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Bilston Town 1 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 29/01/2000   Southern League First Division
Nigel Davis

Maybe yours truly should stop trying to predict the outcome of Tivvy games - even if it is in a jocular fashion. On the coach I quipped that the portents looked as if it would end nought-nought - and Tivvy would be lucky to get nought.
Well‚ to say that the game was scrappy is doing a disservice to the letter s. It was awful. And the conditions didn´t help with a gale-force wind blowing down the pitch closely followed by driving rain. And hardly a decent move by either side about which to wax lyrically.
Bilston had the lion´s share of possession but‚ in the first half‚ overhit the ball as it carried in the wind. Paul Edwards was much the busier of the two custodians‚ if only for the fact that he had to negotiate more goalkicks. The only save of note in the opening period came midway through the half when Tivvy mounted a rare attack which ended when Dominic Richardson - so often the master blaster - tapped the ball goalwards and Paul Hayward tipped it away for a corner.
We looked so lightweight up front. Steve Ovens failed a late fitness test (Richard Pears was down with the flu) and‚ despite Dodge being impressed with Phil Everett´s outing up front against Yeovil (as heard on the Newsline) it was left to Richardson and Pete Varley to plough a furrow. With midfield being bypassed‚ thanks to balls being hoofed out of defence‚ they hardly had a chance. It was meat and drink to a well organised home back four.
The nearest Tivvy came to breaking the deadlock was five minutes from time when Pete Conning curled a wicked corner onto the underside of the crossbar but the ball was hacked clear before it crossed the line.
As the game entered injury time‚ a few of the 215 attendees had started to drift off and it was left to those that stayed to the bitter end to witness the really only worthwhile shot of the game‚ a rocket from Lee Hughes that gave Edwards no chance. To lose in the 91st minute could be considered cruel but‚ to be honest‚ Tivvy never looked like winning and‚ maybe‚ defeat like this will have a more telling effect on the club than a tame 0-0 draw. Having now gone four games without scoring (including the firendly against Yeovil)‚ this is the worst spell since September 1986 when a home defeat by Minehead in the FA Cup (0-1) was followed by a goalless draw in the Western League Cup at Glastonbury‚ a 3-0 reversal at home to Dawlish Town in the Vase and a 2-0 defeat at Ilfracombe in the Western League First Division. Even then Tivvy conjured up a win in the League Cup as they won 6-5 on penalties.
Something has got to be done to stop this abysmal run and‚ with a daunting trip to Stafford beckoning on Saturday‚ it has to be done quick. Whatever is done it is likely to be too late to rekindle any hopes of promotion at the first attempt. We have witnessed the meteoric rise of Tivvy. Let us pray we are not now on the brink of a depressing downfall.
Line up: Edwards‚ Vinnicombe‚ Saunders‚ Tatterton‚ Marker‚ Conning‚ Nancekivell‚ Varley‚ Everett‚ Rogers‚ Richardson.
Subs: Grimshaw‚ Smith‚ Bater.

This report ©2000 Nigel Davis

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