Match report

Taunton Town 0 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 01/01/2013   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

If you are more capable than me at this moment in time you can probably cast your mind back to the early part of last season and remember Taunton’s victory at Ladysmead. They were battered out of sight but managed to keep the ball out of the net, and then took their only chance – a half-chance if truth be told – to win the game. The roles were reversed at Wordsworth Drive as the rival teams looked to kick off the new year on the front foot, the only difference being that Tiverton were unable to nick a goal against the run of play. Taunton were a bigger threat, could have won handsomely, but Tiverton held on for a point.

Let’s be honest: the quality was low from both sides, and although Taunton came closer to scoring, and did so on several occasions in the first half, neither team played particularly well. Rusty perhaps from an enforced winter break, there was a distinct lack of fluidity about the game. Oddly Tivvy played the better football without ever really getting anywhere; the Peacocks were much more direct and this ploy helped them to a sequence of chances that they were unable to convert.

The first attempt on goal of any significance came when Carl Cliff-Brown pulled the ball back and Andy Robertson placed his shot a few feet wide of the target, and Tiverton responded to this threat as Russell Jee drove trough the midfield and took upon himself the duties of playmaker in the absence of Andy Taylor, but the Yellows ended up with just a throw-in near the corner flag, and the move, the pressure, the momentum, they all broke down.

There followed a spell when Taunton could have raced into a lead unassailable by any team other than the best, and as Tiverton aren’t the best they must be thankful that a combination of poor finishing and brilliant goalkeeper kept the scores level. A free kick into the box was met by Ben Gerring and saved – and well held – by Chris Wright. Right place and right time, instinctive, solid. That was Wright throughout the afternoon. Simon Ingram’s through-ball allowed Nat Pepperell a shot on goal and again Wright saved, and Pepperell then blazed one well over the top after a second corner in quick succession wasn’t fully dealt with by the Tiverton defence.

Referee Cloak was amongst the action that led to Taunton’s next chance, getting in the way of a pass in midfield which allowed the home side to launch an attack, and Cliff-Brown was left wondering what he had to do to score against his former club when his powerful effort was tipped onto the crossbar by the unbeatable Wright. Craig Herrod eventually put the ball high over the stand after Taunton had recycled and worked another shooting opportunity.

The action remained primarily in the final defensive third from a Tivvy perspective and twice Pepperell found the outside of the netting, while Cliff-Brown was hurried into a shot as Kevin Hill defended and pressured so that one went over, and on the stroke of half time another attempt from the same player ended with the same outcome. For Tiverton there was little other than a free kick from Lewis Tasker, whipped into a good area, but just too far in front of both Joe Bushin and Dave Pearce, and just too wide to sneak inside the post.

And so we changed ends still at even par. Taunton had worked and squandered more or less all of the good chances, their direct play into the channels and corners causing problems for the Yellows. It was telling how much of a concern this was for Tiverton as rarely did we see either Tasker of Josh Concanen in the upper half of the filed, yet still Taunton found that space. Owen Howe replaced Pearce at the start of the second half, despite Pearce looking the more lively of Tivvy’s two attackers, and once Wright had made a regulation save from a low Pepperell free kick Howe had his first chance of the match as he picked up a through ball from David Steele and shot early and wide.

Another half-chance for Tivvy followed when Steele looped the ball over and Ben Mammola missed his header, but Bushin nodded wide of the post in an awkward situation where there was no pace on the pass and little chance to really make it count. At least Tiverton were getting things done and creating a few opportunities now, and on the whole the second half was an even affair: Robertson lofted one into the heavens at one end and Tasker’s free kick at the other found the side netting with Taunton goalkeeper Conor Thompson struggling to get across.

There were further substitutions which didn’t particularly help nor hinder the flow of a game which hadn’t really been of good quality, and Owen Irish headed wide at the far post from a long diagonal Mammola free kick, while Howe had the ball in the net for a split second but was penalised for a clear foul on Thompson. And so the game wore on, into the final stages, and without anything of particular note although things became potentially feisty as challenges flew in from both sides and Mr. Cloak kept his cards in his pocket. 75 seconds of time added on (that despite three interruptions for physio attention) garnered no further chances, and on balance we were left with Tiverton grateful for a point having ridden their luck in the first half, and Taunton no doubt wondering what more they had to do to win the game.

Taunton Town: Conor Thompson, Ben Mammola, Alex Jeannin, Owen Irish, Ben Gerring, Rob Norrish, Nat Pepperell (Jamie Short 71), Simon Ingram (Rodney March 78), Carl Cliff-Brown, Andy Robertson, Craig Herrod (James Blake 86)
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Josh Concanen, Lewis Tasker, Kevin Hill, Alex Faux, Tom Gardner, David Steele, Russell Jee, Dave Pearse (Owen Howe 46), Joe Bushin (Jules Emati-Emati 85), Josh Searle (Harry Nodwell 54)
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance: 390

This report ©2013 Alan Reidy