Match report

Bridgwater Town 2 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Monday 09/04/2012   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

It would be harsh to claim that Tiverton were just seeing out their remaining fixtures, going through the motions and looking forward to a summer break as, for most of the first half and during spells in the second half there was promise if not end product. But there was certainly a distinct feeling stood on the terraces at Bridgwater that defeat wasn’t really a big deal now – there was nothing to play for from a supporters’ perspective, and dropping three points didn’t matter all that much in the grand scheme of things. Tivvy have managed to turn things around steadily over the course of the year, and whatever adage is the polar opposite of “one swallow doesn’t make a summer” was applicable.

There were encouraging signs from the Yellows throughout the first half as their patient build-up play pulled the Bridgwater defence from side to side, and the return to the starting line-up of Josh Concanen was a big factor. So keen on pressing forward was the fullback that for one lengthy period he was further forward than Andy Taylor, and most of Tivvy’s play revolved around that pair and David Steele on the right flank. Despite this lateral imbalance it was in fact a move down the left that saw the first opening but Alex Faux opted to cross rather than shoot, a fifty-fifty decision that with twenty-twenty hindsight was the wrong choice, Bradley Middleton stooping to head clear. Taylor then teased Bridgwater’s Luke Purnell with a hanging cross that the glovesman held beneath his bar, Joe Bushin sliced horribly wide at the end of a sweet move involving Taylor and Steele, and Purnell twice denied Bushin from close range although the first chance would have been nullified by the lineman’s flag.

Bridgwater offered very little other than a host of sliced clearances that caught on the wind and sailed out for thorw-ins, but Craig Mawford did shoot on target and straight at Chris Wright from a free kick twenty-five yards from goal, while some neat interplay involving Neil Peek and Tom Hurley came to and end when Faux slid in late and guided the ball over the bar and out for a corner. Wright was otherwise untroubled, bar a couple of hanging crosses that he was forced to punch away under pressure from Hurley, and Josh Searle had the final chance of the first half but his low shot was easy enough for Purnell to gather in.

How things can change! Kicking with the wind at their backs Bridgwater were able to control proceedings following the chance of ends and heir dominance mirrored Tivvy’s in the opening forty-five. Wright saved brilliantly when Hurley skipped through a host of challenges to get his shot away and Peek poked the follow-up straight at the Tiverton ’keeper, and although the ball spent a disproportionate time in the air over the next fifteen minutes it was always the hosts that seemed the more able to conjure something notable. There was nothing pretty about the opening goal which arrived on sixty-five minutes – a long punted free kick from wide on the left and just beyond the half way line was delivered by Ollie Barnes and Middleton stole in late at the far post, completely unmarked, and powered his header past Wright.

Harry Nodwell, a half-time substitute on in place of the ineffectual Michael Nardiello, should have equalised within a minute but skied a shot from six yards when Bushin flicked on Taylor’s cross, and then twice in quick succession Bridgwater were denied a second goal by the lineman’s flag, Hurley and Middleton the unlucky parties. Tivvy rallied and played some decent enough stuff but were left wanting in the danger zone as they sought the equaliser as time ran out, Nodwell and Taylor both firing shots over from distance, and the lack of killer instinct from the Yellows was punished a couple of minutes from time when Danny Wring stroked the ball into the bottom corner to round off a swift move as Bridgwater broke down the left.

Bridgwater Town: Luke Purnell, Craig Mawford, Ollie Barnes, Bradley Middleton, Matt Pitcher, Jake Mawford, Pete Monks, Danny Wright, Neil Peek, Tom Hurley, Dave Pearse
Goals: Middleton 65, Wring 87
Booked: Peek 68
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Josh Concanen, Alex Faux (Russell Jee 85), David Steele (Kevin Hill 77), Paul Kendall, Tom Gardner, Andy Taylor, Danny Clay, Michael Nardiello (Harry Nodwell 46), Joe Bushin, Josh Searle
Booked: Faux 68
Sent off: None

Attendance: 207

This report ©2012 Alan Reidy