Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 5 Bashley

   Saturday 10/10/2009   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Tiverton Town collapsed to their heaviest home defeat for twenty-five years with a hopeless display against new Southern League leaders Bashley. The game developed from one of the most uninspiring matches ever into one of the greatest mismatches seem at Ladysmead in recent times as Bashley put on a display worthy of their lofty position and ended up winning by a landslide.

There was little to report as the two sides effectively cancelled each other out in the first half an hour, and only a brace of moonbound shots from the visitors were worth of note. The first came from Justin Keeler on seventeen minutes, and ten minutes later Adam Kelly saw his shot sail well over the top. For their part Tiverton barely explored deep into Bashley territory, and although the Yellows weren’t as wasteful in possession as they were again Stourbridge three days earlier there was still little to inspire the congregated 316.

The visitors finally broke the deadlock with the first shot on goal by either side. The dominant Chris Knowles was upended on the edge of the area by Adam Faux, and Ryan Hill stepper up to fire in a free kick that was deflected past Steve Book in the Tivvy goal and into the bottom corner of the net.

Barley a minute after the restart Tiverton finally found a patch into the danger zone bit David Elm ensured his goal remained intact by blocking Mark Saunders shot from an acute angle, and when Hill sliced a clearance from the rebound Elm was in place to grab the ball from the air. It was as close as Tiverton would come to registering all afternoon, and Bashley dominated from this point forward.

Mark Gamble should have doubled the lead eight minutes before the break but having benefitted from a mistake by Ben Cleverley in midfield he was denied by Book who saved with his feet. The rebound fell nicely for Kelly but the former Tivvy player dillied and dallied a moment too long and Matt Villis recovered to squeeze him out.

However, Gamble found himself in an identical position on the stroke of half time, this time on the end of a long punt upfield from Elm, and at the second time of asking made no mistake. From the end of the area he was able to place his low shot to Book’s right, past the Town ’keeper and into the same bottom corner that Hill had found earlier in the match.

At two-nil down the game was all but over for Tivvy already – they simply didn’t look like scoring one let alone three, and although Dave Morrissey headed on target his attempt from Alex Faux’s left wing cross was weak and directly at Elm. Hatch also called the portly Bashley goalkeeper into action, but again his shot was weak and straight down the middle, and even when Elm made a hash of taking an easy catch there was no yellow shirt close by to gobble up what would have been a chance. Elm belly-flopped onto the ball and Bashley were soon back on the front foot.

Goal number three arrived after 61 minutes thanks to Jeremy Tarr who had replaced Gamble at the start of the second half. Knowles was the architect as he cut in from the left, rode two challenges and tried to squeeze a shot inside the near post. Book stod up well to make the save but the ball rebounded into the centre of the area when Tarr was waiting to slide it home.

With such dominance now being reflected in the scoreline it was a wonder that Kelly was foolish enough to earn himself a yellow card by ‘kicking the ball away’ just a minute after the restart. While Tiverton players were visually and verbally showing the frustrations at how the match was unfolding, and the referee, the linesmen, each other and anyone else who would care to listen, Bashley were on the whole showing a great team spirit, keeping things together in their system and in the heads, and Kelly’s cynicism was not in keeping with the behaviour of the rest of the team. Wonder where he learnt that!

Anyway, the booking would have been an insignificant statistic in the grand scheme of things had it not been for an incident just six minutes later when Kelly slid in late on Alex Faux, missed the ball by some margin (which had already been knocked forward), and took Faux’s standing leg away. If any player on the pitch who had not been cautioned had committed that foul then it would have been worth of a yellow card. In this case the referee was gutless, gave a free kick and was happy to be done with it. Cleverley wasn’t happy, wasn’t done with it and his questioning of the referee’s decision was enough to earn him a second yellow and thus a red.

It never rains but it pours. Make no mistake, had Kelly been dismissed it wouldn’t have changed the outcome or the overall perception of the game. As it was he was quickly withdrawn anyway, replaced by Alex McCarthy, and Bashley were happy to be playing against ten men rather than with ten men. That ten became nine with ten minutes remaining when Morrissey badly twisted an ankle and was stretchered off and the visitors scored twice more in the closing stages. The fourth was Hill’s second successful free kick of the game, and the fifth, to compound Tiverton’s misery came through McCarthy who skipped and jinked merrily through the Town defence before ramming home a low shot.

The final score equalled Tiverton’s heaviest defeat in the Southern League. In January 2005 Tivvy were hammered 6-1 at home to Chesham United and responded by winning their next three league games and keeping three clean sheets in the process. The last time the Yellows had suffered a heavier defeat was exactly twenty-five years ago, 8th October 1984 with a 0-8 defeat in the FA Vase against Sharpness.

Tiverton Town: Steve Book, Adam Faux, Alex Faux, Matt Villis (Jake Wannell 67), Nathan Rudge, Mike Booth, Jamie Hatch, Ben Cleverley, Dave Morrissey, Mark Saunders (Mike Humphreys 67), Matt Bye (Craig Veal 59)
Booked: Cleverley 23, Morrissey 33, Hatch 47, Veal 74
Senf off: Cleverley

Bashley: David Elm, Ryan Hill, Chris Ferrett, Gary Middleton, Matt Parnell, Chris Knowles, Adam Kelly (Alex McCarthy 70), Chris Mason, Pete Castle, Mark Gamble (Jeremy Tarr 46), Justin Keeler (Charlie Knight 84)
Goals: Hill 31, Gamble 45, Tarr 62, Hill 85, McCarthy 89
Booked: Kelly 63, Hill 90
Sent off: None

Attendance: 316

This report ©2009 Alan Reidy