Match report

Tiverton Town 3 - 1 Chippenham Town

   Thursday 01/01/2004   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

I have always found The turn of the year´ a confusing time. Well‚ maybe not always‚ but for the greater part of my life. Early on it was just puzzling‚ which proves that the confusion is nothing to do with the amount of intoxicating liquid I tend to imbibe these days‚ or the progression towards senility that comes with advancing years. The puzzlement came from the fact that‚ having absorbed the very existence of New Years Eve‚ and that it marked the effective end of the festive season - although the Christmas tree would remain in situ for another week becoming increasingly bald as needles cascaded at the slightest draught‚ such as when a door was opened - I couldn´t grasp why Scots acquaintances of my family called it Hogmanay´. Even at my tender age I was aware that the Scottish people were a race apart‚ with all kinds of weird Celtic ways and pagan rites and rituals. They even had a tendency to wear skirts‚ though they called them kilts´; another example of both their oddness and that they had their own language. Auld Lang Syne´ was a complete mystery. My childish mind came up with the reasoning that Hogmanay´ must be something to do with them celebrating Christmas a week later‚ which a look at the bank holidays listed in a diary confirmed‚ and that it was the time of year that they emptied their piggy banks and spent all their money. That North o´ the Border they called them hogs rather than pigs seemed a distinct possibility. Puzzlement became confusion when I moved West from the South Midlands patch where I was raised. Suddenly‚ what I had always known as New Years Eve´ was oft referred to as Old Years Night´. What was I supposed to be celebrating? Was it the end of one year‚ or the start of the next. Was it the proverbial two fingers salute to December or the welcoming‚ open arms embrace to January? It is a problem that I have never satisfactorily resolved‚ becoming reconciled to the fact that whichever it was‚ it was a time to say goodbye to one and greet the other. Out with the old‚ in with the new.....and hopefully the new would be better.....starting with an improvement in Tivvy´s record against struggling sides like Chippenham Town.

