Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 6 Chesham United

   Saturday 29/01/2005   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Aren´t they awful? I´m sure you´ve had them. Those days when‚ from the moment you first prise your eyelids apart‚ you know that it´s gonna be one of those days´. One of those days that is going to go belly-up at every opportunity. One of those days that - come sunset or even perhaps later - when it´s time to retire once more to your sleep chamber‚ you are left thinking that it might have been better if you had never left it in the first place. Yes‚ those day´s are grim. The only thing that is worse are the days that all the wrong things happen but you didn´t even have an inkling that they might be in the offing; days that started full of hope and brightness. Such was the Saturday that Chesham came to Town‚ for a while at least. But............. They came‚ they saw‚ they conquered.....no....more than that....they annihilated. To say it came as something of a surprise would be understatement. It was always going to be a close game‚ the respective league positions told us that even if the form tables did swing it in Tivvy´s favour. But what actually took place was far from the expectations of either side. And it is what actually happens that matters at the end of the day‚ however surprising‚ startling or downright stunning it might be.


Even at three O´clock everything in the Ladysmead garden seemed rosy‚ bathed in the dimming euphoric glow of the previous Wednesday evening´s game‚ Tivvy started quite briskly and brightly but so did their visitors who created the first significant chance in the fourth minute when John Lawford collected a low ball into the penalty area from the right‚ to turn round Rob Cousins but to be denied a shooting opportunity by Mark Ovendale dashing off his line to drop on and smother the ball. Warning: This man is dangerous‚ should have been the label that was mentally attached by every Tiverton player to Lawford! But The Yellows were more concerned with their own attacking efforts‚ unsurprisingly in view of his recent form‚ centred round Jamie Mudge.

Unfortunately for said JM‚ one doesn´t hit a hat-trick on a Wednesday without being a marked man‚ and he was being closely marshalled. So closely in fact that in the 6th minute he was upended by Danny West out on the Tiverton left but when Steve Winter crossedthe free kick in it caused the visitors little problem and when three minutes later an early ball forward and wide did set Mudge free his cross was over hit beyond both Kevin Wills and Kurt Nogan in the six yard box. It was Wills‚ frequently making up the third forward that had the clearest chance of those opening dozen minutes for Tivvy. Another good ball out from the midfield by Booth sent Winter on a long chase down the right. A decent ball in from near the by-line was deflected off a defender but only as far as Nogan in the corner of the penalty box. Nogan brought the ball under control with a neat trap‚ drag back to avoid a challenge‚ and turn before laying it into the path of Wills who fired past the post.

Anyone wondering why I used a dozen minutes as the cut off point couldn´t have been at the game for the best chance of the opening quarter of an hour was denied Nogan by the Man in Black´. Paul Buckle sent a long ball forward‚ Nogan beat the line on halfway and was clear but being chased. Just as he reached the penalty area he was tackled by his pursuer‚ obviously from behind. The referee‚ who had kept pace remarkably well for a Cornishman‚ waved play on even though the ball ran through to the goalkeeper who was allowed to scoop it up and clear whilst the defender´s leg took Nogan´s ankle. The only explanation could be that the United defender had played the ball and not Nogan´s ankle....in which case..............Hey ho‚ the official was from t´other side of the Tamar and we should be used to that by now.

For the next ten minutes Tivvy continued to have slightly the better of the forward movement though the final touch was missing. Too often the ball was given away by hesitancy or sloppiness of passing. The Chesham back line looked to be nothing special and neither did their attack who failed to test Ovendale‚ mainly because they weren´t allowed to get into shooting positions. Surely it was only a matter of time before there was a goal?

The watershed came in the 24th minute. Chesham seemed to decide that they were happy that their defence could deal with the perceived threat of Mudge and Nogan and went on the hunt themselves. First effort came with a 30 yarder from central defender Andy Reilly taking a poke that flew safely over the crossbar. They brought the ball back to ground level for the next attempt with startling consequences. Forward down the right with Andre Scarlett cutting in towards goal. Ovendale‚ left as the last man‚ had to come to challenge but it was a fruitless exercise as Scarlett laid the ball sideways for Lawford to have the simplest of chances to extend his lead at the top of the goalscoring table. He took it.

After the Aylesbury game it would have been surprising if Tivvy had rolled over. They didn´t‚ bouncing back with their own attack down the left through Mudge. It brought a sign of just how the day was going to be as JM cut in and fired a shot that cannoned back off the base of the upright. Off again went the visitors and with the Tivvy defence looking organised in formation across the penalty area chose to play the ball sideways and back across the line......until it found it´s way to Scarlett out on the left who had a sight of goal and drove a low hard shot towards it. His aim was poor but the shot became a cross and Lawford was there again to touch the ball home just six minutes after the first strike.

