Match report

Cinderford Town 1 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 22/04/2000   Southern League First Division
Nigel Davis

You just knew this was not to be Tivvy´s day. A quagmire of a pitch‚ echoes of Stamco‚ a delay of over half an hour before the game could start as sand was shipped in from a nearby building site‚ and then conceding a needless corner inside the first minute that led to the only goal of the game.

Yet we had our chances. But‚ as was exemplified in the final second of the game when Steve Daly´s penalty was aimed straight at in-form keeper Paul Weeks‚ we wouldn´t have scored if we had played there until Christmas.

So it was that the only goal came from the head of Jody Bevan who diverted the ball past Paul Edwards with a deft header as the game crept into the second minute. Then Cinderford attempted to shut up shop and did so with aplomb. Tivvy always looked likely to get a breakthrough but it just was not to be. And with announcements being broadcast over the tannoy with regards to Moor Green´s and Hinckley´s progress‚ it put more pressure on the team and deperation‚ at times‚ set in. But Cinderford stretched the laws to the fullest and‚ with the most lenient of referees in charge‚ were allowed to get away with umpteen hacks on the Ambers.

After four minutes‚ Pete Varley was upended on the edge of the box by Linden Tomkins. Dominic Richardson fired in the free kick but Weeks tipped the ball over the bar for the first of many similar saves.

Thirteen minutes later Paul Donnelly hacked down Scott Rogers on the half-way line. This time Phil Everett got his head to the ball‚ stooping low to divert it goalwards but the acrobatic Weeks stuck out a hand and plucked the ball to safety. Five minutes later‚ more pressure from Tivvy saw again Weeks come to Cinderford´s rescue.

But it wasn´t all one way traffic as Darren McCluskey headed the ball just over after 25 minutes. Four minutes later‚ Cinderford looked dangerous again. This time‚ Dominic Richardson miscued a free-kick that hit Adi Harris and they hit Tivvy on the break. Fortunately‚ Paul Tatterton was on hand to clear at the expense of a corner.

Then we were back into the home box - Dales curling a shot just over the bar. And a minute later‚ Phil got in a cross from the left wing that picked out Nance in space on the edge of the six-yard box but‚ rather than controlling it before shooting‚ he hit the ball first time and it sailed over the bar.

Come the second half‚ Nance had another good shot on the turn - but again Weeks foiled him. A minute later‚ Pete Varley was replaced by Steve Ovens who shone out from the rest as he was the only one not covered head to toe in mud. It only took a few seconds for him to get soaked!

After 61 minutes‚ Stuart Smith´s flying header from Steve Daly´s corner beat Weeks‚ but also the far post. It was just one of those days. Two minutes on and Nance wriggled through again but Weeks amazingly parried his shot at point blank range. A further two minutes went and then Bevan was through on goal but somehow Neil Saunders caught up with him to save the day with a telling tackle.

Yet it was not easy playing football in such conditions. It may have been a sunny afternoon once the game began‚ but the state of the pitch meant that you never knew whether the ball would bounce or carry. Unfortunately‚ it was such a lottery and one in which it appeared that Tivvy had forgotten to buy a ticket.

The second half was 28 minutes old when we had one of the best moves of the game. Steve Daly took the ball out of defence and some first time touches saw the ball up front again but the end result was a shot from Dom that screwed just wide.

Now it was time to add Dave Leonard to the fray‚ replacing Stuart Smith‚ and with six minutes of normal time remaining Nicky Marker limped off to be replaced by Pete Conning.

There was still time for more thrills and spills as Weeks again was there to tip over a super shot from Phil in the 87th minute. Even in injury time‚ the Cinderford goal led a charmed life‚ substitute Brian Kayll somehow blocking Dominic Richardson´s shot from three yards. The ball was then scrambled away for a corner and‚ after Kyall had received attention from the physio‚ the ball was swung in. As it was pumped goalwards‚ up went Martin Thompson´s hand to punch the ball away - penalty! Strangely‚ though‚ the ref didn´t even talk to him‚ let alone red card him which is the usual punishment for this blatant offence. But‚ there again‚ this was the same official who let Donnelly commit three or four horrendous challenges with no card being proffered. Not only that‚ when he did admonish Weeks and right back Martin Thompson for repeated timewasting‚ instead of nipping it in the bud with cautions‚ he had the audacity to tell Cinderford´s skipper‚ Linden Tomkins‚ that it was his responsibilty to sort them out... Talk about week!

In the end, Paul Weeks was certainly the hero of the hour and he finished off a great display between the sticks by saving Steve Daly´s poorly struck penalty. Mind you, he was lucky to have found the penalty spot, let alone hack the ball through the mud.

The final whistle blew. Nance was distraught and many others looked as if they had lost a cup final. Maybe they had. Will Tivvy rue that lost point or will Moor Green´s victory over Stourbridge prove to be the bridge too far for Tivvy?

Tiverton Town: Paul Edwards, Dominic Richardson, Neil Saunders, Paul Tatterton, Nicky Marker (Pete Conning 84), Scott Rogers, Kevin Nancekivell, Pete Varley (Steve Ovens 55), Phil Everett, Steve Daly, Stuart Smith (Dave Leonard 73)

Attendance: 269

This report ©2000 Nigel Davis

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