Match report

Yate Town 1 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 24/04/2012   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

There was a high probability that Tiverton’s ‘rematch’ at Lodge Road would turn into one of those uninspiring and meaningless games in which, with neither team having anything to play for, the game would labour along and the outcome would be greeted with a general apathy. There was also a very good chance that the rains would disrupt the schedule again, as they did at the first time of asking back in March, but somehow the clouds remarkably held their contents as they lingered threateningly above Yate, and but for a few light spots of the wet stuff the match survived, a better end result than the welfare of a handful of cars on the motorway in the Bridgwater area!

Tiverton were without a host of key players: Josh Concanen and Paul Kendall were both absent from the defensive line, Andy Taylor was missing in midfield, and both Michael Nardiello and Jules Emati-Emati were also unavailable so the Yellows really had to scratch around in order to field a team. In came Chris Onoufriou for his first appearance for the Yellows since November, ironically in a match against Yate, in came Jesse Howe and his brother Owen, and back to the first-team fold having played a couple of games for the reserves, and back with the captain’s armband around his bicep came Adam Faux to complete his own personal goal of making a senior appearance inside a year of suffering a fractured skull. Alex Faux also started meaning that for the first time in my memory Tiverton started the game with two pairs of brothers, and Kevin Hill deputised in the heart of the defence alongside Tom Gardner.

It may have been a mish and mash of a team but Tivvy certainly didn’t play like strangers to each other and from the very first whistle they managed to take the game to their hosts. Most of the attacking play came down the left through Alex Faux and Josh Searle, and Tiverton forged three attempts on goal inside the first four minutes. The first fell to Jesse and was blocked away for a corner after Owen had flicked on Alex’s throw-in, and from that corner, taken by Searle, Bushin headed goalwards only to see Jake Cox deflect the ball onto the crossbar. The Yellows were relentless and Onoufriou tried his luck from distance and didn’t miss the target by a great distance as Lubos Ancin scrambled across his goal, while Bushin also shot over, acrobatically as Danny Clay cleverly chipped the ball in towards the penalty spot.

The small Tiverton support were as surprised as anyone just how one-sided the game had been in the opening stages, perhaps aided by a specific eagerness to impress and the opportunity to secure a place in the squad on a more permanent basis for several involved, and Jesse once again had a shot blocked and deflected behind for a corner, this time Robin Nichols coming to Yate’s rescue. But the game gradually evened itself out and Yate were not without a couple of chances of their own. Harley Purnell raced forward and cut in from the right only to shoot feebly into the arms of Chris Wright, and midway through the first half former Tiverton striker Tom Knighton spurned a great chance when he broke through the inside-left channel but sent his shot wide of the upright with only the Tivvy goalkeeper to beat.

It was then back to the other end and Ancin was by far the busier of the two glovesmen. He had to bat the ball away under intense pressure from the lively Bushin, clearly revitalised after a few sub-standard performances, as Onoufriou hung up a teasing cross, and was also in place to hold Owen’s header after Clay and Bushin had combined. Owen wasn’t having much luck as the ball sternly refused to sit kindly for the young striker, and a few minutes before the break, despite hustling his way into the area he was never fully in control and his final shot was weak, along the ground, and Ancin didn’t have to move far to smother. But the Yate stopper certainly had to be on his guard as Town finished the half as they had started and Onoufriou got great purchase on a left-footed snapshot that was on target, which carried with it plenty of pace, and was patted up in the air and then caught by Ancin.

To say that Yate improved at the start of the second half would be a massive understatement – they could barely have done any worse – and for five minutes they managed to indicate some interest in proceedings, helped by the introduction at the interval of David Stone in place of Cox. Stone gave the Bluebells a bit more of a direct threat on the floor, certainly more pace and cunning that Cox was able to offer, and although he wasn’t involved directly in any of the three chances the hosts carved out his presence alone at least gave Hill and Tom Gardner something different to think about. Knighton swept in a free kick from right of centre that Wright had to tip over the crossbar, Ollie Price stepped out of defence and was also denied by Wright, a fine save that in fact counted for nothing as the lineman had flagged for offside against the Yate player, and another free kick had to be hacked away, this time Wright parrying from Hector Mackie.

