Match report

Weston-super-Mare 1 - 3 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 15/11/2003   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

For what is the nearest we come to a local derby these days‚ Tivvy games against Weston never seem to generate the fervour that might be expected. Sure‚ they are usually hard fought affairs but there never seems to be the excitement‚ the ferocity‚ the emotion‚ that emerges from contests with Bath City‚ Weymouth‚ or even in the last couple of years‚ Chippenham Town. The pre game banter and insult throwing‚ post match mickey taking‚ and on field fireworks never seem to materialise against The Seagulls‚ indeed the most memorable event that I can recall from a visit to Woodspring Park before this season was the occasion a couple of years back when the majority of the fans behind the goal turned their back n the game to watch a far more fiery display in the car park as a derelict vehicle was torched by some local vandals. This season‚ though‚ there was a little pre-match excitement‚ and luck‚ to make the short trip up the M5 memorable. Ample time and a clearish road meant we were able to cruise towards the seaside at a gentle 69mph (ish !)‚ and most of that in the inside lane. For a moment from the back seat it sounded as we´d strayed onto the rumble bars´. No. You´ve got a puncture‚ uttered the front seat passenger as the driver fought to keep the car straight and ease it to a stop on the hard shoulder. It was well done‚ and steadily. Steadily enough for the tyre that had not only been punctured but had also stripped itself from the wheel‚ to bounce along behind us like some spectacular shot from television coverage of a Formula 1 race‚ before hitting the back of the car as we came to rest. It took us a little longer than a Ferrari pit crew to change the wheel‚ but with nobody hurt and still ample time to reach our destination there was a feeling that lady luck was smiling down on us‚ and that had to be a good omen as The Yellows sought to pull off three wins on the bounce´ for the first time this season.

Doubts about just how benevolent that smile was‚ were soon to be raised. Stuart Fraser was a late withdrawal from The Yellows squad and was to be replaced by the vastly inexperienced Nat Murphy between the Tivvy posts. Maybe it wasn´t going to be such a day of good fortune. There were no indications either way from the opening exchanges. Tentative probing from both sides - neither prepared to commit themselves to a blitzkrieg start. The home side may have later regretted that they hadn´t chosen‚ or been allowed‚ to come out of the traps with all guns blazing‚ for when they did mount their first true attack they were rewarded with a sixth minute corner‚ as Jason Rees protected his novice keeper by playing safe and heading the ball out. Even at their most stable and confident the Tivvy defence seems to be vulnerable on such occasions and this was to prove no exception. The first cross was headed back out to the Weston right from whence it had come. the second ball in was flighted to the far post where it was met cleanly by the head of Seagull´s skipper and central defender Billy Clark who duly planted it in the net with Murphy flat footed and rooted to the centre of his goal-line. It was not an auspicious start but there was no sign of despondency from the Tiverton players. They kicked off and got on with the job. And very well they did it too. There were signs of fight from some‚ a little too much from Paul Chenoweth in the view of referee Mr Hawkes who rewarded Chens with the sight of a card to match his shirt. In the ninth minute Town might have pulled level. Richard Pears beat the found himself through the middle as he won the ball cleanly but hooked his shot high over the Weston crossbar. By now the majority of the play was in the home side´s half and was to continue that way. The Weston backline looked decidedly ill at ease and shaky and when Jamie Mudge ran at them in the 14th minute the only way he was going to be stopped was by a crude upending‚ with which Weston obliged. Five yards outside the box‚ just right of centre. The ideal position for a crack. Jason Rees‚ Steve Winter‚ Chenoweth‚ Chris Holloway‚ all were hovering. Chens wandered off. It looked for all the world like a touch to Rees‚ stop it dead‚ and a hit by Winter. Nope! for the second time this season the training ground rehearsals paid off and it was Chenoweth that blasted the ball home for the equaliser with Weston keeper Stuart Jones at full length but still a foot or more short of a touch.
From that moment on there was only going to be one result‚ or if there was a result different from the obvious‚ then we were going to be witnessing a travesty. The Yellows had the best of everything - yet strangely took until after the break to really dominate. For that last 30 minutes of the first half the defence was as sound as a bell‚ no doubt fully aware of the need to make Murphy´s afternoon as easy as possible. A couple of back passes came his way. the majority‚ if not all were hacked safely upfield‚ but generally it was a case of safety first‚ do the simple things, and above all - make no mistakes...not even one. It worked. The seagulls looked as threatening as a flock of hummingbirds who had lost their hum. In midfield, Chenoweth and Holloway were well on top of things and if the action became a little frantic were joined by either one of the back three or Kevin Nancekivell who was getting himself well forward, as were Winter and Graeme Power on the flanks. Which leaves Pears and Mudge doing the chasing up front. Richard toiled away as has become his way over the past few weeks, whilst Jamie was buzzing, again. Runs through the middle, runs down the left, the Weston defence were at full stretch to contain him as he pulled men out of position and created space for his team-mates. The chances fell to Chenoweth, Nance - after a tidy 1-2 with Pears, and then to Jamie himself. Thirty six minutes on the watch and an enormous booted clearance from Murphy saw James burst through the Weston back line as the ball dropped to ground less than ten yards short of the penalty area. Attempting to steer it straight over Jones in one single movement Jamie mis-connected and was left with only embarrassment as the ball flew weakly yards wide of the goal. Two minutes later it was Pears´ turn to blush as he brought the ball down on the edge of the area, turned and teed himself up for the shot and then failed to make contact as the ball stopped dead and left Richard trying to untangle his feet. So still level at the break but Tivvy on top. Confidence oozed round the terraces´ that this time they would capitalise.

