Match report

Aylesbury United 3 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 04/09/2004   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Despite being brought (dragged?) up not many miles from the fair town of Aylesbury‚ my knowledge of the place was‚ and still is‚ pretty sparse. The only time I ever went there as a youngster was when I was passing through on my way elsewhere and the only impression even the name ever made on me was when‚ before my years even reached double figures‚ I found it oddly amusing that the bus from Oxford was the No. 82 and that it´s destination was 28 miles away - a numerical palindrome or something along those lines. So‚ not even having the opportunity to see Headington United take on The Ducks - they somehow must have avoided each other in the FA Cup and being in Buckinghamshire there were no County Cup derbies - the only footballing awareness I wad of Aylesbury was their visit to Ladysmead in the FA Trophy a couple of seasons back. December 2nd 2000 to be precise. Tivvy won 2-1 thanks to goals from Phil Everett and substitute Rob Speakman. Yes‚ I admit I had to look that up since even in my more recent years Aylesbury has failed to make much impression. Obviously the same can be said of Tiverton in Ducksville´ since nary a mention was made of the previous encounter in either the programme or verbally on Saturday. However‚ one wrong has been righted. I will in future look back on this first visit to AUFC. For all the wrong reasons; in rather the same way as I look back on Grays.


Early morning greyness had been burnt off and replaced with glorious sunshine by the time Kick off approached at The Stadium´. And that was the first disappointment of the day. The Stadium´ was neat‚ tidy‚ decent pitch but that name; how bland! I´d expected The Pond´! Tivvy had first touch and despite the conditions there was plenty of energetic action in both directions in the opening five minutes. A Vinnicombe cross from the left brought the first attempt on goal in the third minute but Tom Stocco´s header was well wide and lacked power‚ giving home keeper Jack Rashid the chance to get a feel of the ball as he scooped it up rather than let it trickle out for a goal kick. Down to the other end went play and the home side threatened with a long throw-in that was headed wide of Mark Ovendale´s goal and started a five minute spell that saw The Ducks penned in their own half. already‚ though‚ there were signs of what was to come as for all their territorial advantage Tivvy were showing little indication of piercing the Aylesbury defence. Rashid was untroubled by a long distance effort from Matt Lock following a Tiverton corner and when Chris Vinnicombe‚ who was finding acres of space wide on the left‚ took a crossfield ball from Iain Harvey and delivered a curling cross to the far post‚ the keeper clawed it out of the air with consummate ease. With 16 minutes gone Vinnicombe sent in another high ball and this time met with slightly more success as he found the head of Tom Stocco but the head down was right to the foot of a defender. Jamie Mudge was the one Tivvy man who seemed to be prepared to run at the opposition but even then he was cutting infield in front of the wall rather than getting round the back of it and when he did find an early gap to fire in a low cross to the near post Kevin Wills could only manage to lift the ball over the top. Then. trying to turn their clear advantage into something more tangible´ Tiverton were caught on the break as Dean Cracknell forced his way through on the left flank. Avoiding two challenges he swung in a cross and Leon Gutzmore rose high to head cleanly past Ovendale to give United the lead.

Having made the breakthrough the home side were filled with new found confidence whilst The Yellows looked far from bright despite the sunshine. There was no sitting on their unexpected lead for Aylesbury‚ They set about trying to build on it. Paul Edgeworth made another run on the left and fired in a shot that David Steele deflected for a corner and Stocco‚ called back to add some height to the Tiverton back line was the man that headed the ball out for a second one which was then hoisted high and wide to relieve the pressure on the visitors. It only eased for a couple of minutes and then down the left wing came Daniel Mead‚ round the back of the Tivvy defence and in along the by-line to fire in a shot come cross that Ovendale scrambled away with his feet and was lucky to gather as he lay fat on his back and the ball was deflected into his arms off Steele. Town though battled back. Vinnicombe sliced wildly wild from outside the penalty area but again he was forced to do so by the wall of green ducks in front of him. The home back line resembled the those rows of targets one used to see in fairground shooting galleries in the days before political correctness made such amusements obsolete - the difference being that the Aylesbury defenders were not as easily knocked over. Mead again caused chaos in the Tivvy penalty area with another left side run. This time he had more space and took the ball round the desperately diving Ovendale and it was Harvey that kept the scoreline unchanged with a goal-line clearance. The final ten minutes of the first period saw a concerted effort to force themselves back on terms by The Yellows. It was fired by a free kick just outside the area. No rehearsal‚ no variation. One touch‚ two touches‚ a dummy run and a shot from Mudge that crashed off the Aylesbury crossbar. Still a single goal in it. Some nice ground level triangles from the visitors eventually brought them into range again but Steele missed a golden opportunity and his cross goal shot was headed for a throw in before being rescued and cleared upfield by a defender. Mudge tried a low effort that was easily scooped up by the keeper‚ Vinnicombe sliced one towards the corner flag‚ Mudge jinked his way past a couple of defenders on the edge of the area but Steele was dispossessed as he dithered try to steady the ball. With added time being played Tivvy won a couple of corners. Everyone moved upfield except Winter and Harvey. It was just as well they stayed on the half way line as Aylesbury broke out and were three against two as Cracknell‚ Edgeworth and Neil Champelovier charged away through the middle. When Cracknell laid the ball into the path of Edgeworth it should have been two - nil. One can only assume that Edgeworth got too excited for he blasted high and wide with not even Ovendale to beat.


