Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 4 Yeovil Town

   Monday 02/08/2004   Friendly
John Reidy

During a career now spanning close on twenty years‚ a woodworking acquaintance of mine has twice made the careless and subsequently painful error of failing to distinguish the difference between the flesh and bone of his own hands and the timber that they were guiding through a circular saw. Being self employed the ad hoc amputation of a couple of fingertips was inconsequential as far as his ability to say goodnight to his foreman was concerned‚ though the enforced lay off from gainful employment obviously resulted in time to reflect upon his negligence. Despite his injuries the man in question would still be able‚ were he that way inclined‚ to count on the remaining completely intact digits of both hands - even excluding his thumbs - the number of years since Tivvy were playing Yeovil Town´s second string in a competitive game‚ when both teams were competing in the Screwfix Western League Premier Division. Those years have meandered by and both clubs have moved forward. Still the first teams of the two outfits are separated by three steps of the Pyramid that is the modern structure of football‚ but whereas Tiverton usually had the better of encounters with The Glovers second XI´‚ recent pre season encounters with a combination of the Somerset sides´ first and second choice selections have tended to indicate that the strength in depth of the now Coca Cola Football League 2 side has improved more than that of the Yellows. The latest visit of the Huish Park side to Ladysmead underlined this theory as Tivvy were outclassed but far from disgraced by a sharper‚ fitter‚ more lively Yeovil squad.

Right from kick off the writing was on the wall. Yeovil were not totally dominant but were clearly able to keep possession longer and were half a yard quicker than Tivvy. The Yellows though battled on and it was not until ten minutes had passed that the visitors got their noses in front. What seemed like an attack that bore little threat was terminated by a ball in across from the Yeovil left that Simon Weatherstone drove all along the ground past a flat footed Danny Brimble and into the net. It was to be a further five minutes before former Tiverton loanee goalkeeper Steve Collis was to take any significant part in proceedings‚ and even then Kevin Wills´ 35 yard shot was straight at him and easily held. Despite being behind Tivvy were not prepared to throw in the towel and though they were patently not in the same class they continued to toil away and stay in the game. There was no panic driven change to hoofing the ball forward as they continued to attempt to show their comparatively limited skills. On 21 minutes one such attempt badly misfired. Chris Vinnicombe made what is becoming a trademark burst down the left touchline and forced in a groundlevel cross. Darren Edwards cleverly stepped over the ball as it crossed the penalty area. Or at least it would have been clever had there been another yellow shirt following in behind as Edwards obviously thought there would be. There was not. Yeovil gathered up the ball and set off upfield on a counter attack. The ball was almost instantly in the Tiverton penalty area via a cross from the left and Greg Tyler did what Edwards at the other end had failed to do; he turned on the ball and with his second touch whipped in a shot that was deflected just enough to send it wide for a corner. Reminiscent confused defending from such set pieces saw Rob Cousins do what he had done so many times during last season - clear off the line.

With Tivvy having gradually come to terms with the pace of their opponents and having organised themselves to counter their superior skills they contrived to undo the good work with a moment of misunderstanding that provided the evening´s portion of farce. The misunderstanding was between Brimble and Nathan Rudge and saw the keeper hurriedly hacking the ball wildly away....or at least that was his intention. However‚ Tyler was charging in and Brimble´s attempted clearance had travelled hardly any distance before it smashed off the advancing forward´s head‚ ricocheted past the surprised keeper and trickled slowly over the goal-line to double The Glovers lead with no attempt being made to chase and clear the slow moving ball. Two minutes past the half hour mark Tivvy might well have pulled a goal back. Vinnicombe made another left flank run but this time his attempted cross was deflected away for a corner. Steve Winter crossed the pitch to whip in the cross to the near post. Edwards got to the ball but his foot was well under the ball and though he managed to steer it towards goal from close range he sent it high and wide of the top corner. Back down the other end charged the visitors and again Brimble was beaten by a long range shot‚ this time from the boot of Yemi Odubade as Yeovil once more emphasised the importance of being able to turn opportunity into chance into strike. That difference was further underlined in the 36th minute as once more Tivvy found a way through but failed to capitalise. Wills moved across the field ten yards or so outside the visitors penalty area. Being forced wide towards the right he stopped dead‚ laid the ball off to Winter cutting in from the right and having stopped so suddenly had created a gap that provided the perfect shooting channel for the wing back. Winter´s effort was not bad but it was a couple of inches over the bar. A couple of inches: the difference between a chance and a goal. It was Tivvy´s last creative move of the half. On the brink if the interval Tyler made another attempt on Brimble´s sagging confidence with a solo run and low shot. This time the keeper was alert to the danger and dropped down well to save and hold the ball. Three down at half time. There were only a couple of players on the field that would recall that such a scoreline was‚ as Chelmsford had proved last season‚ not unretrievable.

