Match report

Tiverton Town 5 - 3 Gloucester City

   Wednesday 17/11/2004   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Choices. From the cradle to the grave‚ there are choices. For the greatest part of life you can make your own and even when the old excuse‚ I had no choice´‚ is trotted out‚ it is seldom‚ if ever‚ really unequivocally true. Even the nanny´ State can´t force you to abide by it´s sometimes over restrictive laws or pay it´s exorbitant taxes. You always have the choice‚ however impractical it might seem‚ of swaning off to some other place where you believe life will be idyllic - or at least better to some degree. Such major choices are not to be made on a whim....and thankfully when faced with magnitudal decisions most people think very carefully before actually acting on any course they might subsequently take. Not so for the plethora of day to day decisions we are all called to routinely make. There was a three way choice for me on this particular Wednesday evening. In reality it resembled one of those idiotic multi-choice answer questions that the broadcasting companies delight in using for their so called public competitions - Was Ian Fleming´s famous spy character called a) Bondzo Dog b) Jenny Bond c) James Bond ? Whilst it is amazing to me that some wrong answers are still submitted ( Maybe Prince Charles is right!) the choice is really so clear cut that there is no competition. So it was for me on this occasion. a) Tivvy v Gloucester City in the Southern League b) Somerset Floodlit Youth League Cup‚ Bristol Manor Farm v Tivvy Youth‚ or c) An evening in front of The Box´. No contest‚ though clearly from the meagre crowd that assembled at Ladysmead a fair number of people disagreed‚ and since there was not a mass exodus from Devon towards the Clifton Suspension Bridge‚ one can only assume that the cathode ray tube held greater appeal than a real live football match. Sad. But of course sometimes the choice that is made is wrong. I´m sure that the 340 souls that made theirs in favour of Tivvy v Tigers had no doubts or regrets at 9.35pm.


Right from the outset it was clear that a different choice had been made by the Tivvy management. Following the forum´ formation furore‚ further fuel had been added to the fire with a line up that failed to appease either camp. No 4-4-2 as demanded by many‚ no continuing of 5-3-3 as persisted with for so long. No! Shock! Horror! Probe! 4-3-3 was the latest numerical combination to be revealed. Most of the yellows faithful were happy....it held promises of an attacking approach. An extra man up front clearly has the payoff of one fewer at the back and whilst Tivvy took a while to adjust to the new formation they did look a tad exposed defensively though the visitors failed to make any inroads. First chance of the evening came about five minutes in when Steve Winter sent a halfway line free kick along the right touchline for Kezie Ibe to chase. Ibe caught the ball and hoisted a cross into the far post where Paul Milsom - converted back to striker‚ no less - nodded the ball back down into the middle but behind Jamie Mudge who never-the-less contrived‚ despite having his back to goal‚ to force in a shot that was hooked harmlessly over the crossbar. Thought he game was moving from end to end it was The Yellows that were beginning to look the sharper going forward though the visiting Tigers did cause a scare in the 10th minute. A Tiverton attack broke down when Winter´s attempted cross cannoned of Iain Harvey to set up a swift counter by the visitors. One had the feeling that the first goal would not be long coming‚ such was the frail appearance of each defence but it took a refereeing decision to break the deadlock as Kevin Wills brought the ball down just outside the penalty area and having gained control moved towards goal‚ Having travelled a mere couple of yards he was upended by a reckless tackle right before the referee´s eyes and there could be little argument‚ and indeed to the credit of the |City players there was none‚ when the official pointed to the spot. Matt Bath went the right way but by the time his hand reached the point that the ball had crossed the line just inside his right-hand post it was already dribbling back out of the net towards the centre of the goal.
Three minutes later the margin was doubled which was not really surprising since Tivvy‚ since having adjusted to the new´ system were looking decidedly lively - just as City were looking mundane. Ibe‚ being watched closely by alternatively Lyndon Tomkins and Chris Thompson‚ escaped the attention of both markers to touch a forward ball on‚ springing the offside trap for Mudge to burst free one on one with Bath. Mudge had twenty yards or so to chose his line and as the keeper came to narrow the angle the ball was thumped under his dropping body and into the net. Thoughts of a landslide began to surface but such things seldom materialise and thought The Yellows were clearly more comfortable they never really showed the killer instinct and there was always a glimmer of hope for the sparse smattering of visiting fans. Daryl Addis probably had the best chance for City after he had left Rob Cousins tangle footed but his final effort was pitifully wide but no worse than Milsom´s effort at the other end as he rushed his shot after being set clear by Ibe. One thing‚ and one thing alone was spoiling the game. The man in black in the middle. Whistle happy or what? single handed he managed to disrupt the rhythm of what would otherwise have been a free flowing and open game. Every minor offence was greeted by a magnificent blast from his Acme Thunderer when frequently the offences were so minor‚ if indeed they even existed other than in his hyperactive imagination‚ that all they warranted was a cautionary word in passing. This over enthusiasm saw a rash of yellow cards as the first period petered out with only a long range effort from Gloucester´s Lee Smith worthy of a mention. Two-nil was enough to keep the home fans happy through the interval.


