Match report

Thatcham Town 3 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 01/02/2014   Southern League First Division
Mark

Generally summed up as a bad day at the office. The pitch was very bobbly but dry and firm underfoot, so didn't cut up. The thin rain came in almost horizontally during the first half so it wasn't pleasant playing conditions for either team. Amazing that the Southern League stat shows an attendance of 101. Certainly seemed like less than that from where I was, but generally it seemed that there was more vocal encouragement from the Tivvy fans there.

Tivvy were the better side, but due to the bobbly pitch couldn't get a passing game going. Thatchem were quite a big, physical side and both Smith and Malsom looked lightweight and Wright couldn't (wouldn't) keep on his feet all afternoon.

In order to accommodate Villis, Clarkson moved Heveran to midfield with Josh C at right back and to my mind this was the problem in the first half. JC isn't as good at right back as Heveran. He cleared poorly in the frist half directly to the opposition who, with one pass set up their no. 8 for a well struck shot that gave Searle no chance.

In the first minute of the second half the ball came towards Searle but bounced almost sideways giving the keeper the embarrassment of an air shot and Thatchem a tap-in for their second.

Wilson had come on for Heveran at half time and made a difference with much more urgency and penetration and Malsom scored his cut back and right footed shot from the edge of the area for a well taken goal (although that was Malsom's sole contribution all afternoon).

At that time, with the overall balance of play, we looked as if we should go on from there, but a soft penalty given by the (not being shortist or gingerist) short, ginger referee restored the two goal advantage and killed the game off effectively with 15 mins to go. Tivvy never looked like getting back into it from that point. Smith was replaced by Searle and Richards was replaced by Max, but nothing further of note happened and the players trudged off, heads down at the end. Not even a thanks to the number of Tivvy fans who attended and paid good money to see a disappointing showing.

A good test of Clarkson's motivational skills is now evident to lift those heads and get back on track for the rest of the season. Certainly the play offs must not be written off after this one poor game.


This report ©2014 Mark