The unofficial archives of Tiverton Town Football Club

Team Bath 1 - 1 Tiverton Town

Friday 25/03/2005   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Bath. Twice in a year? My mother would never have believed it! Not that she would have been casting aspersions on my personal hygiene habits‚ more that the good mother that she was she knew her offspring´s aversions and ever since I had pestered her into letting me make my first of many trips to ‘away ‘football grounds she was aware of my lack of love for Twerton Park‚ home of Bath City. Yet‚ following on from two visits the last season before last when as well as the league visit Tivvy travelled to Twerton on November 5th to be entertained by the local´s fireworks when they should have been doing the entertaining in a Dr Martens Cup tie‚ here we were again making yet another trip across Somerset to the Roman City. This time‚ though‚ it was to face ‘the other´ Bath side - the University team - Team Bath. Reflecting back on that first visit to the ground it was noticeable that in the intervening years‚ little had changed at Twerton in getting on for 50 years - apart from the number of spectators. A mere 188 trickled their way into a Stadium that had attracted more than ten times that figure week in‚ week out‚ It was a ghostly experience and would have been far worse but for the considerable contingent of Tiverton fans that had elected to use the first day of the holiday weekend to make the trip.

And those fans were not given a comfortable start to the afternoon as The Yellows maybe one of their sluggish openings´ not a good thing against a side that had proved on their two visits to Ladysmead earlier this season that they were a lively bunch. Within five minutes of the first blast on the whistle the home side had created two clear cut chances but had failed to test Mark Ovendale with some woeful shooting. Tivvy settled and they also had an excellent early chance in the 19th minute when Chris Vinnicombe made a foray forward and reached the edge of the penalty area before being upended. Another yard and the kick would have been from the spot but it would have taken quite a dive to have kidded the referee into awarding a penalty. But the kick was in just the right position for the Tiverton routine. Winter and Mudge worked it well bur Jamie´s shot was way off the target.
The Yellows continued to press forward and won a corner shortly after but again it brought nothing as Team Bath keeper Darren Chitty collected the close in cross with ease. With the Initial huffing and puffing done with‚ the contest began to settle into a recognisable format to games between these two sides. Team Bath‚ as on previous occasions were spreading the ball around to their wide men and in doing so maintaining a steady pressure. Tiverton were comfortably dealing with what came in from the wings but were already beginning to miss out their midfield as they cleared their lines. Kurt Nogan and Mudge were being given plenty of long balls to chase but the Team Bath defence always had the upper hand if only because they were facing the ball and not having to look over their shoulders.
Ovendale was the first keeper to bring off a genuinely decent stop when in the 20th minute Bath´s Marc Canham let fly with a full blooded effort from thirty yards out that had the Tivvy keeper at full stretch to save. With the University side definitely having the edge the opening goal came as something of a surprise. A mistake by a home defender helped Nogan to win the ball wide on the Tiverton left. Credit to the Welshman for his persistence in chasing an apparently lost cause and being in position to take advantage of the error to steal possession and move the ball inside to Mudge. Tivvy´s top striker was in just the kind of position that usually invites him to make a run at the penalty area but on this occasion he saw a white shirt steaming into the back of the Team Bath penalty area and sent in a cross that was perfect for Steve Winter to meet with a cracking header to put Tivvy in front.
The goal gave Tivvy a little more confidence and the share of attacking play evened out. Team Bath continued to use their wings but the threat vanished the moment they played the ball into the centre. On the ground or in the air it was dealt with by Nathan Rudge and Mike Walker comparatively easily and Ovendale´s handling of anything close to goal was impeccable. The Yellows even managed to build some moves from the back and include the midfield in their progress‚ but Team Bath´s back line was equally as strong and chances for either side were minimal up to the half way mark.