Any hope of a spectacular comeback were not to last long. the Glovers had made just one half time substitution‚ probably pre planned since one player‚ Paul Terry‚ returning from injury was replaced by another‚ Andy Lindegaard. Lindegaard was well remembered at Ladysmead for the impact that he had made on last season´s edition of this match when he had torn Tivvy apart but perhaps because of his circumstances he was not to repeat the performance this time round and had a subdued 45 minutes by comparison. The Yellows made no changes but that situation was soon altered as Paul Milsom pulled up and was replaced by Jamie Mudge just two minutes after the restart. Mudge looked lively but it was still the visitors that remained on top and the Tivvy goal lead a charmed life as Phil Jeavons jinked through the middle to crash in a shot that flew back of the crossbar in the 55th minute. Three minutes later and Jeavons had adjusted his sights and found the target from a mere 25 yards. Four adrift‚ any side might be forgiven for calling it a day but that seems not to be the nature of the beast that is Tiverton Town this season. The work rate was maintained. And so was the willingness to move forward if the opportunity arrived. Vinnicombe had a poke that flew high and wide watched by Collis. It was the last thing the former Tiverton keeper did as he was replaced by Alan Jones in the Yeovil goal in the 62nd minute and Jones was soon in the action as he failed to hold a Mudge shot and only just retrieved the situation by scrambling the ball away from the predatory toe of Edwards. The 67th minute saw a trio of Tiverton substitutions but little respite for the home side from the constant Yeovil threat. Just as Jones had survived a scare so did Brimble as he too spilled a shot from Odubade and recovered to palm the ball away. But it fell to another Yeovil foot and was hammered back towards goal where Cousins was again in position to do his party trick and clear off the line.

With fifteen minutes remaining the Tivvy subs had settled and raised themselves to something approaching a competitive level. They were still not the better side but were definitely in the game and were rewarded in the 78th minute when Midge again burst through the middle to thunder in a shot that Jones could not hold. This time he was not so lucky. Kevin Wills was the man following up and brought a little respectability to the scoreline by hitting the ball into the net for a deserved consolation goal. And‚ had The Yellows had the finishing accuracy‚ that might not have been the last strike of the game. Matt Locke sent a looping header over the bar after a Jamie Densham shot had been only partially cleared and then in the dying minute Densham himself was denied as another shot was inches high and set the net shivering and the crossbar shuddering. Yes‚ mere inches between a chance and a strike.

Class tells. Class told. Second string or not‚ these opponents were full time pro´s. That too‚ told.

Tiverton Town: Danny Brimble‚ Steve Winter (Matthew Locke‚ 67)‚ Chris Vinnicombe‚ Tom Stocco‚ Nathan Rudge‚ Rob Cousins‚ Kevin Wills Dave Hallett (Iain Harvey‚ 56)‚ Darren Edwards (Jamie Densham‚ 67)‚ Paul Milsom (James Mudge‚ 47)‚ David Steele (Mike Booth‚ 67).

Subs not used: Shaun Goff‚ Ian Patchett.

Yeovil Town: Steve Collis (Alan Jones 62)‚ Adam Lockwood, Sam Croft, Steve Reed (Charlie Welch, 42), Yemi Odubade, Simon Weatherstone, Paul Terry (Andy Lindegaard, 46), Nicholas Mirza, Phil Jeavons (Steve Thompson, 75), Kezie Ibe, Greg Tyler.

Subs not used: Dale Williams,.

Referee: M. Hawken (St. Austell)

Att: 785

This report ©2004 John Reidy

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