Match report

Tiverton Town 3 - 2 Truro City

   Saturday 19/10/2013   FA Trophy
Alan Reidy

There are all manner of causes for confusion. One team are being funded above and beyond the call of duty as they try to climb up the non-league echelon while the other have endured a difficult couple of years and now have but a few pennies to rub together. That is much as it has always been when these clubs have met (with the exception of the game in the little-vaunted South West Counties Cup back in 1973), but now the roles are reversed, and the former wears yellow while the latter occasionally play in the historic colours of red and black. Personnel have changed too and in many cases swapped one T for the other. Tiverton lined up with four former Truro players: Tom Gardner, Marcus Martin, Dan Smith and Matt Wright, while City boasted Arran Pugh, Paul Kendall and Jamie Lowry as former Tivvy players in their ranks. What had not changed was that the club with the looser purse strings played the tighter and more impressive football for the majority of the match, Tiverton eventually sneaking the win even though they made it perhaps unnecessarily hard for themselves, particularly considering how one-sided the first half proved to be.

The game took little time in springing to life and Wright scored with less than six minutes on the clock. John Heveran won the ball midway inside his own half, played a defenders ball forward for Max Kowal to jink first inside and then outside of Pugh, and Kowal’s cross was flighted perfectly for Wright to nod into the net from close range, despite the attentions of the backtracking Dan Evans who had been forced to cover at the far post as Kendall was inexplicably drawn inside to mark a big bunch of empty space around the penalty spot.

It was a perfect start against a team who have got into the unpreferable habit of losing at Ladysmead (albeit their three previous visits had been in friendly matches) but Town were not able to capitalise on their bright start, and even though they continued to play some swift triangular passing football throughout the opening period they were either wasteful, unlucky or denied when it came to the crunch. Defending in numbers when required to do so Truro hung in there while under scrutiny and made sure they were still in the game. Wright might have done better than to nod over a Martin free kick, and Heveran was advanced for another set play but was always a yard further back than he needed to be when Smith lashed in a low cross that skidded past the face of goal and out of harm’s way. For his part Smith was arguably Tiverton’s most potent attacking threat and it was significant how many times the forward motion was focussed down the left wing, this despite Chris Long seldom getting himself forward. On the other side Heveran was equally reluctant to cross the halfway line in open play, and Josh Concanen was too deliberate and lacking the dynamism that had earned him the Player of the Month award in August. That isn’t to say either had a bad game – they didn’t – and Heveran deserves credit for his showing in an unfamiliar role, although one ineffectual move early in the second half really did underline the fact that he isn’t really a wingback! Defensively Tiverton were seldom stretched and Jonathan Viscosi had little to get excited about other than a couple of times when he was quick off the mark to slide out and smother speculative through-balls, while Gardner blocked a rare Truro shot from Ben Watson over the top. And so the first half ended with Tivvy ahead but with the scoreline not truly a reflection of the match if one were only to consider arbitrary statistics such as territorial advantage, pass completion and possession percentage.

Just what goes into the half-time cuppa at Ladysmead is anyone’s guess but the effects of the interval were stark and contrasting in equal measure. Town came out for the second half looking as if they had just received the news that their favourite kitten had been run over by an evil Taunton player-coach, while City were properly refreshed and suddenly showed the vitality that had thus far eluded them. For five minutes they prodded and probed in enemy territory and were duly rewarded for their efforts. Olly Brokenshire’s free kick was bundled behind by Kowal, the same player then lofted in a free kick, and when Viscosi slipped in the goal area the ball was headed as much upwards as deliberately backwards by Kendall for Pugh to finish things off coolly and simply. The Cornishmen now had the bit between their collective gnashers and Cody Cooke almost gave them the lead when he broke from deep and fired his shot just beyond the angle of post and crossbar; in the style of the shipping forecast: rising.

