Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 1 Hednesford Town

   Saturday 27/11/2004   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Tense‚ exciting‚ finely balanced: those are normal descriptions of the occasions when two football teams meet each other on consecutive Saturdays in home and away fixtures. Of course the reason for such occasions warranting those descriptions is that they usually only occur in the latter stages of major competitions‚ the FA Trophy and as Tivvy fans recall too well (too well because it is perhaps time we forgot our past- it´s gone) the FA Vase. When‚ through re-arrangement of league fixtures‚ two sides face each other in such a swift repeat fixture‚ the adjectives tend to be less inspiring‚ as do the games. It was just a couple of seasons back that the two encounters between Tiverton and Dover Athletic were separated by just five days. The first encounter was tight......and with the knowledge gleaned from that game the sides made the second even tighter. The result(s) was a pair of goal-less draws. One hundred and eighty minutes of tedium. At least The Yellows first half performance seven days earlier instilled a degree of hope that there would be a lively repeat when Hendesford came down to Ladysmead. When will we (I ?) learn?

It did seem that The Pitmen had learned one thing from the earlier meeting - don´t let Tiverton get into top gear and leave you on the back foot from the start. They‚ Hednesford‚ started as if they meant to take control or at least compete fiercely for it from the off. First keeper to see the ball was Mark Ovendale as he was called on to dash forward to smother a long ball through the middle. Tivvy replied with their own forward thrust that brought the first corner of the game‚ and the visitors came back with a sharp counter terminated by a shot that was wide of the target. Promising first three minutes then‚
But that was about all it was‚ promising. Both teams having found that they could get forward it naturally followed that they should both realise that the other side could do so also‚ and that they needed to tighten up their own defences. This they duly did‚ leaving the game to wallow around in midfield. Hednesford´s attacking strength seemed to be concentrated mainly on their left‚ a fact aided by the enforced replacement of Steve Winter by Tom Stocco who looked as comfortable in the right back position as an all in wrestler in a ballet tutu. The 9th minute brought Ovendale into the limelight once more as he got down well to hold an on target effort from Leon McSweeney after the Hednesford man had taken advantage of the apparent frailty of the Tivvy right side defender.
The Yellows did manage to string a nice series of passes together on the quarter-hour mark when Mike Booth‚ Chris Vinnicombe and

James Mudge combined but Mudge´s final ball into the box was scrambled away before any damage could be done to the scoreline‚ and kindling hopes that the game was again going to spring back to life McSweeney again broke on the left‚ leaving Rob Cousins wondering which way he had gone‚ but was intercepted as he cut in towards goal by Nathan Rudge.
The hopes of a resurgence were short lived. Tivvy were unable to throw more than two or three passes together and their visitors were not a lot better. The contest‚ such as it was‚ settled back into the central areas with just the odd expedition towards the penalty areas to break the monotony.

Kezie Ibe looked momentarily dangerous as he brushed off a defenders challenge as he cut in from the right‚ only to stab his shot wide of the post and ten boring minutes later a Booth cross curled across the goalmouth to fox Ryan Young between the Hednesford posts but didn´t have enough bend to do more than carry out for a goal kick on the half hour mark.
That moment of excitement´ did herald the most active five minutes of the game so far - certainly from the home sides perspective. Booth again showed a touch of creativity with a long cross field diagonal ball to Ibe.



The Tivvy striker´ turned and hit in a shot that brought Young´s first save of the game. one handed down to his right. Two minutes later Vinnicombe crossed the field to curl in a free kick that caused minor consternation in the Hednesford six yard box but was safely despatched for a corner. The kick was headed clear by the defence but only out wide to Mudge who returned it back to the goalmouth. Once more it was a visitors head that met the cross and this time it was sent clear down the middle......as far as Iain Harvey who hit in a shot that Young mishandled and was relieved to see the ball spin away for a second corner. No mistake from the keeper this time round‚ he was up to claim the ball and take it cleanly. It was Harvey´s last contribution to the afternoon´s affair. He hobbled off to be replaced by Shaun Goff.
And‚ apart from a couple of yellow cards - one for each side‚ including Nathan Rudge´s first for a while - that was the sum of the action in what was a pretty (?) dire forty five minutes.

