Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 1 Exeter City

   Monday 26/04/2010   Devon St Luke's Cup
Alan Reidy

Devon St. Luke’s Cup Semi-Final

The end of the season was a long time in coming; too long for many associated with Tiverton Town Football Club, from the supporters right through to the playing squad. Two days after sealing an unwanted relegation the Yellows finally made their last appearance of a disastrous season as they hosted a young Exeter City side for a place in the Devon Cup final against Bideford.

Unlike in the previous round against Willand Rovers Tivvy fielded a full-strength side, although the substitute’s bench contained three players from the Under 18s side, and the influential pair of Nathan Rudge and Mark Saunders remained on the sidelines through injury while Steve Book was given the evening off, allowing Lloyd Irish to make his second appearance of the season.

Exeter pelted out of the blocks and dominated the early exchanges but never forced a shot on goal for all their possession. Crosses rained in from both flanks and Irish showed excellent presence and equally impressive handling to gather in all that was launched his way.

It was perhaps ironic that for everything City did, for all the territory the enjoyed, and all the slick passing in and around the final third it was Tiverton that worked the first two openings. Colin Marshall was clearly determined to finish the season on a high note and put in a fine performance in the centre of the park, but curled a free kick a few yards wide of the post. And Adam Faux headed Marshall’s corner the wrong side of the upright after Exeter goalkeeper Matt Armstrong-Ford had saved well from Jamie Hatch.

While Tivvy’s number 8 was clearly enjoying himself and at the heart of everything the Yellows did, his opposite number Chris Shepherd was equally as instrumental for the visitors. Both he and Tom Nichols saw shots blocked in quick succession, and Shepherd’s through ball a few moments later allowed Kyle Bassett in on goal, but Tom Gardner did well to retreat and deflect the youngster’s shot away for a corner.

Ollie Nott became the latest in a line of Tiverton Town Youth players to get a chance in the first team as Joe Bushin hobbled off at half time and began his summer break. Nott slotted into midfield with Hatch pushed forward in support of Adam Mortimer, and the makeshift striker could have done better when he latched onto Marshall’s pass but shot straight at Armstrong-Ford.

Nichols side-footed a volley well over when it would have been easier to score, Gardner then poked the ball away from the same player after a fine visionary pass from Shepherd, and the game began to open out as the prospect of extra time began to loom.

James Berry blasted a shot into the side netting for Exeter, Marshall raced away from deep for Tivvy but ran out of steam and couldn’t get a shot on goal or a pass to the supporting Alex Faux, And Mike Booth had two late chances for Town, the first following a one-two with Nott that was aimed straight at the ’keeper, and a second that was lobbed over the bar after Jack Furzer had made a mess of dealing with Irish’s long punt downfield.

And so extra time it was, and Nott came close to breaking the deadlock in the first additional minute but was unable to beat Armstrong-Ford with a low strike. But the deadlock was broken just four minutes later through Bassett, and the goal was as close to a sublime one as Ladysmead has seen for many seasons. Having picked up the ball wide on the right Bassett cut in towards the area, appeared to be going nowhere, and simply unleashed a brilliant shot that flew well beyond the reach of Irish and into the top corner. Magnificent!

Tivvy rallied; they could afford to wear themselves out. Marshall continued to be the inspiration and his charging dribble down the left almost resulted in a chance for Hatch, only the latter was a yard too far forward or the ball was a yard too far behind. Mortimer sent in a stunning volley from well outside the area that was saved spectacularly, and in the final minute of the first half of extra time Tiverton got their deserved reward.

The goal was simple and left questions being asked in the Grecians’ defence, but Adam Faux won’t mind that at all. Marshall’s corner, Faux’s header, one all. For Faux it was his first goal for the club on his 93rd appearance, for Tivvy it was a goal that would see the game through to penalties.

But there was another fifteen minutes still to play, and Shepherd rattled the top of the crossbar after Irish had saved well from the generally anonymous yet extremely familiar Elliott Frear. And at the other end Richie Durrant, on as a substitute for man-of-the-match Tom Kington, was denied when Furzer cleared his shot off the line. Booth volleyed a final chance straight at the City goalkeeper, and so it was the two glovesmen that would have a chance to take the plaudits and help their team into the final.

The first five penalty kicks were converted with little chance for either goalkeeper. Shepherd for City, Alex Faux for Tivvy, then Nichols, Jake Wannell and Noah Keats. Booth’s spot kick was low and hard and too close to Armstrong-Ford, giving Exeter the advantage. Irish then saved from Frear, dropped the ball into the net as he got back to his feet, but was given the benefit of the doubt by the referee, leaving Marshall to tie things up at 3-3 after four kicks each. Bassett scored, so did Nott, Aaron Dawson did his part and, at the second time of asking, Mortimer rammed the ball home. Lewis Tasker was charged with City’s seventh and sent Irish the wrong way, leaving Durrant with the pressure on his début. His shot was saved by Armstrong-Ford and Exeter’s youthful team celebrated. For Tiverton it signalled the end of a season to forget.

Tiverton Town: Lloyd Irish, Jake Wannell, Alex Faux, Adam Faux, Tom Kington (Richie Durrant 99), Tom Gardner, Jamie Hatch (Jo Packer-Byrne 114), Colin Marshall, Joe Bushin (Ollie Nott 46), Mike Booth, Adam Mortimer
Goals: Adam Faux 105
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Exeter City: Matt Armstrong-Ford, Noah Keats, Lewis Tasker, Aaron Dawson, Jack Furzer, Liam Ellis, James Berry (Roger Ingham 96), Chris Shepherd, Kyle Bassett, Tom Nichols, Elliott Frear
Goals: Bassett 95
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance: 235




This report ©2010 Alan Reidy