It was hard to believe that The Yellows could start the second half looking even brighter, but they did. Perhaps they had realised that they should have turned their superiority into something more tangible, or - and this is more likely - they had been told that fact as they sucked their half time oranges (lemons?). Whatever the reason they continued as they had left off, plus 10%. Superiority was raised to dominance and the chances, if not the goals, flowed immediately. Forty seven minutes and Winter down the right fired in a low cross. Nancekivell was in a position to take a pot as it flew across the penalty area but so was Mudge ten yards further on. Nance left it, Jamie connected, Jones managed to get down and save. A few minutes later and Jamie burst down the left to send in a cross that Jones scooped of Nance´s toe. Next attack also down the left, also Jamie. A lobbed shot over Jones and over the crossbar too. The Seagulls defence was nowhere to be seen, manager Frank Gregan brought on a sub in an attempt to give it a presence. Winter on another run, through the middle this time, to feed Mudge who cut in and sent in a low shot for Jones to hold. Another Weston substitution and at last a home attack from which they gained a corner. Murphy punched clear but back came the ball courtesy of Matthew Rose´s head. Rees hacked it away and for all of three minutes Weston applied pressure. Then came a lull and David Steele was brought on to replace Nancekivell. Tivvy cleared their lines and Winter sent Pears scampering down the right flank. Before he could be caught and tackled by a pursuing defender the ball was laid inside to Mudge who collected it on the right hand corner of the penalty area. Turning round a challenge, Jamie found the angle too tight for a decent shot, especially when Steele had used his fresh legs to cover the length of the field to catch up with the action and was unmarked at the far side of the goal to slide the ball under Jones and into the net with his first touch of the game.
The lead for Tiverton brought no respite for the Seagulls. Town did not let up. Two minutes after the goal a chip through by Mudge was just too far in front of Winter as Town kept up the momentum. A brief flirtation with disaster at the opposite end was avoided as Murphy misjudged the amount of time and space he had to deal with a back bass and was robbed of the ball but managed to harass the perpetrator of the crime away. But Murphy wasn´t the only one making mistakes. Weston´s Lee Jarman made one and was made to pay! Miscuing a clearance he sliced the ball to Pears fifteen yards inside the Weston half. Richard bought the ball down, taking all the spin off it as he did, and made a bee line for the Weston goal with Jarman and Clarke wallowing in his wake. Jones came, saw, but couldn´t stop the ball being hit under his descending body from the edge of the area. At 3-1 there was no way back for Weston. Unlike Chelmsford they had no half time break to change their tactics. They had no incisive strikers to bring off the bench. They had nothing. Town relaxed, played pretty football but were denied any more goals either by Jones, bobbles from the pitch or their own desire to entertain with the spectacular.

The scoreline might have shown more goals in the away´ column, but there were enough. Considering the tightness that needed to be displayed at the back, underlined by the early goal, then free flowing football was obviously going to be delayed. When it came Tiverton dominated as much, nay more, than they have in any game this season. Grantham beware. But Tivvy beware too...........

Tiverton Town: Nathan Murphy, Steve Winter, Graeme Power, Jason Rees, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins (Shaun Goff, 86), Kevin Nancekivell (David Steele, 63), Chris Holloway, Richard Pears, Paul Chenoweth, Jamie Mudge .
Subs not used: Steve Ovens, Paul Milsom.

Weston-Super-Mare: Stuart Jones, Matthew Rose, Ian Howell (Mark Cherry, 56), Lee Jarman, Billy Clark, Steve Benton, Michael Jackson, Stuart Slater, Tony Davis (Ricky Hodge, 69), Jon French, Justin Skinner (Joe Lott, 60).
Subs not used: David Mayhew, Ian Ganfield.

Att: 472

Referee: Kevin Hawkes (Quedgeley, Gloucs)

This report ©2003 John Reidy






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