The second half started where the first had ended - with The Ducks in full flight and running (flying?) at the Tiverton defence. Gutzmore was the mover. The first time he tried to pass through the back line but the intended recipient was offside; the second time his attempted cross was turned out for a corner by Harvey. The kick was sent floating high and long to the back corner of the penalty area. Matt Hayward‚ central defender and captain making his 300th appearance for Aylesbury‚ was unattended and sent in a looping header over the forward moving defenders but dropping just under the crossbar to double his side´s lead with forty minutes remaining. Tivvy had no option but to keep plugging away‚ they could hardly have walked off the pitch. But for all the good it was going to do them they might just as well have taken the later option as the home side were now content to sit back‚ absorb the pressure‚ comfortably it must be said‚ and wait for whatever chances mite come their way on the break. Winter found Mudge who cut in from the left and launched a fierce shot that cannoned back off a defender to Rob Cousins. Forty years or so after the Americans‚ Cousins launched his own personal moon shot‚ Winter ran at the line of green shirts and curled a shot through them but wide as it was deflected for a corner. There was a brief moment of hope for the visitors as a scramble developed from the set piece and ball and hand made contact but penalty appeals were waved away. Ovendale was again exposed and saved the day at the feet of first Edgeworth and then Cracknell and with both sides flagging the referee made his best decision of the afternoon in holding up play to allow the combatants to take on water.

The last quarter of the game became scrappy as the players paced themselves to the final whistle and the football was played in fits and starts. Punctuated by frequent stoppages for fouls‚ yellow cards and substitutions Aylesbury were clearly satisfied with what they had and confident of containing any attempts to wrest it away from them‚ whilst Tivvy were showing signs of the frustration that their self imposed situation nurtured. All hope of a miraculous comeback evaporated in the 84th minute. As Town battered themselves silly against the effective defensive barrier‚ Gutzmore broke on the right. Edgeworth went with him‚ almost parallel through the middle. Chased by defenders the two of them were clear and when Gutzmore laid the ball sideways across goal‚ having drawn Ovendale‚ Edgeworth maid amends for his first half misses by accepting the present of an easy strike‚ blasting the ball into an empty net. It was all over bar the quacking. Aylesbury had the points and all that was left for the yellows was the consolation of Paul Milsom moving forward for a Winter free kick and glancing the ball into the net with a header that soiled Rashid´s otherwise clean sheet.


No further comment!



Tiverton Town: .Mark Ovendale‚ Steve Winter‚ Chris Vinnicombe (Shaun Goff, 77), Matt Lock, Paul Milsom, Rob Cousins, Kevin Wills (Jamie Densham, 79), Iain Harvey, Tom Stocco, David Steele (Mike Booth, 81), James Mudge.

Subs not used: Darren Edwards, Dave Hallett

Booked: Winter, Wills.


Aylesbury United: Jack Rashid, Greg Williams, Daniel Mead, Paul Lamb, Matt Hayward, Kai Ridley, Neil Champelovier, Dean Cracknell, Jason Burnham, Leon Gutzmore, Paul Edgeworth.

Subs not used: Dean Powles, John Winter, Ian Brumwell, Ryan Wiffin, Peter Smith.

Booked: None.

Att: 448

Referee: Mr M Sutton

This report ©2004 John Reidy






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