Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 0 Newport County

   Friday 06/08/2004   Friendly
John Reidy

Tempus fugit. And as the years roll by I find myself increasingly tending to adopt the traits of Victor Meldrew. As yet I have managed to control the impulse to give forth with the full I don´t believe it! catchline but with growing frequency certain trinkets of information‚ random occurrences or the apparently illogical actions of others cause me to mentally give vent to such expressions of incredulity. Such was my reaction to the addition of Newport County to the list of Ladysmead pre-season friendies´. I am on record as generally not being over enthusiastic about such games and it is only occasionally that I have found the prospects enticing - and then usually because of novelty value of some kind. Team Bath a couple of seasons ago or St Blazey this year are cases in point´ but a visit from Newport County? .....I failed to grasp the attraction. A quick dose of medication saw the logic of such a fixture surface through the clouded cells of my grey matter. The Exiles were close to Tivvy both geographically and in standing in the pyramid. Games between the two sides over the last couple of seasons had always been tight contests. Yes‚ there was perceivable sense in rounding of the preparations for the new campaign against such opposition; and realising the fact the match took on a more favourable vista.

Despite the added attraction of the opportunity to take a look at another new face in the Town line up in the shape of goalkeeper Mark Ovendale‚ the more familiar attractions of a Friday evening‚ plus the final decision in the latest edition of Big Brother no doubt‚ saw the gate´ struggle and fail to meet the 300 mark. Never-the-less the faithful that did filter down to Ladysmead were rewarded with an entertaining‚ albeit goal free‚ game. Not that the opening exchanges gave any indication of the forthcoming dearth of strikes. The third minute saw prodigal marksman Jamie Mudge giving the visitor´s keeper a little exercise‚ Roger Freestone collecting a lobbed attempt on goal after Kevin Wills had set Mudge free after Nathan Rudge had played the ball out from Tiverton´s back line. Down at the Devco end Ovendale showed safe handling as he dropped to his right to smother a none too powerful effort from Jamie Moralee‚ a man with a high reputation as a goal getter in Welsh football. On the quarter hour mark Ovendale displayed further talent as the same Newport man found a way through the Tivvy defence. The keeper was quickly forward and as Moralee rounded him managed to disrupt the path of both player and ball by flicking the latter off the former´s foot. The striker still managed to direct the ball goalwards but with little power and the retreating Rob Cousins nipped in to turn it away at the last moment. The pace of the game was far from pedestrian and the action swept from end to end. Wills‚ as has become the norm‚ looked dangerous but was unable to control his shot as he turned onto a Winter free kick and his attempt to break the deadlock was deflected away for a corner.

The link play that has become increasing prevalent as the multitude of new Tivvy players begin to gell was well illustrated midway through the first half. Chris Vinnicombe fielded a throw from Ovendale - if he signs will he become Ovo two (or Ovo too) - and made a few yards before touching the ball inside to David Steele. Steele whipped the ball the width of the field to find Steve Winter wide and in space on the right. Winter forward to Mudge. Mudge touched inside to Darren Edwards. Edwards shot. Low‚ lacking power and easily scooped up by Freestone but the approach was sweet to watch. And so it continued. Swimming pool end to Sponsors end (Ex-sponsors‚ God bless you Market Carpets!) and back again. Openings created‚ openings thwarted. First class entertainment. Ovendale saving from Aherne-Evans and palming the ball around for a corner as it came back in; Mudge shooting wide as he was crowded out when Wills sent him on a quick break; Neil Passmore firing wide at the other end as Ovendale calmly watched the ball out - why waste energy?- and then the new man using a little of that effort to hold well from Moralee when the ball was on target. Half time and a blank scoreline but ample action.

If the first half had seen the visitors marginally - very marginally - have the better opportunities‚ the balance swung decisively the other way in the first part of the second session as The Yellows looked the more sprightly side. Two minutes gone and Freestone had to launch himself vertically to tip a Vinnicombe free kick from five yards outside the penalty area over his crossbar. Ovendale hoofed the ball through the middle - ah ‚ he can kick too! - for Iain Harvey to nod on‚ sending Mudge on a charge down the right. To the by-line‚ a low cross‚ a defender missed it‚ but so did Edwards. Mudge shoots wide. Wills chests a ball from the left down to his foot and in a single move rounds his marker and crashes in a shot. Freestone´s airborne again‚ this time horizontally‚ to turn the ball round the upright for a corner. Close‚ but as the saying goes‚ no cigar - and more importantly no bulging net. Newport withstood the onslaught and having blunted the thrusts made a few of their own. In doing so they made the Tiverton defence look seriously suspect for the first time in the game. A long cross from their right carried deep beyond the crowded central areas. Whipped back in‚ it was Tom Stocco´s turn to save Tivvy´s day with a goal-line clearance with 58 minutes on the clock. Six minutes later and Cousins gave a free kick away on the edge of the penalty area - a rare moment of rashness from the Tivvy skipper. Darren Jones powered the ball round the wall. Ovendale was nowhere near it but he had placed a defender in just the right place. There was a resounding thud as ball hit boot‚ or boot hit ball. Cousins had made amends with his second goal-line clearance of the game. Some things never change!

I guess it was inevitable that there should be a dull patch and it arrived midway through the second half. The chances dried up and after about ten minutes the pattern was further disrupted as the changes were rung by both managers. Newport did it in stages‚ Tivvy in a mass swap. The manipulations of the squads brightened up the game a little - not a lot - but a little. Jamie Densham rode a tackle well to force in a shot‚ Ovendale held well from Passmore. More changes‚ including Vinnicombe limping off with a knock‚ but even fewer chances. The last and only significant one as the game petered out came in the first few seconds of minimal added time. Mudge sent in a looping half volley from out to the left but was wide of the mark.

A good‚ entertaining match. The draw a fair result. Pity about the scoreline‚ though.

Tiverton Town: Mark Ovendale‚ Steve Winter‚ Chris Vinnicombe (Jak Martin‚ 79)‚ Tom Stocco‚ Nathan Rudge‚ Rob Cousins (Jon Hayter‚ 73)‚ Kevin Wills‚ Iain Harvey (Matthew Lock‚ 73), Darren Edwards (Jamie Densham, 73), David Steele (Mike Booth, 73), James Mudge.

Subs not used: Shaun Goff.

Newport County: Roger Freestone, Nigel Passmore, Scott Morgan, Nathan Davies, Darren Jones, Scott Young (Andrew Thomas, 79), Jason Bowen, Kevin Aherne-Evans (Gethyn Jones, 82), Jamie Moralee (Sam O´Sullivan, 88), Carl Wisson-Denis (Ashley Williams, 69), Jonathan Coates.

Subs not used: Tom Hooper,.

Referee: Richard Greenwood (Exeter).

Att: 295

This report ©2004 John Reidy

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