Match report

Chesham United 2 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Friday 08/10/2004   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Ah‚ here we are again. Friday evening. Off to the game.........Hang on a mo! Friday evening? Game? Football? Something´s wrong. Those things just don´t seem compatible. Or is it just me having a senior moment? When I was a lad‚ and yes that was a long long time ago‚ there was a time and a place for everything - I know that cos my mother told me and she was always right. And the time for football was Saturday afternoon. In those days life was more regimented. When you left school you got a job and there you stayed until it was pension time. You maintained your station in society and were happy to live to the pattern‚ regular as the Swiss watch you could only dream of (aided of course by strategic doses of Syrup of Figs). For me part of the routine was The Match´ on a Saturday afternoon. First the game‚ followed by a session peering through the window of the local electrical shop as the results came up via the vidi-printer on the display television there-in. Then the dash home to listen to Sports Report on The Light Programme. Yes‚ boring‚ but a heaven to which I´d happily return. So just why were we at Chesham on Friday‚ not Saturday? Because England are playing Wales. Sorry‚ but I find that totally irrelevant. The first time I ever saw the national team play in the flesh (no! no! they were wearing shirts and shorts!)‚ was at Wembley against Uruguay...early sixties I think; certainly well before the World Cup came to London. Wednesday afternoon. KO 3.00pm. Live on BBC television! Then a couple of years later there was the AC Milan v Barcelona European final under the twin towers (something else that now has a new meaning)‚ also a midweek‚ afternoon kick off. So what has changed‚ what has made the difference? Money and the power of the media. The television companies and their willingness to pay. They now dictate the times of kick off. Noon Saturday. 5 p.m. Saturday. 8 p.m. Monday. Their pound of flesh in return for their ample funds - and who gets that filthy lucre´? Certainly not the Cheshams and Tivertons of the football world. So three o´clock Saturday is their selected time and all the fans that watch the beautiful game without the benefit of slow motion replays or pundits that have forgotten life on the terraces are the ones to be inconvenienced. Someone has their priorities wrong? Such a game should be staged at a time to suit football fans not television fans. Try a Sunday if you must but not 3.00 p.m. Saturday. Or even‚ and this would really generate funds for the clubs lower down the pyramid‚ how about 5.30 p.m. Clubhouses throughout the country would be packed to the rafters with fans from home and away; fans who would unite to cheer the national side. England´s 5-1 victory aver Germany a couple of years ago was enjoyed (and how!) by around 150 noisy fans who put aside their rivalries to unite in the national cause in the Ladysmead clubhouse following the Tivvy v Crawley game. So‚ come on FA take the lead and if the Television companies won´t pay - so what. Money isn´t everything. Ask Roman Abramavich. It hasn´t bought him a championship! Is it just me‚ an old fashioned traditionalist‚ or is the tail waging the dog? Rant over‚ and there we were at Chesham anyway.

Subsequent to the two FA Cup games against Bideford‚ Tivvy´s Casualty Corner was crowded with Steve Winter and Matt Lock joining skipper Rob Cousins. All three were named on the bench´ but there was no realistic chance of them taking any part in the action. David Steele slotted in at right wing back in place of Wints´ with Dave Hallett and Mike Booth filling the midfield places. The changes did not appear to have unbalanced The Yellows as the game got underway and it was ironic that their first effort on goal‚ a Jamie Mudge shot from 20 yards out in the fourth minute ‚ came from a right wing attack that saw Steele turn inside and send in a beautiful cross.......with his left foot. The opening ten minutes saw the visitors in more adventurous mood but though they pushed forward more than their hosts the home defence was not under any serious pressure and Mark Ovendale was the busier of the two goalkeepers‚ albeit done to hitting long balls forward from back passes or fielding innocuous over hit forward efforts from the home midfield. It was not until the 13th minute that Chesham really threatened. John Lawford‚ who was living up to his reputation as a major threat to defences in this league‚ split the Tivvy back line to send strike spearhead Garry Sippetts away through the middle but the front man pushed the ball too far in front of himself and Ovendale won the race to the ball and was down to smother it safely. David Hallet was continuing from whence he had left off on Tuesday evening and was the dominant factor in the centre of the field. Not only the centre as he showed in the 19th minute when making a strong forward run that saw him fire wide with a speculative effort from just outside the penalty area. The game was moving from end to end at a fast regular pace and Iain Harvey had to be on his toes to get in a solid tackle as Sippetts again looked like breaking through the middle as United began a session of concerted pressure that tested the Tiverton defence. That back line held solid‚ though‚ with Nathan Rudge giving another stalwart performance. The Yellows stand in captain seems to be revelling in the responsibility of wearing the armband. It has brought the best out of his play and smothered the dubious temperament of the past. The control and calmness seems to be rubbing off ton those around him and Chesham´s efforts brought them little reward as shots were blocked and crosses cleared safely away.
Having survived the squall Town began to venture forth once more. Chris Vinnicombe moved up the left flank and swung in a cross that curled dangerously towards the far Post and forced Chesham´s stand in keeper Bradley Hughes a little consternation as he stretched to tip it round the upright for a 29th minute corner. Vinnicombe crossed the field to swing the kick into the near post but it came straight back out to him. The second ball went to the far post and though it was slightly behind him Paul Milsom really should have done better as he swivelled to make contact‚ than to have hooked it so high and so wide. The efficiency of the Tiverton back line was illustrated when two minutes later Lawford elected to avoid them by lobbing in a thirty yard shot that Ovendale took comfortably on the run. Comfort was the key word as Tiverton did look at ease. Not dominant but not under any great stress in midfield or defence. The problem area ‚ though‚ remained. At the front there was a lack of penetration. Mudge was being out numbered and Jamie Densham was causing occasional problems‚ but neither was finding a way through the line. In what was to prove to be a facet of their tactics‚ five minute bursts of hyper activity‚ United again turned the wick up as the forty minute mark approached. They won their first corner of the game. It was poked out and then hoisted back but over the bar. Tivvy replied with a corner of their own after Mudge had turned his man and broken free on the right only to see his cross turned out by a defender. Hughes looked slightly dodgy´ as he flapped at the ball and only managed to pat it just beyond the penalty area where it was swept away before Hallett and Steele combined to work it forward again to feed Mudge‚ now wide on the left....but offside. Then the blitz. Chesham bombarded the Tiverton box‚ The 42nd minute was completely taken up with three home corners as Town applied the if in doubt‚ put it out‚ concept of defending. When they did clear the third kick away it came straight back as Stuart Hole cut in from the right to Test Ovendale who managed to hold cleanly despite being fouled as he went to ground to smother the ball. But the pressure told and when United swarmed back towards the Tivvy goal the visitors tendency to momentarily lose concentration was again evident as after a few moments solid defending they lapsed and allowed Lawford the time and space to drive a low shot through the mass of torsos and legs in front of him and into the net. It sent the home side in at the break with the lead but in reality there was little to choose between the two sides in the first 45 minutes.........apart from strike!

