Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 2 Cambridge City

   Saturday 04/04/2009   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Tiverton Town looked to avenge defeat earlier in the season at Milton Road, but resources were stretched with the news that Jamie Mudge’s knee injury would keep him on the sidelines. The response was to bring Tom Knighton back from a fruitful loan spell at Paulton Rovers, and Paul Wyatt also returned to the starting line-up after a two game lay-off. Also in the starting line-up was Matt Villis, the defender having shaken off a thigh injury to make his first home start for a month.

The new look front-line didn’t have a great deal to do besides chasing a few balls into the corners as Cambridge City dominated the early phase of the match, and the first effort came from City captain Adrian Cambridge. After Adam Faux had upended Michael Frew, Cambridge fired in a powerful free kick that cannoned off Wyatt’s knee and away for a corner, and the same player delivered the next set piece, only to see Arran Pugh scramble the ball clear at the third attempt.

With the visitors still making the running Lee Chaffey went on a direct charge from deep in his own half, but having drawn the Tivvy defence out his final ball was too late and Frew found himself in an offside position. Cambridge’s dominance had not borne fruit, and slowly Tiverton found their feet as Tom Gardner sent a cross-shot just wide having been released on the left by a clinical pass from Mike Booth, and Wyatt forced his way into the area but could only poke his final effort the wrong side of the upright as he tried to out-muscle Ben Nunn

Frew continued to waste a host of chances for the away side, shooting at the feet of Steve Book, and then heading tamely wide at the far stick from Nunn’s hanging cross. Ten minutes before the interval Ben Farrell also missed the target, having gained possession when Book fumbled on the edge of his area, and Adam Faux cleared a Frew effort from off the line. But on the stroke of half time City finally got their noses in front; Neilson was allowed time and space, and crossed from the right, Steve Gentle, who had dominated in the air throughout the first half, was in place to head home from six yards.

The Cambridge lead should have been doubled shortly after the restart but Gentle’s awkward looking cross was a foot too far in front of the advanced Dave Theobald, and at the other end the City goal finally came under threat, with both Nathan Rudge and then Gardner having shots cleared from beneath the bar, and arguably behind the line.

On sixty-four minutes, as Matt Villis swept up a loose ball, Frew and Faux clashed off the ball with the Tivvy defender reacting to an elbow to the eye socket with a lash out at his opponent. The linesman flagged, advised the referee on what he had seen, and Faux was given a straight red card; Frew walked away unpunished in what was a decision by the referee - or rather a non-decision – that would have a major bearing on the outcome of the game.

Ten man Tiverton galvanised and five minutes later surprisingly equalised. Knighton scampered away down the left and looked to cross into the box, but his attempts were halted by Nunn’s hand, earning Town a penalty. With Martyn Rogers yelling from the dugout that Paul Jarvis should take the spot kick, Knighton turned off his ears, spotted the ball, and sent Zac Barrett the wrong way. Barrett is supposedly something of a penalty-saving expert, and back in November he had saved his side by beating Bobby Hopkinson’s spot kick away five minutes from the end of the game. This time he wasn’t even close, and Knighton marked an encouraging return to Ladysmead with a deserved goal, albeit from a rather generous penalty.

However, parity was only maintained for eight minutes, and City’s second of the game effectively killed the match. Cambridge’s throw-in from the right, just ahead of the home dugout, was flicked on by Gentle, and Frew, who was lucky to be on the pitch, stole in and lifted a clever volley over Book and into the far corner. It was a fine finish by the fortunate forward, and almost a carbon copy of an effort he had seen clip the crossbar in the first half, minutes after Mike Booth had rattled the woodwork at the other end with a curling and dipping shot from distance.

Tiverton were not able to respond, and City wasted a host of chances to increase their lead in the final throes. With Martyn Rogers seeking to inject some late energy into a match-saving surge, Damien Connery, Alex Faux and Mark Saunders all joined the game, but City controlled the closing stages. Neilson was denied by Book, Frew dragged a shot wide after beating the offside trap, and Gentle headed over after Frew’s acrobatic overhead cross. But it didn’t matter to a vocal away following that had seen their side consolidate a playoff position. Meanwhile, Tiverton’s season continues to peter out, and a third successive defeat marked the worst run of Tiverton league form since December 2007 when the Yellows lost to Team Bath, Hitchin Town and Banbury United.

Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Paul Jarvis, Adam Faux, Matt Villis, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner (Alex Faux 85), Mike Booth, Bobby Hopkinson, Tom Knighton, Arran Pugh (Mark Saunders 85), Paul Wyatt (Damien Connery 85)
Goals: Knighton 69
Booked: Rudge 16
Sent off: Adam Faux 64

Cambridge City: Zac Barrett, Ben Nunn (Tom Pepper 82), Lee Chaffey, Dave Theobald, Mark Smith, Ben Farrell, Scott Neilson, Adrian Cambridge (Craig Radcliffe 79), Steve Gentle, Michael Frew, Neil Midgley
Goals: Gentle 44, Frew 77
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance: 292

This report ©2009 Alan Reidy






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