Match report

Tiverton Town 3 - 2 Basingstoke Town

   Saturday 16/09/2017   Southern League Premier Division
Simon Ellis

Saturday 16th September 2017. A date for all the historians and statisticians to take note of and remember. Whilst it is NOT the first time that the Yellows have found themselves at tthe top of the Southern League Premier Division - they achieved the same feat in September 2002, and August 2006 - it will be the longest period they spend there, after their fifth straight home victory of the season. Such an achievement early on in the campaign will not go unnoticed elsewhere and although one of the "newbies" to the group, it will make other sides think long and hard before underestimating Tivvy. Three up at half time, two more from Levi Landricombe to continue his fine scoring run, and a "greatest ever at Ladysmeadgoal" contender from eventual Man of the Match Ben Mammola, had Tivvy seemingly cruising to victory, before Basingstoke scored twice after the interval to set up a tense finale.

After what seems to be the customary opening period at Ladysmead nowadays where the visitors start on the front foot, the rest of the first half was a fairly even affair, chances a-plenty for both sides in an open and entertaining game, apart from one glaringly obvious difference. All great teams are exactly that: teams; but with them there is usually a figure head, a talisman. The great Liverpool sides of the 70s and 80s had Ian Rush, the great Manchester United sides of the 90s had Andy Cole and at Tiverton currently, Levi Landricombe. 73 goals in 82 appearances including his latest brace has him as one of Tiverton's most prolific ever forwards. Certainly his first was not without a good slice of fortune: after a complete air-shot at Nick Hurst's cross, his second effort took a sizeable deflection off 'Stoke defender Dan Collier to balloon over stranded keeper Colm McAdden. Levi's second two minutes later though, was a beauty. Ollie Knowles was tripped twenty-five yards from goal, and similar to numerous previous occasiona, a left foot effort was bent around the wall and in to the top corner.

Excellent goalkeeping and bodies on the line prevented the visitors making in-roads into Tiverton's lead, notably when Rice tipped Sam Deadfield's curling effort on to the bar. Mammola found himself in the right place to clear the lines, and the bravery of Michael Landricombe blocked Tim Wohlfiel's fierce effort before Mammola scored, as previously mentioned, an outstanding third. Genuinely reminiscent of something Lionel Messi makes a habit of doing, Mammola strode forward from the half way line, waltzing past several defenders along the way, before prodding neatly home from close range when confronted by McAdden.

The visitors responded instantly after the interval, top scorer Sam Smart grabbing his fifth of the season after being played through, and with eighteen goals in their previous four wins, it was enough to set panic amongst home supporters. Such panic was - or rather should have been - short-lived. McAdden saved well from the head of Michael Landricombe, and Owen Howe had a goal chalked off for offside as the Yellows looked to re-assert their chokehold on the game. Jordan Rogers and Tom Bath replaced Howe and Levi, and both had their chance to put the game to bed before Bsingstoke set up the grandstand, nervous, finale. McAdden saved with his legs from Bath as he raced clear of tiring defenders, and Rogers' deflected shot bounced off the crossbar as the visitors pushed higher.

With the job seemingly done and four minutes of injury time had passed, no-one seemed particularly interested in Charlie Kennedy when he picked up the ball twenty yards from goal, so he duly arrowed a low shot into the corner. But despite their best efforts in the remaining minutes, the resolute defending of the Yellows ensured there would be no fairytale comeback.


Tiverton Town: Martin Rice, Nick Hurst (Scott Rogers 78), Callum Hall, Jamie Price, Ben Mammola, Tom Gardner, Jamie Short, Ollie Knowles, Owen Howe (Tom Bath 78), Levi Landricombe (Jordan Rogers 78), Michael Landricombe
Goals: Levi Landricombe 17, 19 Ben Mammola 45+1
Attendance: 220


This report ©2017 Simon Ellis