Match report

Moor Green 2 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 03/01/2004   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Patriotic songs have never managed to move me much. God Save the Queen jars against Republican tendencies that have emerged in later years‚ fuelled by the antics of the next generation of Royals´: Rule Britannia I find archaic in its jingoism: Land Of Hope and Glory...well both concepts seem to have been well buried in the past‚ and as for building Jerusalem in our green and pleasant land - I think we can do without another New Town after what happened at Milton Keynes. The less nationalistic ditties like I Belong to Glasgow or that other massive hit of the Music Halls (at least‚ massive in the Capital) Maybe It´s Because I´m A Londoner are a shade more realistic. The later has managed to stir me a little on occasions‚ but then being born in the East End probably has something to do with that‚ and even as a spasmodic visitor I have to admit that some parts of the Great Metropolis are attractive to me. On the whole‚ or perhaps that should be hole´‚ I find little to please my sensibilities in this Realm´s second City. Looking out and over the sprawling mass of Birmingham from the elevated Motorway as it rumbles its way past the remains of Fort Dunlop‚ the vista is one of grey lifelessness and a general depressing lack of charisma. Moor Green´s home in the Hall Green suburb might be tolerable at ground level‚ and the pitch is certainly superb‚ but on three previous visits with Tivvy there had been limited sparkle in 270 minutes of dire football. Always plenty of efficient going through the motions but little flair‚ minuscule panache‚ ample dourness. Perhaps it´s something in the water up there for when you consider the area´s most famous son‚ the same traits are evident. Nigel Mansell‚ despite winning the F1 World Championship‚ was hardly the most exciting or flamboyant character to walk Shirley´s streets. Thus‚ expectations of a thrilling afternoon on what is likely to be The Yellows final league visit to The Moorlands were decidedly subdued.

It was‚ weatherwise‚ a miserable day. A misty‚ moisty morning‚ what the climatic pundits at the Met. Office delight in calling mizzle´‚ all the way up the M5‚ round the M42 and in towards Brum on the A34. And The Moorlands seemed to be appropriately named when we arrived. Enveloped in a bleak atmosphere that mirrored the desolation of the greyest day on Exmoor. A little brightness was generated by the friendly welcome afforded to the considerable Devon contingent that contributed to swelling the meagre crowd to approaching the magical 250 mark. There was little brightness‚ though‚ on the field of play as the first 45 minutes was set underway. For the first ten minutes the home side tried to take the initiative with some reasonably lively forward moves. The Tiverton defence were pulled around a little but coped‚ and showed that they could play the game a little by describing some pretty triangles on the ground as they edged out of defence into midfield. There‚ in the majority of cases‚ their progress ceased‚ the only times Richard Pears and Jamie Mudge were able to get sight of the ball was when it was hoisted over the central areas or carried down the flanks by Steve Winter or David Steele. However it travelled there‚ The Moors back line looked entirely comfortable and so the pattern of the game was settled. Dominant defences; running‚ working forwards; but no control of midfield. A sure recipe for ennui as two teams cancelled each other out. The thirteenth minute brought the first goal scoring opportunity‚ and in view of the relative discomfort of the two defences it was not surprising that it fell to The Moors. Graeme Power gave away a free kick with a reckless challenge on Phil Trainer and the free kick was hoisted into the Tiverton Penalty area where it was scrambled away thanks mainly to the twice shot blocking boot of David Steele. With what was to prove to be a rare first half piece of ground based football Tivvy replied as Jamie Mudge‚ Richard Pears and Kevin Nancekivell combined but the final ball flew into and then beyond the penalty area where even Steve Winter‚ making ground down the right‚ was unable to reach it. The home side´s Neil Davis escaped through the middle to crash a shot against Fraser´s torso with the lively Peter Faulds shooting wide from the rebound but it was all academic since the linesman was standing‚ flag aloft‚ to signal Davis had not beaten the offside trap. Adam Rachel in the Moors goal did well to direct a Pears header over the bar for a corner after Winter had crossed the field to curl a free kick into the far post and a Pears lob through the middle was headed away by Rachel as he sprinted out of his box to beat Mudge to the ball. Otherwise it was an unenthraling first half for the yellow bedecked fans who were only too happy to seek the warmth of the clubhouse and a temporary defrosting period at the break.

