Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 4 North Leigh

   Saturday 15/10/2011   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

Tiverton threw away a lead and momentum that seemed to be decisive, eventually going down heavily as North Leigh showed ruthlessness in front of goal and scored four times from just five shots on target. Everything was going perfectly to plan as the Yellows dominated the opening twenty-five minutes and deservedly led through Mark Saunders’ header, but North Leigh equalised with their first attack of note and then scored three more times in quick succession after the break to take the points and a league double over the Yellows.

There were similarities with the FA Trophy match at Bridgwater as Tivvy swept the ball around with inventiveness and confidence and had their visitors pinned back from the outset, with the first chance falling to Kevin Hill just six minutes into proceedings. Hill had been tripped by Kieran Sanders as he latched onto a clever diagonal pass from Michael Nardiello and composed himself to take the free kick that he had earned, but one deflection and a panicked hoof later North Leigh had cleared the danger. But it didn’t take long for the next opening to arrive; Harry Nodwell’s corner was poorly cleared to the right edge of the penalty area and Aaron Dawson’s viscious shot was heading wide when Mark Saunders extended his next and guided the ball past Sam Warrell and into the net.

One could have been two or three and the pattern remained unchanged, with Nardiello particularly impressive early in the game and desperately unlucky to see his solo effort drift agonisingly wide of Warrell’s post. Saunders then had an effort bravely blocked as he linked up well with Hill, but that crucial second goal refused to arrive, allowing North Leigh hope as they toiled to ride out a storm that had extended for almost a third of the match. Just before the half-hour mark came the equaliser when Morgan Williams finally managed to stretch his legs inside enemy territory, his low cross from the left nodded home at the near post by the stooping John Mills who had arrived fractions before Chris Wright was about to comfortably claim the ball.

That goal changed the complexion of the match, and but for a good chance which Ian Sampson skied there was little to get the home supporters excited until it was too late and the points were safely stroed away on the Oxfordshire bound visiting team coach. Mills put North Leigh ahead eight minutes after the restart when he found himself free in the area as Andy McCabe’s shot had been blocked but not cleared, and just two minutes later Tivvy heads dropped in synchronisation when McCabe joined in the fun and nodded home another cross from Williams, this one deep and towards the far post. By the hour mark the game was up for Tiverton as McCabe added his second and North Leigh’s fourth by prodding the ball into the net from Sanders’ left-sided corner, and Ladysmead soon began to empty, long before the full time whistle.

Curiously Tiverton regained the real-time initiative and for that at least they deserve some credit. It would have been easy to give up hope and allow the game to take on the look of a cricket score, but the Yellows actually looked the more likely to trouble the scorekeepers for the final thirty minutes. Nardiello and Jules Emati-Emati both had shots well blocked by Warrell and his defence, Stuart Hole made a fine and timely interception to cut out Nardiello’s cross, and some tidy combination play involving Hill and Alex Faux culminated in another fine block, this time Sam Parrish denying the luckless Nardiello.

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Ian Sampson (Russell Jee 81), Josh Searle, Kevin Hill, Paul Kendall, Tom Gardner, Aaron Dawson, Mark Saunders (David Steele 72), Michael Nardiello, Harry Nodwell (Jules Emati-Emati 63), Alex Faux
Goal: Saunders 12
Booked: None
Sent off: None

North Leigh: Sam Warrell, Sam Parrish, Mark Flanagan (Michael Hopkins 43), Elliot Osborne-Ricketts, Stuart Hole, James Organ, Kieran Sanders, Brian Bowles (Joe Burnell 74), John Mills (Andy Caton 77), Andy McCabe, Morgan Williams
Goals: Mills 29, 53, McCabe 55, 61
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance: 213

This report ©2011 Alan Reidy