Match report

Yate Town 2 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 05/03/2013   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

Yate Town’s home form is quite special in one sense of the word; Tiverton’s form everywhere is quite special in an altogether different sense, so what chance that the Yellows could come away from Lodge Road with a point or three to show for their efforts? Not much according to the bookmakers or even the casual observers, but stranger things have happened – remember Tivvy winning at top-of-the-table and previously unbeaten Nuneaton Borough in October 2003 for example. Without Kevin Hill and Andy Taylor the task was never going to be an easy one, and in the end Tiverton came up just short, but they certainly made Yate work hard in order to extend their winning home run to nine games.

Post-match Rob Cousins was frank in his assessment and had realised how Tivvy were the keener in the first half, hence his need to gee up his team at the interval. That his motivational rant was effective is a credit to the Yate players – their response was as required, while Tiverton didn’t have or were unable to find the next level having edged the first half in terms of desire and threat if not on chances created. It was all square at one goal apiece at half time, Yate taking the lead through Edd Vahid with Tivvy quickly responding thanks to Josh Searle’s goal. It could have been just about any score imaginable at that stage; it could have been a comfortable victory for Yate in the end but they had to settle for a late Michael Bryant goal to seal the win.

Tiverton’s ploy was clear early on: get the ball forward and let Jules Emati-Emati either run onto it or hold it up and wait for support.  Both concepts had their merit and to an extent both proved effective as within five minutes Jules raced onto a long ball and was only denied by an excellent save from Yate goalkeeper Lubos Ancin, the Bluebells’ defence flat-footed and hoping for an offside flag that never came. When support was offered so Emati-Emati used it, most often the scampering and full-energy legs belonging to Alex Faux who continued to impress with his work-ethic and determination on the left wing. Twice in a few first-half minutes Faux was found and crossed, firstly deep for Searle to cut the ball back and then Adam Faux to aim a weak lob straight at Ancin, and then soon afterwards a low delivery across the edge of the penalty area which Searle controlled before firing low with Ancin again called into action.

There was one further chance for Tivvy while the scores were still locked at nil-nil, and it was an unfortunate misunderstanding that let Yate off the hook. Down the right wing this time, Searle sprinted away, cut inside from near the by-line, and was in two minds whether to shoot or set up Emati-Emati. He opted for the latter but with little conviction meaning that he more or less rammed the ball into his teammate’s shins just six yards from goal, and the chance was gone.

There was plenty going on at the opposite end too, but while Ancin had been busy saving shots Chris Wright was busy simply retrieving the ball from behind his goal as Yate’s shooting boots refused to fire as intended. Scott Wilson linked up with Jake Cox and the result was a shot which may have been a cross, or perhaps a cross that may have been a shot; either way Cox sent the ball across the face of goal and a few feet wide of Wright’s left post. Wilson, who can’t help but score just about every week, was proving to be equally adept as a creator, and again there was no need for Wright to do anything when a diagonal ball picked out Karim Rendall and Rendall picked out the advertising hoarding beside the goal. Everything up there went through Wilson one way or the other, even a sliced clearance by Tom Gardner that the Tivvy captain recovered, and a poor clearing kick from Wright which Wilson returned back out for a goal kick under pressure from Adam Faux.

There was nearly half an hour on the clock and both sides had spurned chances. Both sides were also playing some rather decent football at times, Yate more technical, Tivvy more direct but equally as effective. It was therefore a bit against the grain that the first goal should arrive by such simple means. Geraint Bater curled an inswinging corner from the right which cleared most players congregated in the area including Wright, and at the far post Vahid could barely believe his luck when he was left unattended to prod the ball into the net from within spitting distance (and we aren’t talking Frank Rijkaard’s spitting distance here!) Yate’s build-up play had been pleasing on the eye, particularly when it involved Michael Meaker and Matt Groves, and it had been this combination that had won the corner, so although the goal itself was hardly a thing of beauty – and Tivvy would have been ashamed to concede in such a manner – at least Yate’s style had borne fruit in a round-about way.

