Match report

Tiverton Town 3 - 0 Evesham United

   Saturday 13/08/2005   Southern League Premier Division
Chris Bell

Late afternoon‚ 30th July 1966 and I´m dancing on the terraces of the real Wembley (beware of imitations) with thousands of fellow English supporters‚ in time with Nobby Stiles´ famous victory jig. Bobby Moore is hoisted on the shoulders of his colleagues holding aloft the Jules Rimet trophy. The player of whom Alf Ramsey said "it would have been impossible to win the World Cup without: Moore as captain, a calculated footballer I could trust with my life". A time of great happiness and celebration. All was right with the world‚ unless you were a Scotsman or West German‚ so what could possibly disturb this perfect scenario?

Roll forward to the 24th February 1993‚ its 6.45pm and I´m driving to my weekly five a side in North London with a group of friends‚ several of whom are West Ham season ticket holders. Switch on the radio for the 15-minute sports bulletin (that´s all you got then‚ no Radio 5) and the news of Bobby Moore´s death breaks. It´s a huge shock‚ even to the West Ham fans as there had been no suggestion that this was imminent. Yet given the nature and length of his illness we should have been prepared. Why weren´t we? The nature of the man and how this was reflected in the quiet way in which he handled his illness is the answer. The gap left in our footballing lives and our sadness was all the greater as a result.

Roll forward to 26th June 2005 and the experience is replicated as I log on to find that our friend Japer has passed away. They may have operated at different levels in our beautiful game‚ but the game has been all the better for both their contributions and I have no problem in drawing these parallels. Jeff Powell wrote in his biography of Bobby Moore´s passing that "When the news broke it released a tidal wave of admiration‚ a flood of tributes‚ an ocean of nostalgia and a river of tears". That we saw a similar reaction across the Non League family to Japer´s passing says it all about the man.

Such were my thoughts as I made my way to our first competitive match of the new season. The pitch maestros had worked their black arts to good effect‚ the greeting at the turnstile was as friendly as ever and with some potentially good additions to the squad there was an air of real hope and expectation. And yet an important cog in the machine was missing. Who was going to provide us with the words to describe the mighty deeds our golden warriors would perform over the coming months? Who would entertain us with his idiosyncratic introductions that were worth the read on their own? Some would try their hand‚ but in the knowledge that their efforts would not stand comparison with the original. So we´d have to learn to live without. But enough of this rambling the man on the Ledge complains. These folk have logged on to read a report about a football match.

So what of our first opponents‚ newly promoted Evesham? Google tells us that Evesham first appeared in the 8th century when an abbey was built on the spot where the Virgin Mary is believed to have appeared to a humble swineherd called Eoves who was searching for a stray pig. Checking the programme there was no evidence of his ancestors being included in their line up. Whether there were any virgins amongst the travelling support was harder to judge.

The game started at a good pace with Tivvy starting to mount attacks based on some good passing moves whilst Evesham´s forays towards the home goal were less structured. Bale showed his terrier like qualities with an early tackle that started somewhere near the sports centre and was heading for Morrisons when the opponent took timely evasive action. In the 8th minute the home pressure resulted in a corner which Friend met and sent goalwards only to see it hacked off the line by a defender. Within a coupe of minutes Yetton and Winters had combined to put Bale in but his header failed to make the mark.

Evesham responded immediately by producing a good strike on goal‚ Ovo pulling off the first of a number of stunning saves‚ but the ball ran loose towards the goal. Where was Rob Cousins to hack the ball off the line? Never fear our new Mr Dependable‚ Milsom‚ fulfilled that role admirably and the danger was cleared.

The game continued in this fashion with Tivvy mounting a series of attacks which failed to produce an end result‚ some of which was down to Evesham´s young sub goalie who was brought in at the last moment and produced a solid performance. From a Tivvy corner the first of a number of 'handbagging' sessions ensued most of which seemed to involve Evesham´s Pinkney who qualified for the ILG match award. Tivvy continued their good interpassing with play‚ one move involving a sequence of seven passes that ended with Hambly retrieving the ball on the edge of the area but firing over.

