Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 1 Merthyr

   Saturday 06/03/2010   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Ahead of the match against Merthyr Tydfil Martyn Rogers demanded his players put on a performance for the home fans at Ladysmead. There was pressure in a game against a fellow candidate for relegation, and although the showing was an improvement on the previous home match against Hendnesford it still wasn’t good enough, and former Yellows defender Andrew Thomas nodded the only goal of the game midway through the first half to ensure the points were heading back to the land of our fathers.

In the early stages the tempo was high but the quality was lacking and it wasn’t until more that twenty minutes into proceedings that the first shot on target arrived. That came via the boot of Steve Williams, the wingback having collected from Kris Leek, cut in from his position wide on the right and delivered a low and powerless shot that was easy for Steve Book to field.

Off down the other end went Tiverton and Richard Groves battled well to win a first corner of the afternoon for the home side. Elliott Frear delivered, his cross from the flag planted onto the head of Joe Bushin. The Tivvy marksman glanced a header that had Merthyr ’keeper Andrew Delve comprehensively beaten, but Paul Keddle recovered in the nick of time to acrobatically hack the ball from beneath the crossbar and out for a corner on the opposite side.

That was as close as Tivvy would come to breaking through a defence that Thomas and central partner Jamie Rewbury marshalled expertly, and when Frear’s weak free kick was floated straight at Delve a minute or two later the visitors set about getting back on top. The crucial moment of the game came in the 28th minute when Williams clipped in a cross from the right as the Tiverton defence seemed to be taking a nap and didn’t read a quick throw-in, and Thomas found space and time to plant a firm header past Book.

There were chances at both ends as half time approached, with Book denying Keddle at one end and then Delve saving from Colin Marshall at the other. Marshall might have had a claim for more as he was being tugged back by Tarik Khalil, but the Scot kept his feet when others would have looked for a free kick. And this act of good sportsmanship was justified soon after when he did have a change from a set piece but copied Frear from earlier by beating the wall but firing straight at Delve.

Merthyr continued to carve out the better chances after the change of ends, but Leek’s cross/shot flew across the face of goal before Khalil could make up ground, and substitute Scott Armitage threatened on a number of occasions, firstly forcing Book to save, and then looping in an awkward cross that Groves did well to nod clear.

Leek skied a shot from the edge of the area after a Martyrs corner was only half cleared, Khalil saw Book save low down when the Welsh midfielder inadvertently deflected Thomas’ low effort, and Tiverton struggled to force their way into the visitors’ half of the pitch for long spells. When the Yellows did manage to threaten it was typically Marshall that was at the heart of the moves, and his surging run and 1-2 with Adam Mortimer resulted in a powerful shot that Delve tipped around the upright at full stretch.

With just five minutes remaining Tiverton were gifted a late chance to tie things up as Marshall teed up the advanced Nathan Rudge. The skipper’s goalbound shot was blocked by Richard Pears, Pears swivelled and fired in a snapshot, but Delve was once again in the perfect position and didn’t even have to move his feet to gather the ball in.

Tiverton Town: Steve Book, Richard Groves, Alex Faux, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner (Adam Mortimer 58), Jamie Hatch, Colin Marshall, Joe Bushin (Richard Pears 58), Mark Saunders (Lee Collier 87), Elliott Frear
Booked: Booth 2
Sent off: None

Merthyr Tydfil: Andrew Delve, Steve Williams, Paul Keddle, Andrew Thomas, Jamie Rewbury, Lee Hartshorn, Tarik Khalil, Dean Clarke, Marcus Griffiths (Scott Armitage 58), Cortez Belle (Matthew Trotman 77 (Simon Greagory 87)), Kris Leek
Goals: Thomas 28
Booked: Clarke 44, Thomas 49
Sent off: None

Attendance: 279

This report ©2010 Alan Reidy