The unofficial archives of Tiverton Town Football Club

Bridgwater 1 - 3 Tiverton Town

Saturday 08/10/2011   FA Trophy
Tivvy Archive

For the first time in almost three years Tiverton won an FA Trophy tie, and did so in emphatic style, with a swagger that has been rediscovered and a belief from the first whistle that playing positive and creative football is not only the most entertaining way of winning but also the most effective. Josh Searle and Joe Bushin had put the Yellows in command in the first half, and Michael Nardiello made sure of a safe passage to the next round before Dave Pearse pulled a goal back for Bridgwater as the home side threatened but failed to stage a late comeback.

With the Yellows enjoying such a rich vein of form one could be forgiven for thinking that the team almost picks itself but that isn’t the case, underlined by the fact that David Steele and Harry Nodwell were relegated to the bench as Ian Sampson and Mark Saunders returned to the starting line-up, and there was a return to the squad and a place amongst the substitutes for the mercurial Jules Emati-Emati.

In the early exchanges openings were few and far between as both sides contested with a strong crosswind, and referee Bloor waved away appeals from Nardiello for a fourth-minute penalty when the Town striker was taken off his feet by Matt Townley, while at the other end Townley got forward to shoot well off target from distance. Matt Thorne also fired well over the bar for Bridgwater following a swift counter-attacking move involving the experienced Southern League heads of Danny Wring and Aaron Cornwall, and centre-half Ollie Barnes began an afternoon of treading a fine line when he was booked for a cynical foul on Sampson.

Tiverton had begun to command the match by the half-hour mark and the lack of mobility from Barnes and his defensive partner Josh Turner was finally exploited when Nardiello broke free and raced down on former Tivvy stopper Sam Hutchings. Price was able to get back enough to pressure Nardiello, but Searle was quick to race forward in support and when fed the ball made no mistake from just inside the area, giving the Yellows a lead they never looked like surrendering.

Indeed, from the next threatening attack, just before the break, Tivvy gave themselves a cushion. Aaron Dawson’s free kick was not dealt with sufficiently from a Bridgwater perspective, the Exeter City loanee delivered a second cross into the area, and Bushin bundled the ball into the net from close range after Paul Kendall had won a header at the far post. It was a just reward for an impressive first half performance which saw the Somerset outfit become increasingly frustrated with the rings being run around them, and Price was lucky to stay on the pitch following fouls against Dawson and Kendall, the former requiring lengthy treatment to patch up a would and a new shirt to replace the bloodied number 2 he was wearing when the match started.

Towards the start of the second period it seemed as if Tiverton would run up a cricket score as they attacked freely and with a strut seldom seen from the side in recent years. Nardiello in particular was seen to be enjoying himself as he flitted from flank to flank to tease and torment any defender that went near. It was the strikers movement that opened space for Sampson and Bushin to combine just two minutes after the restart with Saunders eventually lifting a cheeky shot just over the bar, and a minute later Nardiello did it all himself as he jinked around two defenders before shooting onto the underside of the bar; with no Azeri lineman Tivvy would have to wait for a third goal…

That crucial strike arrived on fifty-eight minutes, shortly after Wring had finally brought Chris Wright into action, the Tiverton glovesman making a decent save low down. But the Yellows were soon back on the offensive and typically Nardiello was at the heart of the move as he forged his way into the area before losing both ball and feet under a challenge from Nathan Best that the referee deemed unfair. After the inevitable protests Nardiello composed himself suitably, and from the penalty spot sent the ball one way as his eyes sent Hutchings the other.

Tivvy, with a healthy advantage, began toying with the dejected opponents, stroking the ball around with quick passes that left the Bridgy charges chasing shadows, but the obvious enjoyment the Yellows were getting from the ease at which they were able to retain possession (olé olé!) would see the concentration wane briefly, and when one pass too many was slightly beyond Dawson’s reach Bridgwater quickly raced down their left wing and Pearse was able to cut inside and hammer a shot past Wright to reduce the deficit.

A second penalty was denied, remarkably Mr. Bloor managed to keep his red card in his pocket after Searle had been clattered in the face by the agricultural Turner, and Hill swept a free kick over the top, but largely for the last twenty minutes it was Bridgwater that forced the pace as they sensed a way back into the tie. Tivvy were having none of it, however, and Kendall and Tom Gardner once more proved to be impenetrable under scrutiny, while behind them Wright’s handling from a series of high balls into the danger zone was close to impeccable. Bushin shot over the crossbar after fiddling around with the ball for too long, Emati-Emati was given a run-out as the game staggered into added time, and for the first time since Bashley were beaten in a replay in December 2008 Tiverton could celebrate an FA Trophy victory, the reward being a couple of grand in the bank account and a trip to Aylesbury in a fortnight.

Bridgwater Town: Sam Hutchings, Matt Townley, Nathan Best (George Brimson 69), Ollie Barnes, Josh Turner, Simon Lyons, Matt Thorne, Danny Wring (Craig Mawford 69), Aaron Cornwall, Tom Hurley (Graham Mercieca 46), Dave Pearce
Goal: Pearse 68
Booked: Barnes 12, Best 57, Turner 63, Mercieca 84
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Aaron Dawson, Ian Sampson, Kevin Hill, Paul Kendall, Tom Gardner, Josh Searle, Mark Saunders, Michael Nardiello, Joe Bushin (Jules Emati-Emati 90), Alex Faux
Goals: Searle 31, Bushin 43, Nardiello 58p
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance: 197

This report ©2011 Tivvy Archive