Tiverton weathered the storm on the pitch while the storm in the sky continued to watch over like a nuisance, and the breakthrough finally arrived with a second good chance in the space of sixty seconds. Ancin did well to save a skidding shot from Alex and then recovered to force Jesse’s follow-up around the post, but although Yate were able to clear the corner that followed (Jesse’s deliveries when he was on corner duty were unimpressive to say the least) Tivvy came again, this time down the right wing where Searle had taken position for the second half. Under pressure from Tyrone Mings Searle was able to escape as the home defender went to ground too easily and waited more in hope than expectation that the referee would see fit to award Yate a free kick. Now in the clear Searle didn’t dally but instead sent a perfectly weighted low cross in, between the defensive line and the goalkeeper, across the edge of the six-yard box, and perfectly into the stride of Bushin who hammered the ball into the roof of the net. Quick and incisive, it was a fine goal and one that Tiverton and Bushin in particular fully deserved.

That goal reignited Yate’s attention and only a remarkable point-black save from Wright kept his sheet clean and denied Matt Groves an equaliser, but just five minutes after the first goal came the second as Stone slid the ball between the centre-backs and Nichols found himself in the clear to do what Knighton was unable to do in the first half: that is to say beat Wright when only Wright needed to be beaten. It was a sloppy goal to concede from Tivvy’s perspective, even more so as it came less than five minutes after they had taken the lead, but here we were anyway, twenty-five minutes left on the watch and all square once more.

Yate’s tails were wagging, the locals (the few of them that bothered to turn up) were less restless, and only by the grace of God did the hosts not forge in front a minute or two after Searle had been replaced by Harry Nodwell for the Yellows. The grand-daddy of all goalmouth scrambles garnered nothing aside from a few bruised shins, three or four desperate blocks from Hill, Gardner and anyone else that decided to add their own body into the mix, possibly the post, certainly Wright’s body and his gloves, and the one thing the ball didn’t hit was the back of the net. It was like watching Tiverton attack when things aren’t going quite in their favour so it was nice to see the ball eventually booted clear and the game continue without the need for a restart from the centre spot.

A charmed life at one end, a brilliant save at the other as Ancin went from strange Eastern European to party pooper. Jesse (now back on the right since Searle’s departure) chipped a neat ball into the area and Adam Faux overlapped, a little argy-bargy with Edd Vahid later and Adam was still standing as his marked crumbled in his wake. Just the ’keeper to beat and the shot was as purposeful as it could have been, arrowing towards the top corner, and only eight yards from goal so surely there was no stopping this one. Ancin had other ideas and instinctively stuck out his left arm just in the nick of time to tip the ball and help it onto the woodwork at the intersection of post and bar. The danger wasn’t over and the ball flew almost vertically up onto the frame of the goal and back down into the goalmouth, and finally Price retreated to scramble the ball away for a corner which Jesse scuffed in to the near post.

Both teams had got away with one and perhaps they subconsciously settled for a point each at that point, because for the next fifteen minutes there was very little action with the exception of the lineman racing towards the half way line to oversee a few substitutions. Nichols went off to be replaced by Mark Badman, Jesse and Adam both departed with Russell Jee and David Steele on in their places, and the game faded from entertaining into quite an uninspiring fare. That is until the eighty-fifth minute when Tivvy and Bushin won the match in the most remarkable style. The Yellows had retained more control without ever really threatening as the game drew to a conclusion, and even when Bushin found himself with the ball and space in front nobody really expected much. Owen read the situation and quickly moved into the channel, in doing so drawing a central defender away and opening up a little more space for Bushin, the invitation he needed and one he took in spectacular fashion with a brilliant drive that was still rising thirty yards after it had left his boot and found the top corner of the net. Ancin was perfectly paced, not too far off his line, central between his posts, but the shot was hit with such intent that he barely had time to move before he was turning around and retrieving the ball from the back of the net. Make no mistake - that was right up there with the best goals of the season, if not out on its own as the best.

Yate couldn’t come back in the final five minutes, the referee obviously anticipated the cloudburst that was about to happen and blew for full-time having allowed just thirty-five seconds of additional play, and the victory means that Tiverton are guaranteed to compete the season with a higher number in the wins column than in the defeats column. At the very least that is progress.


Yate Town: Lubos Ancin, Tom Warren, Tyrone Mings, Robin Nichols (Mark Badman 78), Ollie Price, Harley Purnell, Matt Groves, Edd Vahid, Tom Knighton, Jake Cox (David Stone 46), Hector Mackie
Goal: Nichols 55
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Alex Faux, Adam Faux (David Steele 84), Chris Onoufriou, Kevin Hill, Tom Gardner, Jesse Howe (Russell Jee 84), Danny Clay, Owen Howe, Joe Bushin, Josh Searle (Harry Nodwell 59)
Goals: Bushin 50, 85
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance: 80


This report ©2012 Alan Reidy