Match report

Tiverton Town 3 - 1 Rugby

   Saturday 29/08/2009   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Ladysmead finally had a home victory to celebrate as Rugby Town came, saw and messed up three times to ensure Tiverton finally injected some much needed momentum into their season. Tivvy’s 3-1 triumph was deserved on the balance of play, although Rugby might consider themselves a little unlucky that their period of domination in the first half and hour wasn’t rewarded with more than one goal.

Debutant Jamie Hatch was the first to have a sight at goal as Tiverton settled quickest, but after a powerful run through the midfield the former Exeter City trainee got beneath his shot and sent the ball not only over the crossbar but also over the covered terracing behind the goal. And Hatch was again at the centre of the action nine minutes in when he earned a yellow card for an innocuous looking foul.

But moments earlier it was another foul, this one committed by Mike Booth, which led to the opening goal of the game. Having upended Craig Herbert on the edge of the area Booth was lucky not to see a yellow card, but Rugby dealt a more telling blow from the resultant free kick. David Staff rattled in a shot that cannoned off the Tiverton defensive wall and pinballed around in the area. With the Yellows at sixes and sevens, struggling to clear the danger, the lanky Jason Ramsay found himself in place to finally stab the ball into the net.

Hatch, along with Ben Cleverley, was instrumental in most of Tivvy’s forward moves, and his cross from the right was teasing enough to force the Rugby defence into a desperate clearance as Dave Morrissey failed by inches to get a telling header at goal.

Back at the other end Marcel Simpson did get his head to the ball but his unchallenged effort from Steve Purton’s corner was sent horribly wide, and Staff had the ball in the net only to be denied for use of the arm in the build-up.

Having rode their luck Tiverton gradually eased their way into contention as the game wore on but struggled to find the penetration required to break down the Rugby rearguard. It took until a couple of minutes before the half-time break for the Yellows to finally draw level, and by this time both Delroy Gordon and Matthew Gearing had seen chances go begging for the visitors. But Cleverley floated in a free kick from wide on the left, and with Rugby goalkeeper Danny Bell flapping at thin air Tom Gardner had the easy task of heading into an empty net.

The goal, Tiverton’s first in league football at home since the middle of April galvanised the team and in the second half the home side enjoyed much more of the play. Two goals in quick succession all but sealed the victory, and in the end the winning margin could have been more but for some wasteful finishing.

Dean Griffiths opened his account for the club with Town’s second as a chance presented itself amidst some comical defending. Hatch tried to slide a through ball between the Rugby defence but miscued and the threat should have been averted even before it had developed. However, Herbert had other ideas and stumbled as the ball trickled over his boot and behind the last line of defence. Griffiths was onto it like a shot, and faced with just Bell between him and a Tiverton lead he kept his calm to roll a low shot into the net.

Herbert was still cursing his own ineptitude when Tivvy struck for a third time and gave themselves some breathing space. Again the chance came from a Cleverley set piece, and again Bell waved the ball over his head to afford Tivvy a free header at the back post. This time it was Dave Morrissey that was the beneficiary of the sloppy goalkeeping; the result was the same – the net rippled.

With their tails up and with Rugby cowering Tiverton should have notched a fourth just a few minutes later. Cleverley, increasingly inspirational in the middle of the park, played a swift ball down the left which Griffiths snapped up eagerly. The pacey striker hit the by-line and crossed to the far post where Mike Booth had advanced without the attentions of any defenders. But Booth fluffed his effort, choosing to volley with his right peg rather than stoop to head into an empty net. The ball went back from whence it came, across the face of goal and harmlessly behind.

Griffiths was then faced with almost a carbon copy opportunity to that from which he scored, but the rush of adrenaline that had developed from an extremely positive spell of football clearly got to him. Having found himself one-on-one with Bell as Rugby collectively allowed Steve Book’s long punt through, he chipped just too high. And barely two minutes later he was in again, this time opting for power over placement. There was plenty of power but placement was severely lacking – well over and out.

Book himself had a relatively quiet second half but saved superbly when called upon to deal with David Kolodynski’s close-range volley. He also saved Liam Nicell’s low shot, and watched as Ramsay blasted a shot wide of the mark.

To their credit Rugby didn’t give up, but as they tried to advance so Tivvy looked increasingly dangerous on the break. Substitute Craig Veal ran his socks off for the final twenty minutes, hurrying and harrying the visitors defence, but his efforts never reaped their just rewards. The closing stages, disrupted by six substitutions, saw little in the way of goalmouth action as Tiverton closed out the game comfortably.


Tiverton Town: Steve Book, Adam Faux, Alex Faux, Matt Villis, Nathan Rudge (Mark Saunders 86), Tom Gardner, Mike Booth, Ben Cleverley, Dave Morrissey, Jamie Hatch (Mike Humphreys 84), Dean Griffiths (Craig Veal 72)
Goals: Gardner 42, Griffiths 48, Morrissey 53
Booked: Hatch 9
Sent off: None

Rugby Town: Danny Bell, Liam Nicell, Harry Donaghey, Marcel Simpson (Ben Twigger 75), Delroy Gordon, Craig Herbert, Matthew Gearing (Shaun Richards 80), David Staff, Jason Ramsey, David Kolodynski, Steve Purton (Allondo Davis 78)
Goals: Ramsey 8
Booked: Staff 62
Sent off: None

This report ©2009 Alan Reidy