Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 1 Nuneaton

   Tuesday 25/10/2005   FA Cup
Chris Bell

An FA Cup replay against senior opponents under lights on a greasy surface‚ wind blowing and the majority of your first team absent injured or cup tied. An opportunity for heroics and for ninety minutes Tiverton´s makeshift squad delivered‚ giving everything to the cause‚ but paying the price for a number of missed chances and going out to a sucker punch strike as extra time beckoned.

Despite carrying an injury MOM Milsom played the whole game ably supported by Croft‚ whose performance belied his relative inexperience and must have run his colleague close for the award. Somewhere someone again dug into their pockets and a yet another loanee‚ Hutchinson‚ arrived in midfield.

For the first twenty minutes it was Nuneaton‚ with Staff looking dangerous on the left‚ who posed the greater threat without ever going close to actually scoring. The nearest effort being a cross field move that ended in a ball flashing across the home six yard box with no forward able to get a touch. Tivvy were mounting the occasional breakaway but the visitor´s defence‚ well marshalled by the experienced Angus‚ dealt with any threat quietly and efficiently.

Then the balance began to change as the home side created the first serious chance. The ball was played skilfully out of defence to Yetton on the right of the halfway line. He looked up and hit an inch perfect pass to Mudge running clear through the middle on the goalie unopposed. Sadly‚ as in recent games‚ Mudge failed to force a save and put the ball wide of keeper and post. Back came Nuneaton with a cross come shot that surprised Ovendale and had him staggering back‚ ball in hand‚ but just managing to stay in front of his line.

With the game now more evenly balanced attack and counter attack flowed back and forth. Mudge passed to Bale on the right and his near post ball to Yetton was just intercepted at the expense of a corner. Mudge then did well to get in a cross from a tight situation that Angus for once missed. Yetton turned and shot‚ forcing a diving save from Acton.

From the first whistle the referee had seemed to be operating in a parallel universe and this view was reinforced in the 34th minute when out of nowhere and without any prior warning he penalised Ovendale for time wasting. He then compounded this bizarre decision by awarding an indirect free kick outside the area‚ which last time I checked was handball territory for a goalie. Shortly afterwards Angus suffered a nasty looking injury when he came up for a corner and landed headfirst against the wall behind the goal. Thankfully he was able to walk off but took no further part in the game.

Matters briefly took an unpleasant turn when Frew launched an over the ball two footed tackle on Croft. Luckily the recipient had time to take evasive action‚ but the referee was still on planet Zog and play continued without even a warning word.

The second half started with Whittaker on for Angus and Frew foolishly attempting to carry on with Milsom where he´d left off with Croft. Nuneaton may have started the game the stronger but it was Tiverton who were now shading it and with an hour gone Bale played a clearance out to Yetton on the right. His pass into the near post found Mudge whose shot was blocked at the expense of a corner. Then it was Bale´s turn to spray the ball out to Booth‚ his cross being blocked out to Mudge on the edge of the area who volleyed fiercely over the bar.

Nuneaton were given a chance when Daly delayed too long and was robbed‚ but the resultant shot cleared the bar. If anyone was going to win the game it seemed more likely to be Tivvy‚ a view backed up by the Nuneaton manager berating his players for their inability to deliver any sort of threat with their final ball into the area.

With ten minutes to go a single goal seemed likely to win it and Tivvy created and wasted another gilt edged chance to do just that. Booth again got down the right and sent in a near post ball that only required a touch from Mudge to score‚ it wasn´t to be and the ball sped across the goal. Mudge then turned provider with a defence splitting pass to Yetton. On he ran into the left of the area with only Acton to beat‚ but again no save was called for as he shot past the far post. Nuneaton then had a good chance to win it from a corner‚ but Ovendale diving on the line saved the header.

With two minutes to go came heartbreak for the home fans amongst the crowd of 885. Croft had performed excellently throughout the game and it was extremely unfortunate that it should be his misjudgement that let an opponent in on goal. Ovendale got a hand to the shot but could only deflect it across the area to where substitute Quailey had the simplest of tap ins.

The reaction of the Nuneaton bench‚ players and supporters when the final whistle blew minutes later said it all. Yes there was celebration‚ but more was a huge sense of relief that they had escaped with a win when they knew that it could have been so different. A huge performance from the home team in difficult circumstances‚ but that will mean nothing to them. Winning is what its about and the bodies strewn around Ladysmead after the final whistle said it all. Funny old game? Cruel more like it.

