Match report

Tiverton Town 2 - 1 Brackley Town

   Tuesday 24/03/2009   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

The Lord probably doesn’t like Brackley Town Football Club, but I am at my wits end trying to work out why. Perhaps He just doesn’t want them treading upon and destroying his emerald fields of the South West, for in the past two years the charges of Phil Lines (and David Oldfield before him) have made plans and been required to reassess. Last season they went all the way before their meeting with the Yellows of Tiverton was called off, and found themselves forced into a Devon trip a few days before the end of the season when the result was not important. On this circulation of the Southern League clock it was more genuine sporting means that scuppered their plans for a South-Westerly jaunt back in December, Tivvy being otherwise occupied in the FA Trophy (only they weren’t as Bashley was flooded). And so finally we meet again, for only the third time, and the first this season; Tiverton hold the upper hand in previous meetings, and the higher spot in the league standing; Brackley boast the best pound-for-pound player in the league, and the best beard too, attached to the chin of Wayne Blossom.

As the teams lined up, and the visiting side prepared to kick off it was immediately clear that the potential star of the show, Tom Winters, and Tivvy’s contestant for Beard of the Year Adam Faux would face up in a duel, and it was a duel that Winters looked good to win by a landslide in the early stages, only for Faux to find his range and eventually nullify the threat of the Southern League’s best player. That is a huge credit to Faux, and further proof that this Tiverton team is determined and workmanlike from 1 to 11 and beyond; Winters found space early in the game, teased and tricked his way into delivering a handful of crosses from wide on the left, but as the game wore on so the influence of Brackley’s top man waned.

Unfortunately for Tivvy Winters was still integral in the early exchanges, his role had yet to be nullified, and in the fifteenth minute he fashioned what was a rather fortuitous opening goal of the game with a very high looping cross that fell on the edge of the Town goal area. Steve Book was beneath the ball as it fell from the heavens, and so was Mike Booth, but neither goalkeeper nor defender dealt with it, and Elliot Sandy nipped in to plant the ball calmly into the corner of the net, giving the visitors a lead that they deserved.

Sandy then scuppered a golden chance to extend the lead for Brackley as he shot wide after Winters’ free kick was blocked, and then his own shot was also changed down in the area, and Brackley were made to pay for their wastefulness just a few clicks later. Paul Wyatt, returning after a thigh injury, sought out Jamie Mudge, and the Tivvy hitman scored a wonderful goal, shooting early and leaving Brackley goalkeeper Joe Day grasping at thin air somewhere up and to his right.

We were only eighteen minutes into the game, and despite the two goals it was an ugly affair to this point with both teams preferring the direct approach, and it became more ugly when visiting captain Derek Brown clashed with Arran Pugh in midfield. Brown needed stitches and a headband, Pugh required lengthy treatment, and hobbled off dazed with both head and ankle wounds. With Pugh temporarily out of action Mudge fired a shot wide and Winters copied his opposite number in sympathy. Pugh returned, took another knock on his ankle, and was quickly replaced by a hungry Mark Saunders ten minutes before the interval.

Gradually Tiverton began to increase the pressure and show their prowess – a corner was earned by Paul Jarvis but the threat was dealt with, and Brackley also won a quadrant kick in added time in the first half, but the scores remained tied until the break.

Wyatt had tried gallantly, but his play and his leg was poor, so at half time he gave way to Tiverton’s new and exciting find Damien Connery, who had, three days earlier, made a very impressive debut at Banbury. But before Connery could get into the game Brackley, and Winters again, were pressing. A free kick swung in from the right was punched clear by Book, punched well away under pressure. Brackley’s initial explorations into the face of a biting wind we positive, but in due course Tiverton began, and then continued to get their measure. Saunders had a shot deflected wide after Bobby Hopkinson and Mudge had combined from a free kick near the corner, but soon enough Saunders would get reward for what had been, to this point, a fine cameo role.

Another free kick, this time out on the left, wasn’t sent into the danger zone immediately, but Hopkinson teed up Mike Booth perfectly to finally send in a telling cross. And what a cross it was – Mudge rose at the penalty spot and carefully glanced a header deep towards the back post, Saunders, with legs and desire of a twenty year old, threw himself forward at the far post, a foot on the ball, and ball into the net. Tivvy lead, and on their renewed positivity since the restart it was a lead they thoroughly deserved. Hopkinson and Jarvis were become more and more influential in midfield, Saunders was everywhere at once, Mudge and Connery were extending themselves admirably up front, and, Hell’s Bells, the defence was as solid as a rock!

Brackley tried to make things happen; introducing Ben Mackey for the poor Scott Hadland, and the latter came close to making an immediate impact when he lashed in a low shot with his first touch that Book pushed out from the goal line by his right post. Wayne Blossom picked up the pieces but his delivery was ill-judged, and the Saints had to start again.

