Match report

Tiverton Town 2 - 2 Buckland Athletic

   Thursday 28/04/2011   Devon St Luke's Cup
Alan Reidy

Devon St. Luke’s Cup Final

Tiverton Town’s attempts to round off a poor season on a positive note eventually fell short as they were defeated on penalties by Buckland Athletic. The County’s showpiece final saw a first even representative from the South West Peninsula League and it was Buckland that left with the Bowl after a pulsating game that swung too and fro throughout.

There wasn’t even time to settle down and enjoy the spectacle before the net bulged for the first time. Adam Mortimer nodded down a long ball, Michael Nardiello looped a smart pass over the Athletic defence and Owen Howe nipped through to blast a shot past Neil Montandon and into the bottom corner, giving Tiverton a second minute league.

Tivvy came within a whisker of doubling their lead five minutes later but Tom Gardner’s header was cleared off the line by Ben Williamson, and Montandon then smothered bravely to cut out Ian Sampson’s through-ball with Mortimer bearing down on him.

After such a dominant start to the game Tiverton did what they are frustratingly good at and threw away the advantage they had built. A free kick was needlessly conceded 25 yards from goal and Danny Gaze swung the set piece around the wall and beyond Chris Wright in the Yellows’ goal to level things up.

For the second game on the trot Nardiello was then cautioned for too much exercise of the tongue, while former Tivvy midfielder Mike Booth was denied by Wright at the end of the first half, leaving honours even at the turnaround.

Honours were even for just four minutes after the restart before another Town player, current Buckland manager Antony Lynch to turn in Danny Lewis’s near post cross from the left. But there was – to this stage anyway – little to choose between the two sides, and it was therefore appropriate that Tivvy equalised with their next attack, a Mortimer header from Alex Faux’s teasing cross.

Booth had an effort deflected over and a mass-scramble in the Tiverton penalty area garnered no reward as Buckland began to get on top. But the home side weathered the storm and began to once again press forward in search of a winning goal. Nardiello was scythed down but no free kick awarded, and then Kevin Hill stepped out of defence to jink past a couple of challenges before curling an audacious shot just wide of the post.

As the game drew towards its climax Buckland once again regained the initiative and Lynch fired a shot on the turn that flew just over, while a sequence of corners were defended desperately by Town, meaning the game was set for penalty kicks.

The first two spot kicks were unsuccessful as Sampson’s shot was saved and Gaze rattled the crossbar. After than Nardiello and Mark Saunders converted for Tivvy while Lewis and Williams made no mistake for Buckland. Montandon made a stunning save from Russell Jee, tipping the Town midfielder’s effort onto the bar, but Booth failed to kill off the tie as his weak effort was easily saved by Wright. That left Hill to prove to be the villain as he sent his penalty wide of Montandon’s right post, and Lynch rammed home the winner, giving Buckland their first ever County Cup success.

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Liam Ellis, Alex Faux, Kevin Hill, Mark Saunders, Tom Gardner, Ian Sampson, Russell Jee, Michael Nardiello, Adam Mortimer, Owen Howe
Goals: Howe 2, Mortimer 56
Booked: Nardiello 32
Sent off: None

Buckland Athletic: Neil Montandon, Liam Drew (Matt Beer 90+2), Danny Gaze, Marc Revell, Ben Williamson, Luke Horrocks, Mike Booth, Danny Lewis, Antony Lynch, Simon Revell, Simon Gill
Goals: Gaze 30, Lynch 49
Booked: Horrocks 43
Sent off: None

Attendance: 350 (est)

This report ©2011 Alan Reidy