Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 2 Halesowen Town

   Saturday 17/04/2010   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Halesowen Town arrived in sunny Devon with hopes of reaching the playoffs alive yet slender. And after ninety minutes in which the Yeltz had much the better of the exchanges very little had changed. There was also little difference in Tiverton’s position as the teams at the bottom of the table once again contrived to not pick up a victory between them, leaving the Yellows still two points off the relegation zone, albeit with a game or two in hand over their main rivals.

Halesowen made early headway into the Tiverton defensive quarters and had Lee Fowler been more aware he could have crossed for the league’s top scorer Stefan Moore after just six minutes, but opted instead to ram a low shot straight at Steve Book. The Tivvy goalkeeper was at his most verbose, yelling in condemnation at his own bench, and then yelling unbridled criticism at his own player when Colin Marshall’s throw-in allowed Halesowen to put pressure immediately back on the Tivvy defence.

But after the initial phase of the game Tiverton came gradually into the running, and Joe Bushin was on the end of a persevering battle in midfield that saw Jamie Hatch steal the ball off Sam Gaughran, but the Tivvy forward could only aim his effort straight at Nick Bussey. And with half an hour almost on the clock the Yellows put together their best move of the match but again proved to be shy in front of goal. Hatch, effervescent in the heart of midfield all afternoon moved the ball forward to Liam Head, the Argyle loanee cleverly dinked the ball up and over the head of his marker and fed Bushin in space just inside the area. Unfortunately for Tiverton Bushin skied the shot, and a chance that would have been buried earlier in the season went begging.

It was typically cruel that Halesowen opened the scoring with their next attack, but at least for the 285 in attendance it was a goal worth applauding. Fowler was fed down the inside left channel and with a wall of yellow ahead of him this time decided passing was the best option. The ball was rolled sideways as Henry Eze strode forward from his deep lying midfield position to thump it forward from the best part of 30 yards, well out of Book’s reach and into the top corner of the net.

Liam Daly nodded a cross just over the top at the end of the first half, and after the break Bushin finally had the ball in the net, only for his effort to be ruled out by the linesman’s flag. It was a dubious decision at best, although home debutant David Wilkes probably should have buried a chance seconds earlier anyway.

Tiverton created several other chances – Bushin nodded wide, Daly cleared off the line after Tom Gardner looped in a high ball when Marshall’s free kick was only half cleared, and by the time the outcome of the game was already guaranteed Richard Pears dipped a volley just over the crossbar.

But the deciding blow came in the 83rd minute when another questionable decision led to Halesowen’s second goal. Eze sent Rickards scampering away down the right, the linesman kept his flag down, and substitute Lee Osborne was the grateful recipient of Rickards’ square ball, lifting his shot over Book and into the roof of the net.

Once Pears had missed the target by a foot or two there was just time for Book to save well from Osborne before referee Nunn brought the game to a close and left Tiverton contemplating a run of results that has seen the Yellows fail to win at home since the penultimate weekend in January. Like it or not that is relegation form, and only the inability of any of the other strugglers has kept Tivvy’s head above water.

Tiverton Town: Steve Book, Adam Faux, Alex Faux (Jake Wannell 66), Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, Jamie Hatch, Colin Marshall, Joe Bushin (Richard Pears 80), Liam Head, David Wilkes (Elliott Frear 66)
Booked: Alex Faux 21, Rudge 62, Wannell 76, Book 84
Sent off: None

Halesowen Town: Nick Bussey, Jimmy Turner, Sam Gaughran, Liam Daly, Henry Eze, Jay Denny, Alex Cowley, Scott Rickards (Luke Bradley 90), Stefan Moore (Lee Osborne 72), Lee Fowler, Stefan Morley (Aaron Griffiths 74)
Goals: Eze 31, Osborne 83
Booked: Fowler 21, Moore 23, Turner 71
Sent off: None

Attendance: 285

This report ©2010 Alan Reidy