Match report

Tiverton Town 4 - 1 Newport County

   Saturday 30/10/2004   FA Cup
John Reidy

Even before football it was always going to be a notable weekend on two counts. Halloween and the end of British Summer(?)time. Halloween... spooks and spectres‚ ghosts and ghoulies‚ all the horrors of the underworld. Not that many of them particularly frighten me; I´m more fazed by the real life little horrors that come knocking on my door making minor threatening demands on my loose cash or sweetie stash. Call me scrooge if you like‚ but the new found 'tradition´ of Trick or Treat‚ I find annoying. Penny for the guy - OK‚ if it´s self constructed and carted around on a 'trolley´. A few coppers reward for effort. Christmas carol singers - OK‚ as long as there are not too many and they´re in tune; but the recent American import of ransom money for dressing up in Store bought wigs and masks... nope. Mind you‚ the way the date fell this year‚ coinciding with the FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round‚ did make me wonder if the evil spirits that seem to be personified by Tivvy Town´s league form might be inspired by the occasion and manifest themselves in such strength that they would dominate the cup form spirits of the Yellows. Good or Evil? Trick or Treat? We could only wait and see as Newport County - the potential Grim Reapers‚ came out of the Hades that is South Wales on a mission to stem the flow of Tiverton´s FA Cup dreams...

Previous results between the two clubs showed that Tiverton were something of a bogey team for the Welsh outfit but the men from the Principality were clearly out to prove Henry Ford right... ´History is Bunk´... as the game got underway. The result was a typical Cup Tie start - fast‚ frenetic and crowded. Neither side seemed prepared to give the opposition a moment of time on the ball or an inch of space in which to even consider controlled play. Both defences looked solid against the few early forward moves in either direction and the contest developed into a battle for control of the midfield areas. Shaun Goff‚ making his first start of the season for the home side stood up well to the fierceness of that battle and was plainly fired up to make an impression‚ as he certainly did in the 9th minute as he tried to bulldoze his way through the County back line. He might have been unsuccessful but it was the earliest indicator of two things‚ Firstly‚ The Yellows were gaining the upper hand in the war for the control of the central territory; and secondly‚ that the Newport defence was not quite as sound as it had initially looked. These two points were not lost on the players either and the effect was to boost the confidence of the home side whilst causing doubts to rise in the minds of their visitors... and thus magnify the situation. Tiverton pushed forward‚ Newport scrambled back - frequently in disarray. The breakthrough came in the thirteenth minute (spooky!). It was just as might have been predicted in the cards. Tivvy won possession in midfield‚ where they were by now dominant‚ and Kevin Wills showed his class with a perfectly placed defence splitting chipped through ball to the feet of Kezie Ibe. Ibe was being man marked by County´s Darren Jones but took the pass and shrugged off the big Welshman´s challenge as he rounded him in a single move to bear down on Andrew Delve‚ County´s stand in keeper. Delve came‚ Ibe swayed to his left and ghosted past him before slotting the ball into the net before the angle became too great. The invading hoards of Exiles fans behind the goal at the opposite end of the field were muted for the first time. That single goal lead was short lived. The home side had their tails well up and poured straight back onto the attack. Jamie Mudge had been coming more into the game with his wide runs as the supply of ball had been increasing and it was little surprise that his appetite for a goal was increasing in parallel. He forced in a shot in the 16th minute after good work on the right from David Steele but there seemed to be just too many legs in the way. His effort was deflected back to him and he moved across the edge of the penalty area searching for another gap. It opened and the second shot went through it and low into the net. Two - nil. The silence from the Leisure Centre End was deafening.

Not every voice connected to the Welsh side was quiet. There was at least one that was being exercised raucously from the area of the main stand that had more than a hint of the valleys in it and was patently fuelled by a considerable quantity of the local apple based beverage. It´s message was just as clear an indication that its owner had ignored the warnings about the damage that such over indulgence could do to brain cells but there was another. County manager John Cornforth managed to get his head out of his hands to fire up his men. Tiverton were no mystery to the former Exeter City manager but though his charges responded to their plight with fight rather than despair it was not enough. Defenders were ordered to push forward into midfield and they managed to wrest control from the home side. Extra men gave them more options and they played some nice football. Nice until they reached the edge of the Tiverton penalty area where they met a yellow barricade and try as they might they could do no more than dent it. Their slick‚ pretty approach work was all but wasted as the home defence blocked and tackled. A few shots did manage to get through‚ as did a number of hopeful long balls into the goalmouth‚ but Tiverton keeper Mark Ovendale was in selfish mood and claimed every ball that came into is territory as his own. Best effort came from County skipper John Phillips (leading by example?) but the two closest incidents that might have led to goals were both at the other end as Tivvy took advantage of the gaps left in the Newport back line. On 40 minutes Ibe shielded the ball well to turn round a defender and fire in a shot that went straight and true to Delve and a minute before the break Wills again opened up the defence with a ball through to Mudge that saw the lively Yellows forward escape down the right flank before laying the ball off to Ibe who was denied by a deflection out for a corner. Two - nil at half time and things were looking good for the hosts‚ though their fans were not counting chickens... they have learnt that lesson!

