Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 1 Poole Town

   Saturday 14/04/2012   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

I have criticised our own team and had many hours of fun criticising the opposition. On occasions I have laid down the hammer to the match officials, but I like to think that I can praise when it is necessary, regardless of circumstance, and for more than one reason Poole Town deserve that praise – on and off the pitch they were a pillar to be aspired towards.

Off the record, like any Tivvy fan that travelled to Poole back in December, I was critical of the set-up. The facilities were poor for officials and spectators, the gate on the car park came down barely before we had enjoyed a beer, and we felt unwelcome. But that isn’t Poole Town’s fault; it’s just the circumstance they are in at present. I found out on Saturday exactly what Poole Town was about and that was passionate and honest support from the terraces and from the boardroom, and a damn fine team to cheer on. There is little else to aspire to as a lower league football fan.

On the pitch Poole were so good in the first twenty minutes that Tiverton barely saw the ball, and when they did it was because it was in the air off the boot off Tom Gardner of Paul Kendall and somewhere between the penalty area and the half way line. Off the pitch they were just as good – travelling support in good vocal form, and perfectly clean humour, a refreshing break from thugs from yesteryear. Colourful and vociferous, the Poole fans added what the absent Tivvy fans might have, and sadly we were denied a chanting shoot-out as the stay-aways stayed away.

Poole thought they had scored in the first minute but they hadn’t. I have no idea exactly what happened but it sounded like a goal from the other end of the pitch and the linesman was unmoved for perhaps the only time in the game. A few minutes later Poole should have scored but didn’t when Scott Joyce planted a header onto the post that Chris Wright eventually pulled in. It was all one way traffic and the noise was only coming from the Devco End, even when Wright made a stunning reflex save from Joyce. Shearer would have been ashamed to have missed that, but Joyce isn’t Shearer; Shilts would have been delighted with the save…

There was little threat from Tiverton and Poole eventually took the lead after twenty-two minutes, shortly after Carl Preston had aimed one straight at Wright. And that is where reporter’s curse comes in: I was busy jotting notes and wondering how Preston missed… I look up and Joyce (not Steve Devlin as the PA suggested) had the ball in the net. No idea, so keep your eyes peeled for a video or alternatively somebody that was paying attention.

The game finally became exciting, or if you were of a Dorsetian persuasion a little annoying, because Tivvy finally started to bother and it was a drastic shame that Owen Howe, on his league debut – no pressure Owen – scuffed a gilt-edged chance wide of the mark. Shit happens and Owen is hard as nails so he will be cool, but damn, we could have used that goal because we weren’t going to have another chance.

Poole impressed on the pitch as much as they impressed off the pitch, particularly at the start of the second half where they enjoyed the mammoth’s share of possession. Tivvy held firm and there was never a true chance forthcoming, although the comfort on the ball and movement off it was notable.

Josh Conacanen had the ball in the net for Tivvy long after the flag had gone up; Joyce did much the same but his handball in the build-up negated the goal and earned him a yellow card, foolish but almost very clever and well spotted by the linesman. The linesman who spotted all kinds off odd stuff, particularly phantom fouls late in the game, but most particularly a bizarre corner given to Tiverton that only people in attendance will have a clue what I mean.

There was still a game going on and Wright was busy keeping Tivvy in it, a palm away and a reflex save maintaining the one-goal difference, but that was futile if gallant as at the other end of the pitch there was nothing. In fact the first significant shot Tiverton managed on target came in the ninety-second minute from the boot of Paul Kendall, saved easily by Nick Hutchings.

Poole Town won the game, won their way into the payoffs, and won me over. I didn’t enjoy my trip to Dorset, I will be honest, but the colour and charisma the Poole supporters brought to Devon was superb. If they can get off the pitch what they have on it then this is a club that can go places.

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Josh Concanen (Joe Bushin 86), Russell, Jee, Kevin Hill (Alex Faux 61), Paul Kendall, Tom Gardner, Andy Taylor, Danny Clay, Owen Howe, Jules Emati-Emati, Josh Searle (Harry Nodwell 61)
Booked: Jee 82
Sent off: None

Poole Town: Nick Hutchings, Lewis Tallack, Will Spetch, Keith Emmerson, Michael Walker, Marvin Brooks, Kevin Gill, Steve Devlin, Scott Joyce, Carl Preston, Alex Baldeacchino (Steve Smith 75)
Goal: Joyce 22
Booked: Joyce 66, Walker 76
Sent off: None

Attendance: 263

This report ©2012 Alan Reidy