Even then there might have been hope. It was short lived. Three nil came up with a misheaded attempted clearance by Rudge which saw the ball drop just right for Gary Sippetts to crash home the third. Three goals in ten minutes.....if that´s not going belly up´ what is? Just to show that the Mudge encounter with the woodwork had rung the alarm bells enough for the Chesham defence to tighten up on the man‚ Reilly collected a yellow for an ungainly hip tackle on the striker but the visitors were in the driving seat and they knew it. Many heads were shaking as the teams left the field for the interval.


It might turn out to be the proverbial game of two halves´‚ we hoped. The opening of the second period was scrappy. The Buckinghamshire side were well prepared for the attempted comeback by their hosts and were content to ride out the storm and wait for their chances. It was the 55th minute before Tivvy really looked like mounting any such revival. Ball in to Nogan; lay back to Booth; attempted drive through the pack takes a deflection; Wills pounces on the loose ball and tries to slip it under the keeper; blocked! Two minutes later and the substitutions which had to be made to try to change things‚ were. Strangely the two attacking midfielders‚ Wills and Booth‚ were replaced by what most would regard as holding or even defensive midfielders in Iain Harvey and Bradley Haynes. It brought fresh legs‚ a little bit more energy but no more penetration.

That came from the visitors. Having watched and waited for their chance they grabbed it when it came. A long ball out of defence through the middle and touched wide to Steve Sinclair. The Chesham wing back was in acres of space as he powered towards the Tivvy goal. Nathan Rudge chased across from the central area to block his path. Sinclair had outrun his team-mates so decided to take a speculative shot himself. It paid off as the ball took a deflection off Rudge´s shin to loop into the net for 0-4. Two minutes later the referee evened up the blatant penalty claims denied column´ when Lawford was through on Ovendale only to be hauled down by the keeper....though from his signals he did suggest that there had been a handball by the Chesham man as he brought the ball under control. I wonder. If that was the case why not award the free kick.......? Cornish!

Tivvy‚ to their credit‚ kept trying. The introduction of Jamie Densham added a bit more buzz´ at the front but United were now even more content to sit it out. Luck was on their side too. A Winter free kick for another foul on Mudge was driven through the wall to hammer off the upright‚ and the same player split the visitors defence with a ball forward from just outside the penalty area that Paul Buckle cleverly stepped over to allow it to run for Harvey who steered his shot wide.

Then the chance came again for Chesham. Scarlett skipped past Rob Cousins with ease to fire in a low shot. 0-5 with twelve minutes to go. Tall task that - a goal every two minutes. When they did find the net Tivvy were already behind schedule. It came in the 82nd when Nogan sent a long ball from the left to the back of the penalty area. Densham´s first touch and striking power have frequently been questioned but on this occasion he got it inch perfect. The control to bring the ball down enabling him to slip inside his marker and the perfect striking of the ball to send it flying into the net.

1-5 had a semblance of respectability but even that was to be denied The Yellows by Lawford. The 86th minute saw him in search of his triple with a long lob from out on the far left. For a while it looked as if he might be celebrating as the ball dropped behind Ovendale. But the keeper reached back to get enough contact to send the ball over the crossbar for a corner on the right. Lawford took the kick himself but it was easily defended and a Tivvy head sent it back out wide. Unfortunately (?) all the yellow shirts were packed in the penalty area so it came back out to Lawford who sent in a curling shot that looked as if it might just have gone wide....until Cousins got the touch that brought it well within the bounds of the goal and saw the respectability replaced by a Lawford hat-trick.

That´s enough! It´s over. It was one of those days when it would have been better to have stayed under the duvet. Forget it‚ it´s gone. Let´s get on with the rest of the season.


Tiverton Town: Mark Ovendale‚ Steve Winter‚ Chris Vinnicombe, Michael Walker, Nathan Rudge (Jamie Densham, 68), Rob Cousins, Kevin Wills (Iain Harvey, 57), Mike Booth (Bradley Haynes, 57), Kurt Nogan Paul Buckle, James Mudge.

Subs not used: Shaun Goff, Tom Stocco,

Booked: None.


Chesham United: Jamie Jackson, Steve Sinclair, Simon Sweeney, Stuart Hole, Andy Reilly, Danny West, Neil Yates, Sean Byrne (Graham Hall, 87), Gary Sippets, John Lawford (Greg Deacon, 87), Andre Scarlett.

Subs not used: Peter Clifford, Nathan Bowden-Haase, Tom Gott.

Yellow cards: Sippetts, Reilly.


Att: 549


Referee: Mr. P. Grenfell (Penzance).

This report ©2005 John Reidy






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