Match report

Bideford 4 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 03/09/2011   FA Cup
Alan Reidy

The Tiverton Town management must have learned something from the previous Monday’s defeat at Ladysmead against Bideford, because for the FA Cup clash there was another significant change of system and personnel. Out went the narrow and ultimately ineffective 4-1-3-2 formation, and back came the far less cautious 3-4-3 layout that served the team so well on its previous outing at Bedford towards the end of last season. In terms of players there was no place for Josh Searle, Chris Onoufriou or David Steele and back into the starting line-up came Liam Ellis and Paul Kendall in defence, and Mark Saunders as an auxiliary forward. There can be two schools of thought for such a radical adjustment in the way the team sets up – Saunders and Hedley Steele may have noticed a weakness in the Bideford team and put out a team to exploit the Robins, or simply Tiverton lined up in such a way that the onus would be on the opposition to react. Either way, beyond the first fifteen or twenty minutes it didn’t work, and the longer the game went on the more ease Bideford had to slice open an increasingly disconsolate Tivvy team.

For Tiverton it really was okay in the early stages and with a little more composure and a little more luck in front of goal the Yellows could easily have been ahead. In the third minute Harry Nodwell’s corner was whipped in deep, Kevin Hill chipped the ball back towards the edge of the goal area, and Michael Nardiello headed just over Olly Chenoweth’s crossbar. Nodwell was the focal point of much of Tiverton’s attacking play and he linked up well with Ian Sampson on the right flank, but again a cross was sent over the bar, this time Joe Bushin on the end of Nodwell’s centre in what was almost an exact replica of the move that lead to Tivvy’s opening goal at Cinderford seven days earlier.

Nardiello also fired in a shot from outside the area that was always rising, again Chenoweth not too bothered as the young ballboys behind his goal were sent scrambling in retrieval, while at the far end of the ground Ryan Draper was having a generally quiet afternoon with just one comfortable save from Sean Downing to keep his gloves warm. But five minutes before the interval, with the game moving towards a midfield stalemate, Biddy nosed ahead and then never looked back. Possession was gained just inside the red half of the pitch when Alex Faux’s touch deserted him and the ball ricocheted loose. Matt Andrew quickly slid the ball through and former Town midfielder Matt Bye latched on, made headway and then smashed in a low skidding shot that bulleted into Draper’s bottom right corner. Kevin Squire should have doubled the advantage in added time but sent a free header at the back post from Downing’s corner over the bar. After a relatively even first half Bideford had gained the lead and gained the momentum.

That momentum was maintained and the lead increased early in the second period when Ellis tripped Andrew on the edge of the area, and the Tivvy free-kick curse struck again when Matt Hockley curled a shot over the defensive wall and well out of Draper’s reach. Any advice bestowed upon the Yellows at the break had quickly been made redundant by an unsympathetic Bideford team who had their sights set on the £1,500 prize money and a date at home to Bridgwater in the next round. From knowing they were in a battle Biddy had transformed into a team that looked as if they could score at will while Tiverton became increasingly ragged with heads hung low and any morale they harboured quickly sapped from their collective hearts.

Hill was cautioned for a late challenge on Hockley, Craig Herrod then almost benefitted from a comedy of errors in the Tiverton area but shot wide when in space as the ball bobbled around and eventually fell at the winger’s feet, and just beyond the hour mark the fat lady cleared her throat and started her warm-up scales as Biddy grabbed a third that was only surprising in that it took so long coming. Another error in midfield was the instigating moment, this time as the hands of (or rather the chest of) Saunders, his attempted trap flying off his torso and between Ellis and Tom Gardner. Quickly and devastatingly the ball was quickly moved out to the centre-left of the penalty area and Squire was wide open with almost too much time to pick his spot. The Tivvy defenders were standing around waiting for an offside flag that never came; Squire spectacularly smashed the ball into the top corner from ten yards out.

Squire could have had another goal less than a minute later but his block on Draper’s punt flew up and spun just over the crossbar, but even with twenty-five minutes left to play there were few gasps of disappointment as the end result was beyond doubt by this stage. And if there were any lingering hopes amongst the Tivvy players and supporters they were finally put to rest when Hill chopped down James Richards and picked up a second booking. Kendall then had an eventful couple of minutes as he too received a yellow card and seconds later made amends when he cleared Downing’s shot off the line, Draper having taken out the sting with a half-save.

The final act of a completely dominant second half was as simple a goal as one could wish to score – Herrod corner, Squire glancing header, 4-0. Sometimes the scoreline is not a fair reflection of the game but in this case, if that was true then it was only because Bideford deserved more than four goals. Kendall again made a late goal-line clearance, and… what was going on now? Tiverton attacked as they tried to save face. Bushin headed wide and then late in the day chipped a free kick that may well have beaten Chenoweth had it been on target. It wasn’t though, the ball sailed wide and at the full time whistle the Yellows trudged off as embarrassed as the supporters who paid to watch them.

Bideford: Olly Chenoweth, James Richards, Nick Barker, Sean Downing, Aaron Harper-Penman, Alex Jeannin, Matt Bye, Matt Andrew (Seb Broomfield 74), Kevin Squire, Craig Herrod, Matt Hockley
Goals: Bye 41, Hockley 47, Squire 63, 75
Booked: Richards 90+1
Sent off: None
2nd and 3rd substitutions not recorded (too dejected by that stage!)

Tiverton Town: Ryan Draper, Ian Sampson, Alex Faux, Kevin Hill, Paul Kendall, Tom Gardner, Liam Ellis, Mark Saunders (Ryan Turner 76), Michael Nardiello (Jules Emati-Emati 59), Joe Bushin, Harry Nodwell (David Steele 69)
Booked: Hill 49, 65, Kendall 71
Sent off: Hill 65

Attendance: 289

This report ©2011 Alan Reidy