Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 1 Bideford

   Monday 29/08/2011   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

Victory at Cinderford on Saturday might have acted as a catalyst to a climb up the league table, but that proved not to be the case as Tiverton fell to a second successive home defeat against local opposition as Bideford eased to victory in Monday’s Bank Holiday encounter. An even first half ended goalless with decent chances at both ends and a solid display of goalkeeping from both Ryan Draper and Olly Chenoweth, but Bideford dominated the second half as Tiverton became increasingly more disjointed and desperate to hope things happened rather than making them happen.

Tivvy’s starting eleven was significantly changed from the game two days earlier in the Forest of Dean, with the hobbling Paul Kendall relegated to the bench along with Mark Saunders, while Jules Emati-Emati and his heaving strapped ankle were consigned to the stands with no chance of taking any part in the local derby. That meant a change of shape – Chris Onoufriou was drafted into a deep holding midfield role ahead of the back four, while David Steele lined up alongside Ian Sampson and Harry Nodwell, with Michael Nardiello returning to partner Joe Bushin up front.

There was barely enough time for the players to familiarise themselves with the new system before Bideford carved out the first genuine chance of the match less than three minutes into proceedings. The consistently impressive Matt Andrew latched onto a fast counter attack to find space on the inside-right channel, but his powerful low shot was superbly saved by Draper. From the corner that followed Tom Gardner was forced into a critical headed clearance, and another corner was eventually nodded away at the near post by Steele.

Tiverton found their feet and for large periods of the first half were able to match Biddy, at least in terms of making opportunities, although the precision of play and inventiveness throughout the team was several levels below that of the North Devon side. Kevin Hill had two openings, both from free kicks delivered by Steele. The first was awkward and Hill’s acrobatic scissors kick was easily saved by Chenoweth, while later in the half Hill found space to meet Steele’s delivery with a free header but the attempt was poor and Chenoweth didn’t even need to move his feet to save and hold.

Gardner did bring out an excellent save from the Bideford goalkeeper close to half time, and Nardiello headed onto the foot of the post, all openings coming from set pieces which spoke volumes about the lack of cutting edge in the Town midfield. Meanwhile Bideford had fewer chances but better ideas in open play and more dynamism and width across the midfield. Sean Downing teed up Andrew but the latter dragged his shot across the face of goal, and Aaron Harper-Penman might have done better during a spell of pressure from the visitors that saw them earn a sequence of three corners.

A goalless first half was a fair reflection on the play overall, but Tiverton performed in the second half as if somebody had spiked their half-time orange squash with a lethargy drug. Not helped by the fact that Nodwell was forced off through injury, Tivvy failed to create a single chance with the exception of a difficult far post header from Hill, again from a Steele set piece. And as if a blunt front end wasn’t bad enough the Yellows boasted a hole-ridden centre and a slip-sliding defence, a combination that gifted Bideford the only goal of the game on the hour mark. Tiverton lost possession deep in Biddy territory and Downing took up the task of starting and finishing a fine solo effort. Over Sampson’s clumsily mistimed challenge he skipped, over the half way line, and with most players in his wake. Gardner might have saved the day but slipped as he prepared to set himself for a challenge of his own, and without really needing to try too much Downing was clean through and one-on-one with Draper. The rest was inevitable and one can’t blame the Tivvy goalkeeper for the incompetence of those in front of him; Downing finished consummately.

Toothless (I hesitate to use the word gutless but several around me did) Tiverton never looked like getting back on level terms and Bideford’s high line and offside trap stopped Nardiello in his tracks more times than I cared to count. Alex Jeannin almost scored a second Bideford goal but his free kick flew inches wide, a Matt Bye free kick was saved at the near post by Draper, the one Tiverton player to come out of the game with any credit, and the omnipresent Andrew fired in a shot straight at Draper, again after a combination with Downing. For Biddy it didn’t matter that these chances went awry, one goal was plenty and on the second half showing Tiverton will be nearer the bottom than the top at the end of the season.

Tiverton Town: Ryan Draper, Ian Sampson, Alex Faux, Kevin Hill, Chris Onoufriou (Ryan Turner 59), Tom Gardner, Josh Searle, Harry Nodwell (Ethan Phillips 46), Michael Nardiello, Joe Bushin, David Steele (Paul Kendall 78)
Booked: Nardiello 45, Hill 84
Sent off: None

Bideford: Olly Chenoweth, James Richards, Nick Barker, Sean Downing, Aaron Harper-Penman, Alex Jeannin, Matt Andrew, Matt Hockley, Kevin Squire, Craig Herrod, Matt Bye
Goal: Downing 60
Booked: Jeannin 13
Sent off: None

Attendance: 354

This report ©2011 Alan Reidy