Match report

Clevedon Town 0 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 23/02/2010   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

As one travels down the path of life there is an inclination to take fewer risks, to rest on one’s laurels, to take comfort in the security of what you have rather than strive for more at the risk of tipping the applecart and spilling the fruits of one’s year’s. Perhaps this is why Martyn Rogers seldom sets his team up to attack with gusto from the start as was his want in less grey and more youthful times during his managerial career. The days of yore are well behind, forgotten except for special occasions when supporters recongregate to reminisce about the good ol’ days when Tiverton Town used to hammer teams into submission and then toy with them as a cat would with a small tit on her last legs.

So it was with surprise, yet well received that at Clevedon Town Tivvy came out with guns a-blazin’ and set about the road down memory lane one more time. Pace and passion were prominent from the start and sorry Clevedon didn’t know what had hit them in a game that was, to all intents and purposes, a crucial encounter amongst relegation candidates. Tiverton flew from the start and inside the first 20 seconds Richard Groves had a sight at goal but lofted his shot high and wide. Within ten minutes Elliott Frear had already set his stall, jinked and twisted and been unceremoniously hacked to the ground by the usually calm and calculating experience of Matt Townley.

The Seasiders’ defender was cautioned and forced to stand off Frear, affording the Town winger the freedom of his left flank but Tiverton couldn’t capitalise and were forced to focus more on the other side of the pitch. That suited Groves as the loanee from Oxford United twice went close in what became a mismatch in terms of chances. First the winger fired just wide with Danny Greaves beaten, and soon afterwards Greaves had to extend himself to the fullest to tip over a rasping shot from distance.

Forward poured the Yellows, chance after chance being carved out and chance after chance going awry at the final moment. Joe Bushin miskicked in the area when he met Colin Marshall’s corner, Mark Saunders blazed one over and Frear proved his right leg is for standing purposes only when he lamely scuffed an effort wide after cutting inside, cleverly using the overlapping Alex Faux as a decoy.

Clevedon were simply not in the game and on the few occasions they were able to venture over the half way line they found Mike Booth sweeping with consummate ease, or Adam Faux tackling and quickly playing the ball back into the midfield for the next wave of Tivvy attacks.

Faux the Younger worked Greaves at his near post close to half time having latched onto a smart ball over the top from Tom Gardner and Jamie Hatch skimmed a low shot just the wrong side of the upright following good work by Saunders to cushion Frear’s cross, but by some kind of miracle the deadlock wasn’t broken in a first half that belonged well and truly to the visitors.

Clevedon improved substantially after the interval and half-time substitute Nana Baah saw a lot of the ball yet failed to significantly unsettle the Tiverton defensive line. And after fifteen minutes of moderate pressure from the hosts it was back to business as usual as the Yellows got to grips with the new system their opponents had employed.

Marshall fired in a spectacular free kick which Greaves read well to help over the crossbar before Sam Malsom stepped off the bench to help increase the tempo of Town’s attacking play yet further. Malsom chased and harried and ensured that Tivvy retained possession and territory, and only a couple of minutes after entering the fray brought yet another save from Greaves with an awkward shot that slipped through a crowded area, raced off the wet surface and rested in the Clevedon ’keepers midriff.

Time was beginning to run short, and Tiverton needed the goal that their dominance deserved, so with just seven minutes remaining Adam Mortimer replaced Frear as Rogers considered a more direct approach. The substitution was made as Marshall prepared to drift in a corner from the left, and once Mortimer was in place the set piece was delivered. Bushin got on the end of it, headed down and saw his attempt loop off the post and back into the danger zone where Ollie Barnes was forced to head behind.

Marshall trundled from one side of the pitch to the other for a second corner in quick succession, this time found Mortimer’s head with his cross, and the substitute nodded powerfully over Greaves and under the bar. 90 seconds after coming on Mortimer scored with his first touch of the evening, his first goal in Tiverton yellow, the winning goal!

There was still five minutes of regulation time to see out, plus the curiously long six minutes of added time, but Clevedon couldn’t muster a single dangerous strike on goal. Indeed Alex Faux might have extended Tiverton’s advantage and given the scoreline a more accurate reflection on the evening’s play, but after racing the length of the left wing he ran out of gas and shot low into Greaves’ legs.

The result may not have been like those of Western League glory days but a 1-0 win is worth as many points as a 6-0 win. And the performance was every bit as dominant as those delivered in the halcyon days of Everett and Smith and Hynds, and extremely welcome too. Tiverton showed that they really can play attractive football, and should be able to build on the positive vibes that came from the Hand Satdium.


Clevedon Town: Danny Greaves, Matt Townley, Matt Walsh, Ollie Barnes, Gary Colbourne, Ellis Wilmot, Phil Hartnup (Nana Baah 46), Craig Loxton, Chris Hartland, Paul Mitchell, Jason Cowan
Booked: Townley 8
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Steve Book, Richard Groves, Alex Faux, Mike Booth, Adam Faux, Tom Gardner, Jamie Hatch, Colin Marshall, Joe Bushin (Lee Collier 90), Mark Saunders (Sam Malsom 73), Elliott Frear (Adam Mortimer 83)
Goals: Mortimer 85
Booked: Hatch 90
Sent off: None

Attendance: 114


This report ©2010 Alan Reidy