The second half was merely a minute old when the tail end of the returning queue exited the door to once more endure the elements. For the majority the gloom was soon to be lifted as the home side won a corner with their first attacking move. Swung in close to goal from their left‚ Fraser was up to punch the ball away with power that would not have disgraced a middleweight pugilist. The ball fell about thirty five yards away‚ ten yards in from the touchline. Unfortunately it was also to the foot of Trainer who lofted it back from whence it came. Again Fraser went for the ball‚ though this time it was dropping six or seven yards out. He went‚ but mistake No.1‚ he didn´t shout. Mistake No.2 was the collision with Nathan Rudge‚ a possible consequence of mistake No.1. The consequence was that As the ball dropped, Fraser was off balance, the ball continued unmolested on its path and eased its way inside the upright for the opening goal of the game. The Yellows had to put something together if they were to remain in the game. To their credit they did up their work rate. increase the pressure on The Moors back line, and even come close to finding the way through it on a couple of occasions. A 49th minute shot from Steele was turned for a corner, but the best chance for either side throughout the entire game come in the 53rd. With Moor Green apparently having taken the sting out of Tivvy´s attempted comeback and begun to push forward again themselves, Simon Bryant collected a clearance just inside his own half and, turning his marker made a beeline for goal. Following an imaginary line from centre circle to penalty spot, and despite having the ball at his toe he maintained the gap between himself and the pursuing blue shirted defender until he closed on the edge of the penalty area. Rachel came, Bryant touched the ball sideways towards Mudge who had until the last few yards kept station ten yards to the left of Bryant. Those last couple of yards though were to prove crucial as Jamie moved in front of Bryant and the moment the ball was played remotely in his direction up went the flag and peep went the whistle. Offside!
With town continuing their fruitless search for an equaliser, what efforts on goal they did make were hardly dangerous, it was to be expected that they might become more exposed themselves. The 64th minute saw Faulds again showing his speed on the right, unselfishly laying the ball off to Davis who contrived to scoop over from four yards, and Town were nearly caught out by their own tendency to faff´ around in defence when there are opposing forwards present, loosing the ball out on the left and causing Fraser to concede a corner by palming a shot from Faulds away to safety, though that word is used with a certain amount of trepidation in view of what happened from the first such corner of the half. Tivvy survived their self inflicted moment´ and recovered to mount an attack of their own, which culminated in Bryant meeting a clearance from the Moors penalty area a full 40 yards out and driving it straight and true through the emerging players to finish it´s flight with a resounding thud as it was grasped to Rachel´s solar plexus. With hope springing eternal (sounds like the underlying theme of a Mills & Boon Romance) in the bosom of the Tivvy fans of a Yellows leveller it was almost inevitable that Moor Green would score again to turn the last quarter of an hour into a depressing anticlimax to match the enthusiasm damping drizzle. Sure enough, seventy two minutes gone and another clanger dropping moment provided the opening. Tiverton´s two central defenders decided to hold a parliamentary debate over who was to clear a long ball from the home sides half. There was plenty of time despite the fact that Faulds, as ever was motoring forward in optimistic pursuit. However, the polite, after you....no you do it....discussion suddenly used all the available time and left Nathan attempting to head the ball back to Fraser who was advancing towards the edge of his area in anticipation of just such a move. The ball was never going to reach that far, leastwise not as a direct consequence of Ridge´s header. It did , however cover the required distance, and more with the aid of Faulds´ added power, the extra yardage being that between Tivvy´s stranded keeper and the back of his net. Again Town tried the quick comeback but when Bryant´s cross from the right was headed on across goal to substitute Paul Chenoweth by Pears, and Cheno´s hooked down shot at the far post hit Rachel´s chest, then it was clearly not going to happen for the Devon side. Steele hit another effort wide from a headed clearance but the final word in goal efforts came in the 90th minute when Moors substitute Dennis Bailey shot wide in front of an empty goal having combined with Faulds to leave Fraser stranded on his penalty spot.

All in all. a dismal start to the second half of the season´s travels for the Yellows.....and even more so for their supporters who paid rather than were paid for what was supposedly an afternoon´s entertainment. It was not good value for money, whichever you were. Certainly, unlike James Bond´s Martini´s, I was not stirred - nor shaken.

Tiverton Town: Stuart Fraser, Steve Winter, David Steele, Jason Rees, Nathan Rudge, Graeme Power (Steve Ovens, 85), Kevin Nancekivell (Paul Chenoweth, 72), Chris Holloway, Richard Pears, Simon Bryant, James Mudge.
Subs not used: Steve Peters, Shaun Goff, Paul Milsom.
Booked: None.

Moor Green: Adam Rachel, Richard Robinson, Phil Trainer, Lee Collins, Guy Sanders, Ben Petty, Peter Faulds, Neil Davis (Chris Gillard, 81), Rob Elmes (Dennis Bailey,76), Daire Doyle, Jae Martin.
Subs not used: Sean Dowdall, Jimmy Haarhoff, Matt Harris.
Booked: None.

Referee: Mr. R Burton (Kettering)

This report ©2004 John Reidy






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