Nothing much champed at the break or immediately afterwards. The game remained evenly balanced and open. The home side were the first to make a change but even that was forced through a 55th minute injury and not an effort to change the flow of the game. As at Ladysmead‚ though‚ the ‘students´ steadily increased the pace of their game and by the hour mark they were making the majority of the forward moves but still failing to make much impression on the Tivvy defence whilst The Yellows were looking increasingly dangerous on the break - partly no doubt because of the home side throwing more players forward. And when‚ as in the 67th minute‚ they managed to retain possession to allow support in numbers to arrive‚ they were able to maintain pressure on the Team Bath back line for sustained periods.
It looked for the greater time that the game had reached a stalemate. The home side had the edge in midfield‚ Tiverton´s defence looked impregnable‚ and the home side seemed comfortable against the Tivvy forwards. Bath changed things. One of the players that had caused them so much grief in the previous encounters was brought on as they switched to a three pronged attack with twenty minutes to go. they went in serious search of an equaliser and stepped up the pressure on the Tiverton defence even more. Tivvy responded by replacing a flagging Shaun Goff‚ who had seldom been able to make a telling run‚ with Paul Milsom. That added a bit more weight to the Tiverton Midfield - which now was part of the defence - but also lessened the chance of decent service for the two front runners‚ though a long ball that was headed on by Nogan to Mudge in the 76th minute did provide Tivvy´s top marksman with the chance to fire in a hurried shot that flew wide as he was closed down by two defenders.
Team Bath´s efforts were increased further. Canham again tried a long shot that was well taken by Ovendale and another low drive brought the best from the Tiverton custodian. But the pressure told. The 80th minute saw good work wide (where else?) on the left that pulled the Tiverton defence over to that side of the field. Like Winter in the first half‚ Tomas Jancovic ghosted into the back of the penalty area where there was a wide open space. When the ball was crossed to him he had ample time to bring it under control‚ steady himself and drive the ball firmly past a badly exposed Ovendale. Boosted even further by the goal‚ the home side went in earnest pursuit of the winner and came alarmingly close to securing it as they forced their visitors onto the back foot. Matt Lewis did what he had been doing all game and created chaos on the right wing to cut in and send what might have been a shot but was more likely a cross that wandered closer than intended to the Tivvy goal. Ovendale was alert enough to get a hand on the ball that lifted it onto this crossbar and out for a corner.
Dave Hambly was brought on in an attempt to steady the rocking Tiverton ship‚ or to add a little more energy and the home side tried to bolster themselves for a final push by bringing on Paul Tisdale who is presumably a brother of Team Bath skipper Peter Tisdale. If that is the case then one has to think that it was a highly unoriginal choice of names by Mr & Mrs Tisdale‚ and wonder if the boys have a sister called Mary?) Hambly was not on the field long enough to make an impression and neither was Tisdale (Paul). The final noteworthy incident came courtesy of substitute Matt Reeves who burst through and hit a shot on the run that Ovendale did well to parry.

So‚ for the third time this season Tivvy took the lead against the ‘students´ only to be pegged back. In the game that mattered least their lead had been extended enough to see them home to a win‚ but both the league games had ended up all square. As it has turned out‚ that win in the Southern League Cup would have been of far greater value had it occurred in this fixture.

Oh well‚ there´s always next season..............

Tiverton Town: Mark Ovendale‚ Steve Winter (Dave Hambly‚ 86)‚ Chris Vinnicombe‚ Mike Walker‚ Nathan Rudge‚ Rob Cousins‚ Kevin Wills (Stewart Yetton‚ 81)‚ Mike Booth‚ Kurt Nogan‚ Shaun Goff (Paul Milsom, 73), James Mudge.

Subs not used: Iain Harvey, Jamie Densham.

Booked: None.

Team Bath: Darren Chitty, Ali Otto (Paul Tisdale, 88), Danny Maye, Carl Heiniger (Joe Long, 55), Peter Tisdal, Alex Ball, Matt Lewis, Marc Canham, Garry Haylock (Matt Reeves, 69), Tomas Jankovic, Matt Towney.

Subs not used: Tom Gould, Ali Hines,

Booked: None.

Att: 188

Referee: Mr. Simon Snartt (Bristol).

This report ©2005 John Reidy