Match report

Tiverton Town 3 - 1 Truro City

   Tuesday 19/07/2011   Friendly
Alan Reidy

Tiverton Town showed the importance of taking chances when they present themselves as they picked off Southern League champions Truro City at Ladysmead. First half goals from Jules Emati-Emati and Ian Sampson gave the Yellows a healthy lead at the interval, and Paul Kendall headed home a third early in the second half to stun the Cornish team. A late Scott Walker penalty gave the score a trace of respectability from a Truro perspective, and on balance the visitors had more of the match, but were unable to pierce a determined a well-organised Town defence.

City were the first to press forward and twice in the opening three minutes went close to opening the scoring. The first chance came when Barry Hayles wriggled away from the attentions of Tom Gardner and set up Walker, but his cross-shot was swept away by Alex Faux. And from the corner that followed Sampson was well placed on the goal-line to deny Arran Pugh a goal against his former club.

It didn’t take Tiverton long to get into the game, however, and from the Yellows’ first attack the deadlock was broken. Sampson was chopped down – as often he is – as he drove through the centre of the pitch, picked himself up to chip the free kick into the box, and Kendall was lurking at the far post to head on goal. Truro goalkeeper Tom Brooks made a pig’s ear of the save, batting the ball back across the face of goal and presenting Emati-Emati with the most simple of tap-ins.

Tivvy’s Cameroonian striker was proving to be a handful and was as incensed as anyone when, on twenty-four minutes he was denied a penalty that looked as certain as the rising of the sun each morning. David Steele created the chance with a swift diagonal ball across the turf and Jules raced onto the pass ahead of Pugh, only to be bundled over from a poor sliding tackle. The referee, not ever the most popular figure about these parts, indicated Pugh had taken the ball cleanly, but Mr. Cloak is bespectacled and was a third of the way up the pitch at the time. The truth is Pugh was a yard or more from getting a toe onto the ball, took Emati’s standing leg, and somehow got away with it. Hey-ho, it doesn’t matter at this stage of the season, one has to concede.

There were chances at both ends as the game progressed – Ryan Draper saved at full stretch and held Dan Smith’s snapshot, and immediately at the other end Joe Bushin lifted a header just over the crossbar from another pinpoint Sampson delivery. The with virtually the last action of a eager and even first half Tivvy doubled their advantage with the best goal of the game, and notably the first pre-season goal that didn’t come from a set piece situation. Kendall and Harry Nodwell exchanged passes just inside the Truro half, with the former then sliding the ball towards the edge of the area where Emati-Emati was waiting with his back to goal and Pugh in close attention. On this occasion Jules wasn’t about to wait for a kick on his Achilles and cheekily span the ball with his first touch around Pugh and into the path of Sampson, scampering forward from his wingback position. Brooks again showed why he has only managed to be Truro’s reserve stopper for the past couple of years as he was sluggish off his line, and Sampson reached the ball first to dink it over the hesitant ’keeper and into the corner of the net.

The pattern of the game changed markedly after the interval and Truro took the game to their hosts, but not before Tiverton had further extended their lead. Another accurate delivery from Sampson made it, this time from the corner quadrant, and Kendall’s header took a deflection on its way through, leaving Brooks flat-footed and helpless.

And from there on it was Truro that attacked and Tivvy that defended with seldom any action at the Devco end of the pitch. Alex Faux did race up the left a couple of times but on each occasion arrived in place at the far post only for the ball to get cut out before reaching its destination. Otherwise Tiverton’s positive 3-5-2 system was forced to morph into q 5-3-2 system, and the defensive numbers meant that Truro had little space with which to work. A number of crosses were forced into the area, several of which were headed behind, the rest cleared towards the half-way line in preparation for the onslaught to continue. Marcus Martin might have pulled one back but didn’t, Andy Watkins buzzed around as is his style, but the Town defence held firm for the most part, and even the introduction of Les Afful failed to reap many rewards for the visitors.

That was until eight minutes from the end of the game when Afful went down inside the area to earn his side a penalty, for there is an unwritten rule that there must be at least one penalty in games between Tivvy and Truro, something Mr. Cloak had clearly forgotten in the first half. Walker’s spot kick was as perfect as a penalty can be – high and hard and well wide of Draper’s dive, fired into the top corner leaving the Town goalkeeper with no chance and only the duty of retrieving the ball from the net.

For another few minutes Truro kept up the pressure, dominated both possession and territory, yet failed to carve out any further chances. The game was brought to a close twenty-five seconds early, giving Tiverton their first win of the summer and leaving Truro still searching for theirs.

Tiverton Town: Ryan Draper, Ian Sampson (Liam Ellis 60), Alex Faux, Kevin Hill, Paul Kendall, Tom Gardner, Harry Nodwell, David Steele, Chris Onoufriou (Liam Pike 80), Joe Bushin (Ryan Turner 55), Jules Emati-Emati
Goals: Emati-Emati 7, Sampson 43, Kendall 46

Tom Brooks, Jake Ash (Stephen Hayles 74), Scott Walker, Arran Pugh, Steve Adams (James Rhead 74), Danny Clay (Joe Broad 71), Andrew Taylor, Marcus Martin (Ryan Yeoman 62), Andy Watkins (Stewart Yetton 83), Barry Hayles, Dan Smith (Les Afful 60)
Goal: Walker 82p

Attendance: 144

This report ©2011 Alan Reidy