Match report

Tiverton Town 2 - 3 Leamington

   Saturday 05/12/2009   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Leamington enjoyed a solid start to their first season back in the Southern League Premier Division before controversially sacking their long-serving manager Paul Cadden, they boast the second highest goalscorer in the league in the form of the much travelled Mark Bellingham and their away form is not too bad. However, they made their first trip to Devon on the back of a run that had seen them pick up just one point in four games, a sequence which had included three defeats in front of their own supporters, and therefore it was a match that Tiverton Town really should have been expecting to win if the Yellows were to pull away from the relegation places. But Tivvy’s season of inconsistency continued and a return to the drop zone was confirmed after what manager Martyn Rogers described as a spiritless second half performance.

It might have been a very different story had Town taken a host of first half chances and lept Leamington at bay as the game entered stoppage time before the break, but Josh Ford’s first goal for the club was ultimately cancelled out by Luke Corbett, and the equaliser seemed to knock the heart out of Tiverton. Firstly it was a poor goal to concede; Tom Gardner completely misjudged a high ball which allowed Corbett to get in behind the defensive line before firing a shot into the roof of the net, and secondly, it came very much against the run of play as Tivvy had enjoyed much the better of the opening period.

Ford headed the Yellows ahead from Elliott Frear’s cross after 27 minutes, a rare occasion when a short corner routine has borne fruit, and moments earlier Joe Bushin had twice gone close. Tiverton’s top scorer planted a free header wide from eight yards after Ford and Frear had combined, and a second header was pushed away un unnecessarily spectacular fashion by Brakes goalkeeper Tony Breeden, granting Tiverton the corner from which the opening goal came.

Tivvy looked to consolidate their lead but Breeden was quickly off his line to half-smother from Bushin, and Adam Mortimer could only send the follow-up wide of the post, while at the other end Steve Book remained relatively untroubled, only needing to watch a handful of long range efforts wide or over. Breeden denied Bushin again two minutes before the interval but Leamington managed to restore parity when Corbett capitalised on Gardner’s mistake, turned two defenders and gave Book no chance with an emphatic finish.

The goal boosted the visitors as they restarted the game with renewed vigour. Colin Marshall was forced to cynically trip the influential Marcus Jackson as the Leamington midfielder looked to break from deep, and Book made a stunning save to keep out Richard Batchelor when the Brakes midfielder found space to head on a Chris Murphy corner.

But the goal that was coming arrived on the hour mark from the spot. Mike Booth was penalised from holding Bellingham in the area and Corbett blasted the resulting penalty kick powerfully down the middle with the minimum of fuss.

Leamington’s second of the game was the catalyst for Tiverton to once again increase the tempo, and for ten minutes the hosts were again the better side. Sam Malsom replaced Mortimer and merrily chased everything without making a direct impact on the game, and when Adam Cooper chopped down Alex Faux on the edge of the area Tiverton were granted the opportunity they required. Marshall curled a delicious free kick over the defensive wall and into the top corner, although a flat-footed Breeden might have made more of an effort.

But the scores were level for no more than a few minutes as a second defensive mix-up from the Yellows afforded Bellingham space to volley home from close range. Pete Faulds’ initial ball in was half cleared, Jackson looped an up-and-under back towards goal, and when Book shouted but didn’t claim Bellingham was happy to pick up the pieces.

And that was that, bar a Bellingham shot that sailed high, and a wasted corner that was delivered by Frear and cut out by the first man. Rogers called it spiritless but it was more toothless than anything else. With the best part of twenty minutes to chase a third goal Tiverton couldn’t even force Breeden into a save.


Tiverton Town: Steve Book, Adam Faux, Alex Faux, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, Jamie Hatch (Mark Saunders 90), Josh Ford (Jake Wannell 76), Adam Mortimer (Sam Malsom 66), Joe Bushin, Elliott Frear
Goals: Ford 28, Marshall 70
Booked: Marshall 48
Sent off: None

Leamington: Tony Breeden, Michael Tuohy, James Husband, Adam Cooper, Guy Sanders, Marcus Jackson, Peter Faulds, Chris Murphy, Mark Bellingham, Luke Corbett (Richard Beale 90), Richard Batchelor
Goals: Cornett 45, 60(pen), Bellingham 73
Booked: Tuohy 45, Cooper 70, Cornett 82

Sent off: None

Attendance: 345


This report ©2009 Alan Reidy