Match report

Sutton Coldfield 0 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 19/02/2000   Southern League First Division
Nigel Davis

This game marked the full debut of striker Ryan King‚ chosen ahead of Pete Varley to partner Phil Everett up front - and what an inspired game he played in front of the Royals' third best home gate of the season - 269‚ bettered only by Stafford (457) and Paget Rangers (313).

Sutton kicked off with the wind at their backs but it was Tivvy who had the better of the opening exchanges on a splobby surface that‚ no doubt‚ Kevin "Farmer" Nancekivell mistook for slurry. Not the best of conditions for watching a decent game of football but‚ having played Bedworth on Wednesday night on this Coles Lane pitch (Birmingham Senior Cup‚ won 1-0) following the torrential downpours of the previous 24 hours‚ it really should have been no surprise to anyone. Goalmouth incidents were few and far between. Both sides appeared wary of each other. Remember‚ Tivvy had lost 1-0 at home to the Royals earlier on in the season. However‚ it was Tivvy who looked the more confident coming forward and King‚ favouring the right flank‚ caused more than a few problems.

The opening goal came in the 38th minute after Kevin Nancekivell had been challenged in the box and‚ for once‚ a penalty was awarded. (How‚ having seen the photo in the Gazette this week‚ he had not been given a penalty in the previous Saturday's game at home to Gresley‚ God only knows. It was a clear rugby tackle.) This one was not so clear-cut and it triggered those horrific scenes we have witnessed on Match of the Day recently. A referee haring away from a pack of angry players. If only he had stood his ground and asserted his authority he surely would have defused the situation sooner but‚ whatever‚ he refused to change his decision and‚ surprisingly‚ decided not to book any of the gnashing masses that had cornered him.

Up stepped Nicky Marker to drill home the spot kick and Tivvy had their noses in front at the break. Sutton‚ unbelievably‚ kicked off the second half. One wonders what planet the ref and his two officials were on - but it will make a lovely quiz question in years to come. What game did Tivvy play in but didn't take a kick-off? This half‚ King ran the left flank and his running at the defence caused many a problem for the home side. Just three minutes had passed before Everett was in space on the edge of the box. His left-footed piledriver was punched away by goalkeeper Mark Hart at full stretch and we knew that we were going to see some fun this half. Four minutes later we had the ball in the back of the net again. Nicky Marker flighted in a free kick from the halfway line‚ Stuart Smith nodded it on into Ryan King's path and he rifled the ball home - only to be denied by the linesman's flag.

Midway through the half‚ a rare foray by Sutton saw Paul Edwards drawn out of his goal. The ball was pulled back into the path of their skipper Craig Dutton who blasted the ball over when a cooler head might have led to an equaliser.

Five minutes later‚ Sutton's right back Nathan Moran dribbled the ball into the box before spectacularly diving in the hope of winning a penalty but the ref was having none of it and‚ again surprisingly‚ did not admonish the culprit. We then had the highlight of the game. In the 78th minute‚ Ryan King was put through down the left. He scampered through the defence and waltzed around the bemused Hart to double Tivvy's tally and open his account for the club. It is just a shame that‚ at the moment‚ he will still be turning out for Backwell (who were without a game on Saturday) but‚ on this showing‚ it surely will not be long before he pledges his allegiance to Ladysmead.

With Moor Green again dropping points at home‚ Tivvy closed the gap by two points and‚ on this form‚ they should surely believe that promotion is still possible. The supporters certainly do. Tivvy's next game is a friendly against Conference 'hopefuls' Exeter City on Tuesday night. We should see cameo appearances from the likes of Steve Ovens‚ Dave Leonard and Steve Daly as they all gear themsleves to adding their names to the team sheets for the remainder of the season. Another friendly has also been organised and that is on Wednesday March 8th when Plymouth Argyle are the visitors.

Tiverton Town: Paul Edwards‚ Dominic Richardson‚ Neil Saunders‚ Paul Tatterton‚ Nicky Marker‚ Pete Conning, Kevin Nancekivell (Peter Varley 90), Ryan King, Phil Everett, Scott Rogers, Stuart Smith

Attendance: 269

This report ©2000 Nigel Davis

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