Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 4 Chippenham Town

   Tuesday 20/01/2004   Southern League Cup
John Reidy

Great minds‚ they say‚ think alike. I´m not sure if I agree. Similar minds‚ be it through compatible tastes‚ parallel logic or comparative training and experience may follow similar thought patterns and come to similar conclusions; great minds are unique. It is that individuality‚ that innovative twist‚ which makes them great. Artistic great minds will become great painters‚ sculptors or writers. Practical great minds will become great inventors. Logical great minds will be great thinkers‚ just think - and perhaps go down in history as great philosophers as they pose arguments from both sides on such mind boggling questions as‚ Is there a God´ or What is the meaning of Life´. I´m in need of a consultation with Aristotle or one of his ilk. I need an answer to one of those great mysteries‚ one of those eternally and infernally unanswered‚ and perhaps unanswerable questions. How can eleven men show such skill‚ adeptness and competence one day and be so inept and guileless in the same pursuit just three days later? Yes‚ what is the answer to Tiverton Town´s inconsistencies? For the first quarter of The Yellows second hosting of The Bluebirds in three weeks‚ that question never poked its head above the parapet. By 9.30 p.m. it was on the lips of just about everybody that remained at Ladysmead to the bitter end of this Dr Martens Cup Fourth Round tie.

Tivvy started where they left off in Wales on Saturday. Lively‚ full of movement‚ accurate first touch passes‚ always heading in the right direction (left if you were watching on the Clubhouse side). The one qualification to be made was that the build up‚ though sure‚ was also slow. The Chippenham defence were able to organise and cover. There was no risk of them being split by a rapid break as Tiverton were only edging forward. The one exception was Jamie Mudge‚ who within the first four minutes had managed two runs at the blue wall‚ both being brought to an end with an opposing boot being between the goal and ball within a foot of the shot leaving his toe. Tiverton upped the pressure a little. A fifth minute corner on the right‚ taken short but the second ball cross swinging in from Steve Winter headed out for another corner on the opposite side. Yellow shirts swarmed round the box. Another corner but respite for the visitors as the first bad pass of the game went far enough astray to trickle out for a throw in. Such was Tivvy´s dominance of the attacking play that it was odds on that it was only a matter of time before they forged in front. On ten minutes everyone thought the inevitable had happened. Paul Chenoweth‚ bored in midfield where there was little action‚ moved up to back up the three front men (no way could Kevin Nancekivell be described as a midfield player at this stage). Perhaps in an attempt to show his colleagues that they couldn´t expect to walk the ball through the Wiltshire side´s back line‚ he unleashed a low thirty yard effort that did pierce the defence and was only inches off target as it flicked off the outer edge of the upright with Chippenham keeper Mark Hervin only just beginning to move in the right direction. With Tiverton constantly attacking as well as ruling the roost in midfield the visitors front men were a pair of lonely souls. It was clear that their defence was coping admirably and did not require their aid. Roaming the half way line‚ Charlie Griffin and recent addition James Constable were content to wait for the ball to be pumped forward. It was the 14th minute before that happened to any great effect. Griffin made the best of it‚ turning Rob Cousins and laying the ball across field to Simon Charity who had burst forward to his right. Charity hit in a shot. Powerful and low but curling wide. Still the majority of the action was taking place in the visitors half of the field but after Paul Milsom had a shot deflected for a corner on 20 minutes it became clear that The Blue birds were edging their way into the contest‚ particularly in midfield where they were having more than their fair share of the play. It was a sign‚ perhaps‚ of things to come. Three days earlier there had been similar moments. Tiverton had spotted them‚ re assessed their game‚ dealt with the prospective problems and reasserted their superiority. This time it was the opposition that sensed the changing scenario and amended their gameplan. The defensive line was comfortable. Midfield were seeing more ball and began to use it by looking to send the front men forward‚ Griffin was the main beneficiary and turned the nebulous into concrete when he escaped on a run through the middle‚ slightly to the left of centre‚ in the 28th minute. Charlie is always prepared to have a pot and he did so on this occasion but the ball was woefully astray‚ shooting across the home penalty area. The Tiverton back men were still in attack mode and were badly exposed‚ a situation underlined by the fact that James Constable had been allowed to make a parallel run unattended and was able to latch onto the wayward shot‚ bring it under control and place it soundly under Stuart Fraser as he scampered off his line in an attempt to narrow the angle. Not narrow enough as it turned out‚ the ball beating him along the ground to lift the back of the net and give Chipps the lead. No blatant mistake but a defensive error none-the-less. Time then to tighten up‚ one would have thought. But no‚ The Yellows continued to move forward with more urgency and with that urgency came the odd stray passes‚ the hurried balls to players not in good positions. Tivvy were still having the better of things overall but they were not as dominant or self assured as they had been for those opening twenty five minutes. Paul Milsom was helped from the field with a re-occurrence of his hamstring problem in the 35th minute and though Richard Pears showed more pace at the front he was unable to find a way through the Navy Blue wall any more so than Mudge, Nancekivell or any of the other occasional forwards. Five minutes before the interval Fraser had to be both sharp and brave to prevent a second Chippenham goal. Tiverton have frequently conceded from set pieces this season but on this occasion it almost happened from a corner of their own. The ball was cleared upfield and Griffin lurking on halfway turned and burst through onto the ball and in the clear. Fraser came as The Chippenham man drifted to the right and spread himself well to divert the ball away off his legs. Another Tivvy corner saw Chris Holloway come close but his header was cleared off the line by Scott Walker and the game being end to end by this time, it was the visitors turn to attack. This time it was Constable who made the run. Cousins was in close attention but elected to shepherd the scorer of the first goal wide towards the edge of the penalty area. It would have been a dangerous thing to lunge in with the tackle but Constable turned back round cousins and headed goalwards until he was in approximately the same place from whence he had scored and repeated the shot - with identical results - giving the League strugglers a two goal advantage at half time.

