Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 0 Cinderford Town

   Saturday 31/12/2011   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

Back in August, two days before a Bank Holiday, Tiverton became the first team to beat Cinderford this season. Four months later, also two days before a Bank Holiday, the Yellows struck again, this time consigning the same opponents to their first league defeat away from home. The winning goal was steeped in good fortune for Tivvy, and towards the end of a match played out on an extremely difficult pitch the hosts had to dig as deep as at any point this season, but they held on stoically and were fully deserving of all the acclaim they received at the full-time whistle.

Tom Gardner remained a doubt and in the end wasn’t selected so there was only one change to the side that beat Bridgwater five days earlier as Jules Emati-Emati came in to the front line in place of the absent Michael Nardiello. In defence Paul Kendall was given the thankless task of thwarting the giant Lewis Sommers, a job he did superbly but it was Kevin Hill who really excelled with an exemplary display, near-perfect in the tackle and showing smart use of the ball as he moved play forward in a display that underlined the fact that there really is no substitute for experience.

Cinderford started the game brightly but Tiverton soon began to dominate and the Yellows settled much quicker and appeared far more creative in the opposition half of the pitch. Alex Harris was the first goalkeeper to warm his gloves when he backpedalled to tip over a curling shot from Andy Taylor after ten minutes, the culmination of a move down the right involving Josh Concanen and Joe Bushin. A little later Harris wasn’t troubled as David Steele looped an effort well over the crossbar but by then he had already shown a glimmer of weakness as he flapped at Taylor’s cross and got little purchase on his attempted punch clear. Largely Tivvy were well on top but unable to make it count – Harris made a decent save low to his left to gather in Josh Searle’s shot, stood firm to take a high ball that looped and spun from Emati-Emati’s boot and off Sommers, and would have been well beaten on the stroke of half time but Kendall’s free header at the back post was dreadfully wide of the mark.

There were chances for the visitors and it was by no means a one-way first half. Matt Barnes should have done better than to pull a shot well wide after Sommers had held off Kendall before playing the ball inside to the advanced midfielder, and Nick McCootie was equally as guilty of a poor miss having latched onto an unusually lax square pass from Danny Clay. And so the opening forty-five minutes ended level on the scoreboard but in the referee’s notebook Cinderford led the race. Warren Archer, who would be forced out of the action after little more than half and hour was booked for a cynical trip on Joe Bushin that cut short a promising Tivvy attack, Dan Harrison saw yellow for a mistimed tackle from behind on Taylor, and McCootie also worked his way into the book when he deliberately handled and stopped a quick throw-in on the right wing. Tiverton’s only guilty player was Alex Faux, a comedy booking for tugging back Barnes after he has slipped on the touchline under no pressure.

For ten minutes after the break the general patter remained the same with Tiverton showing far more purpose when on the attack. Harris saved again from Searle and then denied Taylor with a decent save from a free kick. When Cinderford failed to clear the corner that followed Harris enjoyed his best moment of the game, again clawing away a shot from Taylor that had taken a wicked deflection and seemed to have wrong-footed the goalkeeper. Finally the pressure Tivvy were exerting paid off, and Harris, fresh from what really was an excellent save, was helpless when Taylor’s corner that followed was delivered. Greg Lewis did little wrong with his attempt to clear at the far post other than ram the ball straight into his own team-mate, and one ricochet later it was in the net off the unfortunate Harrison’s face.

The goal signalled a significant change in the pattern of the game as Cinderford knew they needed to press on and search for an equaliser if their proud record on the road was to stay intact. McCootie fired a yard high and a yard wide just a minute after the restart, and five minutes later the visitors were handed a lifeline when Clay barged Andy Lewis in the back and gifted Cinderford the chance to level from the spot. Sommers struck the penalty left-footed, low and to Chris Wright’s left, but there was neither the purpose nor the accuracy on the attempt and Wright read the kick perfectly to parry the ball away. Clay was soon booked for a bodycheck and Greg Lewis joined him in an ever-increasing list when he chopped down Searle. That foul gave Tivvy a free kick in a dangerous position to the left of centre and gave everybody present the opportunity to see how not to take a set piece as the ball was played square into an area of the pitch uninhabited by yellow shirts! It was a rare opportunity in the second half for Tiverton but they remained relatively firm at the back, and on the one occasion that Cinderford were able to fire in a shot, from a free kick after Hill had fouled substitute Josh Egan, Wright flew off spectacularly to his right to bat away a goalbound effort from Dean Lee. Tivvy held on, even after Clay picked up his second caution of the game fifteen minutes from time and left his side with a numerical disadvantage, an offence that directly led to Mark Saunders stepping off the bench for a rare appearance as he looked to tighten up the midfield.


Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Josh Concanen (Liam Ellis 67), Alex Faux, Kevin Hill, Paul Kendall, David Steele, Andy Taylor (Mark Saunders 80), Danny Clay, Jules Emati-Emati (Harry Nodwell 67), Joe Bushin, Josh Searle
Goals: Harrison 55og
Booked: Faux 35, Clay 66, 76
Sent off: Clay 76

Cinderford Town: Alex Harris, Warren Archer (Ashley Malcolm 32), Matt Smith, Dan Harrison, Greg Lewis, Nick Hancock, Matt Barnes (Josh Egan 71), Andy Lewis, Nick McCootie, Lewis Sommers (Mike Whittington 71), Dean Lee
Booked: Harrison 21, Archer 26, McCootie 45+1, Greg Lewis 69
Sent off: None

Attendance: 267


This report ©2011 Alan Reidy