Match report

Tiverton Town 3 - 2 Histon

   Saturday 23/04/2005   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

One thing that anybody that has followed Tivvy over the last six seasons since they stepped up to the Southern League cannot accuse them off is letting the season peter out with half a dozen games to go. When the final shakedown has come in five out of six of those seasons The Yellows have been somewhere in the thick of it. A visit to sunny Rocester on the last day‚ where a win combined with a Moor Green defeat would have seen the second promotion slot pinched at the death: A win up at Blakenall the following season bringing to an end that epic run-in of 15 games in 29 days that secured Premier status: Kettering coming to Ladysmead and pipping Tamworth for the title by winning by the odd goal in three whilst The Lambs were being held at relegated Folkestone. Year four was the one campaign that did seem to just drift away but reorganisation saw Tivvy once more involved in the final scramble last season - but I´ll not rush to revive memories of the outcome of that! So here we are again....... the destination of the Championship again being influenced by one of the contenders coming to Ladysmead for the final home game‚ and the match made even more relevant since Town themselves are not beyond further involvement if they can win it‚ thanks to a second half of the season surge that has carried them from the foot of the table to within sight of a play off spot. But to win it? A tall order if the visitors were to play as they had six weeks ago when Tivvy had visited them and the Devon contingent had been almost unanimous in tagging them as the best side The Yellows had faced all season‚ even though two long hauls had left Town looking decidedly jaded. But this was another day‚ another match.............

Yes‚ another day‚ another match and it was clear from the opening exchanges that Tivvy were not jaded this time out‚ nor were Histon more than a shadow of themselves....or themselves as they had been when winning at their place. Tiverton made the first attacking move and Chris Vinnicombe showed that his adventurous mood had continued from the previous week´s drubbing of Rugby by having the first attempt on goal with a firm drive. Histon replied with a long diagonal ball‚ something they had stretched the Tivvy defence with continuously when the teams had last met but we were only to witness on this one occasion this time round. Maybe last week had given young Dave Hambly a taste for the goalscorers glory for he was next to take a pot at the Histon net but fires inches wide after 7 minutes.
By this time Tiverton were well established as top dogs. Steve Winter sent a long free kick into a gaping space down the touch line which seemed a total waste until Jamie Mudge was seen to have read what was happening and sprinted after the ball but his cross into the middle was deflected almost v and seemed to be dropping for a defender to clear in reasonable comfort. Kevin Wills‚ epitomising the clear attitude of the Tivvy team‚ went for the ball too and was rewarded by forcing the ball out for a corner on the right. The big men´ came up from the back - Nathan Rudge and Paul Milsom. The ball was curled in close to goal. It came to ground right in the jungle of bodies in the six yard box. Milsom bundled it over the line. One - nil Tiverton and just nine minutes gone.
For a team looking to claim the championship The Stutes´ (is that a mangled abbreviation of hirsutes - the hairy ones?) showed remarkably little composure at falling behind. Not only were their midfield and forwards failing to link up with the kind of attacking play that had destroyed The Yellows‚ their defence was looking decidedly insecure. Tivvy were lively enough to be able to take advantage and were unlucky not to double their lead in the 14th minute when a cracking shot from the left by Mudge was cleared off the line by Roscoe Hipperson with much vaunted keeper Lance Key well beaten. Key in fact was one of the visitors that could not be claimed to be looking a shadow of his former self‚ on the contrary he looked to be twice the man he was - an Atkins diet failure who had eaten all the pies and borrowed a pair of Jaylo´s breast implants to complete the picture! Maybe it was through lack of action as his team had closed on the title but even when Histon did start to compete more he was still the more active of the goalkeepers as Tiverton showed more penetration than their opponents who were seldom allowed near the Town penalty area as the game opened out. Mark Ovendale´s first contribution to the cause´ came in the 25th minute when a long free kick from the right was curled to the far post and Ovendale had to scamper across his goal to save with his feet.
It signalled Histon´s best period of the game so far as they first built and then maintained pressure on the Tivvy defence. Four corners in two minutes for the visitors and one close call for The Yellow´s goal when Neil Kennedy´s blasted drive was deflected by Rudge to Ian Cambridge who fired tamely wide. When your star strikers are having so few opportunities as Kennedy and Cambridge were being allowed by the tightness of Rudge and Milsom then they have to take what comes their way. They didn´t and after Jamie Barker had also shot wildly wide their revival faded and Tivvy were back on the offensive with their goal unscathed. Key´s ample bulk proved to be an asset as he dashed out to smother the ball as Hambly chased pursued a pass that was always going to be just beyond him and in added time Kurt Nogan was denied by the woodwork as he chased down a long ball but was stranded with no support so cut in and lashed an angled shot of the crossbar. The break and Tiverton good value for their single goal lead.

