Match report

Hednesford Town 3 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 25/10/2003   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

I think it was an American politician (perhaps somebody could e-mail me with the details) that came out with the line about being able to fool some of the people some of the time‚ most of the people most of the time‚ but not all of the people all of the time. If it was one of our transatlantic brethren that uttered those wise words then it is ironic‚ in view if that nation´s conviction that Iraq was directly involved in the events of 11th September and that the entire country is bursting with Nuclear‚ Chemical and Biological weapons. But then we Brits are just as bad. For the last six months we have been convinced that it has been three o´clock on a Saturday afternoon when our football matches have been kicking off‚ when mother nature and the position of the sun has told us that it was in fact 2 o´clock. The entire population has been sold on the belief that the clocks showed the real time. Joke over‚ the authorities have now told us to put our timepieces back where they should be and revert to normal time until it suits them again next spring. It just proves that you can fool all the people - even if I can´t fool my dogs who know unerringly when their dinner time is! And questions have to be asked about who is fooling who when it comes to whether Tivvy Town are a football side capable of challenging for top honours at their level. Are the Yellows a top team‚ as their performances at Worcester and Nuneaton would appear to indicate‚ who are having more than their share of off´ days‚ or are they just another average side that can occasionally rise to the occasion? It was a question that was begging to be answered as Town made the trip up to Hednesford.

Like the dancing at a wedding reception the game started at a sedate pace‚ not quite a minuet but almost as polite. For the first five minutes or so Tivvy were more forward but only in exploratory fashion‚ not taking any risks of making early fools of themselves. It was the Pitmen´ who were the first to make an attempt on goal when Steve Palmer sent in a low skidding shot that edged its way past Stuart Fraser´s right hand upright eight minutes in. As if embarrassed by this display of exuberance the assembled company once more dummed down´ their behaviour and the only interest for the attending onlookers was provided by an interesting contest between the vastly experienced Steve Anthrobus and the comparative neophyte Nathan Rudge. It was an encounter from which the younger man was to emerge with the majority of the credit‚ even the home striker admitting that he had been given his toughest game of the season so far. With quarter of an hour gone the home side upped the tempo a beat and began to make more frequent pushes towards Tiverton´s goal. The higher pace‚ though‚ seemed to suit the Yellows just as much and they too started to test the Hednesford defence a little more. Jamie Mudge turned well on a ball received from a right wing throw in to evade his marker and send Steve Winter sprinting down the touchline to crash in a low cross that home keeper Ryan Young had to throw himself full length and forward to cut out. There was a horrible feeling of deja-vu for the visiting supporters on the 21st minute when Tivvy‚ appearing t have ample time‚ tried to pass the ball around in defence‚ ran out of space and possession‚ allowing the Pitmen to throw together a swift three man passing move that left Mark Danks closing in on Fraser´s right post. Just as Danks swung his foot to shoot‚ in nipped Rob Cousins to prod the ball away and out for a throw in. With the game now moving along at a more respectable fox-trot pace there were also signs that the on field inhibitions were being lost and that too‚ seemed to be in Tivvy´s favour. They were building the longer passing sequences and having more success in interrupting those of the hosts‚ particularly in midfield. Then‚ as so often happens in such situations‚ they lost concentration and conceded a goal. Hednesford broke down their right and the ball was fed into Danny McGhee bursting forward from midfield. McGhee ran at the Tiverton back line who failed to close him down and as he reached the edge of the penalty area he lifted the ball over the retreating defenders‚ over the advancing Fraser and watched delightedly as it dropped into the net to give his side a 25th minute lead. Delightedly‚ for it was his first goal for the club since signing from local Midlands Alliance side Rushall Olympic - proof if any were needed that there are players in local football that can make the step up to the senior feeder leagues.

The Yellows restarted in top gear in an attempt to repair the damage. Kevin Nancekivell made a dash down the left and saw his telling cross hooked away for a corner. It was to be a short revival‚ curtailed by a clash of heads in the centre of the field that left the referee with no option but to halt play. Rudge was the victim‚ a nasty cut to the bridge of his nose and a lesser one to his upper lip. Neither would stop pumping the red stuff´ and after treatment on the field Nathan was escorted off for further repair work and a chance to change out of his new style scarlet shirt - which couldn´t be allowed since the home side had large areas of red incorporated into their strip‚ and though their keeper´s yellow jersey seemed to be quite acceptable to the officials. With an obvious reluctance from Martyn Rogers to replace Nathan before it was inevitable that he would be able to continue‚ Tivvy battled on with ten men. Hednesford took advantage and pushed forward but the Yellows held them off until Rudge returned five minutes later complete with No. 19 shirt and the quest for the equaliser was resumed. Pressure came from a couple of corners. Holloway almost beat Young with a looping header from the first; Young was fouled from the second. With the game winding down to the break Mr Smallwood made a total ass of himself when booking Holloway for shielding his eyes from the glaring sun and being unfortunate enough to have the ball hit his upraised hand. Free kick for hand ball‚ fair enough. Booking? The home press corps and fans in the main stand were incredulous. The fans on the opposite side of the field probably didn´t see what happened....the sun was in their eyes. Fraser was called into action in the final seconds of added time before the break‚ palming a low shot from Carl Palmer round his post for a corner. It had not been a particularly edifying first 45 minutes. 0-0 would have been a fairer reflection of the true worth of the game.