So it was Tuesday all over again and The Yellows came out following the interval with the job of making up for a silly late slip. They set about the task with enthusiasm and effort. None more so than Mudge who ran at the Chesham barricade as Tivvy swept forward but was typically unloaded as one too many home boot stretched for the ball. United saw their chance with Yellow shirts pushing up field but they could not sustain any pressure and the opening ten minutes belonged to the visitors as once more Mudge was crowded out‚ Densham found space out on the left but hoisted his shot high as he cut in towards goal and after a good combination with Vinnicombe‚ Hallett´s shot was high after taking a deflection from a Chesham boot. Hallett was having an impressive game and on the hour was unlucky not to be celebrating involvement in an equaliser when he split the United defence with a slightly overhit trough ball. There appeared little point in Densham‚ the intended recipient‚ pursuing the pass as it carried towards the left hand side of the penalty area but Jamie No. 2 thought otherwise and continued the chase even when it looked certain that Hughes would reach the ball with two yards to spare. The keeper did get there first but even as he dropped to smother the ball Densham stretched out a leg and managed to get a touch - enough to deny the keeper but only send the ball trickling towards the goal. It never had enough power to reach the line and it was a mere formality for a retreating defender to sweep the ball into his stride and clear away upfield. The pace at which the game had been played began to take it´s effect and it settled down to a more pedestrian tempo. Still there was a great deal of neck twisting as the action moved from end to end but with more play in midfield Tivvy´s dominance began to fade. Hallett and Booth‚ an energetic workman even if not overly constructive, have not had the outings to get used to playing a full game. It showed, particularly when the home side made a substitution that brought fresh legs to their attack force.
The main threat came from their left wing play where both Tom Stocco and David Steele were struggling to deal with the pace of the attacks. The 76th minute saw Stocco left flat footed against one such run and luckily for Tivvy the resultant cross was hit well wide but in the 82nd minute their persistence in that channel saw a wing run followed by a burst along the by-line and a cross that was turned out at the back of the goal for a corner. Variety is the spice of life and the corner kick was one of a rare species. Fired in with all the force and power of a penalty kick and right along the ground, it passed the near post within a bout 18 inches and continued for just over eight yards, avoiding contact with any of over a dozen boots topped off with a choice of socks that were within half a yard of its trajectory. Until it reached the far post where Chesham´s captain for the day tucked it away neatly to effectively seal his side´s victory. The substitution of Steele by Wills and three minutes later Goff for Harvey made little difference to Tivvy´s chances of mounting a late comeback, though Goff did make one forward sortie to launch a weak but on target shot in the direction of Hughes. Chesham, any sign of tentative nervousness now evaporated, played freely and effectively defended by keeping possession and moving towards the Tiverton goal. It was clear that they fancied a third goal to help the g-diff´ column in the league table for they pushed upfield in numbers. It proved counter productive for them as deep into the final minute Mark Ovendale did his Dave Beasant impression by hoofing a massive kick right through the middle. The ball gust cleared the head of the last defender left in the Chesham half - Nathan Bowden Haase - and Mudge nipped in behind him. The ball bounced, Jamie nodded it down, took it into his stride and closed on Hughes who stood very little chance as Jamie blasted the ball past him and set the net shimmering. Route One, or what. A fine strike but too little too late.

Chesham are right up there at the top of the division, Tiverton in the depths at the bottom. This game offered little evidence of the logic of those positions. There was not a division´s worth of space separating the teams.


Tiverton Town: .Mark Ovendale, David Steele ( Kevin Wills, 82), Chris Vinnicombe, Paul Milsom, Nathan Rudge, Mike Booth, Dave Hallett, Iain Harvey (Shaun Goff, 85), Tom Stocco, Jamie Densham, James Mudge.

Subs not used: Rob Cousins, Steve Winter, Matt Lock.

Booked: None


Chesham United: Bradley Hughes, Simon Sweeney, Stuart Hole, Graham Hale, Nathan Bowden-Hasse, Greg Deacon, Steve Sinclair, Andy Adebowale, Garry Sippetts (John Richardson, 70), John Lawford, Neil Yates

Subs not used: Kevin Mealor, Ben Smith, Andre Scarlett, Matt Dickinson.

Booked: None.


Att: 321


Referee: Mr M Darlow

This report ©2004 John Reidy






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