The second half was to follow a similar pattern‚ early on‚ to the first period‚ apart from the fact that The Yellows were to score in five minutes less. The first effort on goal came from Hambly‚ a 25 yard rocket that took a deflection to send the ball flying over the top for a corner. The kick went as most Tivvy corners do these days‚ in close. It was defended partially away but quickly bobbed back in across the goalmouth to Mudge wide of the left hand post. Mudge caught it before it went out for a goal kick and forced in a low cross that cut back from the by-line to be given a delicate flick into the net by Iain Harvey. Like London busses - you wait an age and then two turn up together: Harvey doesn´t appear on the scoresheet all season and then hits two in rapid succession!
Unsurprisingly Histon rang the changes. Two substitutions were made and by the time the hour mark ticked around there were signs that they were again wresting the game away from their hosts. They were aided by some strange decisions from the senior official‚ as in the 65th minute when Wills was tumbled to the floor by a Histon defender as he broke onto a long ball from defence that had he not been felled would have left him free on goal. No free kick‚ no card. Three minutes later we were treated to the ultimate display of handling confidence (or was it luck?) from Mark Ovendale when a lobbed cross to the far post was met by Cambridge but plucked one handed out of the air‚ basketball style‚ by Ovengloves´.
Kevin Wills was having what many in the crowd were beginning to rate as his best game since joining Town and it was his liveliness that was the major factor in Tivvy´s third goal in the 70th minute. Another long ball forward‚ remember how a few months back we were so critical of such tactics?‚ was perfectly headed down by Kurt Nogan into the path of Wills who looked to have burst through the Histon back line and seemed certain to score. Until the rough-house intervention of Barker interrupted his progress. The referee showed a rare moment of swift decisiveness in awarding the penalty. He should have shown more.....like a coloured card. Yellow at least‚ possibly and justifiably since Wills was through‚ red. No just the kick‚ blasted home by Winter.
Tiverton´s confidence returned. A delightful break saw Hambly‚ Wills and Mudge combine to carry the ball forward. Mudge sent in the cross‚ Nogan joined in by with a neat back heal flick for Wills but again the lively midfielder was denied a place on the scoresheet as his shot was deflected away. With 16 minutes remaining Tivvy started to freshen´ things up‚ and of course disrupt the flow of the game‚ by making three substitutions over a period of seven minutes. It didn´t really make a lot of difference‚ they continued to look comfortable.
Until the 85th minute that is. Cambridge finally managed to get a shot on target and force Ovendale into a save that looked as if it had involved a serious effort from the Tivvy glovesman as he had to leap to touch the ball over the top for a corner. Having brought of that spectacular save it was ironical that Ovendale should commit a faux pas that presented Histon with a goal. As the corner swung across Ovendale came.....and missed. Colin Vowden had the simplest task to spoil Tiverton´s nice clean sheet. It gave the visitors hope and that became belief in miracles four minutes later when in another similar scenario a corner was not cleared and Roscoe Hipperson poked home a second Histon goal.
It left the Tivvy faithful in stunned and nervous silence. Not the guys out on the pitch though. They kept their cool to withstand the late burst and hang on to the three points to take Tivvy into the melting pot that will be the last day of the season.

Be there up in Norfolk if you possibly can‚ folks.

Live the dream - keep the faith!


Tiverton Town: Mark Ovendale‚ Steve Winter‚ Chris Vinnicombe‚ Dave Hambly‚ Nathan Rudge Rob Cousins‚ Kevin Wills (Mike Booth‚ 75)‚ Iain Harvey (Shaun Goff‚ 82)‚ Kurt Nogan(Stewart Yetton, 81), Paul Milsom, James Mudge.

Subs not used: Mike Walker, Ian Nott.

Booked: Harvey, Vinnicombe, Cousins.


Histon: Lance Key, Erkan Okay (Matt Joseph, 51), Wayne Goddard (Darren Coe, 58), Roscoe Hipperson, Colin Vowden, David Bridges, Robbie Nightingale, Neil Andrews, Neil Kennedy, Ian Cambridge, Jamie Barker.

Subs not used: Leon Gutzmore, Adrian Cambridge

Booked: None. !!!


Att: 800


Referee: Mr. S. Robbins (Bristol)

This report ©2005 John Reidy






Please note: The � or ? character in some older reports denotes where an error has occured in translation when the reports were transfered between databases