Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 0 Abingdon United

   Saturday 28/04/2012   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

Tiverton’s league season stuttered to an anticlimactic end with a goalless draw against Abingdon United, the visitors unimpressive going forward but well enough organised in defence that they limited the opportunities the Yellows were able to carve out. Nonetheless a point saw Tivvy move up to a final position of ninth in the standings, the best they could have managed on the last day given results elsewhere, and after five years of mediocrity or worse at least the foundations are now in place for forward motion in the future.

Mark Saunders had a full squad to choose from and there were no particular surprises in the starting line-up as Joe Bushin retained his place in the side following his two-goal haul at Yate with Michael Nardiello having to settle for a place on the bench. Chris Wright was able to celebrate his Supporters’ Player of the Year award with a clean sheet in what will probably be his last game of the season, Ryan Draper expected to play in goal against Buckland in the Devon Cup final, but bar one excellent save it was a quiet afternoon for Wright as Abingdon goalkeeper James Foster was significantly the busier with the gloves.

Foster’s first task was to retrieve the ball from the side netting after Andy Taylor had failed to stretch sufficiently to turn Josh Searle’s first minute cross on target, and Searle soon had a chance of his own and brought out the first save of he game, quickly followed by a scrambled clearance when Bushin rose at the far post to head at goal. And while Tivvy were the more progressive side there was a lack of any real urgency, and certainly a lack of killer instinct, underlined when Bushin fired a good chance over the bar having latched onto a through ball from Taylor.

Taylor, floating from wing to wing and often finding himself in a central position during transition, was the obvious threat and it was his movement that led to the next chance when Ricky Allaway bodychecked the Town midfielder off the ball, gifting the Yellows a free kick twenty-five yards from goal. However, Kevin Hill’s shot from the set piece was wastefully hammered into the foot of the defensive wall, and five minutes before the break another chance went begging when Bushin headed over Josh Concanen’s cross.

Abingdon twice went close in the first half, both times from quick counter attacks rather than creative build-up play. On thirty-seven minutes Stuart Young escaped down the right, cut in and dipped a shot that Wright was forced to tip over whilst back-pedalling, and on the stroke of half time a long free kick by Carl Evans found Sam Packer, only for the Abingdon played to scuff hideously wide when the least he should have done was get a shot on target.

Tiverton continued to have the upper hand in the second half and at times played some neat passing football, only to be let down by the final touch. Jules Emati-Emati flicked an Alex Faux free kick onto the crossbar on a rare occasions when a Tivvy set piece wasn’t plucked out of the air by Foster, and a clinical team move ended with the same player toe-poking a shot wide, a desperate shame as the passing and movement that led to the chance saw the Abingdon players chasing shadows as Danny Clay, Taylor, Searle and Bushin quickly played a serried of triangles around the opposition.

Tom Gardner and Taylor both sent efforts wide of the mark, Gardner’s nowhere near and Taylor’s close but not quite close enough, and up at the other end of the pitch United did very little other than a Matthew Biddle shot that was deflected wide after Searle had lost out to Curtis Angell, and an Allaway header that was straight at Wright and easy for the Town ’keeper. Time whittled slowly away, Tivvy tried briefly to force the issue by replacing Clay with Nardiello, but then reverted to the more familiar system in the closing stages when Emati-Emati was withdrawn. And with a couple of minutes to play the biggest cheer of the day was heard as Adam Faux made his senior Ladysmead return eleven months after suffering a fractured skull.

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Josh Concanen, Alex Faux, Kevin Hill, Paul Kendall, Tom Gardner, Andy Taylor (Adam Faux 87), Danny Clay (Michael Nardiello 68), Josh Searle, Joe Bushin, Jules Emati-Emati (David Steele 85)
Booked: Emati-Emati 24, Kendall 43
Sent off: None

Abingdon United: James Foster, Chris Baker, Curtis Angell (Nick Christodoulou 90+3), Ricky Allaway, Luke Carnell, Carl Evans, Matthew Biddle, Aaron Parfitt, Sam Collier, Stuart Young, Sam Packer
Booked: Packer 14,, Young 70
Sent off: None

Attendance: 243

This report ©2012 Alan Reidy