Match report

Tiverton Town 2 - 0 Taunton Town

   Wednesday 28/10/2009   Southern League Cup
Alan Reidy

Ten years after the Lord Mayor’s show came the encore, and 261 folk decided it was worth the effort to make the trip to Ladysmead for a Southern League Cup game that pitted the towns of Tiverton and Taunton together after a long break from getting beneath one another’s skin. It was an evening that might have ended early had Tiverton had the finishing prowess to match their general superiority, but as it was an extra thirty minutes was required before the Yellows finally put to bed a skilfully challenged yet resolute Peacocks side.

It wasn’t exactly one-way traffic but there can be little doubt that the home side were better prepared to make the forward advances. Tivvy welcomed back Jamie Hatch to the starting line-up after his one match suspension that kept him sidelined at Hemel Hempstead, but fellow midfielder Ben Cleverley had seen time drawn on his brief Tiverton career. The diminutive playmaker was present but only in support; he will be in the colours of Weston-super-Mare in a few days time.

Colin Marshall was deployed in the right-back position and quickly developed an understanding with Hatch, and the pair combined to forge some open space for Mike Booth on the right flank. Booth’s cross was too deep but poorly defended, and when Alex Faux chipped the ball back into the area Joe Bushin could only head over from ten yards. Bushin looked lively if a bit rusty and sliced a shot wide just a few moments later after his persistence had created a chance that seemed to have been lost.

Tiverton peppered the Taunton goal throughout the first half with no success – Mike Humphreys volleyed over the top, Adam Mortimer crashed an effort onto the underside of the bar and Hatch also sent an attempt well too high, and there was no way through, no perfect strike to break the deadlock. At the other end Alexis Piper raced onto a through ball from James Clough that never reached its target, Shaun Anthony was a yard too slow and saw Tivvy goalkeeper Steve Book rush out to hammer a loose ball away from danger, and Piper then headed over after a corner was nodded back by Owen Irish.

A positive first half from Tiverton garnered no reward and gradually the ideas ran out although the desire remained. The second period lost fluidity, a fact that wasn’t helped by a shrilling whistle and a series of cynical fouls. The result was that Taunton earned a bucket full of yellow cards, Hatch received his customary caution, and chances on goal dried up.

Hatch shot low and wide while most teammates were busy claiming for handball, James Clough headed a corner hopelessly wide, and Book saved a long-ranger from former Tivvy player Luke Cole, the follow-up falling to Piper who was well offside. For Tivvy Marshall fired in a free kick that Lloyd Irish did well to help over the bar following one of many fouls Bushin suffered, and with time running out Nathan Rudge blasted a header onto the crossbar.

Harris and Lee Groves added their names to the ever-growing collection as extra time commenced, but there was more caution that expansion as it became clear that the first goal would be decisive in the outcome of the game. Tiverton debutante Shaun Lewis curled an outswinger that outswung a foot too much and Bushin nodded another Faux cross over the crossbar but it was difficult to see anything other than a penalty shootout on the horizon.

That was until Owen Irish picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Bushin and Tiverton’s umpteenth corner of the evening finally forced the breakthrough. Mike Booth curled it in from the left quadrant, over the heads of the tall centre backs of both teams and towards the back post. Harris was in place to help the ball away but only helped the ball past his own ’keeper and into the net.

Indeed the first goal was decisive; Taunton opened up as they sought an equaliser but Tiverton sprung them on the break three times in the closing stages. Twice Matt Bye slipped through balls between the Taunton defence and twice Bushin was onto it like a beagle. But twice the young striker was unable to finish as firstly he was denied by Lloyd Irish and then he side-footed a shot wide when one-on-one with the Taunton custodian.

A player down there was little chance of Taunton getting back on level terms although Cole did get a shot in the fizzed wide, and in the final minute Lewis wrapped things up when he raced free, rounded the goalkeeper and walked the ball into the net. It was hardly a fanfare finish but then it was not exactly a razzmatazz game; Tiverton came though deservedly but little more against a team struggling a level lower. The money in the bank for this victory is negligible and henceforth the curious burden of the Southern League Cup takes on further step. One might get excited about this competition when defending a one-goal lead five minutes from the end of the second leg of the final, until then energies should be concentrated on improving dour league form.


Tiverton Town: Steve Book, Colin Marshall (Jake Wannell 82), Alex Faux, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, Jamie Hatch, Mike Humphreys (Matt Bye 98), Adam Mortimer (Shaun Lewis 65), Joe Bushin, Elliott Frear
Goals: Harris (own goal) 113, Lewis 120
Booked: Faux 35, Hatch 69
Sent off: None

Taunton Town: Lloyd Irish, Lee Groves, Luke Cole, Neil Bailey, Owen Irish, James Clough, Andy Butler, John Harris, Shaun Anthony (Leon Simpson 76), Alexis Piper (Mike Kearley 76), Darren Rice (Danny Lane 93)
Booked: Clough 47, Cole 54, Owen Irish 60, 108, Harris 96, Groves 103, Bailey 111
Sent off: Owen Irish 108

Attendance: 261


This report ©2009 Alan Reidy