Match report

Halesowen Town 1 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 12/11/2011   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

Tiverton are now unbeaten on their last four visits to The Grove, Saturday’s victory against Halesowen Town helping the Yellows build on the momentum and positive vibes of the previous week’s triumph over Chesham United. Harry Nodwell’s winner nine minutes from time also meant that Tivvy had put to an end a run of four league matches without a victory, and halted a slide down the table, a slide which had seemed unlikely at the beginning of September.

Mark Saunders dropped to the bench as David Steele made his first league start for over a month; otherwise Tiverton were unchanged from Tuesday night’s thriller at Ladysmead, and until Halesowen took the lead it was the visitors that enjoyed the better of a fractious game. As early as the third minute ex-Yeltz striker Michael Nardiello slipped in behind the home defence but there was nobody in yellow on hand to capitalise on his low cross from the right edge of the penalty area, and later on in the first half Josh Searle sent a drive just wide of Paul Evans’ left upright following neat work from Nardiello and Steele.

However, Halesowen took the lead on twenty-eight minutes with only their second chance of the game. Lee Chilton, who had already blazed a difficult volley well over the top, was the beneficiary as he tapped the ball into an empty net to punish Tivvy goalkeeper Chris Wright who had failed to cut out Scott Mason’s through ball, allowing Justin Nisbett time and space to pick out Chilton at the far post.

Immediately Tiverton forced their way back into the match – Joe Bushin had an effort ruled out for a foul on Evans, but the game was back on level terms just five minutes after the opening goal. Alex Faux sprinted down the left wing, quickly exchanged passed with Kevin Hill, and Searle met the cross to force Evans into a save. As the ball bobbled free from the home goalkeeper and the defenders hastily swung feet in an attempt to clear the danger Searle was gifted a second opportunity from which he made no mistake, a low drilled shot from nine or ten yards rippling the net.

It was a goal that arrived at a crucial time for Tivvy, for main striker Joe Bushin had turned his ankle and was visibly struggling, and before the match restarted he was replaced by Jules Emati-Emati. The change didn’t affect the Yellows greatly and the final two openings of the first half both fell to visiting players – Dawson shot into the side netting having been released by Hill, and Nardiello’s audacious shot from thirty yards or more was saved by Evans, grippy gloves above his head proving reliable on this occasion.

At the other end of the pitch Wright was having a largely quiet afternoon, and although he was forced to pick the ball from the net midway through the second half Anthony Bruce’s scrambled effort was ruled out. Halesowen understandably pressured as the game drew on, throwing high balls towards the Tivvy defence that the exemplary Paul Kendall was lapping up with a defensive display as good as any a Tiverton player has delivered for a long time.

Ian Sampson replaced the excellent Faux after the original left-back was crudely upended and debilitated for the rest of the afternoon, and Nadiello was also suffering the effects of matches coming thick and fast, eventually being withdrawn seventeen minutes from time. Meanwhile, Emati-Emati had a goalbound header well blocked by Brendon Kelly, Hill nodded Aaron Dawson’s free kick across and wide of goal, and Emati-Emati had another opening but his shot on the turn was directly at Evans in the Halesowen goal.

With fifteen minutes left the home side introduced Nathan Jackson up front and twice he failed to control crosses from the left, instead merely helping the ball out for a goal kick, and it was from the second of these errors that Tiverton grabbed the winner when Wright fed the ball back into play and Dawson played a sweetly weighted through ball between the Yeltz centre-backs. Nodwell, fresh legs and hungry to impress as he searched for a starting berth again, was onto the pass like a whippet, behind the defence and faced only with the over-exposed Evans. Upon reaching the edge of the area Nodwell let fly, Evans didn’t have time to react, and Tivvy had turned the game around.

There was little inventiveness from Halesowen for the final ten minutes, Kendall and Tom Gardner sweeping up anything that came their way, and when, in added time, Chilton did managed to get beyond the Yellows defence and threaten to create an equalising opportunity Hill dug deep to track back and make a timely interception, sealing the three points on the Devon-bound coach.

Halesowen Town: Paul Evans, Scott Mason, Nathaniel Caines, Peter Folkes, Brendon Kelly, Michael McGrath, Anthony Bruce, Gavin Saunders, Naveed Arshad (Nathan Jackson 76), Justn Nisbett, Lee Chilton
Goal: Chilton 28
Booked: Nisbett 49
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Liam Ellis, Alex Faux (Ian Sampson 54), Kevin Hill, Paul Kendall, Tom Gardner, Aaron Dawson, David Steele, Michael Nardiello (Harry Nodwell 73), Joe Bushin (Jules Emati-Emati 34), Josh Searle
Goals: Searle 33, Nodwell 81
Booked: Faux 44
Sent off: None

Attendance: 319

This report ©2011 Alan Reidy