When battle recommenced‚ though‚ there was some counting going on. It might be a corny joke about sheep on the Tivvy pitch but Newport´s players seemed to have taken it literally and were trying to count them. They were half asleep and paid the price as Town hit their third goal. Wills again had a hand as he ran full tilt at the visitors defence but over-ran the ball as he approached the penalty area. Recovering his poise he managed to push the ball diagonally across the box to Ibe who coolly slotted the ball past a flat footed Delve. The goal brought the visiting fans back to full voice‚ though hardly in support of their team. 'What a Load of Rubbish' and You´re Not Very Good´ are not the kind of lyrics you expect to emanate from a Welsh choir - nor were they likely to lift the morale of a dejected looking team. Cornforth did his best to improve things with the use of substitutes but in all honesty he did not have the resources. Fresh legs enabled County to continue their forward momentum from the first period but helped them not one iota in the ability to find a way through the home defence and all the while Tiverton´s twin spearhead of Mudge and Ibe threatened to add to the tally on the break. Even the Tiverton wide defenders were finding the space - and energy - to push forward‚ either creating or supporting swift raids. The Yellows three man midfield of Goff‚ Mike Booth and Wills‚ were holding their own against the greater number of Exiles men in the central area and The back three of Iain Harvey‚ 'Captain Calm' Nathan Rudge‚ and Rob Cousins were frighteningly efficient. Chris Vinnicombe made a 59th minute break that saw a rare occurrence at Ladysmead when he fired in a cross that saw Mudge rise to connect powerfully with his head but steer the ball just wide of the crossbar upright joint. A stranger wandering into the ground around the hour mark might have thought he´d found an evenly balanced contest as Darren Jones blasted a shot over the Tiverton crossbar and within a minute Mudge was caught offside when Ibe pounced on a poor clearance from the visitors keeper but sent the ball forward with his strike partner still retreating from the initial attack.

It was an illusion that would not have lasted long as Tiverton‚ as if deciding that they´d allowed their opponents enough fun‚ moved back up a gear. Breaking up a Newport attack the ball was played out to the wide left where Mudge was lurking in wait. A few yards progress and a loooooooong crossfield ball to Ibe some five yards outside the penalty area. Ibe steadied himself and let fly. There is always a tendency to exaggerate the range of such efforts‚ Pythagorus and his hypotenuse would indicate that the distance from goal line to corner of penalty area is just over 28 yards... add five and so I´ll settle for 33 yards on this occasion. It was far enough for Delve to see. It was far enough for him to move in the right direction. It was not far enough for him to get anywhere near it as the still rising ball lifted the roof of the net to its full elasticity. The game was all over bar the shouting... from similar sources and in similar vein to that which had followed Tivvy´s third goal. The more appreciative County followers in front of me rose from their seats to applaud the goal... it deserved that. Twenty five minutes of mainly Tiverton followed. Dominant in every department they cruised into the First Round Proper for the seventh time. It might have been more but even when Jamie Densham was tumbled from behind when teeing up his shot after sprinting through the tired Newport back line‚ the referee´s decision to wave play on was hardly questioned. The contingent of fans from the other side of the Severn had thinned out considerably by the 89th minute. They missed their moment of glory (?) as the Exiles scored their consolation goal. A corner from the left saw Jason Bowen spoil Ovendale´s clean sheet. It was irrelevant. One final incident saw Jones‚ D. go into the book as he attempted to hack Ibe over the main stand´s roof in the final minute. One can only assume that the man in black just couldn´t be bothered - after all‚ it was going to make absolutely no difference to which team´s name would be in the draw for the next round.

It was Tiverton... but they weren´t in it for long being first out of the draw too! Home again‚ to... Doncaster Rovers!!! Two whole weeks to wait. In the meantime there is League business at Gloucester and Trophy matters against Bath to attend to. Exciting times. Just like the old days. Maybe turning the clocks back every now and then isn´t such a bad idea.

