Match report

Clevedon Town 3 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Monday 01/04/2013   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

At this stage of the season, and with the upheaval that has occurred at Ladysmead, it is perhaps sensible to consider the match at Clevedon in its own context. While it is obvious that we want to win every game, keep clean sheets, and play exciting open football, the truth is that the final few weeks of the season need to be used for Jamie and Paul to assess the current squad and take the opportunity to look at a few players from the Youth and Reserve sides. The Tivvy team may be low on morale but while there is no threat to the club’s Southern League status now is the best time to experiment a little and make early preparations for next season. The squad is a bit thin on the ground and it shows, but we are where we are and from now until the end of the month needs to be treated as a learning period.

In Somerset both Tom Tricker and Jesse Howe gained valuable experience with the senior team as they came on as second half substitutes, while the new management team would have learnt more about the current regulars. Some of those learnings wouldn’t have been too positive as Clevedon bossed the game after the break and all three of their goals, one of which arrived midway through the first period, were down to defensive errors. The game had been relatively even throughout the first forty-five minutes but the afternoon as a whole pretty much summed up where Tivvy are at present.

One of the most significant factors in the game was Clevedon’s ability to adapt to the conditions better than Tiverton. The wind was whistling in from the end of the ground that housed the main entrance and for the first half Tivvy had this wind at their backs. Regularly balls forward were overhit and ran through to Joe Perry in the Clevedon goal, while the Seasiders’ themselves had fewer issues into the breeze, nor when they had the wind at their back in the second half. However, after the change of ends it was common for high balls to hold up, Clevedon defenders to step forward and make interceptions, and Tiverton attacks to break down barely before they had started.

The Yellows had a handful of openings in the early stages of the game, firstly when Perry had to scamper forward and head the ball away as Michael Nardiello raced forward, then a through ball from Nardiello which found Kyle Bassett who blasted his shot high into the side netting. It was encouraging for Tiverton and Chris McGrath had the next chance, found by a long Tom Gardner throw-in but unable to hit the target on the turn. Alex Faux volleyed wide, so did Lewis Tasker, and Perry made the best save of the match to palm away a dipping free kick from Jon Vance following a foul on Nardiello on the left edge of the penalty area.

Clevedon were not averse to attacks of their own, using lively winger Aron Robbins to good effect as their main outlet. It was Robbins who had the first shot of the game for the hosts, banging the ball wide having intercepted a clearing header from McGrath, and Chris Wright saved soon afterwards from George Brimson when Tasker had conceded possession in a dangerous area. Another chance for Robbins, this time created by Lloyd Mills, was blocked behind for a corner by Josh Concanen, and eventually the pressure told and Clevedon made the breakthrough. The goal initially came from a lapse by Tom Gardner who completely missed an interception, allowing Mills away down the right. His cross was deep – too deep it seemed at first – but Robbins was in his usual place out wide and was able to head the ball back towards the centre. There waiting was Brimson who carefully guided the ball past Wright and into the net off the inside of the post.

Another chance for Robbins came and went as he again found plenty of space on the left, was picked out by Adi Adams, and shot low and a few feet wide, and Tivvy responded by getting an equaliser that they deserved on balance (the Yellows had enjoyed more of the ball if not the better goalscoring chances). Play seemed to be going nowhere fast in the middle of he pitch until Vance lifted the ball over his own head on the halfway line, and over the heads of the Clevedon defenders who were cautiously pressing forwards. Bassett was the first to react and his pace took him clearly beyond the recovering Steve Kingdon until he approached the edge of the area. There was still a lot to do and Bassett did it wonderfully as he lifted the ball over Perry and into the top corner with the outside of his right boot.

The first half ended all square as Robbins and Mills both missed the target at one end and Josh Searle did likewise at the other, but after the break, just like when Eric eats a banana, an amazing transformation occurred. Almost without exception Clevedon controlled the game in every aspect, and it was only a matter of time until they restored their lead. Searle cleared the ball from the line at the far post as Russell Church’s corner caused a whole lot of commotion in the area, the Yellows were properly pined back, and when Tasker misjudged a long diagonal pass Robbins nipped in and rather cleverly lifted the ball with his first touch over Wright who had rushed forward in an attempt to bail out his left back.

The game became unnecessarily niggly for a period: Faux was booked for a foul on Adams, Kye Mountford exacted revenge on behalf of his teammate by chopping down Faux and received a yellow card of his own, and Kingdon was also cautioned as he bundled over Nardiello. All of that in a silly ten-minute period, and things got back on track at around the same time Howe replaced Searle on the right wing. Although struggling as they attacked into the wind Tivvy had by no means given up but they were only able to forge a couple of half-chances. One was headed wide by Nardiello as Gardner flicked on a free kick delivered by Josh Concanen; the other, from a Tasker corner, fell to McGrath but Clevedon scrambled the ball away. In truth Clevedon seldom looked like scoring in the closing stages, although an audacious effort from Kaine Gazzard would have been something to see had Wright not been smart enough to tip the ball over the crossbar. In the final minute of regulation time the home side grabbed their third as they broke quickly and decisively and substitute Dan Williams clinically turned Tasker inside-out before hammering a sublime shot from thirty yards into the top corner, the ball still rising as it nestled into the net with Wright grasping at thin air.

Clevedon Town: Joe Perry, Kaine Gazzard, Aron Robbins, Rory Prendergast, Steve Kingdon, Ben Murray, Kye Mountford (Szymon Gromek 83), Adi Adams (Dan Williams 84), Lloyd Mills, Russell Church, George Brimson
Goals: Brimson 25, Robbins 58, Williams 89
Booked: Mountford 62, Kingdon 69
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright, Josh Concanen, Lewis Tasker, Kevin Hill, Chris McGrath, Tom Gardner, Josh Searle (Jesse Howe 70), Jon Vance, Michael Nardiello, Kyle Bassett (Tom Tricker 78), Alex Faux
Goal: Bassett 40
Booked: Faux 60
Sent off: None

Attendance: 129

This report ©2013 Alan Reidy