Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 0 Moor Green

   Saturday 15/04/2000   Southern League First Division
Nigel Davis

Tivvy proved that they can rise to the special occasion as echoes of Vase semi-final fever gripped Ladysmead‚ pulling in an amazing 1‚262 punters. And what a game we all witnessed.
Apart from a few moments of madness from the Moors‚ the game was played in excellent spirit and at a frantic pace. Both defences were up to the task and with lively front runners stretching them‚ it made for a fascinating contest. Neither keeper was troubled much‚ such were the excellent defensive performances on display - yet we were not short of goalmouth action.
At time‚ Tivvy were raining in on James Lindley´s goal and were unlucky not to take a first half lead after a wonderful jinking run by Kevin Nancekivell saw him storm into the penalty area. The ball broke to Scott Rogers (shades of deja vu of the Bromsgrove game here) and he guided the ball home from the edge of the box. Mysteriously‚ the referee´s assistant hoisted his flag for offside and Tivvy were denied a perfectly good goal‚ bearing in mind the change of this particular law which stresses that players have to be in active play to be deemed offside. Certainly neither Nance nor Scott could be accused of being past the last man - and no other player got near to Scott´s shot.
Then Phil Everett swung the ball over from the left wing and it beat Lindley‚ only to bounce back into play off the cross-bar. Pete Varley somehow managed to get his head to the ball but‚ being at full stretch‚ he couldn´t direct it home and the ball ballooned wide.
Up the other end‚ most of the Moor Green side managed to get shots in - but they were often from well outside the box - and Paul Edwards only had one real save to make‚ diving low to his right to push the ball round for a corner from Jamie Petty´s boot.
You can see why Moor Green are in the leading pack. They have a lot of skill and class and Craig Woodley had a great battle down the Moor Green right wing with Stuart Smith‚ seemingly getting over his recent rib injury. His return to the side was timely because Dave Leonard had gone down with a bug which may turn out to be either tonsilitis or glandular fever. It has been a torrid season for the loyal Lensy.
Smith played one of his best games for the club and was rewarded with his first goal of the season. Pete Varley did all the hard work‚ twisting and turning his marker down by the corner flag before hitting a perfect cross that was met by Stuart´s head - and the ball rocketed home. Up to that time‚ Moor Green´s band of supporters had been the more vocal - indeed the Tivvy crowd were somewhat muted‚ no doubt nerves creeping in. But this all changed once the goal went in. It was like someone had turned on the electricity and Ladysmead was really buzzing once more.
Moor Green´s response to the goal was to quicken their approach to the game. They knew from the off that a win or a draw would dent Tivvy´s aspirations and boost their own‚ so they had tried every trick to eat away the time. But they reckoned without the alert Mr Curtis in the middle who made sure that extra seconds were added on at the end of both halves. Moors also started to lose the plot with rash tackles and‚ at times‚ intimidatory tactics.
Woodley´s frustration finally got the better of him when he lunged at Stuart Smith who‚ had he not sidestepped the challenge‚ would probably have landed up on Dodge´s lap. Woodley was proffered the yellow card. Then it was Nancekivell who was brought down in full flight by Matt Smith. Smith then added insult to injury (literally) and this riled the normally mild mannered Nance. A fracas ensued which was swiftly quelled and‚ once more‚ the yellow card was brandished at a Moor Green miscreant.
Stewart Brighton then became the third visitor to be cautioned when he crunched into Steve Daly´s legs. It wasn´t so long ago that these types of challenges were rewarded with dismissals‚ but Mr Curtis was not in that sort of mood.
Apart from those rare misdemeanours‚ Moor Green kept their flow and tested the Tivvy defence time and again. They then went for broke pushing three up front‚ including two pairs of fresh legs‚ but still the Richardson/Saunders/Tatterton/Marker combination stood firm‚ virtually giving Paul Edwards the second half off. Rare piercing of the defence found the ball aimed straight at Eddie and he was able to gather everything that Moor Green could muster. Nevertheless‚ Derek Hall did come close on a couple of occasions.
I could have watched this sort of encounter for a lot longer than the normal 90 minutes and‚ thanks to ref´s stopwatch‚ we had nearly ten minutes of stoppage time. Much too much for some of the spectators - and probably the Tivvy bench!
There is no doubt that this victory will be regarded as one of the most important in the club´s history‚ should Tivvy win promotion at the first attempt. But there is still a long way to go. Tivvy may have won the battle but Moor Green still have an ideal opportunity to win the promotion war. It may still go to the wire with goal difference the deciding factor. Should it be impossible to separate the contenders in this way‚ it will be the side that has scored the more goals - and if that can´t separate the sides‚ well‚ no doubt tongue-in-cheek‚ the Moor Green officials reckoned it would be the side who had been in the league the longest!
And don´t forget Hinckley. They have the opportunity to jump into the runners-up slot on Tuesday when they travel to Paget Rangers to play their game in hand. Paget may be a tougher nut to crack than their league position suggests but Hinckley should have the class to succeed. They certainly have the incentive.
Line up: Edwards‚ Richardson‚ Saunders‚ Tatterton‚ Marker‚ Daly, Nancekivell, Varley, Everett, Rogers, Smith.
Subs: Ovens (Varley 83), Vinnicombe (Smith 83), Conning (Nancekivell 90).

This report ©2000 Nigel Davis

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