Match report

Tiverton Town 2 - 0 Dagenham & Redbridge

   Saturday 26/07/2003   Friendly
John Reidy

Perhaps‚ since it is something I have never seen‚ I shouldn´t comment about it‚ but it has never stopped me before so here goes. One little news flash that set me thinking at the end of the last week was that a 31 year old Orkney fisherman had won´ the TV show Big Brother. The reason I have never seen the programme is simple - the proliferation of such entertainment´ billed as reality television is one of the major reasons for my decision to stop paying good money for a licence to receive such twaddle. When I considered that the only thing worth saying about the winner other than his age and occupation was the fact that he was a virgin then I was left wondering why people would find him the most appealing of the housemates. One can only assume that there is a hidden morality buried deep in the psyche of those British public - or at least in those that have such a full and varied life that they not only watch the programme but bother to vote. But‚ then I thought it was unfair to criticise - after all it was a democratic decision and look at some of the other victors in the democratic process that have been thrown up through the years. So although I might disagree with the outcome I will always uphold the principle. It was a concept that was further justified with the announcement of the attendance figure for Saturday evening´s second pre season friendly at Ladysmead - a mere 270 - as the Yellows regulars voted with their feet.
The weather? The Mid Devon Show? Four consecutive seasons facing the same club - only Hinckley United have been as frequent visitors. Even the novelty factor that goes some way towards alleviating the non competitive nature of pre season friendlies was missing.

Despite having taken on Bideford the previous evening (3-1 to the Essex side)‚ Dagenham fielded a strong side‚ but it was the Yellows that stormed forward to take the initiative in the opening period. As early as the third minute Chris Holloway intercepted a misplaced pass in midfield‚ stormed forward‚ but in turn was intercepted and had to settle for a corner when greater things had looked possible. Maintaining the pressure on the Daggers defence‚ Nathan Rudge powered forward and his presence forced the ball to be desperately cleared back out to the wing where Steve Winters sent in a second cross that Rudge got to but was judged to have held down an opponent in order to do so. Two minutes later Steve Ovens just failed to beat the offside trap as Tivvy again poured forward and on ten minutes Ovo did break clear to fire wide under pressure from a retreating defender. Dagenham were unable to make any headway against the solid organisation of the Tiverton defence and all the threatening moves were coming from the Yellows. A Holloway chip saw David Steele sway to dummy´ to the goal side of a central defender only to be robbed by the feet of the keeper‚ and Danny Haines found acres of space to run onto a Kevin Nancekivell header before closing in and sending in a drive that brought a brilliant full stretch save from Paul Rutherford to push the ball out for a corner on the Tivvy right in the 15th minute. The ball dropped to Ovens who hooked it against the crossbar from where it descended to be scrambled away for another corner on the opposite side. Again it was the lively Ovens that found space in the goalmouth as the ball came across to leap a couple of feet in the air and make contact with the outside of his left foot to send it heading for goal. No intervening woodwork on this occasion and the bulging net indicated a Tiverton lead.

The goal was the signal for The Conference side to up their game. They established a presence in midfield and began to have more of the play in that area. They were still unable‚ though to pierce the Tivvy back line who cased and challenged for every ball that entered their territory. And still Town looked likely to score on the break although such occasions were less frequent than before the goal. Ovens went on another run but had the ball poked away but only as far as Winter who shot‚ but wide of the target. And The Yellows showed that Route One attacking was not their only method by stringing together a nice move down the right that involved Steele‚ Holloway‚ Nancekivell‚ Andrew Robertson and Winter before breaking down as Nancekivell strayed the wrong side of the last defender. More half chances fell to the Yellows. Haines was robbed by a last ditch tackle as he spurted forward and had to settle for a corner and with only a minute of the half remaining Holloway again sent him free but Danny´s fierce low shot flew inches wide. To draw the curtain on a highly entertaining first 45 minutes‚ Dagenham produced a surprise. Alex Meecham took a shot at goal. Or at least I will generously describe it as such for it flew yards wide of the upright.

There was a further surprise as the second half got underway; this time provided by the Devon camp. Shaun Goff was on‚ Steve Ovens was off. Up front to share the terrier duties´ in amongst the Daggers defence was Danny Haines. True‚ Danny had caused problems with his thrusting runs in the first half but...... Garry Hill must have had a few words in the Daggers dressing room at the break for six minutes into the second period Paul Bruce actually managed to get a shot in on Target to force Stuart Fraser into making his first save of the game. But if we thought that there was going to be a fighting comeback from the visitors we were mistaken. In attack they had absolutely nothing to offer. In defence they seemed to have tightened up and were dealing with Tiverton´s attacks by forcing them wide and generally restricting space - much the same as Town were doing at the other end. That leaves only the mid-field‚ and that is where the majority of the play became centred. So much so in fact that the only occurrences worthy of noting on my pad between the 57th and 75th minute were the multiple substitutions that were made. Even that brief moment of action‚ a looping shot from Bruce that had Fraser stretching to hold‚ failed to wake the game from it´s slumbers only heralding a further triple substitution from the Dagenham bench on 76 minutes. There was only one named player on the Tiverton side of the teamsheet who had not had a chance to muddy his boots. It was a situation that could not be allowed to continue without leaving someone open to charges of victimisation or something of that ilk. Dodge´ was not going to run any such risk and so with twelve minutes remaining action was taken to alleviate the situation. On came Jamie Mudge!
To everything there is a season sang Pete Seeger. To every action there is a reaction inscribed Newton among his laws of Physics (err...I think). Certainly‚ Ladysmead fans expect action from Mr Mudge. And that is what they got. Within four minutes of his introduction to replace the tiring Haines Jamie pounced on an error by Rutherford - he merely parried a long cross from Ben Harris way out on the right - to squirm past the keeper and slide the ball into the net to seal Tiverton´s first victory in four attempts against the Essex outfit. Not only that‚ it was Dagenham´s first defeat in Devon after four years of visiting pre-season and a fighting FA Cup draw at Argyle a couple of seasons back. Worse for Garry Hill though must have been the performance of his players‚ They went through the motions for the last eight minutes with none of the fight that has seen them hunting Conference honours in recent seasons.

Town looked good. Daggers looked pointless. Having lost their unbeaten record in the county one wonders if perhaps they might elect to start a new run´ by changing the venue of their next pre-season tour. It is difficult to say whether we would miss their annual visit to Ladysmead as for the first time in the four years they have come our way‚ the democrats who voted with their feet and stayed away missed an above average pre season game.

Tiverton Town: Stuart Fraser‚ Andrew Robertson‚ Danny Haines‚ Nathan Rudge‚ Rob Cousins‚ Kevin Nancekivell‚ Chris Holloway‚ Steve Ovens‚ David Steele‚ Steve Winter.
Subs: Shaun Goff‚ Ben Harris‚ Marcus Gross‚ Luke Vinnicombe‚ Jamie Mudge

Dagenham & Redbridge: Paul Rutherford‚ Tim Cole‚ Ashley Vickers‚ Tarkan Mustapha‚ Mark Smith, Danny Shipp, Mark Bentley, Paul Terry, Neale Fenn, Alex Meecham, Paul Bruce.
Subs: Danny Hill, Lenny Piper, Lee Goodwin, Keith Scott, Lee Matthews, Mark Janney, Tom McGowan, Jamie Muro.

This report ©2003 John Reidy

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