The unofficial archives of Tiverton Town Football Club

Tiverton Town 2 - 1 Bracknell Town

Saturday 09/12/2023   Southern League Premier Division
Darren Holmes

Patience is a virtue, as all Yellows’ fans, the team and our coaching staff can bear witness to. We were rewarded yesterday with a second home victory of the season - the last time the fans were able to celebrate a win at the Ian Moorcroft Stadium was against bottom side Didcot Town on August 19.

Our high press and intense work rate throughout the team was apparent from the first whistle as they tore into the Bracknell half with purpose. However, two minutes into the game, a long pass forward to the cunning and pacy Jordan Espirit saw him latch on to the ball in what appeared to be an offside position and, following a resounding finish past Zak Baker, Tivvy were a goal down very early. There were no real strong protests from the players or our coaches and Espirit’s movement during the game was a bit of a centre-forward masterclass.

The team did not dwell on this setback and were soon on the front foot. Mitch Beardmore, Javan Wright and Niall Thompson all posed individual and collective threats, with the overlapping Dylan Jones and Bailey Kempster giving us an abundance of energy and quality for the Robins to handle.

In the eighth minute, an inswinging and inviting corner from River Allen found Josh Jones and it was only a combination of some desperate defending and a post that prevented his header from drawing Yellows level.   

The quick-footed darting runs of Wright and Beardmore were exciting to watch from the stands. For their part, Bracknell, who were working hard to contain the Yellows, were also having some joy on the break, with Espirit isolating the defence on a few occasions and Max Herbert and Joeseph Grant committing defenders when given the chance.  

On 25 minutes, a superb piece of individual play from Dylan Jones as he drove through the Robins, ended with him forcing Bracknell ’keeper Filip Chalapnizak to palm over. Thompson’s powerful running was becoming a real weapon and, in one of those bursts that the Tivvy faithful have grown accustomed to, he left three Robins trailing in his wake as he got in around the back and, once again, their ’keeper pushed it away for a corner.  

Tivvy had slightly the better of things for the remainder of the half but trailed 1-0 at the break.

The second period started with Tivvy showing strong intent, as they continued to press and probe. Thompson was booked five minutes into the half as his determination to be first to the ball meant he fouled the Robins’ ’keeper and there was a brief stoppage. Chalapnizak was soon busy again, producing a superb fingertip save that went onto hit the upright from a Dylan Jones effort, after the Yellow had powered through Robins’ players and cut inside.

On the 59th minute, the gifted Allen spent a few moments weighing up a free-kick in a dangerous position, just outside the box on the edge of the D. A superb strike up and over the wall, gave their ’keeper no chance and Tivvy had equalised with a moment of technical brilliance.

In the 61st minute, Jack Rice came on for Beardmore, who received many accolades from the Tivvy faithful for his performance during the afternoon. Five minutes later Jerry Lawrence replaced the industrious Carlo Garside and, although Yellows regrouped these changes seemed to give the impetus to go all out to win the game in gruelling energy-sapping conditions for the players. It is worth mentioning, though, that compliments must be paid to the ground staff, Gordon Curtis and his able assistant Les Williamson, for getting the game on.

The physically strong Thompson had been a relentless runner all afternoon, but, in the final 20 minutes of play, he was like a man possessed as he tore past various members of the Robins’ rearguard with brute force. It was not just power, as a brilliant curling effort from him produced a smart save from Chalapnizak. Then he drove down the visitors’ left and forced their full-back into conceding a corner. From that corner, delivered by Allen, captain Jamie Richards’ downward header was cleared off the line.

The game had been played mainly in the Bracknell half after the break. However, the defence, which had been well organised by Richards, had to scamper back when substitute Nana Owusu tricked his way beyond a few players, but Yellows did well to stifle him.

Allen, who appeared to have taken a knock, made way for Jack Veale. Then, with the clock ticking into added time, Rice saw a header flash wide. Only minutes later, in the second of six added minutes, Rice’s connection was this time decisive, slotting home in a packed Bracknell area, with a real poacher’s finish, sending the fans wild.  

In the four nerve-wracking minutes that remained, the Yellows kept the ball well with some good game management and the game ended 2-1.

It was great result for all concerned, which has lifted Tiverton to 14th place. The management team of Leigh Robinson and Ben Gerring deserve a great amount of credit for what they have achieved since taking over and, at the moment, there is definitely a lot more belief around the place.

This report ©2023 Darren Holmes