The unofficial archives of Tiverton Town Football Club

Tiverton Town 2 - 2 Cambridge City

Saturday 11/12/2010   Southern League Premier Division
Tivvy Archive

Tiverton Town began full-time life under the tutelage of Mark Saunders and Hedley Steele by taking a valuable point against promotion-chasing Cambridge City at Ladysmead. In complete contrast to the meeting earlier in the season at Milton Road when City romped into an early three-goal lead and were afforded the luxury of playing within themselves for much of the game, this time it was Tiverton that set the tempo, took the game to their more lofty opponents, and nosed ahead early in the game. But Cambridge aren’t third in the table for no reason – they are solid throughout and talented in key areas and their quality eventually shone through as they twice came from behind and enjoyed much the better of the second half, leaving Devon with a point that might have been three but equally might have been none.

That was how vague the game was; Tiverton were the better side in the first half and led 2-1 at the interval, a lead that might have been greater, but after the change of ends the roles were reversed and Cambridge were left cursing their luck and Tivvy stopper Ryan Draper for pulling of a number of impressive saves to ensure the spoils were shared.

Tiverton might have edged ahead in the second minute but a move that cut open the visiting defence was eventually scuppered as Zac Barrett saved low down from David Steele, but the Yellows didn’t have to wait long for another opening as they set about their task at a good tempo, showing no signs of any rustiness that might have set in after a two-week break enforced by the freezing temperatures. Michael Nardiello marked his home debut by chasing what was to all intents and purposes a lost cause, but City defenders Liam Nicell and Dave Theobald contrived to slip in the area and Nardiello nipped in to bundle the ball past Barrett from close range.

The pitch was to blame, or to thank depending on your allegiance, for the early strike, and conditions proved difficult for both sides as the match settled into an abstract pattern over the next fifteen minutes. Cambridge didn’t look as if they could penetrate the Town defence and their equaliser was fortuitous as Craig Hammond remained alert, Tom Gardner woefully underhit a backwards header intended for Draper, and the Lilywhites’ top scorer was left with the relatively easy task to lob the stranded ’keeper from the edge of the area.

Adrian Cambridge sliced a shot high and wide shortly after the restart but Tiverton didn’t allow the concession of their lead affect their positivity and within nine minutes they were ahead once more. The goal was undoubtedly the best the Yellows have scored this season and was instigated by Ryan Turner who had moved inside and won the ball in midfield. Having wriggled into space just inside the City half Turner slid a piercing pass behind the full back for Ian Sampson to race onto. Two touches later – one to bring the ball under control and one to cross towards the far post – and it was on the head of Joe Bushin, and on his return to Ladysmead Bushin nodded powerfully back from whence it came, into the far corner of the net with Barrett well beaten.

And that is how it remained until half time, although Draper made the first miraculous save of the afternoon when he somehow reacted with lightening-quick reflexes to tip over a header that Hammond probably didn’t actually know a lot about, having diverted Luke Robins’ wayward shot back on target from six yards or less. Lee Chaffey glanced wide a header of his own, Draper smothered bravely to deny Hammond again, and at the other end Nardiello missed badly when he was in space following Kevin Hill’s nod down from Jamie Hatch’s free kick.

Tiverton had little opportunity to add to their lead in the second half although Sampson and the majority of the crowd felt that the Yellows should have had a penalty kick shortly before the hour mark. However, the referee was unmoved and Cambridge [the player] chipped a delicate effort just the wrong side of the post as City began to dominate the game. Just a minute after Sampson was apparently not felled Craig Hughes once again extended Draper, the Town goalkeeper excelling by tipping wide the goalbound effort. But from the resultant corner Cambridge drew level as the ball was worked to Robins and his shot deflected left as Draper covered to the right.

Cambridge deserved the equaliser despite the fact that it was tinged with good fortune, and Robins almost struck it lucky again two minutes later as he rifled in another shot from an almost identical position, saw the ball deflected in the same direction but this time drift just wide.

With fifteen minutes left on the clock Turner, who had looked tired for much of the second half, dug deep, summoned up some energy from his reserves and came within a whisker of snatching all three points. Released through the inside left channel by Russell Jee, on as a replacement for Sampson, Turner raced on, cut inside and curled a shot from outside the area that picked up a slight deflection and had Barrett scrambling to his left. The deflection was crucial – it took the ball just far enough wide to not threaten the net, and it signalled the end of the goalmouth action in what was an entertaining game played in good spirit by both sides under difficult circumstances.

Most importantly from a Tiverton perspective, after five games without a goal the Yellows not only hit the net twice but also created several more openings, something that has been in short supply in recent times. It was a relief insomuch that a blank against Cambridge would have meant Tivvy equalling the club record for consecutive games without a goal, an unwanted record that was set in September 1974. The team looked well balanced with Kevin Hill playing a fine ball-winning role in the centre of midfield, Ian Sampson and Jamie Hatch both impressive and energetic on the right flank, and Michael Nardiello slotting in alongside Joe Bushin seemingly seamlessly. Adam Faux, Liam Ellis, Colin Marshall and Mark Saunders were all sidelined for one reason or another, so clearly there is enough depth in the squad and there is enough ability too. Consistency is the key, and it was disappointing that the usually reliable Tom Gardner would produce such a howling and costly mistake, but these things happen, and on the whole the performance gave more reasons to be positive than negative. Salisbury are next and they are on the back of knocking seven past Halesowen. The game in Wiltshire will certainly be a stern test and an opportunity for Tiverton to continue to build in the right direction.

Tiverton Town: Ryan Draper, Alex Faux, Ian Sampson (Russell Jee 73), Kevin Hill, Jak Martin, Tom Gardner, Jamie Hatch, David Steele, Joe Bushin, Michael Nardiello (Adam Mortimer 65), Ryan Turner
Goals: Nardiello 3, Bushin 29
Booked: Bushin 33
Sent off: None

Cambridge City: Zac Barrett, Liam Nicell, James Krause, Dave Theobald, Lee Chaffey, Robbie Nightingale, Craig Hughes, Adrian Cambridge, Craig Hammond, Neil Midgley (David Kolodynski 60), Luke Robins
Goals: Hammond 20, Robins 59
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance: 192

This report ©2010 Tivvy Archive