Tivvy´s defence however‚ still offered Evesham hope with Gould delaying endlessly on a ball near his penalty area and being dispossessed only to be rescued by a tackle from that man Hambly again. A chipped shot that just eased past Ovo´s far post soon followed. Boring it wasn´t.

Another seven man passing movement saw Holloway on the end of a good cross only to firmly head the ball straight at the keeper. Where was a goal going to come from? The answer came in the 30th minute‚ courtesy of the Evesham skipper who got himself booked for a touch of the verbals. Tivvy employed the party piece free kick from the edge of the area and Friend´s shot deflected past the goalkeeper. Within seven minutes it was 2-0. Mudge‚ breaking down the left whipped in a cross that Yetton beat the defender too‚ placing a firm drive into the corner of the net.

Within five minutes Friend‚ who had a good game going forward. set off on a mazy run past a number of defenders only to be fouled on the edge of the area. The ref‚ who generally had a decent game‚ played an excellent initial advantage before awarding a free kick on the edge of the area‚ but the party piece failed to work this time. Gould was then left lying on the ground from an apparent elbow by the Evesham skipper, a fate that was to mysteriously befall the perpetrator later in the game.

Approaching half time Tivvy broke with a ball to Mudge and the defence outnumbered. Jamie contrived to get the ball stuck under his feet and the opportunity seemed to have gone‚ but give him his due he worked a good pass out to Bale on the right who crossed to Hambly. Down he went under a clear foul tackle and Winters converted the penalty with his usual aplomb. 3-0 at half time and looking good.

The second half failed to live up to the promise of the first‚ the first incident of note coming in the 15th minute when each side made a sub‚ Wills coming on for Hambly. Five minutes later Rudge and an opponent were challenging for a ball near the touchline when the opponent appeared to give Nathan a shove‚ which sent him into the linesman. Nathan lay on the touchline and took no further part in the game‚ which was probably just as well as soon after a fracas broke out which started with Evesham´s No9 and Gould and then involved multiple handbags as most everyone else joined in. Three bookings but surprisingly not the No9.

Tivvy were not as dominant as the first half despite some good attempts on goal and in the 28th minute they were again saved by a brilliant point blank save by Ovo from Clarke who volleyed in from 12 yards when Gould missed a header. Two minutes later a spectacular volley from an Evesham forward eluded Ovo and thankfully the post. Then their No 9 came deep to start a move that he finished with a fierce long range shot Ovo was unable to hold‚ but Gould was there just ahead of an opponent to effect a clearance.

With injury time approaching Moor came on for Yetton (Man of the Match). Evesham´s response was to win a corner that Tivvy failed to clear which fell to an opponent six yards out. Fierce shot....must be a goal...but no‚ Gould on the line (Do we have two replacements for Cousins) headed the point blank shot clear. Mudge retaliated with an excellent run and stinging shot that the young goalie spectacularly tipped over the bar. Just time for Bale to intercept another dangerous cross into the Tivvy area and the victory was assured.

Decent performance and a good three points but there will be many a harder game starting with an early Bath on Wednesday.

One closing thought as I meandered my way home up the appropriately named Long Drag Hill. When Bobby Moore passed away a tabloid printed the following inspired piece "God can tell Heaven´s Eleven to start getting changed. The captain has arrived". Well now he can tell the Referee to start the game Japer is in his eyrie‚ pencil poised and the full force of the English Language at his disposal. That´s a match report I´d give a lot to read.


This report ©2005 Chris Bell

Tiverton Town 3 - 0 Evesham United

   Saturday 13/08/2005   Southern League Premier Division
Sam Lear

Tiverton kicked off their season with a comfortable 3-0 win over Southern League newcomers Evesham United with goals from debutant George Friend‚ Stewart Yetton and a penalty from Steve Winter. Evesham‚ from South Worcestershire won in the play-offs last season.

Tiverton started brightly when a Winter cross from the right was met by Yetton whose header missed the left post. Evesham hit back when Leon Blake crossed to Richard Ball whose shot was fantastically saved by Mark Ovendale from five yards out.

Steve Winter then had the first of several free-kicks from just outside the box. From the arc his effort was easily taken by Darren Knurek who didn´t need to move. Knurek was Evesham´s reserve goalkeeper‚ their first choice being delayed in traffic.

