Match report

Stourbridge 2 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 09/03/2010   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Tiverton Town’s third visit to the ramshackle cricket pitch that morphs into a strange attempt at a football ground, otherwise known as the War Memorial Ground, Amblecote proved to be a fruitless exploit as the Yellows metaphorically shot themselves in the foot in losing 2-1 against Stourbridge. A nondescript first half that saw next to nothing in the way of positive football by either side ended with the hosts on top thanks to Ryan Rowe’s opener, and although Joe Bushin equalised with twenty minutes remaining Rowe struck again, making the most of a second hideous error involving Tivvy goalkeeper Steve Book, to ensure the points stayed in the West Midlands.

Beyond the howlers from which Rowe capitalised, and the non-event that was called the first half Tiverton actually played reasonably well and had much the better of the game after the change of ends. But by then they were already in arrears – a routine backpass from Nathan Rudge in the twenty-sixth minute should have been hoofed upfield and away from danger. But Book, just as he did at Farnborough a little more than a month ago, skewed his punt and effectively cost his team a goal. The attempted clearance smacked against Tom Gardner just outside the area, no doubt winding him in the process, and Rowe quickly galloped in, beat Book to the loose ball, and lifted a sumptuous lob into the unguarded net.

That was the main action of an otherwise dour first half, although Bushin did play a major part a little later when he nodded Lucan Spittle’s mishit cross off the goal line as Tivvy battled to clear Drew Canavan’s corner. At the other end, on the stroke of half time, Rudge volleyed over the top following Colin Marshall’s free kick from deep, but for just about everybody the interval couldn’t come soon enough.

Tiverton improved tenfold after the break as they sought a way back into the game and Alex Faux was desperately unlucky not to level the game seven minutes into the second half. Linking up with Elliott Frear on the left wing Alex found space and shot with the outside of his boot, but the unflappable Lewis Solly launched himself up and sideways to palm the top corner bound ball over the top for a corner.

Marshall, one of few Tiverton players that has come out of the past couple of games with any credit, was the next to try his luck, but having powered through the heart of the Stourbridge midfield his final shot was weak and easy for Solly to deal with. Jamie Hatch was the next Tivvy player to have a sight at goal, his low shot from the edge of the area also being diverted over the bar by Solly, although this save was more fortuitous than judged as the ball bobbled awkwardly on its path through the penalty area.

Solly saved smartly from Bushin as it became clear that the home side were desperately holding on to their advantage, but despite playing deep Stourbridge were always a threat on the counter attack. Book partly atoned for his earlier fluff when he denied Canavan on one such break, and five minutes later Tiverton were rewarded with a cleverly worked equaliser. Rudge, pushed up as Town began to show genuine urgency, neatly lifted the ball into the area, Adam Mortimer rose highest and nodded back across the face of goal, just beyond Solly’s grasp, and Bushin was in place to score the easiest goal he could hope to score.

Level but on top, the only thing that could go wrong now was to unsettle the team that had battled so hard to get back to parity. And so off came Frear, off came Richard Groves, Lee Collier and debutante Tom Kington taking their places. Momentum was lost, so was cohesion, and nine minutes after Bushin’s goal Stourbridge were back in front. It should be noted that neither substitute was in any way responsible for Rowe’s second so while Tivvy were barely a shadow of the team that performed at the start of the second half; the substitutions played no part in what was ultimately the winning goal. No, this time it was back to the slapstick double-act of Rudge and Book – the Town skipper was faced with a straightforward not home to his custodian but misjudged the light of the ball as it came from over his shoulder, amongst the confusion Rowe darted in as he had done an hour earlier, and for the second time that evening he lobbed Book with the deftest of touches.

Tiverton had nine minutes to find a second equaliser but failed, and in the end the Glassboys could have won by more, only for Kington to clear a powerful Leon Broadhurst shot off the line in the closing stages.

Stourbridge: Line-up TBC
Goals: Rowe 26, 80
Booked: Rowe 29

Tiverton Town: Steve Book, Richard Groves (Tom Kington 74), Alex Faux, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, Jamie Hatch, Colin Marshall, Joe Bushin, Adam Mortimer (Dean Stamp 84), Elliott Frear (Lee Collier 74)
Goals: Bushin 71
Booked: Booth 85

Attendance: 179

This report ©2010 Alan Reidy