Match report

Barnstaple Town 2 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 10/01/2012   Devon St Luke's Cup
Alan Reidy

Tiverton came through a tight game to seal yet another trip to Bideford by beating Barnstaple Town on penalties following a 2-2 draw after ninety minutes. The Yellows fielded an unfamiliar team with debuts being handed to four players, came from behind to lead at half time but were then pegged back early in the second half. But the main talking point of the evening was not how the young players acquitted themselves but rather the unfortunate injury suffered by Harry Nodwell a couple of minutes before full time when he slipped and went over on his ankle, suffering ligament damage. Nodwell is likely to be out of action for some time which will be a massive blow for Tivvy manager Mark Saunders, particularly as the boss had already decided the versatile midfielder would be in the starting line-up against Taunton of Friday.

Barnstaple took the lead after twenty minutes with their third decent chance of the game when Mark Turner turned in Lewis Coombes’ cross from the left, and they were well worth their lead at that stage as Tiverton had shown little threat themselves. Already Ryan Draper had been called on to save Connor Clifford’s free kick, and Coombes went close when he jinked around Draper but saw his shot cleared off the line by Adam Kana-ah.

Draper saved again from Clifford before Tivvy finally began asking questions of the Western League side, and Luke Purnell did exceptionally well to save one-on-one when Nodwell released Michael Nardiello on the half hour. But two minutes later there was nothing the Barnstaple goalkeeper could do as Nodwell broke down the left and curled a fine shot into the far corner from the corner of the penalty area to level the game.

Ricky Marinaro went within inches of restoring the home side’s advantage when he belted a long-range free kick onto and over the crossbar, and the Yellows were able to grab the lead a couple of minutes before the break. Owen Howe battled to regain possession ten yards inside the Barnstaple half of the pitch and quickly released Josh Searle to bear down on goal. With only Purnell to beat Searle unselfishly squared the ball for Nardiello to stroke it into an empty net, and so although it was hardly a vintage performance from the Yellows they held a slender advantage at the interval.

That advantage was soon wiped out when George Swain equalised five minutes into the second half, a close-range finish which left Draper with no chance after Mark Turner’s cross had deflected kindly for the advanced Barnstaple midfielder. Coombes might have given Barnstaple the lead again but sliced his shot horribly wide having shrugged off the attentions of defensive substitute Liam Pike, and for much of the final twenty minutes there was little threat on either goal. Then, with less than five minutes to play Nodwell went over in midfield, seemingly after turning and tripping over the referee, and his obvious discomfort as he lay crumpled on the floor turned the mood of the evening rather sombre.

Once Nodwell had been stretchered away to receive medical attention the game resumed and concluded but few had much interest in the final exchanges, and with no extra-time the tie was decided on kicks from the penalty mark. Marinaro and Searle scored, Draper saved from former Tiverton player Jamie Skinner and Liam Ellis converted to give the Yellows the advantage. All of the next five kicks were successful, Kevin Darch, Sam Paxton and Clifford for Barstaple, Jesse Howe and Nardiello for Tivvy, and that left the opportunity to seal victory in the left foot of Russell Jee, but his powerful attempt rebounded off the upright. Into sudden death Turner lifted his penalty well over the crossbar and Josh Concanen hit it, the ball bouncing down just in front of the goal line. Another save from Draper denied Swain and finally Kana-ah fired beyond Purnell to bring to an end an entertaining evening of football soured by an unfortunate freak injury. Saunders would certainly have given up the victory for Nodwell to be fit and in the squad on Friday but sadly life doesn’t work that way so Tivvy will travel to Bideford for the quarter-final match and Nodwell will be absent for some time.


Barnstaple Town: Luke Purnell, Kevin Darch, Kane Dryden, Ben Evansloude (Danny Jenkins 46), Mark Armstrong, George Swain, Ricky Marinaro, Jamie Skinner, Connor Clifford, Mark Turner, Lewis Coombes (Stan Paxton 70)
Goals: Turner 20, Swain 50
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Ryan Draper, James Skinner (Liam Pike 55), Adam Kana-ah, Liam Ellis, Harry Nodwell, Tom Gardner, Mark Saunders (Russell Jee 70), Josh Searle, Michael Nardiello, Owen Howe (Jesse Howe 66), Josh Concanen
Goals: Nodwell 32, Nardiello 43
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance: 74


This report ©2012 Alan Reidy