Match report

Leamington 5 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 10/04/2010   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Tiverton Town fell to within two points of the relegation places following a humiliating defeat at the hands of Leamington on Saturday. Matt Lewis fired a hat-trick for the home side, with goals either side of half time from Guy Sanders and substitute James McPike rounding of the thrashing.

Martyn Rogers talked up his team’s chances ahead of the game, citing the excellent playing surface as one that would suit winger Elliott Frear, while Tiverton tend to fare better when teams come at them, but neither prediction came anywhere near being accurate as Tivvy were second best from the first whistle to the last.

In fact, such was Leamington’s domination that Tiverton mustered just one shot on target all afternoon, a difficult chance from a tight angle that fell to Joe Bushin and was confidently saved by Tony Breeden.

It took Leamington until the fourteenth minute to open the scoring despite their clear superiority, and even then it came due to a defensive error. Mike Booth slipped under pressure, allowing Mark Bellingham to deliver a low cross which Lewis tapped into the net at the far post.

And ten minutes later the scoreline began to reflect the balance of play as Lewis struck his second of the game. Again Bellingham was the provider, helping on a searching cross-field pass, and Lewis shot powerfully from twenty yards past Steve Book in the Tiverton goal.

Stuart Herlihy came within inches of adding to the lead but was unable to hit the target when meeting Richard Batchelor’s deep cross, but before half time Leamington scored their third goal. Batchelor curled a free kick into the danger zone, and when Book flapped at the ball Guy Saunders was in place to cleverly lob the ball into the exposed net despite having his back to goal.

Book saved from Lewis and Bellingham at the start of the first half, and it wasn’t until past the hour mark that Leamington added to their total. Peter Faulds fed Herlihy in the area, and the Leamington midfielder seemed to lose possession, but half time Tivvy substitute Tom Kington was adjudged to have fouled. That allowed Lewis to convert from the spot and wrap up his hat-trick, despite Book guessing right from the penalty kick.

With the game already wrapped up Leamington toyed with a woeful Tiverton side and could have scored half a dozen more, with Book making a brave double save to deny Marcus Jackson and then Bellingham, while Jackson also had a free kick tipped over by Book.

With fifteen minutes remaining the Tivvy defence was carved open once more, and Bellingham’s shot beat Book but rebounded off the upright perfectly for McPike to stab the ball home from six yards.

The hosts finally lifted their collective feet off the gas and Tiverton enjoyed their best spell of the game in the closing stages. However, Richard Pears shot was weak and carried no threat, while Tom Piotrowski hammered a header just wide having met Colin Marshall’s near post corner.

But the damage had been done in a first half in which Tiverton failed to perform like anything other than genuine relegation candidates, and Tuesday’s game at Rugby Town has now taken on yet more importance. Tivvy travel back to Warwickshire having not won at Butlin Road in six attempts, but know that failure to pick up all three points on this visit could see the Yellows drop into the bottom four in the league standings.

Leamington: Tony Breeden, Peter Faulds, James Husband, Scott Lycett, Guy Sanders (Adam Cooper 68), Gary Knight, Marcus Jackson, Stuart Herlihy (Harry Harris 77), Matt Lewis (James McPike 67), Mark Bellingham, Richard Batchelor
Goals: Lewis 14, 25, 62pen, Sanders 38, McPike 74
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Steve Book, Jake Wannell (Tom Piotrowski 58), Colin Marshall, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner (Tom Kington 46), Jamie Hatch, Alex Faux, Joe Bushin (Richard Pears 68), Liam Head, Elliott Frear
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance: 453

This report ©2010 Alan Reidy