The unofficial archives of Tiverton Town Football Club

Chesham United 2 - 2 Tiverton Town

Saturday 05/11/2011   FA Trophy
Tivvy Archive

One of the most notable characteristics of the current Tiverton team is their insistence on trying to play the game the right way, and their determination in the face of adversity. Few onlookers would have given the Yellows much of a chance as they travelled to Chesham United – after all, the hosts hadn’t lost a home game since August 2010, a run of twenty-nine competitive matches that began with a thumping 5-0 victory in the Southern League against Tiverton. But cup matches have a habit of inverting the form book, and despite twice falling behind Tivvy kept their composure and came away with a creditable draw, one which on another day might have even been a victory.

Tiverton’s starting line-up was as predictable as it could have been; following the mix-and-match side that was fielded against Bideford in midweek six players returned to the side, Liam Ellis, Josh Searle, Mark Saunders, Kevin Hill, Joe Bushin and Michael Nardiello all back in action in a pretty standard 4-4-2 system. And the fresh legs that had been saved almost paid early dividends as Tivvy kicked off, poured forward and forced Chesham goalkeeper Shane Gore into a brave save just fifteen seconds into the game, denying Nardiello after Bushin had flicked on Aaron Dawson’s cross.

It wasn’t long, however, before Chesham were able to get into their stride, and their patient style was a refreshing tactic in non-league football where too often the focus is on getting the ball forwards as quickly as possible. Mark Lambert, acting almost as a deep-lying playmaker in the heart of the Generals’ defence was coolly stroking the ball around and instigating long periods of possession, comfortable on the ball and intelligent with his distribution in a manner not dissimilar to a host of German sweepers of yesteryear. One such instance led to Chesham’s first attempt on goal, and following a series of ten or fifteen passes out of defence and through the midfield James Potton finally got a shot away, low and easy for Chris Wright to deal with. Undeterred by what was a less than consummate attempt, the home side maintained their composure and this was rewarded on ten minutes as the ball was worked out to the right wing and last season’s scourge of Tivvy Steve Wales. The Chesham winger made space and pulled a cross towards the near post, which Leon Archer latched onto ahead of Tom Gardner before swivelling and firing low into the bottom corner of the net.

On reflection perhaps United’s calm approach was a hindrance, for despite all the time on the ball that they enjoyed it was Tiverton who managed to create the better chances, particularly in the first half. Bushin and Nardiello combined again soon after the opening goal to set up Searle, and Gore again came to Chesham’s rescue and he fingertipped Searle’s chip onto the crossbar, his retreating defence eventually hacking the ball behind for a corner which amounted to nothing. But there was hope and Tivvy had by now realised that they were able to play through the home backline, having twice worked their way into good positions. On twenty-two minutes they did it again, Dawson to Searle and back to Dawson, quick feet and intelligent movement allowing the pair to pierce the claret wall with surprising ease. This time Dawson made no mistake as he wriggled free in the area, his poked shot zipping below Gore and into the net as Anthony Watson slid in too late to save the day and collided with his own player on the goal line.

There was one good chance for each side in the remaining minutes of the first half – Archer for Chesham who fired haplessly over the top after a penetrating run that saw the Tiverton defence twisted and turned on their back feet, and Ellis, cutting in from the right on the stroke of half time to send in a menacing and swerving shot that Gore could only help around his near upright. Honours even at the break, Tivvy ahead on clear-cut chances four to two, and all to play for as the floodlights ignited into life and the chill set in for the evening.

Understandably there was less pattern to Chesham’s play in the second half – they really had to win this game as a trip to Devon for a Tuesday evening replay was the last thing they wanted. So a more direct approach was employed, by no means from the Sheffield United school of tactics, but still a significant change to their style. But even before the pattern became apparent the home side were awarded a penalty for handball against Gardner. Few in the ground genuinely believed it was a justified decision, not least Paul Kendall who earned a yellow card for his protestations, but the vast majority at The Meadow were delighted with the referee’s decision nonetheless. Simon Thomas took the responsibility from the spot once the arguments had died down and belted the ball confidently past Wright to put the hosts back in the lead.

Thereafter Tivvy peppered Gore’s goal and Gore stood firm with a string of decent saves. Hill was denied on the hour mark, Dawson two minutes later with a rasping 25-yarder, and Hill again, free at the far post to meet Dawson’s free kick, found Gore in the way as was becoming usual. For Chesham the generally impressive Potton was replaced immediately following a poor shot was dragged wide of the target, but the change didn’t settle the team and Tiverton continued to press for an equaliser. Hill curled a free kick just over the crossbar, and with eight minutes of regulation time remaining the breakthrough finally came. Nardiello spread the ball wide to Ian Sampson, not long on in place of Saunders, and a textbook deep cross swung behind the defence but in front of the goalkeeper and perfectly onto the head of Bushin, and those are the chances from which the Tivvy striker thrives. Bushin made no mistake, powering his header beyond Gore and just inside the post to bring the scores level for a third time.

There was a tangible nervousness about the ground and it looked more likely that Tiverton would grab a winner rather than Chesham. But for all the drive and purpose about the Yellows there were no further chances carved out, but for a curious looping headed in the fourth minute of stoppage time at the opposite end of the pitch which Wright gathered in above his head with nerves of steel and reliable hands.

Chesham United: Shane Gore, John Kyriacou, Anthony Watson, Mark Lambert, Danny Gudgeon, Danny Talbot, Dave Fotheringham, Steve Wales (Scott Thomas 79), Leon Archer (Brad Wadkins 73), Simon Thomas, James Potton (Chris Watters 65)
Goals: Archer 10, Thomas 52p
Booked: Talbot 90+4
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Liam Ellis, Alex Faux, Kevin Hill, Paul Kendall, Tom Gardner, Aaron Dawson, Mark Saunders (Ian Sampson 74), Michael Nardiello (Harry Nodwell 86), Joe Bushin, Josh Searle
Goals: Dawson 22, Bushin 82
Booked: Kendall 50, Hill 67, Faux 90+4

Attendance: 323

This report ©2011 Tivvy Archive