Tiverton Town: Mark Ovendale‚ David Steele‚ Chris Vinnicombe, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Kevin Wills (David Hallett 84), Iain Harvey, Shaun Goff (Tom Stocco, 68), Kezie Ibe, James Mudge (Jamie Densham, 79)
Subs not used: Paul Milsom, Paul Edwards
Yellow cards: Rudge, Wills

Newport County: Andrew Delve, Kevin Aherne-Evans (Neil Passmore, 75), Lee Phillips, Gethyn Jones (Carl Wilson-Denis, 49), Darren Jones, Scott Morgan, Jason Bowen, Layton Maxwell, Jamie Moralee, John Phillips (Andrew Thomas, 49), Jonathan Coates
Subs not used: Ashley Williams, Roger Freestone
Yellow Cards: Jones G, Jones D

Referee: Mr. K. Pike (Gillingham, Dorset)

Att: 1007



Tiverton Towns stop-start season finally exploded into life on Saturday as the rampant Yellows smashed higher-division Newport County 4-1 at Ladysmead. On-loan Yeovil striker Kezie Ibe scored a magnificent hat-trick as Martyn Rogers team booked a money-spinning FA Cup first round proper clash with League One side Doncaster Rovers.

Ibe sandwiched a Jamie Mudge strike by scoring in the 13th and 46th minutes to set Tivvy on their way - and he then rounded off victory with a spectacular third. From the moment the ball left his foot a full 25 yards from goal it was destined for the top corner. It was the perfect way to wrap up a dream performance by the rock-bottom Southern League Premier Division side.

"It was a tremendous result. Im delighted for the players and the club," drooled Ladysmead chief Rogers. "I would have enjoyed it a lot more if we were three-quarters of the way up the table, but it was still a good team performance. Its put smiles on a few peoples faces. And its a superb draw as well. Its absolutely fantastic to get a league club at home - you cant ask for any more than that."

Ibe, along with partner in crime Mudge, tied the Exiles two central defenders in knots. The pacy, tricky and direct front pairing leaped on Darren Jones and Scott Morgans obvious weaknesses and scored all four goals between them to earn Tiverton their biggest win in eight months.

Jones and Morgan were terrified by Ibe and Mudges pace and also panicked horribly whenever they were in possession. Visiting boss John Cornforth - who was the victim of some shameful abuse from his own fans - must have feared the worst whenever the ball went near them.

County were all too easily knocked out of their stride and they left the field at the final whistle bewildered by what had just happened to them. The two crates of beer they ordered before the game to celebrate their impending victory must have tasted awfully bitter.

Tivvy were superb in all areas of the pitch. Every one of their players showed the massive determination and will to win which has been so sadly lacking in the first third of the campaign. Right from the first whistle Tiverton were extremely positive and they asserted themselves on the game by playing at a much higher tempo than in recent weeks.

Their positivity was rewarded as early as the 13th minute, when a Kevin Wills through ball reached Ibe just outside the area. The former Arsenal trainee coolly rounded the keeper and rolled the ball into the empty net to give Tivvy a shock lead. But the Yellows certainly werent finished there. Their relentless flow of attacks continued to pummel the shaky County back-line and they opened up a two-goal cushion just after the quarter-hour mark, when Mudge fired home an unstoppable left-foot drive from 20 yards.

The lead moved to 3-0 just 66 seconds into the second half, when Wills broke free down the left and unselfishly crossed for Ibe to fire home. After Ibe had completed his hat-trick, the Yellows were denied the most cast iron, rock solid and nailed-on penalty imaginable. Substitute striker Jamie Densham was just about to score his first goal for the club two minutes from time, when he was crudely brought down from behind by a desperate defender - only for referee Keith Pike to turn a blind eye to what was a red card offence.

Thankfully for Pike, Tiverton were already in to the next round. But Mark Ovendale will be disappointed not to have claimed a richly-deserved clean sheet as former Welsh international Jason Bowen headed home a last-minute consolation goal.

Tiverton Town: Mark Ovendale, David Steele, Chris Vinnicombe, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Kevin Wills (David Hallett 84), Iain Harvey, Shaun Goff (Tom Stocco, 68), Kezie Ibe, Jamie Mudge (Jamie Densham, 79)
Subs not used: Paul Milsom, Paul Edwards
Booked: Rudge, Wills

Newport County: Andrew Delve, Kevin Aherne-Evans (Neil Passmore, 75), Lee Phillips, Gethin Jones (Carl Wilson-Denis, 49), Darren Jones, Scott Morgan, Jason Bowen, Layton Maxwell, Jamie Moralee, John Phillips (Andrew Thomas, 49), Jonathan Coates
Subs not used: Ashley Williams, Roger Freestone
Booked: G Jones, D Jones

This report ©2004 John Reidy

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