Match report

Bromsgrove Rovers 1 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 08/04/2000   Southern League First Division
Nigel Davis

Three goals from Tivvy players - all of which gave the keeper no chance - extended their unbeaten run away from home to eight games. The return of Steve Daly to league action‚ who played the full 90 minutes and looked like he had never been away‚ certainly helped their cause but he was a marked man (in more ways than one) as Bromsgrove tried to knock him out of his stride. They didn´t succeed but their robust start to the game did earn them a booking for Andy Biddle´s 27th minute foul on the mercurial midfielder.
Tivvy‚ playing up the slope‚ had to defend in depth and succeeded in keeping Rovers at bay. Then‚ in a rare foray forward‚ superb close control from Pete Varley and Kevin Nancekivell ended with Nance seeing home debutant keeper Mark Jones off his line. It was the unlucky 13th minute for the keeper who‚ obviously unfamiliar with the fact that the slope gave an extra six inches of goal to aim for‚ had strayed to the edge of his six yard box. On any other pitch he would surely have got some sort of purchase on Kev´s shot - but he had no chance on this occasion.
Daly was unlucky not to make it 2-0 with a wonder shot eleven minutes before the break but the ball cannoned back into play - and into Jones´ arms - off the far post. He knew nothing about it and must have been mightily relieved.
The second half started with many of the crowd still watching the Grand National. They missed seeing Kevin Nancekivell gallop down the left wing in the 47th minute. He then turned Quentin Townsend inside out before cutting inside. Scott Rogers made his presence known and‚ without breaking stride‚ hammered a rising drive home off the underside of the cross-bar from fully thirty yards. A spectacular goal with the ball being hit so hard that Jones probably heard the crack of ball against bar before he saw it.
Phil Everett and Dom Richardson both came close soon after but Rovers very nearly equalised in the 56th minute. The ever dangerous Peter Sutton beat Paul Edwards with a crisp shot‚ the net bulged and we thought that our defence had been breached. However‚ the lack of applause/rushing to congratulate the scorer convinced us that his shot was wide and that the ball had bounced back onto the netting. Phew! It was only when Nicky Marker was beaten by a dreadful bounce as he attempted to clear - only succeeding in scooping the ball over and beyond Paul Edwards - that the chagrine on some of the Tivvy fans´ faces told a tale. They thought that this was the equaliser but their visages soon brightened when they were told that it was now 2-1. That unfortunate own goal certainly made the final ten minutes more nerve-wracking than they should have been and anyone who thought that this match was‚ on paper‚ an easy one for Tivvy obviously didn´t realise that Rovers had made their home a fortress since the start of the new year‚ only stumbling for the first time in the seven-goal seesaw of their game against Gresley a week earlier.
Positive points from this display were that Dave Leonard‚ Phil Everett and Steve Daly all managed to avoid further injury‚ Dodge deciding to substitute the first two to ensure their safety. Dominic Richardson slotted into Dave´s left wing-back position just like a duck to water but Pete Varley found little joy up front - although it has to be said that without him it is unlikely that the first goal would have been created. Nance‚ once more‚ was magnificent and the defence certainly looked rock-steady. Scott had a quiet game but his wonderful strike will be remembered for many a long year.
It was a job well done and‚ with every game now a cup final‚ it is Tivvy´s experience of playing pressure games that may give them the edge. The proof of the pudding will no doubt be seen next Saturday when Moor Green are the visitors. Victory for Tivvy would see them leapfrog over the former leaders of the Division but it will be the margin of victory that could be the factor that decides who gets the runners-up prize. One thing does look possible - and that is that Tivvy won´t be playing Stafford next season‚ even if they do finish second. The reason? Well‚ with the Conference relegation slots likely to contain three clubs from the Home Counties‚ Stafford may well find themselves playing in the Unibond Premier once again as the feeder leagues perform their annual shuffle to accommodate the promotion/relegation issues.
Line up: Edwards‚ Richardson‚ Saunders‚ Tatterton‚ Marker‚ Daly‚ Nancekivell‚ Varley‚ Everett‚ Rogers‚ Leonard.
Subs: Ovens (Everett 82)‚ Vinnicombe (Leonard 60)‚ Conning .

This report ©2000 Nigel Davis

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