Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 0 Thatcham Town

   Saturday 28/09/2013   Southern League First Division
Alan Reidy

It seems ludicrous to suggest that a team who have scored sixteen goals in their last four outings is lacking a little je ne sais quoi in the attacking third, but taken in context Tiverton’s profligacy in front of goal is somewhat obscured by the ways and means they have found recently to hit the back of the net. Three of the four goals against Guildford were as much the result of poor goalkeeping as they were a cap doffed to the attacking prowess of the Yellows, all three at Shortwood were gained directly as a result of a young and inexperienced goalkeeper who looked completely out of his depth, and nine further goals were scored but only against the bantamweights of Stoke Gabriel and Elmore, opponents who may have entered their respective meetings with Tivvy expecting a rout and hoping desperately that the holy grail of double figures was avoided.

It came to pass that a prolific frontman wasn’t needed against Thatcham, although things would have been much easier and the result may have more accurately reflected the relative performances of the two sides had Tiverton enjoyed the benefit of such a rare breed. A Dan Smith penalty twenty minutes from the end was enough to keep the points in Devon and sent Thatcham home empty-handed, awarded when makeshift centre-back Paul Taplin handled Tom Gardner’s header, and while that goal – and the eventual victory – was no less than Tivvy deserved they made harder work of their afternoon than perhaps they should have. Four first-half efforts all missed the target on the high side: from Nick Rudge, John Heveran and Jules Emati-Emati all inside the first ten minutes or thereabouts, and not long afterwards from Emati-Emati again from a Josh Concanen cross which brought to a disappointing end a promising and flowing attacking move. James Foster made one save of note for the visitors and a fine one it was as he saved at his near post to deny Sam Malsom, while from the corner that followed Gardner saw a header hacked off the goal line. There was little to encourage Thatcham in terms of their own attacking play, their two chances suffering the same fate as the bulk of those missed by Tivvy; Sam Hamilton over the top from the edge of the area, Yashwa Romeo the same.

The second half took its time to get going at full thrust and it wasn’t until changes were made from both sides that the game began to spring to life. With Thatcham seemingly happy to keep things tight and live in hope that they might get a chance on one of their rare forays across the half-way line it was left to Smith, on in place of Malsom, to finally wear down the away side. Heveran brought a decent save out of Foster and it was Smith’s corner that followed which led to the award of the match-winning penalty. Adam Kelly, a replacement for Emati-Emati, did what all about him had been doing earlier by hitting a long-range shot over the crossbar, but Smith’s goal and the ever-decreasing time remaining had at last spurred Thatcham into getting themselves forward. A corner was only partially cleared, knocked back in and Hamilton headed off target, and with time running out Charlie Hill blasted a free kick over the wall and over the bar, an infuriating chance passed up for the visitors who may have felt aggrieved that the referee had blown for a foul rather than played the advantage as Hamilton seemed to have broken through on goal. There was still just enough time for Foster to make another solid stop, this time from a Concanen shot and Tivvy held on with relative comfort to extend their unbeaten league run to six games.

Tiverton Town: Lloyd Irish, Steve Tully, Chris Long, John Heveran, Josh Concanen, Tom Gardner, Shane Krac, Nick Rudge (Marcus Martin 84), Matt Wright, Jules Emati-Emati (Adam Kelly 63), Sam Malsom (Dan Smith 63)
Goal: Smith 71p

Thatcham Town: James Foster, Ben McCready, George Stirland, Paul Taplin, Gareth Thomas, Alex Charlick (Zak Kaiser 79), Callum Willmoth, Charlie Hill, Yashwa Romeo (Kaleif Madden 65), Sam Hamilton, Jordan Seward  (Tom Lockyer 65)

Attendance: 196

This report ©2013 Alan Reidy