The unofficial archives of Tiverton Town Football Club

Tiverton Town 2 - 1 Aylesbury

Tuesday 25/10/2011   FA Trophy
Tivvy Archive

A game of three wonderful goals saw Tiverton sneak through to the Second Qualifying Round at the second attempt as the Yellows came from a goal down to book a trip to Chesham United. Aylesbury midfielder Sonny French opened the scoring with a stunning strike after half an hour, but in the second half Tivvy turned the game on its head with goals from Harry Nodwell and Josh Searle, the winner an amazing solo effort and a perfect way for Searle to celebrate on the eve of his nineteenth birthday.

The match as a whole was a curious mirror-image of the first encounter between the sides three days earlier, with the first half played out competitively with little to choose between the sides, and then Tiverton taking control in the second period. This time, however, the Yellows made it count when they were on top, having drawn a blank when they had the better of things in Buckinghamshire.

Even though Aylesbury had a good amount of the play early on they seldom threatened to trouble Chris Wright in the Tivvy goal, and it was the hosts that forged the better opportunities. Michael Nardiello dragged an optimistic effort wide of the target, and inside ten minutes Joe Bushin fired low and agonisingly across the face of goal after Mark Saunders had nodded on Kevin Hill’s teasing cross. Bushin had another, more difficult chance, but was always stretching in vain as he tried to meet Aaron Dawson’s low centre, while Tom Gardner headed over from Dawson’s corner.

Aylesbury took the lead at a stage in the game when they were finally able to retain possession and explore opposition territory, but it was brawn rather than brains that led to the opening goal of the game. Having played the ball one way and then the other, from flank to flank, in search of a way through the Yellow defence, French was left in space some thirty yards out and opted; wisely it proved, for a more direct approach. The lively midfielder unleashed a wicked dipping shot that hung in the air for what seemed like eternity but still managed to evade Wright’s best efforts and arrow into the top corner.

Tivvy had three chances to equalise before the break, but Steve Hale, Aylesbury’s deputy goalkeeper was in place to gather in when Nardiello reacted quickly to poke Bushin’s header towards goal, and Dawson’s shot from just inside the box was straight at Hale. Marcus Hussey almost put the ball into his own net but was able to breathe easily as his clumsy clearance from a deep Dawson corner bobbled just wide of the upright.

Bar the final five minutes the second half belonged firmly with Tivvy, not only in terms of goalscoring chances like the first half, but in every area. Dawson chipped a shot onto the bar that Hale had left expecting the ball to sail over the top and into the terraces, and Nardiello headed over from close range, a difficult chance where the ball arrived quickly from the nearby Bushin. Shortly after the start of the second half the fog decided to descend rather than linger and for twenty minutes it was difficult for both teams to pick out passes of more than ten yards, but Saunders picked out Nodwell on the substitutes bench, thus the first change of the match. And an inspired change it proved to be for, as the mist eased, Gardner won a crucial header and Searle picked up the ball from deep before playing a raking cross-field pass to Nodwell, unmarked and eager to lift his level after a series of sloppy decisions blotted his first five minutes on the pitch. Indeed his level was lifted as the fog had moments before, and with one touch he took Searle’s early pass in his stride, with a second Nodwell rasped in a low shot, beyond Hale and crucially just inside the far post. Tivvy had deservedly drawn level!

Nodwell and Nardiello then combined and Hale made a comfortable save, but slowly the extremities of the pitch began once more to fade to grey – refog sixteen minutes after unfog, according to my notes – making the game something of a lottery, at least from the perspective of the terraces. Tivvy, wisely in their bright attire, didn’t allow their level to drop, didn’t allow their momentum to dwindle into the Exe Valley murkiness, and Searle, still fresh and full or running with five minutes remaining, took it upon himself to trump Nodwell’s excellent goal and challenge French from earlier in the spectacular goalscoring stakes. Like French, Searle did it on his own, and like the Tivvy equaliser the goal came from deep in Yellows territory, Searle again dropping deep to pull Aylesbury fullback George Tomlin forward and away from his comfort zone, just as Saunders and Hedley Steele had demanded during their half-time team-talk. Tivvy’s sprightly…

…winger gathered up possession midway inside his own half, not far from the left touchline in front of the main stand, pinned his ears back, kept his head down, and pelted forward with all his might. As he crossed the half way line Searle was able to use his momentum to jink inside of Rob Goldney, the centre back having moved across to cover the lagging Tomlin, and long before he reached the penalty area Searle had taken aim and fired in a right-footed shot, swerving, dipping and finally nestling in the net having bewildered Hale.

The goal had given Tiverton the lead with just five minutes remaining of regulation time, and predictably Aylesbury threw everything they had left at the Yellows in desperate search for an equaliser. By now the fog was as dense as it had been at any time in the match and the visitors won a sequence of five corner kicks in succession as Hale joined the rest of his buddies in and about the Tivvy penalty area, Hale cunningly dressed in the prefect disguise of grey jersey and black shorts. From the first corner the crossbar intervened, ricocheting one attempt back into the murky wilderness, and under continued scrutiny Town survived again when Dawson, stood defending on the line, cleared James Budden’s effort. Aylesbury protested the ball had crossed the line (“at least a foot and a half over�, one supporter said after the match) but the referee and his assistant were having none of it, and both Dawson and Gardner were unmoved during the post match analysis – Dawson was stood on the line, not behind the line, the ball hit him on the abdomen, and therefore simply couldn’t have crossed the line.

One way or another Wright and his defence remained unbreached in the foggy confusion of the final siege, a hopeful late shot zipping a long way wide of the left-hand upright, and although Tiverton were generally the stronger team throughout both matches there was a tangible and collective sigh of relief as Mr. Ricketts from Bristol peeped on his whistle for one final time.

A final word on Aylesbury – seldom will we come across a football club or a set of supporters that will take defeat in such good spirit. Having been perfectly hospitable at their place for the first game, they travelled in good numbers to Ladysmead, enjoyed the match and a post-game beer, and never once complained, aside from a few tongue-in-cheek references to their supposed late goal that never was. I am not sure quite what Alan Greene would make of such pragmatism and humility should one of their fans ever choose to make a call to interrupt his inane ramblings on the BBC. Aylesbury Football Club has every right to feel proud of what they have going, and from a personal perspective I wish them nothing but success until such a time we meet again.

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Aaron Dawson, Josh Searle, Kevin Hill, Paul Kendall, Tom Gardner, Joe Bushin, Mark Saunders (Harry Nodwell 62), Michael Nardiello (Ian Sampson 90+3), Liam Ellis, Alex Faux
Goals: Nodwell 72, Searle 85
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Aylesbury: Steve Hale, George Tomlin, Marcus Hussey, Sonny French, Jeanmal Prosper, Rob Goldney, Jamie Rudd (Jack Welch 81), Dom Marsala (James Budden 88), Scott Orphanou (Lamar Simpson 65), Simon Martin, Kieron Schmidt
Goal: French 27
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance: 171

This report ©2011 Tivvy Archive