The second half:

Lights! - yes‚ they were on - Camera! - well‚ webmaster Keith could be seen wielding one - Action! err....um....no‚ not really‚ not for the first few minutes at least. Then a spurt. Mudge weaving his way through the middle on a solo run but sending in a shot from the edge of the penalty area that Young held easily. Then a long free kick forward that Ibe nodded down into the path of Paul Milsom who‚ though he had only two yards to go to reach the ball‚ still manager to loose out by a yard to Young who had to cover five to scoop it up. Then we did get an incident. yea even a goal‚ though it could hardly be attributed to enthralling football action. A long ball hoofed out of the Hednesford back line. A forlorn‚ apparently‚ chase for their front runners as the ball looked to be safely carrying through for the Tivvy defence to guide back to Ovendale. Cousins allowed the bounce rather than nodding the ball back to his advancing keeper. There was that crucial moment of hesitation and McSweeney nipped in to steal the ball‚ touching it sideways to Carl Palmer who delightedly rolled it into the net leaving Ovendale sat‚ head in hands‚ to watch.
Another soft goal conceded by The Yellows. What made it worse was that there was no spirited comeback and ‚ in truth‚ the visitors could have moved further in front within a few minutes when Richard Teesdale headed inches wide from a free kick. And even when Mudge did manage to prise open the Pitmen´s defence by charging down the left flank after being released by Vinnicombe‚ his cross was met by the head of Milsom who sent the ball thumping down into the turf only to bounce straight up into the waiting arms of Young.
As the hour approached‚ and an injection of life became ever more necessary‚ Stocco was replaced by David Steele. It seemed to make little difference....there was still little sign of Tiverton finding a goal. Never let it be said, though, that Tivvy do not have a knack of suddenly pulling something out of the bag. The 66th minute saw A long clearance drop into the centre circle. Ibe flicked it on first time to Milsom who added the touch that carried it on to Mudge who had anticipated the move and timed his run through the defence to perfection. So many times the Tiverton striker has been thwarted in such situations but this time he got it right, choosing his moment and place to curl a shot past Young and into the target.
It certainly livened up the game from the home fans point of view, though they nearly had the cheers stifled in their throats as the visitors won a corner from the restart and Teesdale again went close with a header...closer than his last effort as this one flicked off the crossbar on its way to safety. Tiverton broke, Ibe teed up Mudge but the ball was poked away from him as he steadied himself to shoot and a minute later the roles were reversed as Mudge laid the ball in for Ibe but Young bravely stole the ball of the loanee´s toe.
With the home lads now, at last, looking as if they were on top the chance came to win the game. With Tivvy buzzing around the Hednesford box Mudge fired in a shot that looked as if it was bound for the net just inside Young´s left upright. Mark branch got an arm to it. Mudge appealed that the ball had already crossed the line. No, said the referee, awarding a penalty but deciding to consult his assistant before showing the red card to the Hednesford defender. Meanwhile, there was some debate´ as to who would take the kick. Steele ended up placing the ball on the spot.....and attempting to place it then in the net. Attempting, because Young was down to his right and the ball stayed out.
That was it then. Ibe had one more chance but lobbed his shot over the top, and the game petered out; only coming to life when tempers were raised as Rudge received his second yellow card, and the subsequent red, for another clumsy if not crude tackle. Unedifying to hear the visiting players yelling for the sending off, as it was to see the Tivvy captain having to be pulled away as he attempted to remonstrate with the culprits.

It all left something of an unpalatable taste in the mouth which considering the flavour and quality of the fare that had been served up was perhaps apt. Hardly a sporting feast....little wonder that so many folks are fasting.



Tiverton Town: .Mark Ovendale, Tom Stocco (David Steele, 58), Chris Vinnicombe, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Kevin Wills, Iain Harvey (Shaun Goff, 37),, Paul Milsom , Kezie Ibe, James Mudge.

Subs not used: Dave Hallett, Jamie Densham.

Booked: Rudge (x2 = Red, sent off), Booth.


Hednesford Town: Ryan Young, Ross Adams, Mark Branch, Lee Barrow, Richard Teesdale, Lee Williams, Anthony Maguire, Carl Palmer, Marlon Walters, Leon McSweeney, Matthew Turner.

Subs not used: Chris Brindley, Paul Evans, Steve Anthrobus, Grant Beckett, Jack Rogers,

Booked: Williams.


Att: 462


Referee: Richard Greenwood (Exeter).

This report ©2004 John Reidy






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