Town‚ the Tiverton version‚ started brightly‚ displaying all the ebullience of those enthusiastically pursuing compliance with good intention loaded resolutions. A man who‚ for me‚ was to be one of the stars of the afternoon made an early impact. Just five minutes into the contest‚ Kevin Hawkes‚ who in his all black kit was sometimes difficult to distinguish from visiting players in their Scottish hued navy blue‚ showed that he intended to allow the game to flow. An overly physical and late tackle by Chipps Mark Badman (hmm....appropriate moniker) on Kevin Nancekivell‚ deep in the Tiverton half‚ went apparently ignored as Tivvy retained possession and mounted an attack that reached the far end of the field. The moment the ball was out of play Mr Hawkes brandished the yellow card in Badman´s direction. It was over two minutes since the offence had been committed but the referee´s memory had not faded and it was an example of a standard of officiating that the spectators would enjoy throughout the match is too seldom seen these days at our level (perhaps 2004 will be better!). The Yellows continued their forward momentum as Chris Holloway won the ball in the centre circle and advanced fifteen yards before spraying it wide to Paul Chenoweth making progress down the left. Chens twisted and turned into the penalty area before firing in a shot that sailed just a foot above the far post‚ closer than Paul Milsom was to get with an effort from a similar range on the opposite side three minutes later. Holloway had another poke‚ from all of 25 yards‚ as he drove through the middle with the visitors backing off before him‚ and though Mark Hervin in The Bluebird´s goal was not troubled it all looked to be going the home side´s way. Then‚ as if to dispel the hopes that the unpalatable side of 2003 had been banished‚ Tivvy conceded the first goal. Ah‚ nothing truly changes. Even the way in which the goal was conceded brought back memories of the departed year. A set piece. A free kick midway inside the Tiverton half but well out to the left. Hoisted in across to the far post where Charlie Griffin rose unhindered to direct it cleanly and firmly inside the upright. Oh joy‚ oh rapture...if you came from Wiltshire that is. Thankfully for the Devon domiciled among the crowd‚ the visitors euphoria was to be short lived. Within a duo of circuits of the second hand of a pre digital stopwatch Tivvy had hauled themselves away from the brink of another potentially catastrophic humiliation. Jamie Mudge‚ who had been working predominantly on the left‚ swapped sides and made a burst down the right. Outpacing a defender he made the by line and hammered in a cross that flew‚ or would have had it not met with resistance‚ across the goalmouth. The interruption in its flightpath came from Chippenham defender Tom Gould who was tracking back covering Paul Milsom. The two of them tussled to reach the ball. It was Gould that made the contact but he only managed to do exactly what the Tivvy man would have done anyway and deflected the ball into the net. One goal apiece and everything still to play for.
For getting on for ten minutes it was Chippenham that did the playing‚ or the playing in attacking mode at least. Griffin‚ as might have been expected, proved to be the main threat giving Graeme Power a torrid time as The Yellow´s replacement for Rob Cousins in the back line emphatically failed to contain The Bluebirds striker; and Adie Mings was goadingly keeping Nathan Rudge occupied enough to prevent the former Hardenhuish favourite from giving much assistance. The 19th minute saw James Constable turn Jason Rees inside out (now there´s an interesting thought) and make a charge on Stuart Fraser between the sticks. The Tivvy keeper did well to get his body in the way of the resulting shot and David Steele was on hand to hack the ball away as it span across the goalmouth. Griffin planted a shot wide before bringing Fraser into action once more as he swivelled on a long free kick from the right. As the half hour mark approached the home side came out of their shell and Mudge collected a clearance on the halfway line, turning the ball inside to Milsom who carried it on before belatedly feeding it forward to Nancekivell. Belatedly because Nance was caught offside as the Chippenham line moved forward. Two minutes later Nancekivell was away down the right and sent in a waist height cross that Mudge did well to bring to ground only to see Hervin swiftly scoop it up before it could be hit goalwards. Chippenham were still having their share of the action, though. A not so instant replay of the free kick that brought the goal, had Fraser at full stretch to palm the ball round his post for a corner but The Yellows began to get on top. Another Mudge run concluded by a weak shot, a Chenoweth cross from the right that eluded the head of Milsom and the desperate lunge of Mudge. Openings at both ends, including an almighty scramble at the foot of Fraser´s right hand post that saw the Tivvy keeper and Mings swinging their handbags at each other before Mr Hawkes intervened. Had Mings not already seen the yellow card, both players would probably have done so. As it was, a few stern words from the official to both surficed and also served to allow both teams to retire at half time with eleven players all present, if not entirely correct.

