Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 2 Shepshed Dynamo

   Saturday 22/01/2000   Southern League First Division
Nigel Davis

It was‚ unfortunately‚ like a red rag to a bull. All Shepshed had to do was browse through the matchday programme and see how many times it was mentioned that Tivvy´s defensive skills were second to none‚ having kept five clean sheets out of the previous eight league games. And so it proved to be.
Still on a high having knocked three past Sutton Coldfield in midweek‚ they knew all about scoring goals and Tivvy are going through one of those spells whereby the shots are raining in - but not hitting the back of the net.
It turned into a most frustrating afternoon for the Tivvy faithful with Pete Varley‚ so often the hero‚ cast in the role of villain as he‚ time and time again‚ strayed offside so making himself‚ ostensibly‚ Shepshed´s best defender. I ran out of fingers and toes counting the number of free kicks he unwittingly conceded as the visiting back four found him easy meat by stepping up.
It all started pretty messily with‚ once again‚ Scott Rogers the man picked out to be dumped to the floor. That is the price‚ apparently‚ for scoring a Wembley winner. The culprit‚ Kevin Holleron‚ was issued with a ticking off with the game but five minutes old. Pity the same could not be said for Steve Ovens who‚ minutes later‚ took retribution for his team-mate with a dodgy challenge on Holleron. This time the ref found he had a yellow card after all.
We had to wait until the 18th minute for Tivvy to fire up the home support‚ Dominic Richardson weaving his way through before shooting inches over from the edge of the box. A minute later‚ Kevin Nancekivell´s speculative overhead lob met a similar fate.
With the game 24 minutes old‚ Tivvy won their first corner - and it caused havoc. Keeper Damien Beattie punched the ball away and‚ when it fell to Ovens‚ his goalbound shot took an eleventh hour deflection and the ball ricocheted back into play off the crossbar. Tivvy kept up the pressure and‚ with four queueing up at the far post‚ it was Nicky Marker who headed the ball back across the face of the goal and inches wide.
By now Beattie was living dangerously and in the 39th minute he was tempted out of his box. His lunging tackle appeared to catch Kevin Nancekivell´s ankle but the ref waved play on and‚ for the second game in succession‚ the opposition´s goalkeeper got away with what‚ on other occasions‚ could have seen a red card. The ball eventually found its way to Richardson but‚ by this time‚ Beattie was back in position and twice he foiled him when‚ in hindsight‚ it might have been better for Dom to slip the ball across goal rather than to shoot.
Come the second half‚ nine minutes passed before Shepshed broke the deadlock. It really summed up Tivvy´s luck - or lack of it. The ball beat Paul Edwards‚ hit the inside of the right-hand post‚ bounced across the goal and fell into the path of Lee McGlinchey who had the easiest of tap-ins.
Tivvy upped the ante and peppered the visitors´ goal‚ Steve Ovens‚ Neil Saunders and Pete Varley all coming close. But it just was not to be. In the 78th minute‚ Martyn Rogers pulled Varley off‚ switched Richardson to right wing-back and pushed substitute Stuart Smith into the left wing-back slot. The two starting wing-backs‚ Phil Everett and Steve Ovens‚ partnered each other up front and one wonders why this pairing had not been tried earlier. This appeared to be an excellent tactical substitution but it was all thrown to the wall five minutes later when, again apparently for tactical reasons, defender Paul Tatterton was replaced by Richard Pears who was added to the attack. Within seconds it had all gone pear-shaped as Tivvy´s two-man defence were hit on the break by Dave Pearson who easily rounded Paul Edwards to make it 2-0.
Deep into injury time, Pears completed a frustrating afternoon by talking out of turn and into the referee´s book. Fortunately one other fate-tempter within the programme did not arise. In Rogers Rabbit the statement We will remain fourth today very nearly saw us come a cropper. Had Solihull won at lowly Bromsgrove, we would have slipped down a slot. As it was, none of the top seven sides won. All the more galling that Tivvy lost. It was an ideal day to close the gap on the leaders. Hey-ho.
Line up: Edwards, Ovens, Saunders, Tatterton, Marker, Conning, Nancekivell, Varley, Everett, Rogers, Richardson.
Subs: Pears (Tatterton 83), Smith ( Varley 78) Bater.

This report ©2000 Nigel Davis

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