That was a situation that was not going remain so for many minutes after the break. Just as they had two weeks previously on their home patch City looked a different side when they came out for the second half. They had been visually bright in the first half with their Ultra white kit shining under the floodlights but on the resumption their play reflected a similar sheen. After Town had scythed forward in a move that had started with a cross field ball from Chris Vinnicombe that found Winter on the opposite flank and had been continued with the wing back sending Mudge down the line to lay the ball back for Winter to send in a drive that sailed high above Bath´s crossbar‚ City replied down their right. Smith‚ who had come to life in the second 45 minutes up at Gloucester did exactly the same again. Running at the Tivvy back line he got in behind the defence and sent in a cross that had The Yellows struggling to clear. When the ball did come away from the goalmouth it was only as far as Lee Davis who´s scuffed shot bobbled its was just inside Ovendale´s right-hand post for an unexpected score. Even though their lead had been halved Tivvy showed no sign of panic and might well have restored the margin minutes later when Steve Winter crashed a 25 yard free kick off the underside of the crossbar and again a couple of minutes later when Nathan Rudge got forward but under the ball from what was surprisingly Tivvy´s first corner of the game. Then came what might have been a turning point for Tiverton´s fortunes. City‚ continuing to show a gameness of which there had been little evidence in the first half‚ attacked down the left. When Tom Webb´s ball into the middle fell behind Dave Wilkinson there seemed little threat but somehow the City man managed to turn and scoop the ball up and over Ovendale to drop under the crossbar for the equaliser. Not that things remained equal for long as‚ continuing to keep their heads held high‚ The Yellows promptly charged down the other end‚ via Winter out on the right and his cross bagatelled around in the six yard before being forced home with a magnificent two yard shot from Milsom. Three goals and only eleven minutes since play had resumed....better than anything on TV!
But it didn´t stop there. Smith was at it again‚ charging down the right for City and cutting inside Vinnicombe who had no answer to his pace. Smith poked the ball across the goal and Wilkinson was there again to bring the overall tally up to three apiece in the 59th minute. That might have been enough for any team to have become convinced it was not their night but Tivvy were in far more positive frame of mind and it took them just three more minutes to take the lead for the third time. And it was as sweet a goal as one could wish for as an alternative to Coronation Street‚ Eastenders‚ or whatever the absent hundred plus might have opted for. Milsom started it with a touch on to Mudge as Tivvy came out from the back. Mudge moved the ball on to Ibe who slid the ball across the six yard box for Milsom to rocket in his second strike of the night from a massive three yards. OK‚ we might laugh but it does not alter the fact that Milsom was there to put the ball where it needed to go! Tiverton seemed to be delighting in their ability to get forward and Bath was in action to prevent Ibe from increasing the lead after the Tivvy (non?) striker took one too many touches and two too many turns before firing in a 65th minute shot. There was a lull in proceedings punctuated by the introduction of veteran Jason Eaton to the City forward line. Since helping Gloucestershire´s premier football side into the Football League Eaton has made several appearances against Tiverton and‚ frankly‚ has failed to impress in any. This was to be no exception and though he was not directly involved his arrival also heralded Town´s fifth goal. Vinnicombe chipped the ball forward and Mudge went on a spurt to the by-line. It seemed as if the Tivvy man had lost out to Chris Burns, the Tigers player manager who had brought himself on - presumably to add steel to the City defence. It didn´t work. As Burns tried to shield the ball out of play Mudge´s persistence saw him poach the ball back, turn back and carry the ball infield enough to create reasonable shooting angle and chip the ball beyond Bath and into the net. More yellow cards, more substitutions, another effort from Smith that skimmed the crossbar but City were a beaten side. The final nail might have come in the 87th minute when Ibe was pulled down unceremoniously by Neil Griffiths and Winter was given the opportunity to join Mudge and Milsom as scorer of a brace. Winter´s spot kick was a replica of his first. Again Bath went the right way and this time got there in time. No recriminations at Winter - it was a fine save and the couple of minutes that remained to be played were not going to change the destination of the points. The Tigers had given their all. Toothless and tails between their legs their roar was no more.


Hopefully this was the first in a string of Tivvy wins. With the FA Cup dream over, the FA Trophy hopes never getting out of first gear, something has to be salvaged from the second half of the season even if it is only dignity and respectability. The signs were there.......but this jury is still out. Whatever might happen a game such as this was far better than I´m (not) A Celebrity......´, so I know where I´ll be. That´s my choice!


Tiverton Town: Mark Ovendale, Steve Winter (Shaun Goff, 88), Chris Vinnicombe, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Kevin Wills, Iain Harvey (David Steele, 87), Paul Milsom (Tom Stocco, 82 ), Kezie Ibe, James Mudge.

Subs not used: Dave Hallett, Jamie Densham.

Booked: Booth, Winter.



Gloucester City: Matt Bath, Lee Smith, Chris Thompson, Neil Griffiths, Lyndon Tomkins (Chris Burns, 52), Lee Davis (Jason Eaton, 68), Neil Mustoe, Jimmy Cox, Daryl Addis, Tom Webb, Dave Wilkinson.

Subs not used: Keith Knight, Adie Harris. Marvin Thompson,

Booked: Wilkinson, Cox, Thompson, Griffiths.



Att: 340



Referee: Mr Guy Beale (Taunton) .

This report ©2004 John Reidy






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