Match report

Histon 3 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 08/03/2005   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

It is not difficult for anyone who is unfamiliar with travelling North from the M25 to become a little confused with what lies within the narrow sectors that are split by the M1‚ the A1(M) and the M11. Somewhere off of one of them‚ I knew‚ was a museum´ I had often threatened to visit - The Shuttleworth Collection. Saturday´s trip to Bedford via the M1 failed to bring the place to my notice. Nor did this trip to Histon up the M11‚ so I can only assume that my point of interest is probably most easily accessed off the central of the three routes. The collection is just that. A collection of old pioneering and fully functional aircraft. Bleriot´s monoplane of 1909‚ the first to fly the channel. Various First War Tri and Bi-planes. They even have a Sopwith Camel‚ a plane famed for it´s valiant attempt‚ or at least three of thems attempt‚ to defend Malta from the full force of the Luffwaffe during the Second War‚ despite their obsolescence. Three wood and wire biplanes against the Meschersmit 109´s and Junkers JU87´s‚ aka Stuka´s‚ of Herman Gorings swastika and black cross bedecked Air Force. No wonder the pilots refered to flying them as being ´by the seat of your pants´‚ or coming into land as‚ on a wing and a prayer´. Those three planes were nicknamed Faith‚ Hope‚ and Charity - appropriate virtues to describe the feelings in the hearts of the handful of stalwart supporters that journeyed up the M11 to Cambridge for the match against high flying Histon. Faith in their team´s ability to pull of the apparently impossible and make the play-offs. Hope that they would perform to their capabilities. Charity to forgive them if they didn´t‚ but no desire to see them be charitable to their hosts. Yes‚ Faith‚ Hope‚ Charity. Three admirable qualities. We were to need them in ample quantities before the night was out.

First of those virtues to be tested was the Faith element of the trio as the home side shot out of the traps like demented Greyhounds. They displayed all the energy one might have expected from a side frustrated at their lack of a game at the weekend and caught Tivvy looking like what they were - a squad that had just made a five hour journey a couple of days after a similar trek and an equally tough game. That their only rapid reward was a corner on the left which was well defended was some consolation but not much as the play concentrated in the Tiverton half of the field. The home side could well have reaped more substantive benefit as early as the fourth minute when the assault on The Yellows goal was only denied by Steve Winter clearing off the line but at least the close call fired up the visitors and they mounted their first attack. And it was quite pretty and incisive too as the ball was switched around quickly as Tiverton moved forward the length of the field until Mike Booth hit a shot from the edge of the penalty area that was only inches past the top right joint of Lance Key´s goal framework.
The Yellows seem to have developed a risky habit of early defensive laxity of late. It seems to take a couple of serious scares before they get their act together and start to concentrate at the back and Histon´s style of play - swinging the ball long and wide for speedy wing backs - immediately gave them their second scoring opportunity as they counter attacked from the goal kick. Long through the middle and pushed wide to Neil Kennedy‚ a front man who wandered wherever there was a space. Kennedy swung the ball in quickly for his strike partner Ian Cambridge who had found comparable space motoring through the middle to reach the ball a fraction of a second‚ and inch‚ before Ovendale. The problem for Histon´s top scorer though‚ was that he failed to make the contact that would have left Ovendale scooping up fresh (very fresh....brrrr) air and instead the keeper was able to collect the ball.
For the next dozen minutes Tiverton came into contention. The back tightened up‚ the front looked lively(ish) and the midfield held it´s own. The Yellows weren´t on top‚ but hope‚ ah hope‚ began to rear her head as Tivvy gave almost as good as they were getting. Almost‚ because most of the actual scoring chances were still coming Histon´s way and Ovendale was far the busier of the two keepers‚ as he was in the 17th minute when‚ following a corner‚ he had to get down well to beat out a fierce drive from Roscoe Hipperson
Tiverton´s best chance of the first half came in the 20th minute‚ and that too came from a corner. Taken out on the right by Shaun Goff‚ it caused - as tight into goal corners always do - problems for the home defence and they only managed to clear it to just outside the penalty area where Booth again rifled in an effort that lifted just over the crossbar. Histon turned up the wick and their flame became brighter. Tiverton struggled to match their increase I pace and their tactics and ability to swing the long balls out wide pulled The Yellows defence asunder. Once more the play was concentrated in the Tiverton half and when a 26th minute free kick from the left was swung into the back of the penalty area it was no surprise that Walker was standing too far off Cambridge (I) to get to the ball first and when the Histon front man´s head met the ball Walkers arms were still raised in the jump. It was‚ perhaps‚ harsh of the referee to judge that the arm had played the ball but there had been an advantage gained and once the decision was made there was no changing it so the ball was duly spotted for Cambridge (I) to tuck‚ somewhat tentatively it has to be said‚ inside Ovendale´s right hand post.
Tiverton briefly attempted a comeback - Nathan Rudge heading over from another Goff corner - but hope was minimal and almost vanished entirely in the 33rd minute when again the Histon wide play brought a long cross that Kennedy met with a firm unmarked header to add Histon´s second. And in the dying minute of the half two might well have been three‚ but for the heroics of Ovendale getting down to save well from another Kennedy effort.

