepped the mark in the guise of Steve McCartan who fouled Steve Ovens and then‚ with the ref trying to play advantage‚ fouled Kevin Nancekivell. These were no run-of-the-mill tackles and both were worthy of a booking. However‚ the ref could only book him once and McCartan was somewhat fortunate to be still on the park.

Tivvy stepped up a gear and were causing all sorts of problems going forward but Evesham still had their moments‚ Richard Clark heading wide from a corner.

Their third booking came after Phil Preedy went in with his studs on Scott Rogers before we witnessed the move of the match. Steve Winter headed the ball forwards from the half-way line. However‚ with none of his comrades able to reach it‚ Wints hared off down the wing to cramp Evesham´s defensive clearance and‚ amazingly‚ won the ball back as he anticipated correctly that the ball would be played back to keeper Beattie. His endeavours deserved more than the corner he won and it certainly shows how much he is thriving at Ladysmead.

Soon after‚ Evesham brought on Andy Hodgetts and Joe Licata for Phil Preedy and Stuart Payne but Tivvy easily coped with this reshuffle.

Then‚ with 33 minutes of the half gone‚ Evesham played statues as Kevin Nancekivell and Steve Ovens weaved their magic spell before Ovo crashed the ball home off an Evesham hand to make it 2-0.

Even the introduction of James Brown for skipper Steve Taylor could not change Evesham´s fortunes and Mr Hawkes then had to make a note of their physio´s name after he ran onto the pitch without being beckoned - and compounded his error by emitting some foul and abusive language at the ref. No card was proffered because‚ as Mr Hawkes said after the game ´I couldn´t show him a card but I took his name and will be reporting him to the FA for the foul and abusive language´.

As befitted Tivvy on the night that they inflicted Evesham´s heaviest league defeat of the campaign and completed the double over their promotion rivals, they were on the rampage when the final whistle blew.

This keeps Tivvy´s 100% home league record intact for the year 2001, a run that has seen them win nine games, scoring 33 times and conceding just four. Pretty amazing eh?

Tiverton Town: Paul Edwards, Steve Winter, Neil Saunders, Paul Tatterton, Nicky Marker, Scott Rogers, Kevin Nancekivell, Steve Ovens, Phil Everett, Steve Daly, Dave Leonard

Evesham United: Damien Beattie, Andy Smith, Matt Pendleton, Richard Clark, Jay Powell, Phil Preedy (Joe  Licata 71), Mark Wolsey, Steve McCartan, Shaun Pratt, Steve Taylor (James Brown 81), Stuart Payne (Andy Hodgetts 71)

Attendance: 630

Referee: Kevin Hawkes (Gloucester)

This report ©2001 Nigel Davis

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