Again Tiverton started brightly when the second half got underway. Five minutes in and Mudge threw himself horizontal to meet Chenoweth´s cross from wide with a spectacular scissors kick. Spectacular but heading wide until Pears made head contact but could only divert the ball straight into the arms of Mark Hervin in the Chippenham goal. Sweeping to the other end the visitors forced the ball home but were pulled back for offside; not a great concern to the Wiltshire lads who were content and comfortable with their two goal margin. The same could not be said for the home contingent, though, when they scored´ but suffered a similar fate on the hour mark and even less so when three minutes later Jason Rees edged the ball over his own line in an attempt to clear in a goalmouth scramble following.....yes a set piece - a Chippenham corner. Five more minutes was enough for the realisation that something had to be done. Tivvy were a shambles and changes had to be made. Steve Ovens was given his chance, replacing an ineffective (substitute marked out of the game´ if you want) Mudge. Ovo had his chance to make an impact almost immediately. A Tivvy corner on the left. Hervin rose but dropped the ball. Ovens scooped it over the crossbar. At last The Yellows found the net with quarter of an hour to go. Rees made a rare push forward and fired in a rarer shot on goal. More remarkable still it was on target and made its way through all the gaps to bring the margin back down to just´ a pair.
The goal made little difference. It was just an early consolation goal. Chippenham were rampant and playing with confidence. Super sub Martin Paul replaced griffin and added even more thrust to the visitors strike pairing. Double scorer Constable burst through with ten minutes to go but found his progress towards goal arrested by a n arm trying to remove his shirt. It should have been four -one and would have been were it not for a brilliant full length save by Fraser as he threw himself to his right to beat away Paul´s well hit spot kick. If Constable was aggrieved that he was denied the opportunity to hit his hat-trick his emotions were short lived. Four minutes later, Nathan Rudge allowed himself to be put under pressure and forced into lobbing the ball back to his keeper. Fraser, too, was challenged and decided his best option was to jink the ball over the advancing blue shirted player and nip round him before attempting to hoof upfield. Wrong! the first part of the operation was almost a success, except the ball didn´t travel far enough. Fraser didn´t get round his man who stabbed the ball into the middle where Constable shad ample time to steady himself before completing his trio. Well it wouldn´t be Tivvy 2004 without at least one bit of farce, would it? The Yellows did create one more chance before the (bitter?) end. A big boot clearance from Fraser cleared the Chippenham back line and sent Pears through on his own. Pears took a first time shot when he had time for a cup of tea and a biscuit before steadying himself. The ball ended up over ten yards wide, giving Hervin the opportunity to waste a few more seconds retrieving it. Still. they were hardly valuable moments...Tivvy were hardly on the comeback trail. That will have to wait until the visit of Cambridge City. Even the presence of the FA Vase is unlikely to inspire many of the current players. That was all before their time. It´s we, the fans that remember.

So, though I´m no great philosopher, since that final whistle, I´ve been thinking about that How can eleven men.....´ poser. Perhaps because I have few of the same genes as Aristotle, I have failed to find the answer. Maybe I should give up the quest...there must be easier questions to solve.
Like ....What was the best thing PRIOR to sliced bread´?

Tiverton Town: Stuart Fraser, Steve Winter, David Steele, Jason Rees, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Kevin Nancekivell, Chris Holloway (Shaun Goff, 80), Paul Milsom (Richard Pears, 34), Paul Chenoweth, James Mudge (Steve Ovens, 68).

Subs not used: Steve Peters, Pete Conning.
Booked: Milsom, Holloway.

Chippenham Town: Mark Hervin, Simon Charity, Scott Walker, Colin Towler. Tom Gould, Ian Herring, Gary Horgan, Mark Badman (Andy Robertson, 88), Charlie Griffin (Martin Paul, 76), James Constable (Sam Allison, 85), Ellis Wilmot.
Subs not used: Wayne Thorne.
Booked: Badman, Gould.

Referee: Andrew Newell (Yate).

This report ©2004 John Reidy

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