Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 0 Evesham United

   Tuesday 24/08/2010   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

It has been a long time in coming – seven months to be precise. It was way back near the end of January when Tiverton Town last won a league game at home, and that 1-0 victory against Oxford City was matched last Tuesday as the Yellows picked up their first victory of the season against an interesting Evesham United side that came to prominence the more the game wore on.

United captain Steve Luckett blundered the decisive goal of the match deep into the second half but that was only a small part of the story, and in truth Tivvy could have been well out of sight by half time, such was the dominance of the home side. Chances flew high and wide as Evesham struggled to make any impression during the early stages, and it was only after the change of ends that the match evened out, and then eventually turned in favour of the visitors.

The big talking point around Ladysmead prior to kick off was with regards to goalkeeper Ryan Draper who had been drafted in as a replacement for the sidelined and slung Chris Wright, and rather fittingly Draper was again the subject of most post-match analysis having delivered a faultless performance on debut and kept Tiverton in the game during Evesham’s spells of dominance.

But it was most certainly the home side that dominated early on and Mark Saunders could have put Tivvy ahead after just three minutes when he poked the ball past Evesham goalkeeper Richard Mace and agonisingly past the upright. Liam Ellis saw a shot blocked for a corner, Saunders again missed the target, this time with a looping header that dropped a foot or two beyond the same goalpost, and still inside the first quarter of an hour Jamie Densham met Chris Vinnicombe’s corner but nodded over when unchallenged just a few yards from goal.

It was difficult to understand how Evesham weren’t finished already but they lived to fight on and almost took the lead with their first real foray into enemy territory. Anthony Watson broke down the right, cut in and stabbed a low shot in approximately the right direction. Teammate Roland Agbor managed to block the shot himself, control the ball and fire in an effort of his own on the turn, but Draper was down quickly to save and gather.

Draper also saved from Justin Nisbett towards the end of the first half, while Russell Jee was unlucky at the other end when his goalbound shot was deflected up and over the bar. And that was half time, bar a yellow card for Tom Gardner for supposedly bodychecking Jamie Hyde, and an injury to Nisbett that saw him replaced by the leggy Jermaine Clarke.

It isn’t know what was said at half time or what was put in the coffee, but the second period was a stark contrast to the first, although before the game was allowed to resettle Evesham midfielder Sam Mensah was stretchered off with a leg feared broken after tangling with Alex Faux. Mensah’s replacement James Robbins was quickly up to the pace of the game and barely before he had had time to work up a sweat he was stretching the Tiverton defence. One on such break he was quickly behind the Tivvy back four, but as Adam Faux chased back Robbins elected to tee up Clarke, and Draper made his third important save of the game, blocking the ball out for a corner with his legs.

The opening may have been a warning that Evesham were a dangerous animal on the counter attack, and they were certainly not short of pace on the flanks or through the middle. However, the warning wasn’t heeded fully and after Rapinder Gill almost beat his own goalkeeper at one end it was the visitors that were once more on the front foot.

Clarke was causing a nuisance but the former Bromsgrove Rovers striker perhaps showed why he only started the game on the substitute’s bench when three times in five second half minutes he met crosses and failed to convert. The first two chances came from the left wing and the cool crosses of Fazil Koriva and both times Draper parried sharply before the Yellows defence scrambled the ball away. The third came from a corner, but like Densham early in the game Clarke headed over the top when it would have been easier to score.

Koriva himself also broke through having cut in from the left and yet again Draper was in tip-top form and did superbly to save low down at his near post, and so with ten minutes remaining it looked for all the world that a game of many chances would ultimately end goalless. Not so, and Densham, who had needed to dig deep as he continues to search for full match fitness, once more gritted his teeth, put his head down and called upon what little energy he had remaining as he found space on the right. Densham’s cross was delivered as much in hope as anything, but it was placed intelligently between the goalkeeper and the retreating red and white defenders. Too far in front of Mace to come and collect, just far enough behind the defence to tempt somebody to poke a foot out. Luckett obliged, threw his right leg towards the ball and met Densham’s cross perfectly to send the ball careering past Mace and into the roof of the net.

Luckett kicked and punched the ground in anguish as the Yellows celebrated a fortuitous breakthrough that would have been deserved on the first half showing but seemed unlikely thereafter. And Evesham had nothing left in reserve, all their ideas and energies expended. A few balls were pumped into the Tiverton defensive areas but Draper remained untroubled for the final ten minutes plus seven additional clicks, and after such a long wait Ladysmead finally witnessed a Tivvy league win.


Tiverton Town: Ryan Draper, Dean Coppard, Chris Vinnicombe, Liam Ellis, Adam Faux, Tom Gardner, David Steele, Russell Jee, Jamie Densham (Jak Martin 90), Mark Saunders (Joe Bushin 71), Alex Faux
Goals: Steve Luckett (own goal) 79
Booked: Gardner 44

Evesham United: Richard Mace, Anthony Watson, Jamie Hyde, Danny Hodnett, Steve Luckett, Rapinder Gill, Neil Barnfield, Sam Mensah (James Robins 51), Justin Nisbett (Jermaine Clarke 38), Roland Agbor, Fazil Koriva
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance 273


This report ©2010 Alan Reidy