Although not without their fair share of the game having ridden a bit of a storm Tiverton once more found Truro’s defence as stoic as it had been in the first half, the red and black kitted folk back in numbers to frustrate. City, however, continued to be more progressive higher up the pitch and Brokenshire didn’t miss by much with a shot on the turn. But unperturbed (aside from some rather frantic defending when required which one must suppose should be described as perturbed) Truro kept to their task and Neil Slateford came up trumps with one of those goals that, regardless of how much he meant it, was simply marvellous. Cooke’s throw-in that led to the goal was less than inspirational, Gardner made a headed clearance, and without even considering a touch to control Slateford simply swung his boot, caught the ball on the volley – perfectly – and sent it up and over Viscosi and into the top corner. If you could take the average trajectory of the goals against David Seaman scored by Nayim and Ronaldinho you would be somewhere close. Lucky? Maybe, but who really cares? Give the lad some credit for what was a stupendously impressive strike.

So here we were, two-one up or two-one down depending on your persuasion and with a mere ten minutes left to play plus the obligatory added time of which at least four or five minutes could be justified due to a few lengthy stoppages in the second half. Tivvy had it all to do now and it would have been easy for them to wallow in their lack of clinical finishing earlier in the game, but that they didn’t, rather they got their heads cleared and went about winning the game. It took less than two minutes for the Yellows to restore parity, and all of those two minutes were made up of determined attacking. Matt Villis’s long ball forward headed on the edge of the area more up than out, and debutant Lewis Morgan volleyed onto the Truro crossbar with Ollie Chenoweth sprawling and beaten. As the ball was hoofed away Gardner picked up the pieces, into Chris Long and then Sam Malsom. His shot was blocked, Concanen put it back in, Morgan and Shane Krac both saw efforts charged down, and eventually it fell to Kowal… the Canadian’s driven shot was heading closer to the corner flag than the goal until Kendall got in the firing line and diverted the ball past Chenoweth and into the net. It wasn’t pretty but it counted, and City’s players collectively dropped their heads, albeit briefly.

They were soon back on the attack, substitute Jarred Sims with a snapshot straight at and well fielded by Viscosi, and then a run by Les Afful and a cross that was mighty close to being turned in by Sims as he found space between the Tiverton defence. A couple of inches taller and Sims would be the hero of the day, but that honour was eventually left to Malsom, Tiverton’s answer to David Fairclough only not nearly as ginger. If anyone thought another long-range effort from Morgan which was comfortably saved above his head by Chenoweth was the curtain coming own on an entertaining game then they were mistaken; in the third minute of added time a final throw of the dice, another attack, more desperate defending, and the winner. Heveran forward, Morgan determined as he chased, a lucky bounce, and from just behind the penalty spot Malsom was in place to score a late, late winner for the second game in a row.

For Tiverton the FA Trophy dream continues. Marcus Martin was awarded the Man of the Match bottle but it could justifiably be shared amongst a number of players. Smith’s threat was enduring, Kowal had a massive hand in two of the goals, Krac was as effervescent and impressive as he always is, and Malsom, although only on the pitch for a little over half and hour, injected an extra spark into a team that had somehow contrived to almost mess things up. And a word on the manager too: excellent substitutions at opportune moments, and Mr Clarkson now has the best win percentage of any Tivvy boss ever!

Tiverton Town: Jonathan Viscosi; John Heveran, Chris Long, Marcus Martin, Matt Villis, Tom Gardner, Shane Krac, Dan Smith, Maksym Kowal (Nick Rudge 90+3), Matt Wright (Lewis Morgan 71) Josh Concanen (Sam Malsom 61)
Goals: Wright 6, Kendall 82og, Malsom 90+3
Yellow cards: Smith, Martin, Villis
Sent off: None

Truro City : Ollie Chenoweth; Cody Cooke, Shane White, Paul Kendall, Arran Pugh (Liam Eddy 77), Dan Evans, Neil Slateford, Jammie Lowry, Ben Watson (Jared Sims 82), Olly Brokenshire, Les Afful
Goals: Pugh 51, Slateford 80
Booked: Lowry, Brokenshire, Afful
Sent off: None

Attendance: 312

This report ©2013 Alan Reidy