Match report

Tiverton Town 2 - 0 Bath City

   Monday 03/01/2005   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Reflecting‚ after the event‚ on my pre-match thoughts I realised that if spoken aloud they might have made me sound like Queen Elizabeth I. Bath? So early in the year? And so soon after the last time? Of course the context in which the words were (allegedly) used and the circumstances under which they may have been uttered were totally different. For a start‚ anyone would have had to have been out of their head´‚ as well as remarkably close‚ to good queen Bess to have made the suggestion that she should indulge in such extreme ablutions - or risk being without their head pretty rapidly - unless of course the good Virgin Queen had fallen victim to a lively equine mount that had tossed her into the palace cess pit. In the more modern‚ and football related‚ context it was only due to the random (well partly random - there is a regional aspect) circumstances that paired Tiverton and Bath in the FA Trophy‚ that brought an additional encounter in such close proximity to the first. And of course the circumstances under which the game was going to be played were different. Even when two teams meet for a second time within a matter of days‚ such as in cup replays‚ there are frequently changes to line ups‚ but injuries and sickness combined with a radical shake up in the Tiverton camp brought substantial alterations on this occasion making comparisons between the encounters difficult if not irrelevant. There were three new faces for the Ladysmead fans to run their eyes over‚ right through the core of the side. Surely they had to make a difference. For better.....? Wouldn´t be difficult.


Despite the conditions there was a lively start. Bath made the first significant attack with a break down the right and the ball being crossed in for John Williams to swivel and crack in a shot that tested Mark Ovendale. Town bounced back‚ typically with a Jamie Mudge foray down the left but his shot failed to trouble Paul Evans between the City posts. Down to the other end flowed the game and breaking up the Bath move Tiverton came away when Wills put Kurt Nogan through. The new´ man (not a comment on his preparedness to muck in with the ironing etc.) laid the ball wide to Mudge‚ now out to the right‚ whose cross to the back post was headed out for the first corner of the game.
Left hand side - so it was Winter crossing the field to float in the inswinger. And it did swing in. right into the six yard box where Evans went up to collect with Nathan Rudge and Michael Walker in close proximity. Walker got a touch‚ just enough to make Evans´ contact one handed rather than two. and that was enough to stop the keeper holding the ball which came down off his hand to hit his head‚ or was it his shoulder‚ and bounce down into the net. Not exactly a peach of a goal but they all count‚ particularly on your home debut‚ and Tivvy had a sixth minute lead.
The contest continued at a fair pace with Williams looking the most dangerous of the City forwards with some powerful runs and good ball control on a slippery surface but unfortunately for the visitors the Tiverton defence seemed to be better organised of late and Ovendale was never threatened. Evans‚ however‚ did come under pressure when Chris Vinnicombe powered forward down the left and fired in a cross that Winter met fair and square with his head but sent the ball rocketing past the wrong side of the upright in the 14th minute.
While the Tiverton supporters behind the goal were still holding their heads at the miss they were given the reason to let go and throw arms aloft as their favourites doubled their lead. This time the ball through the middle was delivered by Iain Harvey. Right to the foot of Mudge‚ the Tivvy man swayed clear of the challenge of his lone marker and closed on the penalty area and Evans. It was a repeat of his previous Ladysmead goals against the other´ team from Bath just a week ago. Slide the ball under the advancing keeper and into the net.
Bath upped their effort and it has to be said that from that point on they enjoyed the majority of both the territorial advantage and possession. But for all that they lacked the ability to find a way through the Tiverton back line who held firm and kept them at arms length on the edge of the penalty area. Not only that‚ the ball was frequently played out of defence rather than being hoofed aimlessly upfield and it was Tivvy that looked to have more penetration with their rapid counter attacks. Perhaps it was the influence of Paul Buckle‚ the third new face in a yellow shirt‚ but the midfield also seemed to have more shape and sense of purpose without having lost any of the work ethos that has been their sole trademark.
After half an hour or so of hard midfield battling and with the break almost upon them Tivvy created one more chance when Winter shot down the right flank to send in a cross that Harvey might have done better from but got his head well under the ball to send it high over the crossbar. 2-0 at the interval and looking solid. But hadn´t we been here before.....hopes were there‚ but muted.

