Match report

Tiverton Town 3 - 1 Chippenham Town

   Monday 28/03/2005   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Like Goliath when downed by the rock from David´s slingshot‚ the bigger they come the harder they fall. And of course‚ in league football they don´t come any bigger than the top of the table so teams that win their way to that elevated position are inevitably going to have to face the barrage; they´re there to be shot at. Such was the case for Easter Monday´s visitors to Ladysmead‚ Chippenham Town. Despite a run of poor home results earlier in the season their away form had kept them in contention and they had grabbed the chance offered by blips´ in their rival´s results to set themselves up as the Aunt Sally´s´. Bath City hit then hard on Good Friday to make Good´ a misnomer of the day‚ but they managed to remain on the pedestal of potential champions. It was tight though. If Histon‚ the other main contenders‚ were to win at Grantham then they would go top unless Chips matched their result - even a draw for The Bluebirds would see them toppled from top spot. Everything to play for‚ then‚ for the Wiltshire team. With Tivvy´s dreams also hanging by a thread‚ and the traditional rivalry between the clubs‚ it all promised to provide a passionately contested match. Strange then that the number of those inspired to come and witness it should fall so far below a four digit figure. The ones that decided to do other Bank Holiday things missed quite a game!

There was a surprise in store for most of the home fans when the teams were announced. Youth team skipper Dave Hambly was given his first start after making a handful of brief appearances from the substitutes bench - talk about being thrown in at the deep end. The youngster had little time to get nervous about his debut for he was soon in the thick of things when‚ in Tivvy´s first attack in the 2nd minute‚ he made a darting run for the by-line to provide Jamie Mudge with an option when Tivvy´s top scorer appeared to be trapped on the touchline. Hambly took the pass and fired in a low cross for Kevin Wills to take a shot from that tested Chippenham keeper Mark Hervin´s alertness.
Hervin was awake and took the ball cleanly and easily and it was just as well for the visitors that he was in full attention mode because he was again called on to show his sharpness minutes later when a long diagonal ball from Mike Walker aimed towards Mudge tearing through the middle‚ needed to be met and hoofed away a couple of yards outside the penalty area. With Tiverton producing most of the attacking play Hervin was to see plenty of the ball‚ though it is doubtful if he could have kept his eye on it through the melee that developed in his goalmouth in the 10th minute. Mudge sent in a low cross that really offered little threat and should have been easily cleared upfield. Kurt Nogan had different ideas and won the ball from the defender and managed to fire in a shot which was blocked by Hervin. The ball bounced off the keeper to be re-gathered by Nogan with Wills in close proximity. Somehow the pair of them managed to bundle their way through the clutch of defenders in front of them and a second shot was forced in - Nogan or Wills? they were so close I couldn´t separate them - which was again blocked but not held by Hervin but was this time scrambled to safety.
Meanwhile the visitors had also been making forward moves but it was clear that the Tiverton defence were at the top of their game with Nathan Rudge and Walker decisive and in no mood to take prisoners and Rob Cousins maintaining‚ as ever‚ his cool approach to dealing with all the stray balls that came anywhere near the Tiverton penalty area. It was not until the 13th minute that Chippenham came remotely close to scoring‚ and they couldn´t have been any closer as they swung in a free kick from just outside the penalty area on their left‚ that was met by the boot of Rene Regis as he thundered in from deep to send the ball rocketing inches over the crossbar. Two minutes later James Constable took a crack that looked for a moment as if it had found its way past Mark Ovendale until the Tivvy keeper gathered it well‚ if a little late.
The breakthrough came‚ or so we thought‚ in the 17th minute when the Yellows had a free kick out on the right. Steve Winter´s cross was bending away from the goal when it was met by Mudge whose header left Hervin little chance as it flew into the net. The celebrations were short lived as Mudge was ruled offside. Not really short lived more momentarily suspended as from the resulting free kick Chippenham mounted an attack which ended with the ball safely in the gloves of Ovendale. A typical long ball down the middle. Shaun Goff up with a blue shirt and the ball continuing in its middle of the road course to Wills. Wills controlled it and pushed it on again‚ past the shadowing defender. Mudge was through and onto it. Offside? the referee and linesman seemed to think not and Mudge‚ good boy‚ played to the whistle‚ carried the ball into the area‚ rounded Hervin and cut the ball back into the empty net.
Strangely the game seemed to die for the best part of twenty minutes. There was plenty of action as the ball moved from end to end but nothing of significance as the mid fields cancelled each other out and the defences were both on top off their respective opponents front men. With five minutes remaining to the break (normal time that is - the referee found over five minutes to add for some inexplicable reason) Chippenham increased their efforts to find an equaliser before the break but still the best they could muster was a 30 yard effort from Ellis Wilmot that Ovendale held low. In fact in the long extended 45th minute it was Tivvy that came closest to scoring....and should have.
Hervin fluffed a free kick which found its way straight to Goff who sent it right back the way it had come with Mudge beating the offside trap to give chase. This time Mudge let fly but Hervin blocked his shot. The ball came back to Mudge whose second effort was also blocked with the ball spinning away to Goff. Goff hit it and must have been well on the way to celebrating until his shot too‚ was blocked on the line by a defender and scrambled off to the side of the goal and reduced risk if not safety‚ It turned out to be the later and Tivvy had to be content with the single goal half time lead‚