For the first ten minutes or so after the break there were signs of a Tivvy revival. We were back to the scenario of the second stage of the first half with the visitors almost giving as good as they got. But again it was just as‚ even shorter‚ lived. The first crack appeared in the 56th minute when a Cambridge (I) header thumped off the base of the upright. In this instance it wouldn´t have counted - the flag was already up for off-side - but it was cause for concern that Tivvy were still failing to address the problems caused by the width that was being conceded to their hosts.
A change was made. Winter was replaced by Nogan‚ with a three pronged attack coming into force and Booth moving out wider on the right. Almost immediately Paul Buckle found the young Tivvy dynamo out there and Booth battled his way along the line to force in a cross. Nogan had yet to touch the ball and he was beaten to this cross too but beaten by the head of Stewart Yetton who made just the right contact to turn the ball past Key and into the net to make hope spring once more in Devonian hearts
Hope‚ however, does not always spring eternal and in this case it sprung for barely six minutes. Yetton´s strike had given Tivvy a lift and once more they were showing a bit of resolution, albeit without a great deal of energy. It goes without saying that the home side were trying to mount a recovery of their two goal safety margin but Tivvy seemed to be containing them. When midfielder Adrian Cambridge [hence the (I)´s behind the previous references to the striker Cambridge] was trapped out wide on the left by-line, half way between the line of the penalty area and the centre circle, there seemed to be little direct threat. For once there was no Kennedy or Cambridge (I) lurking in the penalty area to get on the end of a cross. It was the typical situation where the ball is played back and another move started. No such thought for Cambridge (A) who turned in side to create just enough space for himself and unleashed a tremendous right foot shot that flew across the face of the six yard box, evaded Ovendale´s swooping dive and tucked itself as neat as you could wish inside the top left hand corner of the Tiverton net. As spectacular a goal as any seen in a Tiverton match this season.
That was just about it as far as hope went. Faith had been sadly unrewarded. Charity had played it´s part. Histon did not sit back, goal difference could play a part in the end of season scramble. Kennedy hit a goal bound shot that cannoned back of defenders legs to Cambridge (I) who brought a fine save from Ovendale to tip the ball out for a corner, Matt Joseph who had been rampant wide on the right throughout the game, was denied by the vertical woodwork from a corner.
Tivvy did manage to hold the home side off for the remainder of the game but never looked like hauling themselves back into it. Apart from the brief spells early in each half The Yellows had looked tired and jaded. At the final whistle they dejectedly trooped from the field. They had given their all but one couldn´t help but feel they just had not had enough left after the exertions of the weekend.

Histon march on in their pursuit of Chippenham Town, and on this showing they are worthy challengers. Their pace, style and accuracy of play and organisation mark them out as clearly the best side that Tiverton have met this season. The better team won.
For Tiverton? Hope - not a lot. Faith - severely dented. Charity - more needed than any other side is likely to give.


Tiverton Town: Mark Ovendale, Steve Winter (Kurt Nogan, 57), Shaun Goff, Mike Walker, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Mike Booth, Iain Harvey, Stewart Yetton Paul Buckle, James Mudge.

Subs not used: Paul Milsom, Kevin Wills, Jamie Densham.

Booked: None


Histon: Lance Key, Matthew Haniver, Erkan Okay, Roscoe Hipperson, Colin Vowden, Adrian Cambridge, Matt Joeseph, David Bridges, Neil Kennedy, Ian Cambridge, Jamie Barker.

Subs not used: Nathaniel Knight-Percival, Louie Farrington, Neil Coburn, Wayne Goddard, Mark Webster.

Booked: None.


Att: 211


Referee: Mr Darren Brockwell (Northampton).

This report ©2005 John Reidy






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