The Romans came out determined to claw their way back and when Williams made it to the line on the right in the 48th minute Tiverton looked vulnerable. Even when‚ having cut in along that line Williams´ cross was turned out for a corner the respite was only momentary as Ovendale came for the kick‚ was a yard short of reaching it and the ball scrambled away untidily by the defence. Having survived the moment though‚ the Tivvy rearguard regained their composure and despite the visitors maintaining constant pressure once again began to look efficient.
City were back where they had been for long periods of the first period - most of the possession and most of the attacking play‚ but without the incision.
Eleven minutes after the restart City boss Gary Owers made the change that City fans had probably been expecting and Tivvy fans anticipating with apprehension. The largely ineffective Corbett was replaced by Scott Partridge‚ who had proved to be a problem for Town in previous encounters. Straight away the increase in pace and bustle was noticeable‚ notably by Vinnicombe who immediately started to have a hard time. And when just after the hour mark Jan Klukowski made way for Reinier Moor there was little doubt that The Romans were on the march.
The increase in pace saw the Tiverton midfield dragged back into defensive duties and with less time being allowed to them by the energy of City´s attacks‚ the ball was being hoisted clear with little thought other than getting it away. Mudge and Nogan had to drop deeper if they wanted to see any action and when the clearances did find their way to the Tivvy strike force they were a long way from the Bath goal where Evans was little more than a spectator.
Still City failed to find a way through and gradually Town edged their way more into the game. After Moor had blasted a shot way over the top in the 67th minute there was a rare chance for the Tivvy faithful behind City´s goal to see some close action as The Yellows worked their way forward and Winter fired in a low shot that Evans held well. which he needed to as Mudge was closing in ready to pounce had the keeper mishandled.
Back poured Bath‚ winning a free kick in the right that was swung in dangerously and took an overhead kick by Buckle to stop it reaching the critical area‚ but such clearances are chancy and the ball came straight back into the danger area to spark a scramble that was eventually terminated when Ovendale claimed the it. Both sets of fans thought that City gad pulled a goal back in the 71st minute. The two substitutes looked to have worked the oracle for the visitors when Moor made a more than decent run on the right to lay the ball across the middle for Partridge who cracked in a first time shot. Nathan Rudge had been stretching for the tackle and the ball hit his boot and span up and over Ovendale and seemed destined to drop into the net until the Tivvy keeper miraculously managed to twist backwards and get enough of a glove on the ball as it dropped behind him to deflect it away and round the post for a corner.
With ten minutes to go‚ and the heavy conditions clearly taking their toll on some of the Tivvy legs there was a triple substitution. Nogan‚ clearly showing signs of finding the pace of Southern League Premier football a lot greater than that of Welsh League Division One - but then that might be expected‚ young Dave Hambly has a way to go before a full game at this level can be expected of him - was the first card to be sorted as Jamie Densham was called off the touchline to add a little more pace up front. Wills and Harvey gave way in midfield to Michael Booth and Shaun Goff leaving just Paul Milsom and David Steele to avoid getting their kit mucky. All three threw themselves into the fray with vigour - booth a little too keenly collecting a yellow card before he had even touched the ball.
Densham had a glorious chance within a couple of minutes when set free by a beautifully weighted lob through from Buckle but over ran the ball as he cut in towards goal and it looked as if attack as a defensive ploy might bring rewards when Mudge also burst through but sent his shot straight at Evans with three minutes to go and them pounced on another longish ball by Buckle but stumbled to the mud as he pushed it past the last black and white shirt.
As the game went into added time Williams split the Tiverton defence with a cross from a free kick which also beat Partridge and The Yellows swooped away through Goff wide on the right who tested Evans with a fierce cross that the keeper held well and hoofed away upfield to the sound of the final whistle.

Three much needed points. Not a dominant display but a tight one defensively. And of course it could be said that chances don´t win games - it´s how many you convert. Tivvy did it twice. Bath failed. Ergo :- Tivvy 2 Bath 0.
And I´d far rather have a quiet crowd than listen to the foul mouthed chants from the Black & White army that invaded Ladysmead. No wonder the Roman Empire fell.


Tiverton Town: Mark Ovendale‚ Steve Winter‚ Chris Vinnicombe‚ Michael Walker, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Kevin Wills (Mike Booth, 80), Iain Harvey (Shaun Goff, 80), Kurt Nogan (Jamie Densham, 80), Paul Buckle, James Mudge.

Subs: Paul Milsom, David Steele.

Yellow Cards:


Bath City: Paul Evans, Jim Rollo, Matt Coupe, Steve Jones, Sam Bailey, Mike Trought, Jimmy Benefield, Yan Klukowski (Reinier Moor, 62), Luke Corbett (Scott Partridge, 56), John Williams, Ben Cleverley.

Subs: Russell Milton, Ricky Hulbert, Justin Shuttlewood.

Yellow cards: Corbett,


Att: 670


Referee: Mr. W Lillington(Dorchester).

This report ©2005 John Reidy






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