There was a purpose to Towns game and the chances steadily came. Rudge had a header from six yards his effort scraping the post and going wide of the mark. Evesham started to feel some strong Tiverton pressure.

The Robins did have an effort when Ball had a go from 25 yards out on the right but his shot missed the left post. But back up the other end Tivvy kept coming. Winter whipped in another cross from the right which met the head of Chris Bale eight yards out. His header was too close to the keeper and easily saved. Bale was getting well forward‚ in fact Bale was getting everywhere! Holloway was in control in midfield and it was a measure of Tiverton´s dominance that Friend was able to stay up as well.

Mudge won another free kick on the edge of the box. Winter´s shot was well saved by Knurek‚ this time down to his left. Then‚ picking up the ball on halfway‚ George Friend weaved through the red and white defence before being uprooted 20 yards out. The resulting free kick was well worked and saw Mudge miss the right hand post by a couple of feet.

Ironically‚ after all the direct free kicks in good positions it was an indirect one that brought Tiverton the goal they deserved on 23 minutes. With several Tivvy players over the ball it was cleverly back heeled to Friend. His left foot blast got a deflection and the ball eluded the young goalkeeper inside his left-hand post.

Ten minutes later Tiverton went two up. Jamie Mudge on the left cut inside and played in a low ball to man-of-the-match Yetton. Stewart beat the Evesham captain to the ball and slotted home past Knurek from just inside the penalty box.

Tivvy continued the pressure and it wasn´t long before they added another. Evesham looked vulnerable down the inside left channel. Dave Hambly wormed his way past a couple of Robin defenders but was bustled over by a third inside the box. There was little doubt about the decision. The Tivvy fans bayed‚ the ref blew and Steve Winter hammered home from the penalty spot. Evesham´s first choice keeper‚ who had newly arrived off the M5‚ watched from the dressing room door. He would have done no better than his 17 year old colleague against that one.

Evesham had the last attempt on goal of the first half when a cross from the right by Matt Hall to the far post found Ball. But his shot from 5 yards went into the side-netting.

Tiverton started brightly in the second half when a Mudge shot from 25 yards went close‚ missing on the right. Winter then had an audacious attempt when his shot from the right side line lobbed Knurek but just missed the bar.

A good run and cross by Wills, who had come on for Hambly, just passed Yetton´s head as he closed on goal. Then a worrying sight for the Tiverton faithful when Nathan Rudge was carried off on a stretcher having popped his knee after sliding into the barrier. Chasing back he had gone shoulder to shoulder with an Evesham forward and fell badly. As Rudge was being attended to virtually all of the players from both teams were involved in a scuffle - an unsightly bout of handbags that ended honours even and no cards.

Winter‚ cutting in from the right‚ had another effort from 30 yards out but this shot missed on the left.

The second half lacked the fizz of the first but Evesham had a bit more mobility about them and Tiverton didn´t have it all their own way. Evesham´s best chance of the match came when a volley from five yards out by Jae Martin was excellently parried by Ovendale. The Robins had other chances and began to get in behind the Town defence. A goal mouth scramble included a number of shots and more Ovendale saves but the usual outcomes were Tiverton goal-kicks. Evesham won a couple of corners but‚ apart from this 15 minute spell‚ Town were little troubled.

The last chance of the game came as Mudge succeeded in getting away from Stuart Hamilton. Tivvy´s top marksman fired a shot from 25 yards which was somehow tipped away by Knurek for a corner. He wasn´t going to get on the score sheet today.

On an overcast day‚ Evesham were well beaten by a good-looking Tiverton side. Nathan Rudge would be the only worry for Martyn Rogers as he prepares for Bath City‚ who also won 3-0 today.


Tiverton Town: Mark Ovendale, Steve Winter‚ George Friend‚ Tom Gould‚ Nathan Rudge (Michael Walker)‚ Paul Milsom‚ Dave Hambly (Kevin Wills)‚ Chris Bale‚ Stewart Yetton (Renier Moor)‚ Chris Holloway‚ Jamie Mudge

Attendance: 581


This report ©2005 Sam Lear






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