Match report

Wimborne Town 2 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 16/02/2013   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

If it isn’t broke then don’t fix it. But the big yellow Tiverton Town machine needs more than a lick of paint and a change of oil, so changes – some may say overdue – were the order of the day. Five out and five in from the defeat at Abingdon as Adam Faux, Harry Nodwell, Josh Searle, Michael Nardiello and Dave Pearse were all rewarded with starts, mainly due to the poor form of their teammates. The victims were Alex Faux, David Steele, Jules Emati-Emati, Joe Bushin and the Cornwall-bound Paul Kendall, the remaining four making up the substitutes’ bench alongside manager Mark Saunders as Tivvy looked to kick-start the year at Wimborne.

For a while it looked okay although the quality of football from both sides left a bit to be desired as they toiled away and huffed and puffed their way into a stalemate. Lewis Tasker blasted a free kick which was bound for the bottom corner but which Jason Harvell saved well (the free kick given for a questionable foul by Nathan Peprah-Annan on Pearse), and Adam Faux looked typically determined playing at right-back but too often his early efforts came to nothing once he ventured beyond the halfway line. It was a similar story on the other side of the pitch as Tasker never really pressed forward while Josh Concanen looked rather lost in an unfamiliar role on the left wing, meaning the main threat from wide came when Nardiello drifted towards the touchline, one direct run earning a corner which Harvell claimed comfortably.

Wimborne forged ahead on seventeen minutes through a Micky Hubbard penalty, struck into the roof of the net and a fair reward for a clear foul by Andy Taylor on Jamie Davidson following an under hit pass by Faux that left the Tivvy playmaker flat-footed. And four minutes later a Hubbard free kick was headed onto the post by Jon Blake although the linesman had already raised his flag for offside. Nonetheless it was a warning and not the last time the woodwork would intervene.

For much of the first half Wimborne were the better team in most areas of the pitch but Tiverton had more chances. Concanen volleyed over as Tom Gardner headed down a long Taylor free kick, Tasker shot wide, and Nardiello saw a goalbound effort blocked by the robust chest of Peprah-Annan. Gardner also missed the target with a header from a corner, won after an almighty scramble with Harvell claiming he was unfairly baulked, but the referee, who it must be said had a fine game, was unmoved and allowed the game to flow nicely on the whole, with one exception midway through the second half when he pulled play back for a foul in midfield despite Wimborne looking as if they would be able to break through.

The opening period ended with the home side in the ascendancy and Alex Moth saw two chances go begging. The first came when he charged down a clearance from Chris Wright but the Tivvy goalkeeper quickly pounced back on the loose ball, and moments later Moth escaped but was denied by an excellent recovering tackle by Gardner. In added time a through ball from George Webb found early substitute Tom Jeffes and Jeffes shot hit the base of the post, with the follow-up shot from Webb skimming across the face of goal and narrowly wide.

The verdict at the interval was that the changes made to the team hadn’t been particularly significant one way or the other, but there was an enforced shuffle at the start of the second half as Kevin Hill didn’t emerge and Alex Faux came on. That meant Concanen reverted to his more familiar right-back role with Adam Faux pushed into the centre of defence, while Josh Searle switched to the right wing with Alex Faux on the left. Immediately Tivvy looked a better beast with two proper wingers playing in their preferred positions, Faux making an instant impact with a no-nonsense run which culminated in a disappointingly weak shot. Still inside the first minute of the second half Harry Nodwell moved the ball forward, Nardiello cut it back and Searle shot agonisingly just wide, and Tivvy looked massively better. Pearse saw a shot on the turn sail over, Nardiello worked his way in from the right but could only shoot straight at Harvell, and Nodwell sliced horribly as he saw a mental image of his name in lights.

So for fifteen minutes the Yellows were the better side by some distance, but that changed dramatically once Wimborne had ridden the storm, and the Magpies turned the screw and dominated utterly from the hour mark onwards. Indeed, how they managed just one goal in the final half and hour is a mystery, and it is a testament to Wright and also Gardner who between them kept the hosts at bay. From a Ryan Case cross Alex Moth shot and the ball was deflected off Gardner, off Wright’s fingertips and onto the crossbar, and then Davidson almost doubled the lead but Gardner made another telling block, bailing out Wright who had tardily given the ball away when trying to play out to his defence.

David Steele replaced Lewis Tasker for Tiverton on seventy minutes, the thinking presumably that if we are going to lose we are at least going to lose trying to get a goal. So briefly Tivvy played a 3-5-2 system with Concanen now acting as a sweeper between Adam Faux and Gardner, Alex Faux and Searle as wingbacks. The adjustment didn’t stifle Wimborne’s appetite and Webb got in and around Wright with Gardner yet again coming to the rescue. Less than a minute later Wright saved from Webb and two driven follow-up efforts were also brilliantly saved as Jeffes and Blake were left to scratch their heads and wonder how charmed a life the Tiverton goal was leading.

A double-chance for Webb saw Wright again make an excellent save from the first shot, the second pulled wide of the mark. Davidson, one-on-one was denied by the Tiverton goalkeeper, but finally the pressure told with ten minutes remaining. Another bout of intense pressure and two more shots from good positions were blocked, with eventually the ball falling to Moth just inside the area and his vicious shot found the top corner, with Wright almost making yet another save as he got a little of his gloves on the ball and was denied only by the pace of the shot.

Wimborne, with breathing space now, played out time and remained a threat on the counter attack against a Tivvy defence that was battered, pulled about, tired and dejected. Matt Kemble had a late effort saved low down, and in a rare moment at the other end of the pitch Emati-Emati set up Steele but his attempt was lifted a few feet too high. So with all said and done Wimborne left the field to deserved applause from their supporters after a commanding victory. For Tiverton, Wright and Gardner could hold their heads up high and had it not been for them who knows what the score may have been?  Mark and Hedley will continue to search for the right balance, and one must wonder when Taylor will be moved back to the right side of midfield; his shift to the centre has exactly coincided with Tiverton’s loss of form, which may just be a coincidence.

Wimborne Town: Jason Harvell, Billy Maybury, Ryan Case, Adam Costello, Nathan Peprah-Annan, Jon Blake, Aidan Sainsubury (Tom Jeffes 43), Micky Hubbard, Alex Moth, Jamie Davidson (Matt Keble 82), George Webb
Goals: Hubbard 17p, Moth 80
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Josh Concanen, Lewis Tasker (David Steele 70), Kevin Hill (Alex Faux 46), Adam Faux, Tom Gardner, Andy Taylor, Harry Nodwell (Jules Emati-Emati 77), Michael Nardiello, Dave Pearse, Josh Searle
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance: 277

This report ©2013 Alan Reidy