For Tiverton Mudge had the ball in the net, but it was long after the referee’s whistle had peeped in recognition of an offside flag. Mudge was left to explain a needless yellow card for his part in the act, but the main focus for the remainder of the match was how Tivvy’s defence would hold up. The answer was admirably, and Saunders made a timely interception, while Book was relieved as Mackey hit a weak shot straight at him when well placed a free of pressure.

Book was also in place in the closing stages when Josh Green headed Winters’ corner goalwards, and it is a credit to the Tiverton mentality that any equalising chances were few and far between. Town had switched to an orthodox 4-4-2 system early in the second half; near the end of the game that had become 7-1-2, but needs must, and Tiverton’s accustomed defenders, Gardner, Faux, Rudge and Booth were in fine fettle, ably assisted in the closing stages by Faux the Younger, Saunders and Jarvis. This was a hard earned win against a decent team that were probably struggling with the hangover of being hammered in their previous game. But Tivvy can only do what they need to, and, as nervy as it may have been for the supporters, Brackley never really came close to equalising.

Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Paul Jarvis, Alex Faux, Adam Faux, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, Arran Pugh (Mark Saunders 36), Bobby Hopkinson, Paul Wyatt (Damien Connery 46), Mike Booth, Jamie Mudge
Goals: Mudge 18, Saunders, 57
Booked: Mudge 75
Sent off: None

Brackley Town: Joe Day; Craig Farley, Danny Spencer (Dave Perpetuini 70), Wayne Blossom, Derek Brown, Josh Green, Jon Brady, Scott Hadland (Ben Mackey 59), Elliot Sandy, Mark Rawle (Anthony Fontanelle 79), Tom Winters
Goals: Sandy 15
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance: 223




This report ©2009 Alan Reidy

Tiverton Town 2 - 1 Brackley Town

   Tuesday 24/03/2009   Southern League Premier Division
Mr. A.G. Reidy

By far the most important match of the week, both in respect of its representative character and the individual skill of the players engaged therein took place on Tuesday on The Lady’s Mead field, in the presence of a moderate number of spectators. Tiverton was represented by a picked team, and captained by Mr N. Rudge, than whom a better exponent of the game does not exist. The Brackley team, lacking the valuable assistance of Mr. R. Knight and Mr D. Cracknell, was under the command of Mr D. Brown.

Upon somewhat rigid turf the Devonian captain, having lost the toss, kicked off, in the teeth of a strong wind, about a quarter to eight o’clock. Although the opening was vigorous on the part of the host, their opponents were "all there", and after the first five minutes the advantage, if any, was theirs. By the time the allotted three quarters of an hour had expired, involving, according to the rule, a change of ends, both side had scored (Mr. E, Sandy on behalf of the charges of Northamptonshire; Mr. J. Mudge for the local team), but may be fairly said the fortunes of the day were inclining towards the North. With the wind in their favour (when ends were changed at half-past eight o’clock) the Southerners went to work manfully, and but for the excellent defence play of Messrs D. Brown and J. Day (the latter of whom proved on occasion a most efficient goal-keeper,) Messrs Mudge, Hopkinson and Saunders would speedily have won a goal by a coup de main.

A half of an hour before the time fixed for concluding the game, the Bracklonian head, over-confident, withdrew a middle player in favour of more attacking aptitude, and Tiverton gained a goal by a rather lucky kick on the part of Mr M. Saunders. The result was hailed with tremendous cheers, the partisans of the Westlanders being apparently almost overpowered with joy. There was again a kick off, and the spectators were treated to some splendid efforts on the part of the Brackley troops to make the contest a tie. The brilliant defiance on the part of S. Book, who, just before time was called, saved Tiverton at the hands of Mr. B. Mackey was one of the finest exploits on a match that was throughout distinguished by skill, determination, and "dash" on the part of both teams. On the side of Brackley, Mr. T. Winters shone out conspicuously among his brethren, his kicking and flank-play generally showing no lack of the skill for which he was so distinguished at Oxford; and Messrs Blossom and Sandy were also worthy of the highest commendation. For Tiverton, Messrs Jarvis and Hopkinson may be mentioned for the speed, as well as the energy, of their play; while Messrs Rudge and Gardner were also very effective as backs. The sides were:

Tiverton: S. Book, P. Jarvis, Al. Faux, Ad Faux, N. Rudge, T. Gardner, A. Pugh, B. Hopkins-son, P. Wyatt, M. Booth, J. Mudge.
*NB. Messrs. Pugh and Booth were both withdrawn around the middle point of proceedings. Messrs. M.Saunders and D. Connery (a youthful newcomer) took over their roles.

Brackley: J. Day, C. Farley, D. Spencer, W. Blossom, D. Brown, J. Green, J. Brady, S. Hadland, E. Sandy, M. Rawle, T. Winters
NB. B. Mackey, D. Perpetuini and A. Fontanelle all played an important part in the game.

This report ©2009 Mr. A.G. Reidy






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