The curtain was raised on part two with a change in the cast. Chips brought Sam Allison into their line up - clearly an attacking move. Attack they did‚ too. Three minutes in and Constable cur across the face of the Tiverton penalty area to hammer in a shot that Ovendale did well to turn away for a corner. From the kick there was a scramble that came to an end with a shot that flew wide. The visitors kept the pressure on‚ pegging Tivvy back for most of the opening fifteen minutes of the second half. The Tiverton defence looked less solid but somehow held together. It was all hands to the pumps. So much so that when Scott Walker blasted a free kick‚ given for the upending of Allison‚ through a defensive wall from right on the edge of the penalty area and the ball was blocked and only partially cleared it was Mudge that gathered it and carried it towards the touchline and away from the danger area.
Tivvy‚ though‚ were still making the odd break and from one won a corner in the 60th minute. Both Rudge and Walker went forward to add their considerable height to the attack. Needless to say there was the usual jostling on the goal line but this time it went a little too far and we had to wait while the referee gave a lengthy lecture to Walker and Chippenham´s Ian Herring. Eventually the corner was taken and fired in towards the near post where Nogan headed wide. The visitors continued to have the majority of possession but produced little in the way of efforts on goal.
Until‚ that is‚ the 69th minute when a long clearance from Hervin was touched on by Dave Gilroy to Constable who was only inches wide of the target with a piledriver that had Ovendale flying in the right direction but way too late had the shot been on the mark. That really was The Bluebirds story - shots off the mark when they were made‚ plenty of possession and good approach work but no cutting edge.......not a winning formula and it was Tivvy on the break that looked most dangerous as in the 79th minute when Mudge on a right wing run cut in towards goal but finding his way blocked by two defenders laid the ball back into the path of Nogan. Nogan‚ though‚ blasted wide.
The visitors constant pressure eventually told. In the 81st minute Gilroy sent Allison on a nippy run on the left to send in a good cross to the far post where‚ having covered the intervening ground‚ it was met by an untracked Gilroy´s header. It was a good connection but lacked just a tad´ in direction and thudded back of the upright butonly as far as Ovendale who it hit and ricocheted back across the line and into the net. The goal should have seen the visitors on the rampage for a winner. It oddly didn´t happen - if anything it fired up Tivvy. They pushed forward.
Four minutes after the equaliser and It was Chippenham on the break. Nathan Rudge, defending in the centre circle, had to make two desperate tackles to halt them. From the second one he managed to push the ball to Mudge a couple of yards in from the right hand touch line. Off went Jamie and as he was closed down by the defence he sent the ball low across the face of the goal where Kurt Nogan, despite being hassled by a blue shirt, forced the ball over the line to restore Tiverton´s lead. Chippenham players were not happy, So much so that two of them managed to talk themselves into the book.
Four minutes remaining (plus the referee´s additions so it might have been an hour). 88th - another yellow for Chippenham as Sam Jones is penalised for bringing down Wills and then stupidly kicks the ball away. Less than two minutes later and Nogan idiotically does exactly the same and gets exactly the same reward. Into the added time. Milsom replaces Wills. And the game is sewn up when Nogan puts Mudge through 1-on-1 with Hervin who he beats with an early low drive that curls under the keeper´s dropping body and into the net,

News comes through that Histon have relinquished a 2-1 half time lead at Grantham to lose 3-2. It acts as a slight consolation for the travelling fans since it means that Chippenham are still in pole position, despite a dismal and pointless Easter holiday. Other results fail to help Tivvy much but the arithmetic tells us that it´s still possible. It certainly is if the last five games are played in this fashion by The Yellows.


Tiverton Town: .Mark Ovendale, Steve Winter, Chris Vinnicombe, Mike Walker, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Kevin Wills, Shaun Goff, Kurt Nogan, Dave Hambly, James Mudge,

Subs not used: Stewart Yetton, Jamie Densham, Ian Nott, Paul Milsom, Mike Booth,

Booked: Nogan.


Chippenham Town: Mark Hervin, Rene Regis, Matthew McEnteggart, Gary Thorne (Sam Allison, 46), Ian Herring, Scott Walker, Ellis Wilmot, Ben Kirk (Nick Bunyard, 86), David Gilroy, James Constable, Sam Jones.

Subs not used: Simon Charity, Lee Davidson, Sam Bailey.

Booked: Herring, Gilroy, Jones.


Att: 696


Referee: Mr. N Brimming (Bristol).

This report ©2005 John Reidy






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