First local hero of the second period was definitely Fraser. Beaten by Griffin´s lifted shot from the right in the 47th minute, the Tivvy custodian recovered to see the ball ping off the crossbar and fall to the boot of Ian Herring. The Chippenham midfielder´s drive was somehow intercepted by the legs of Fraser to be scrambled away to comparative safety. Like wise, the visitors had their villain. Badman (sic) pounced on an error by Rees to fire wide when he should have had little trouble in finding the target if not the back of the net, but in between Hervin had spilled A Mudge shot that had been scrambled away for a corner before a Yellows boot could touch it home so perhaps Hervin could have claimed the dubious accolade. Whichever it was, the dodgy keeper´ taunts aimed at Fraser by the visiting fans in the first half were sounding a little misplaced in retrospect. With the hour approaching, and possibly because the two sides were cancelling each other out, the game moved into a period of suspended animation. Still there but definitely quiet, hibernating. Then, like a squirrel that has dreamt where it hid it´s cache of nuts, it suddenly burst into action again in the 63rd minute. The alarm was set off by Chenoweth as, not for the first time, he marauded down the left flank to whip in a centre. The ball was only partially cleared as Nancekivell threatened to turn it in, and fell to Mudge on the edge of the penalty area. With half the Chippenham side, plus a splattering of Yellow shirts, in front of him, there was more space where he was than in the box. So Jamie tried his luck from where he was. Forget about Bend It Like Beckham´, Mudge´s effort was every bit as spectacular as the ball described a perfect parabola to curl just inside Hervin´s left hand post to put the Yellows in front. I believe that it is dangerous, having disturbed a hibernating lifeform, to allow such a beast to return to its slumbers. It is certainly the case with me, I inevitably feel worse if I return to bed after only being up for an hour or two. There was no sign of the once dozing beast that was this match returning to it´s former state. With twenty five minutes remaining Richard Pears replaced the largely ineffectual Milsom, the change injecting a renewed vigour to the Tiverton front line. Pears´ play dragged the visitors defence totally out of shape and gaps began to appear left right and centre. Even David Steele nearly capitalised on one opening space as he pirouetted through 270 degrees to fire in an unexpected shot that was turned away by a defender at the expense of another corner, and Holloway was in the action, too, with a back header that looped high with lack of control, for the safety of a goal kick. The pressure continued into the 70th with a brace of Tivvy corners, the second being conceded when Gould´s head made contact with the ball just milli-seconds and fractions of an inch before it was met by Rudge´s. From the second the ball did end up in the net, only to be disallowed for a foul on the keeper who had reached the ball with both hands but had dropped it again. I´ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he only fumbled because he was fouled, but those chants of the early part of the game were once more, like old aquaintances, called to mind .
Come the 78th minute and Chippenham showed they still had a degree of fight left as the Tiverton defence found themselves at sixes and sevens and a second massive scramble developed in their penalty area. Bodies were flung this way and that and legs extended every which way including loose, as substitute Martin Paul, Griffin and Constable all had chances of equalising deflected away. Tiverton though it was that found the net as they survived the brief onslaught. Steele threaded a through ball for Mudge to chase. Jamie caught it and turned in along the goal-line to fire in a low cross. Nancekivell was at the near post for the little flick that would have seen the ball in the net but Hervin was in the way and across the goalmouth span the ball leaving Pears to apply the simplest touch at the far post. At 3-1 the game was virtually over. Mudge unleashed another tremendous shot that cannoned off a defender with the keeper clawing at empty space, and late substitute Steve Ovens sent his one effort on goal in search of the missing Beaver 2 capsule that is lost somewhere on Mars. Past the 90 minute mark and Chenoweth´s headed clearance from a right wing cross fell to Scott Walker but the Chippenham substitute with the name that brings back memories of early 70´s pop music was unable to add his name to the score charts.

Three points, then, to start the year. Shouldn´t really complain but I can´t help feeling there were one or two aspects to the game that I wish had been included in the section that we had just rung out´; as well as some things that I´d hoped would be rung in´, that were still not there. Mr Hawkes handling of the game, though, did give me hope. How long before that will vanish along with the dregs of all those New Year resolutions? Not long, I suspect.

Tiverton Town: Stuart Fraser, Steve Winter, Paul Chenoweth, Jason Rees, Nathan Rudge, Graeme Power (Carl Cliff-Brown, 86), Kevin Nancekivell, Chris Holloway, Paul Milsom (Richard Pears, 65), David Steele, James Mudge (Steve Ovens, 85).
Subs not used: Steve Peters, Shaun Goff.
Booked: Milsom, Power, Rudge.

Chippenham Town: Mark Hervin, Michael Green, Andy Robertson, Colin Towler, Tom Gould, Ian Herring (Gary Horgan, 85), Ellis Wilmot (Scott Walker, 71), Mark Badman, Charlie Griffin, Adie Mings (Martin Paul, 68), James Constable.
Subs not used: Wayne Thorne, Nathan Edwards.
Booked: Badman, Mings, Griffin, Paul.

Referee: Kevin Hawkes (Quedgeley.Glos.)

This report ©2004 John Reidy






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