Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 1 Taunton Town

   Tuesday 16/08/2011   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

Tiverton’s first league defeat of the season will have been a hard one to swallow, not least because on balance the Yellows were significantly more proactive and inventive in possession, but also because the loss was at the hands of Taunton Town, fierce rivals from yesteryear and under the tutelage of Paul West, a nemesis and man that Ladysmead’s faithful loves to hate. But such things are in the past – the intense rivalry between the clubs at the turn of the century has become sanitised beyond all recognition with West himself the only significant member of either setup still around since the previous league meeting between the sides back in February 1999.

On the pitch there is still very little to choose between the sides, as in those halcyon days of the Western League encounters, and while Tiverton were considerably the more assured one must praise the work ethic and determination of the Peacocks who defended resolutely – sometimes desperately – and got the job done.

For fifteen or twenty minutes there was only one team in the game as Tiverton refused to allow their visitors to settle, harrying and harassing with a pressing game high up the pitch. On countless occasions the Taunton defence was forced into hoofed clearances just to briefly take the pressure off, and inevitably the ball quickly came back, Tivvy spreading play well as well as playing some intricate football through the middle of the park. But for all the pace and possession there was little in the way of goalscoring chances, with the best early opportunity falling to Joe Bushin, his powerful drive from the edge of the area bringing out a fine save from Taunton goalkeeper Connor Sidley-Adams. Chris Onoufriou also swept in a rising effort from distance that missed the target by a foot to the right, and Paul Kendall’s glancing header from Harry Nodwell’s corner looped over the bar just before the half-time interval.

However, by that stage Tiverton were already chasing the game, and the early continuity amongst the Yellows’ ranks had been disturbed by a goal largely against the run of play. Kendall was penalised for a trip on Ross McNab on the corner of the penalty area and John Vance took the responsibility and the plaudits by sailing the resultant free kick over the wall, over Ryan Draper, and into the far top corner of the net. Tiverton’s response was immediate as Ian Sampson surged through after a series of one-twos only to see Sidley-Adams rush promptly off his line to block the winger’s shot.

From that stage onwards Taunton gradually came to terms with Tiverton’s high-paced approach while Tivvy themselves seemed to stand off a little more, meaning the game became significantly more even, and this pattern continued through much of the second half. That said, it always seemed more likely that if there was another goal in the game then it would be an equaliser, as Draper was left largely untroubled and wasn’t called to pull off any save worthy of noting.

Tiverton had chances in the second half, some better than others. Mike Booth returned to the side, replacing David Steele soon after the change of ends, and fizzed a low shot that crept a yard or two wide, and later Kendall found space at the far post but needed three touches to gain control of the ball, time which allowed Sidley-Adams to once again rush to narrow the angle and block with his legs. Time ran out on Tivvy in their search for parity after Michael Nardiello side-footed a glorious chance over the crossbar and over the terrace, consigning the Yellows to defeat. Losing the first home game of the season is not something Tiverton sides tend to do – the last time it happened was in 1987 when Welton Rovers won 2-0 at Ladysmead – but messrs Saunders and Steele are wise enough to know that there is still plenty of football left in the season, and while Tivvy may have been goal-shy against a stoic Taunton defence the general performance was decent. There is work to be done but the alarm bells certainly aren’t ringing.


Tiverton Town: Ryan Draper, Ian Sampson, Josh Searle, Kevin Hill, Paul Kendall (Ryan Turner 84), Tom Gardner, Chris Onoufriou, David Steele (Mike Booth 53), Michael Nardiello, Joe Bushin (Jules Emati-Emati 61), Harry Nodwell

Taunton Town: Connor Sidley-Adams, Luke Cole (Ali Pounde 46), Alex Rigley (Phil Veal 88), Chris McGrath, Tim Legg, Jon Vance, Andy Butler, Simon Ingram, Ross MacNab (Corey Lewis 76), Danny Lane, Darren Rice

Attendance: 383


This report ©2011 Alan Reidy