However, at this stage Tiverton didn’t really deserve to be behind, other than for the fact that they messed up defensively from a set-piece, so it was only fitting that they would quickly draw level again. And the goal came in a manner in keeping with the way the game was being played as another long ball out of defence found Emati-Emati who had drifted slightly deep between the Yate defence and midfield. On this occasion it was Searle who pegged forward in support and Jules played a simple enough through-ball which left Scott Thomas beaten and sent Searle on his way. Ancin, for the second time that evening managed to save when one-on-one, but his parried block fell back perfectly for Searle to readjust his body-shape and sweep the ball into the net.

The home side quickly got on with things and had claims for a penalty dismissed in a goalmouth mêlée that followed a save by Wright from a Bater shot. If there was a foul or a handball then it remained unseen by the referee and his assistant on the near side, so the first half ended level, entertaining enough and with all still to play for after a quick cuppa and a quarter of an orange or whatever footballers do in the changing rooms these days.

Yate started the second period with intent and restricted Tiverton to just one early chance as a corner delivered by Lewis Tasker found Tom Gardner and when his header was deflected up into the air David Steele then nodded goalwards but with little power so as to not cause Ancin too much commotion. Otherwise it was largely one-way traffic in a westerly direction: Harley Purnell narrowly missed the target from a long way out, just over and just wide; Groves played a quick one-two with Meaker but also had his radar misaligned, and when Josh Concanen upended Groves Wright had to make a solid save from Cox’s free kick, with Gardner eventually clearing the Tiverton lines. Alex Faux put one into the wall rather than the net on a rare Tivvy break, while for the hosts Groves volleyed high and Bryant, just off the bench and not yet into the groove sidefooted the wrong side of the post.

The best move of the match saw Yate clinically move the ball down the right and seamlessly through the Tiverton defence twenty minutes from the end, with Bryant, Groves and then Meaker all on the same wavelength to combine beautifully and tee up Wilson. But it wasn’t Wilson’s day and his shot from a central position was brilliantly kept out by the gallant Wright meaning the Division’s top goalscorer would be left to contemplate only the fourth time in thirteen games that he has failed to find the net since switching to Lodge Road from Cinderford in early December.

By now Joe Bushin was on in place of Emati-Emati, Russell Jee was on page one of the referee’s notebook for a silly handball offence, and he joined David Steele who had earlier been cautioned for a tardy late challenge on Bater, no malice but also no timing. Ollie Barnes had also joined the fray as he took over from Vahid, and the reshuffling across the pitch initially seemed to favour the Yellows with a neat passing move down the right wing seeing the ball going from Adam Faux to Searle to Michael Nardiello, and finally onto Alex Faux and into the hands of Ancin. Tivvy believed they could win which is impressive conviction considering their current form, but Yate believed too, and five minutes after Ancin’s save from Faux it was off down the other end again and the killer blow. Meaker showed a touch of class to cheekily chip the ball over the Tiverton defence, Bryant raced through and from just inside the area cracked a shot beyond Wright and into the bottom corner. It was a delightfully crafted goal and one that – it has to be said – Yate deserved on the balance of play since the change of ends.

They held on with relative ease for the last few minutes of the game, introducing Ibo Sarr for Meaker late on, and Tivvy managed just one more attack worthy of mention, with Tom Gardner forward deep into added time, but his lofted cross was a tad too high and Nardiello was able only to guide the ball over the bar. Ancin lifted the resulting goal kick towards the halfway line and the referee brought to an end a match that really could have gone either way but eventually went the way of the team that were marginally better on the day, and particularly stronger in the second half.


Yate Town: Lubos Ancin, Tom Warren, Jake Cox, Harley Purnell (Michael Bryant 64), Scott Thomas, Geraint Bater, Matt Groves, Edd Vahid (Ollie Barnes 71), Michael Meaker (Ibu Sarr 90), Scott Wilson, Karim Rendall
Goals: Vahid 29, Bryant 82
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Josh Concanen, Lewis Tasker, Russell Jee, Adam Faux, Tom Gardner, David Steele, Alex Faux, Michael Nardiello, Jules Emati-Emati (Joe Bushin 75), Josh Searle
Goal: Searle 33
Booked: Steele 54, Jee 75
Sent off: None

Attendance: 124


This report ©2013 Alan Reidy