Match report

Mangotsfield United 2 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Monday 12/03/2012   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

Me and my big mouth! Waxing at half time that there was simply no way in the world that Mangotsfield could possibly get back into the game – they didn’t know how to pass the ball, they had movement but no end product up front, and distribution from the back was lame at best. Tiverton were in cruise control, bossed the first half and scored twice in three minutes just before the break to underline their authority on the game. My lucky pants were coming up trumps again and this one was as good as over!

Ignore all of the above because Mangotsfield were a team transformed after the change of ends and dominated from minute forty-six until Mitchell Page struck the equaliser in minute ninety-two and by no stretch of the imagination was it cruel luck on Tiverton as the Mangos fully deserved everything they got from the game, and frankly so did the Yellows. Unlike on Saturday when Tivvy dozed off and gave Halesowen a fighting chance this time there was no chance to get sleepy and sloppy because they had to stay alert and defend constantly; Town may have dropped a level but ’Field leapt several, and I openly retract my half-time comments that they were finished.

For ten minutes at the start of the game it was fast and furious, frantic but without form as both sides acclimatised themselves to one-another. The ball stayed in play each time Karim Rendall hacked it down the line as he was forced deep into an unfamiliar defensive position for the home side, and back it came from Paul Kendall or Josh Concanen, along the flank and only occasionally did the game come to a brief rest for a throw-in. Gradually Tiverton gained control of the ball and the midfield and the first chance of the game fell to Danny Clay who fired well over after Andy Taylor had been tripped by Tom Piotrowski and pulled back the free kick himself. Michael Nardiello gave Chris Astley a chance to warm his gloves with a shot from the edge of the area following a tardy up-and-under by Noah Keats, and Clay again failed to tune his radar as he sent another shot into the night sky from another Taylor pass.

Mangotsfield struggled but did look sprightly on the counter attack and Keats broke through the middle to latch onto a pass from Page only to place his shot across the face of goal and wide, while Kyle Tooze, who would have a major impact in the second half, cut in from the right and shot low which forced Chris Wright to throw himself away to his right in order to gather safely. But it was always the Yellows who looked the more likely to make something happen from open play and seven minutes before the interval the opening goal arrived. Taylor found time and space on the left and held up the ball before laying it off, David Steele (I think it was he) lifted an early ball towards the penalty spot, and Joe Bushin flicked a delicate backwards header over Astley as the Mangos goalkeeper yelled to claim, three himself forward, but punched only his own defender.

It was a lead Tivvy deserved as Taylor had already been denied a fortuitous goal when his inswinging corner was cleared off the line by Tom Parrinello, and within two minutes the advantage had been doubled. Another attack down the left, this time with Nardiello the instigator almost ended spectacularly when Taylor fired in a vicious shot which was goalbound but bravely blocked. The ball ricocheted out to the right corner of the penalty area and Josh Searle took one touch to control before curling with the outside of his boot a delightful shot beyond the reach of Astley.

Mangotsfield were rocking, there for the taking but Tivvy eased off and never really got going again after the change of ends. United must have been served some stern and assertive words with their half-time cuppa because they raised their game significantly and pinned Tivvy back, even though through the ever-thickening mist they were unable to carve out a significant goalscoring chance for the next twenty minutes, and in fact Town twice had chances on their only two forays into enemy territory. Bushin was denied by the post (and, it transpired, the lineman’s flag) when he threw himself bravely into the path of a Taylor free kick, Nardiello nodded another set piece into Astley’s arms, and a minute later Mangotsfield were back in with a shout.

Page broke a sloppy offside trap and made headway on the right before cutting the ball back, Wright stretched and almost but didn’t quite gather, and that left Piotrowski the easy task of poking the ball into the net from eight yards. The goal further accentuated the momentum of the second half and the hosts had realised that their right, Tivvy’s left, was a source of joy with Tooze enjoying the success he had in his battle against Russell Jee. That head-to-head almost garnered the equaliser when Tooze sprinted free, leaving Jee in his wake, but his cross was turned wide by Rendell. Tooze again, and this time Page with a header wide really got the hearts racing with three minutes remaining, and as the game stormed into overtime and Tivvy haplessly tried to clear their lines the deserved equalising blow came.

Page raced forward from within his own half of the pitch, the Yellows defence backed off and allowed him space, and by the time the Mangos striker reached the edge of the area he had gained the poise and composure to take aim, curl in a shot and hit both posts before watching the ball trickle over the line. It was a superb goal to complete a superb half of football for Mangotsfield. Tivvy were left to wonder why they didn’t polish off the game when they had the chance.

Mangotsfield United: Chris Astley, Alex Hoyle, Tom Parrinello, Noah Keats, Gary Colborne, Lee Marshall, Kyle Tooze, Geraint Bater (Lewis Parker 84), Mitchell Page, Tom Piotrowski (Luke Palmer 90+4), Karim Rendell
Goals: Piotrowski 67, Page 90+2
Booked: Marshall 59
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Josh Concanen, Russell Jee (Alex Faux 88), David Steele (Kevin Hill 80), Paul Kendall, Tom Gardner, Andy Taylor, Danny Clay, Michael Nardiello (Jules Emati-Emati 80), Joe Bushin, Josh Searle
Goals: Bushin 38, Searle 40
Booked: Bushin 78
Sent off: None

Attendance: 128

This report ©2012 Alan Reidy