This report ©2005 Chris Bell

Tiverton Town 0 - 1 Nuneaton

   Tuesday 25/10/2005   FA Cup
Sam Lear

It took 178 minutes of football for a team 3rd in the Conference North‚ with a game in hand‚ to beat a team in the Southern premier League‚ who had eight plus injuries. This suggests two things: 1. Nuneaton were very poor or 2. Tiverton played oujt of their skins. I can assure you that it was the latter. No one can claim that Tiverton didn´t make you proud on Tuesday.
In the 178th minute‚ or for the people that can´t work it out‚ 88th minute it was a tap in for their late substitute Brian Quailey. I wonder what their manager was thinking!
Tiverton were to rue missing chances in both legs. James Mudge was the buiggest culprit in this game‚ missing what seemed like an open goal.
Tiverton had the first chance when a great diagonal ball from right to left by Mike Booth found the feet of Mudge‚ who was one on one with the ´keeper but his toepoke agonisingly missed the right post.
It was a similar situation again‚ but this time a diagonal ball from left to right by on-loan Darren Davies found Mudge at a tight angle and he blasted over.
A bizarre moment followed when a Matty Collins shot deflected off the head of Davies‚ which was caught by an unbalanced Ovendale on the line. The Nuneaton fans claimed it had gone over the line.
Mudge then a blast from twenty yards which looked to be sneaking into the bottom right corner but Darren Acton saved well clutching the ball to his left.
A moment of madness followed‚ when Mark Ovendale stupidly‚ it has to be said‚ held the ball for longer than six seconds‚ this was not the first time in the match. The resulting indirect was blasted against the seven-man wall and the rebound by Michael Frew was parried.
Then a moment of passion and inspiration for the players and crowd was when Steve Daly made two crunching tackles in a row‚ got up ran to keep the ball in‚ slid to do that‚ got up again and played a cross-the-field ball to Davies. This was greeted by a round-of-applause by the Tivvy faithful‚ or not so‚ let´s see how many are there next week!
Kwame Ampadu had a corner from the right which was aimed for the back post which found Mudge who blasted wide of the left post.
Then‚ a painful moment for ex-Coventry player Terry Angus when he bashed his head against a brick wall whilst challenging for a ball. He went off‚ again to an ovation. All the best for his recovery.
That concluded the half‚ which I would say Nuneaton just about on top altough Tivvy were holding their own well. It was the Yellow´s job to push forward more often in the second half.
Tiverton had the first chance in the second half when a Stewart Yetton throughball found Ampadu whose shot was blocked for a corner.
Then a chip ball by the always influential Chris Bale found Mike Booth on the wing who crossed in towards Mudge‚ the pass was blocked but Mudge had the rebound which he blasted oevr the crossbar.
Paul Milsom was then dispossessed by Stuart Whittaker who played a square ball to Michael Frew who blasted over from 18 yards.
Thean a similar situation again‚ saw Whittaker play a throughball to Frew‚ who was one on one with Ovendale but again‚ he blasted the ball over the bar.
Then‚ without a doubt‚ the easiest chance of the match saw‚ Chris Bale fouled by Michael Love‚ Boooth played on and sent a low cross across the six yard line which found Mudge on the far post with a practically oopen goal but he couldn´t make any contact with the ball‚ which went out for a throw in.
Yetton then nearly scored when his run from the left blasted a shot which scraped the far right post for a goal kick.
The last chance‚ the first goal came‚ Booth was outpaced by Whittaker whose shot was parried by Ovendale which found Quailey with an open goal who did what Tiverton couldn´t‚ put the ball in the net. Some fans were on the pitch‚ they thought it was all over‚ it is for Tiverton. The final whistle blew‚ with a very dejected Tiverton side and a very jubilant Nuneaton side. The 885 fans present saw a classic non league games which in my opinion‚ is the best type of football around. Full of passion and commitment. Mangotsfield awaits.

Attendance: 885

Tiverton: 1. Mark Ovendale 7; 2. Mike Booth 8; 3. Darren Davies 8; 4. Ian Hutchinson 7; 5. Sam Croft 8; 6. Paul Milsom 7; 7. Kwame Ampadu 7; 8. Chris Bale 8*; 9. Stewart Yetton 7; 10. Steve Daly 8 (12 Kurt Nogan -); 11. Jamie Mudge 6. Subs not used: 14. Kevin Wills‚ 15. Dave Hambly‚ 16. Terry Skeggs‚ 17. Ian Nott.

Nuneaton Borough: 1. Darren Acton 7; 2. Rob Oddy 8; 3. Michael Love 7; 4. Gary Fitzpatrick; 5. Kevin Wilkin 7; 6. Terry Angus 7 (14. Stewart Whittaker 8); 7. Matty Collins 7; 8. Mark Noon 7; 9. Michael Frew 6; 10. Gez Murphy 7 (12. Brian Quailey -); 11. David Staff 7. Subs not used: 15. David Blenkinsopp‚ 16. James Holmes‚ 17. Ryan Poole.

Referees: Kevin Johnson (Daren McElin & Tim Lawrence) Lee Swabey.

This report ©2005 Sam Lear

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