The Yellows started the second period looking far brighter. Before the sweep hand on an old fashioned stop-watch could have completed it´s first circuit Steve Winter had done what had taken eight minutes to accomplish in the first half - fired in a shot that had skimmed wide. The visitors had found their passing boots and were spreading the ball around‚ building from the back‚ pushing through the middle and attacking the home penalty area. Jamie Mudge cutting in from the left managed to hit an effort on target but lacking in power. Hednesford started more quietly but gradually found their rhythm‚ Chris Gray sending in a low cross that had Fraser emulating Young´s efforts of the first half by diving low and forward to grasp. A dodgy moment was survived when Paul Chenoweth gave away a free kick on the edge of the penalty area with an ungainly shove but the ball was sent high and wide by the head that met the forward kick. It was an unnecessary kick given away in a risky position but did highlight a noticeable improvement in the Yellow´s performance since it was one of only four fouls committed by them all afternoon‚ including Holloway´s handball! With 56 minutes gone Tivvy´s momentum was maintained by the introduction of Paul Milsom to replace a jaded looking Nancekivell. Had the substitute been involved in what followed then it might have been regarded as a Master Stroke´ by Rogers. As it was the move was started round the halfway line by a magnificent cross field ball from Graeme Power to Mudge on the right flank. Jamie took the ball under control and headed for the corner flag‚ dragging three defenders with him. Before they could get close enough to organise themselves in an attempt to dispossess him‚ Jamie laid the ball back inside to Richard Pears who had moved into the space vacated by the Hednesford defence. Just inside the angle of the penalty box Richard flicked the ball over Young to see it land inches inside the upright and bounce up into the net. It was no more than Tiverton deserved. Three minutes later buoyant Pears tried a speculative first time shot from all of 30 yards that flew almost as far wide of the goal but the tempo from the men in yellow was definitely now up to quickstep. Another three minutes saw a golden opportunity for Tiverton to take the lead. Similar to the goal‚ the move started down the right but instead of carrying the ball to the corner Mudge moved it in earlier. Pears was within a yard or two of the spot from which he had netted but this time there were defenders in attendance. Richard didn´t go for goal. He floated in a cross to the far post where Power charging forward launched himself full length but his header rocketed wide with the goal gaping. But Hednesford were not going to settle for the draw and they to increased their efforts‚ Chenoweth coming to the rescue when Paul Danks fired in a shot that had Fraser beaten.
And the metronome started to swing The Pitmen´s way again as a long cross from the impressive McGhee - still running dangerously at the Tiverton defence - drove in a dangerous cross that brought the reaction save of the afternoon from Fraser as David Steele´s attempt to head clear nearly thundered inside the post rather than outside it. In the 70th minute the home side´s lead was restored. Again a reoccurring venerability of Tivvy´s defence was exposed. Hednesford strung together a series of passes around the edge of the Tiverton penalty area. There were touches from yellow socked feet but only deflections‚ nothing to clear upfield. The furthest the ball moved was just outside the area and then it was driven back and through the crowd‚ past the unlighted Fraser by Chris Gray. There is some debate about whether the ball was deflected on the way by Mark Danks‚ but it is only of interest to the statisticians. More relevant was the fact that the score was 2-1. The Yellows could not be faulted for their endeavour to pull things back level. Chenoweth had a free kick from five yards outside the area deflected for a corner and the same fate befell a dipping Pears shot from a laid back ball from Milsom, one of many constructive touches the former Bath City player was to contribute. From the resulting corner the ball was bundled into the net at the near post but the goal´ disallowed the man in charge deciding that Young, too, had been bundled over the line. Tivvy were throwing everything forward, definitely rockin´. A long free kick from Jason Rees was nodded down in the penalty area by Milsom but prodded wide for a goal kick in the ensuing scramble. As a final gambit a battered and bruised Rudge was replaced by Danny Haines, the defence being thinned as Haines was sent forward on the left. Pears again came close from a Milsom nod down with six minutes left, Young touching his flicked on shot out for another corner. Two minutes later it was Milsom again, swivelling his trunk (no, not that one!) to direct the ball to Pears who in turn slid it into the path of Haines who was just a foot too slow and had the ball touched away before he could shoot. It was to be the last chance for the Yellows. Hednesford delivered the coupe de grace with a break from their two substitutes which left the thinly spread Tiverton defence foundering in their wake. Interchanging passes right to the six yard box the ball was forced home by Anthony Maguire to complete a flattering scoreline for the home side.



Flattering if you consider the balance of play - Fair reflection if you consider the ability to take chances.


Tiverton Town: Stuart Fraser, Steve Winter ( David Steele, 59), Graeme Power, Jason Rees, Nathan Rudge (Danny Haines, 83), Rob Cousins, Kevin Nancekivell ( Paul Milsom, 57), Chris Holloway, Richard Pears, Paul Chenoweth, Jamie Mudge,
Subs: Shaun Goff, Steve Ovens.
Booked: Holloway.

Hednesford Town: Ryan Young, Darren Simkin, Les Hine, Danny McGee ( Anthony Maguire, 81), Chris Brindley, Stuart Ryder, Carl Palmer, Steve Palmer, Steve Anthrobus ( Nathan Lamey, 67), Mark Danks,Chris Gray.
Subs: Karl Brown, Ashley Dodd, Paul Evans.
Booked: None

Att: 437

Referee: W D Smallwood, Northwich.

This report ©2003 John Reidy






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