Match report

Cinderford Town 2 - 3 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 27/08/2011   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

Both Cinderford and Tiverton had to battle against a number of curious refereeing decisions, but between the sides and in spite of the officials the game was an entertaining affair, with Tivvy seemingly cruising to victory before a quick double-strike levelled matters for the hosts. It was then down to the Yellows to snatch a victory that had appeared to get away when Michael Nardiello bundled the ball home from close range in the final minute of the game.

In the opening fifteen minutes both sides enjoyed some quality possession but neither goalkeeper was tested beyond their means, with Ryan Draper in the Tiverton goal happy to see efforts from Nick Hancock, Mike Whittington and Craig Tait miss the target, Hancock’s snapshot volley the closest Cinderford came to breaking the deadlock early on. Meanwhile, Tivvy worked their way into good positions but were left wanting when it came to the final ball, with Jules Emati-Emati in particular failing to pick out a teammate and instead holding onto possession too long. Twice Harry Nodwell went close, the midfielder’s first strike after ten minutes bringing out a decent yet routine save from Ben John, and then a later attempt flying just wide of John’s right post following good work from Tom Gardner and Alex Faux.

Hancock was forced to hobble out of the game with a painful-looking hamstring injury, but Cinderford quickly reorganised and only a timely interception from Paul Kendall from Tait’s deep cross ensured the scores stayed level at the end of forty-five minutes. However, Hancock’s injury meant an additional three minutes were played at the end of the first half, and in this added time Tivvy nosed ahead. Nodwell was the provider with a teasing cross from the right touchline, and Joe Bushin got comfortably above Greg Lewis to direct a smart header into the top corner, allowing John little chance.

It was a lead Tiverton appeared keen to build on at the start of the second half, and Mark Saunders’ cheeky chip sailed just over before one in a number of questionable decisions from the referee gifted the Yellows a chance to double their advantage. The inspirational Saunders stretched play out to the left where Faux was enjoying his afternoon with plenty of licence to get forward, and the winger was able to wriggle into the area before crossing low towards the near post. The ball was cut out by the static hand of the unfortunate Warren Archer, very much a case of ball to hand rather than vice-versa, but nobody from Devon was complaining when the referee pointed to the spot. Bushin took the penalty which John saved but the ball bobbled straight back to the Tivvy striker who crashed the ball home at the second time of asking, giving the Yellows a lead that shouldn’t have been in danger for the remaining thirty minutes.

Cinderford weren’t done yet, though, and in an eight-minute spell they turned the game on its head with two goals from set pieces. The first was routine as a free kick from wide on the Cinderford right was swept high towards and beyond the back post. Lewis Sommers, a giant of a forward, nodded the cross back into the goalmouth and fellow substitute Dan Harrison was the first to react, pouncing on the loose ball and prodding it past Draper. And before long the scores were level as another free kick from the exact same position lead to a controversial equaliser. Again the cross was deep, but this time not quite as long, and Kevin Hill was pushed into the line of flight by Andy Lewis as he set himself for a headed clearance, but the extra propulsion meant Hill was able only to divert the ball into his own net. After the game the referee apologised to Hill for not giving a foul against Lewis; one must wonder if the apology would have been forthcoming had Tivvy not won the match.

As it happens that is neither here nor their as, despite surrendering a tidy advantage it was Tiverton who looked the more keen to grab a winner late in the game. Nardiello stepped off the bench and his first piece of action was to curl a free kick just over the top, and with ten minutes to play Nardiello’s cross from the right was headed down by Saunders only for Ian Sampson to scoop his shot high and handsome. As a last push was required David Steele replaced Kendall, and it was the newcomer’s free kick that led to the winner, just fifteen seconds before the allotted time was up. Steele chipped the ball into the area from midway in the Cinderford half, slightly to the left of goal, Lewis made a clearing header that didn’t gain much yardage, and Nodwell was in space to lift the ball back into the danger-zone. That he did, picking out Tom Gardner whose header looped over John and clipped the underside of the crossbar. The ball may or may not have crossed the line as it bounced, but with John semi-stranded Nardiello rushed in to make absolutely sure, forcing the ball and John over the line in one swoop.

For three minutes Tiverton held on comfortably to record a first league victory of the season, a game they edged without playing to their maximum potential. There were pleasing aspects, not least the performances of Nodwell and Saunders in midfield, and the depth of character show after allowing Cinderford back into the game midway through the second half. Defending set pieces remains an issue that requires addressing quickly, with four of the six goals conceded this season coming from the same area. But most importantly was the fact that the season is now up and running, with a home win the next thing on the agenda.


Cinderford Town: Ben John, Warren Archer, Danny Haines, Greg Lewis, Andy Lewis, Dale Evans, Nick Hancock (Dan Harrison 34), Craig Tait (Matt Barnes 66), Mike Whittington, Robbie Maggs (Lewis Sommers 57), Dean Lee
Goals: Harrison 66, Hill 74og
Booked: Haines 71
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Ryan Draper, Ian Sampson, Alex Faux, Kevin Hill, Paul Kendall (David Steele 88), Tom Gardner, Josh Searle, Harry Nodwell, Mark Saunders, Joe Bushin, Jules Emati-Emati (Michael Nardiello 77)
Goals: Bushin 45+3, 60, Nardiello 90
Booked: Faux 86
Sent off: None

Attendance: 146


This report ©2011 Alan Reidy