Match report

Salisbury 0 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Monday 01/05/2017   Southern League First Division Play Off
Simon Ellis

EVOSTIK LEAGUE SOUTHERN PREMIER DIVISION. I don’t think I will ever get bored of reading or typing that. After a prolonged absence from the upper echelons of the Southern League and several failed attempts along the way, Tivvy realised the season-long dream of securing their place back amongst the elite with as brilliant a performance as the entire season had seen.

Unbridled joy and borderline delirium were the scenes at the full time whistle as Michael Landricombe's first half header and Tom Bath's` close range finish in the second period completed a wonderful treble of victories (all of which were allegedly lucky) against Steve Claridge's much fancied Salisbury side, who again had no answer to the tactical conundrum that faced them.

The hosts had been on a fine run of form leading up to the play-offs, winning their final six league matches and had the league’s leading scorer Tommy Wright finding the back of the net for fun, although Evesham pushed them all the way in their semi-final, needing a last minute penalty in extra time to secure their final berth, but with home advantage and with the backing of over 2000 fans expectations were high.

The Yellows, buoyed by the return of Owen Howe from suspension and the fact Jamie Short had sufficiently recovered from his assault in the semi-final, were back to full strength but Howe had to make do with only a place on the bench as Martyn Rogers stuck with the same starting eleven that had got them into the final with the 3-1 victory over Taunton Town.

First half chances were at a premium as both defences were on top form. Tommy Wright headed a good chance into the side netting and Jamie Short had an effort deflected wide were as close as either side came to breaking the deadlock until Landricombe's bullet header from Nick Hurst's pinpoint cross six minutes before the interval did just that.

Nerves were telling in the away end as good chances to extend the advantage early in the second half came and went. Levi Landricombe, normally so lethal when one on one, dinked his effort wide as 'keeper Bass closed him down, and screams for a penalty when Bath appeared to have been tripped were waved away. Bath tapped in his third in as many games after great work down Tivvy's left from Short and Levi but with still 35 minutes to play (not including the 5 minutes of injury time) the race was nowhere near run.

It would be little exaggeration though, that had the two sides played until midnight that night, Salisbury would still probably not have scored, such was the resolution and the "thou shall not pass" attitude of every last Tivvy player, and desperation setting in amongst attackers the longer the match went on, so cue scenes at full time reminiscent of the glory days of FA Vase victories at Wembley and countless Western League titles during the nineties, and with such a brilliant climax to a wonderful season, this Tivvy squad has earned the right to be mentioned amongst the most successful group of players that the club has ever seen.

Tiverton Town: Joe Perry, Nick Hurst, Jamie Price, Ben Mammola, Steve Kingdon, Tom Gardner, Jamie Short (Ben Carter 77), Michael Landricombe, Tom Bath (Owen Howe 81), Levi Landricombe, Scott Rogers
Goals: Michael Landricombe 39, Bath 55

Attendance: 2,274

This report ©2017 Simon Ellis