Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 1 Torquay United

   Tuesday 23/07/2013   Friendly
Alan Reidy

Results don’t matter; pre-season is about fitness and familiarisation; friendlies allow the manager to try new systems and concepts; these games only show their merit later on in the year. All that guff. Anyone who has kicked a ball around a small patch of grass on a housing estate, or picked sides on the school playground, or played at any level at all knows that results do matter. True, neither Tiverton nor Torquay will get any points for the draw they played out at Ladysmead, but Torquay would much rather have won two or three nil, which they might well have had they taken their chances in the first half, and Tivvy will be delighted to have worked their way back after the break.

The Gulls squandered regular chances early on, most notably when Daniel Sullivan shot wide, and then later with a similar miss via the boot of Niall Thompson, a chance that was missed in part due to the excellent positioning ofTown goalkeeper Jonathan Viscosi. At the other end Dan Smith looked lively for the Yellows and went close twice, while John Heveran did much the same as he had ten days earlier against Plymouth by heading off target from a Shane Krac set-piece. It would be nice to say that at least Heveran is getting closer but that would be something of a mistruth – this one was a bit further off-target than the chance against Argyle – but nonetheless he seems to offer a very potent threat in the opposition penalty area.

Heveran was employed in a holding midfield role on this occasion with Marcus Martin a little further forward and Krac as the player looking to get forward and offer support to lone striker Adam Carter. But it was on the flanks where Tiverton looked most impressive, Josh Searle on the left and Smith on the right both very willing and tenacious. It was also out wide where Torquay impressed, even though their goal arrived from the centre, a low driven shot from Nathan Craig beating Viscosi and finding the bottom corner ten minutes before the interval.

It was all change for Tivvy at the start of the second half: Paul Hider took over in goal, Stephen Reed and Alex Gray moved into the fullback positions, Adam Kelly partnered Krac in midfield (now a very attacking double-pivot), and a front four diamond saw Josh Concanen and Sam Malsom either side of Chris Wright with Matt Wright the focal point of the attack. Krac was soon replaced by Nick Rudge and the fresher legs of the Tivvy players (for United had made just three changes at the break) increasingly showed, particularly when Malsom was allowed to stretch his legs on the left. Malsom’s energy was rewarded was an equalising goal as he cut in from his touchline as Concanen and Gray tricked their way into space on the opposite side of the pitch, Gray’s cross being turned in at close range by Malsom.

Time after time Torquay’s investigations were thwarted by offside flags, while Malsom continued to create havoc down the Tivvy left, on one occasion being picked out by a raking 50 yard pass from Reed, only for his cross to be jammed into the side netting by Kelly. Town looked the more energetic throughout the second period but were unable to make their marginal dominance pay, with Matt Wright spurning a fine chance and later seeing a cheeky back-heel sail a yard or two wide of the mark.

Tiverton Town: Jonathan Viscosi (Paul Hider 46 (Dan Law 79)), Bobby Hopkinson (Alex Gray 46), Chris Long (Stephen Reed 46), John Heveran (Adam Kelly 46), Matt Villis, Tom Gardner, Dan Smith (Josh Concanen 46), Shane Krac (Nick Rudge 65, Adam Carter (Matt Wright 46), Marcus Martin (Chris Wright 46), Josh Searle (Sam Malsom 46)
Goal: Malsom 67

Torquay United: Conor Thompson, Jake Hutchings, Kirtys MacKenzie, Aaron Downes, Thomas Cruise, Niall Thompson (Jordan Chapell 46), Lee Mansell (Ben Harding 46), Nathan Craig, Billy Bodin (Courtney Cameron 46), Ashley Yeoman,  Daniel Sullivan
Goal: Craig 36

Attendance: 361

This report ©2013 Alan Reidy