Match report

Welling United 4 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 21/02/2004   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

It has definitely been something of a Victor Mildrew week. Probably down to trying to overdo things either side of‚ and through‚ last weekend I found myself feeling decidedly 'one foot in the grave' as the trip to Welling loomed. But even before that spate of activity and the late nights that accompanied it I had noticed a distinct tendency in my mood towards the 'I don't believe it'. Possibly the thing that triggered my cantankerous mood was the outcome of the 'Brit Awards'‚ the United Kingdom Music Industry's attempt to honour outstanding achievements. And the Award for best British Group goes to......The Darkness!!!! Sorry‚ who? One Album‚ moderate at best; an amusing stage persona‚ true; but Best British Group....I don't believe it. And then to judge that debut recording as the best British Album of the Year‚ over and above one that outsold it more than 10-1 was farcical. But things were to become even sillier‚ and with slightly worrying undertones‚ when The Best British Male Singer was announced. "And the winner is.....Daniel Beddingfield". I'll refrain from the 'Who?' question‚ but will excuse you if you ask it. No‚ what irked me in this instance was the fact that the 24 year old was born just about as far as is possible as it is to get from Britain - in New Zealand. Singer is a description that I accept is reasonably accurate. Male - well you can never tell these days; but British? He's a Kiwi (add fruit if you do not share my doubts on his masculinity). Which all leads me to my worries. If everybody is told that the lad is British‚ albeit indirectly by making such an award‚ how long before everybody will believe he is British? Such is the power of the media these days that they can manipulate the facts far more efficiently than George Orwell could have ever predicted. No Ministry of Truth with batteries of Winston Smith's changing the history books under the watchful eye of Big Brother. Just saturate the air waves‚ the television screens‚ the press pages with selective facts and leave the rest to the fears of the masses. Iraq can launch biological weapons in 45 minutes! Not a lie‚ but it leads to thoughts that they could be headed in our direction. Now‚ I am not prepared to use my minuscule corner of the media to bend the facts in similar fashion. The team that Tiverton Town put out at Welling United are‚ in my opinion‚ simply not good enough to carry the club into Conference Two next season.

All eleven fit Yellows took the field‚ which it has to be said deserved taking somewhere - such are the delights of having two clubs sharing a pitch. There were few reasons for optimism in the line up‚ other than the fact that a similarly depleted squad had performed with tremendous spirit and resolution in games against Hinckley and Worcester. And for a while it seemed possible that this side would emulate their predecessors and come away from Kent with heads high and even perhaps a point or three. One brief moment of doubt in the second minute‚ as the home side cleared upfield from the initial Tiverton onslaught‚ was rapidly overcome by Steve Winter's calmness under pressure as he coolly turned and spread the ball wide to Rob Cousins with Phil Collins bearing down on him. From that point on there was movement in just one direction - towards the Welling goal. The Tiverton Back line appeared to be solid enough‚ the midfield appeared to have control‚ the front men looked lively. But‚ and it's a but that has been seen too often this season‚ dominance brought scant reward. Darren Edwards was the first Yellow to actually force in a shot. A neat‚ "to you - to me" exchange with Chris Holloway as "Taff" pushed forward saw Edwards fire low and inches wide of the far post as he found space cutting in from the right in the fourth minute. Two minutes later and David Steele made a foray from midfield to burst down the right flank and cross into Jamie Mudge whose lobbed shot beat Gavin Kelly in the Wings goal but was wide of the upright. And that was to be the way of it for ten minutes or so. Plenty of Yellows possession but little incision and gradually the home side began to come more into the contest. The sixteenth minute saw Mudge unceremoniously upended by Billy Burgess just outside the penalty area but his free kick was beaten away by the wall and Steele's follow up shot had all the power of a "gay slap". Two minutes later the promise evaporated. Nathan Rudge was judged to have fouled Collins. Nothing outrageous enough to warrant even a cautionary word from the official but in what has become Tiverton's party piece position - so dangerous. No tricky manoeuvres from Welling‚ just a straight forward sideways ball to Anthony Reviere who had not been picked up by his designated marker‚ David Hackett. Ian Nott did well to turn the England semi-professional cap's shot wide for a corner. Reviere was not to be denied and as the jostling for positions for the kick distracted everyone including Hackett‚ he again slipped away into space. The ball was delivered to him perfectly. His shot on the half volley was hit perfectly. Nott was helpless‚ Tivvy were behind.

The Tiverton heads did not go down immediately‚ as they went for a quick equaliser. The goal had come against the balance of possession and in that department Town were still showing better. Four minutes after the goal‚ a spreading build up worthy of a higher league saw Mudge send the ball out to Steele on the right. Steele switched it back to Holloway coming through the middle‚ who pushed it forward to Mudge: at which point the "higher league" tag evaporated as Jamie's shot‚ though on target‚ had all the power of a Trabant and was scooped up with ease by Kelly. Player by player we began to see the signs of resignation creeping into The Yellows. The shaking of heads‚ the hands on hips. The Wings were having more and more of the ball. Winter came to the rescue in the 29th minute when‚ from a Welling corner‚ Collins headed the ball down into the crowded six-yard box. Witness brought the ball down off his chest and firmly hoofed it away. But the Men 'o Kent were really up for it now and their second goal came just three minutes later. It was an unfortunate affair. Welling broke through the middle with the ball being slotted forward to Collins bur it looked as if it was too far in front of him and that Winter would get there first. Nott was off his line‚ coming to meet the threat. Steve's options were twofold. Either touch back to Nott‚ who was having a far from inspiring game - or apply the boot. He chose the later but as Collins closed down on the Tivvy sweeper the ball flew off his leg, under Nott, and trickled into the net. And Collins was involved again three minutes later when Welling scored the goal that confirmed their victory. Nathan Rudge, leaning backwards to reach the ball could only send a weak headed clearance. It needed twenty yards at least to stand any chance of breaking the attack. It looped down to earth after nine or ten. Collins controlled it and ran past the recovering Rudge chased by Winter. Steve got there as Collins burst into the penalty area but not enough to stop the Welling man from calmly laying the ball into the path of Paul Booth to present Booth with an open goal. With the game virtually lost (but remembering Chelmsford at Ladysmead) Town did manage three shots before the break. Holloway wide from an Edwards knock down, Hallet wide from the edge of the penalty area thanks to the slightest deflection, and sandwiched in between a free kick from Shaun Goff that was a mirror image of his goal against Plymouth Argyle - apart from the fact that it was four inches higher and four inches further to his left. Half time, and without the options on the bench there could be little hope for more than keeping the scoreline respectable.

Town, perhaps, believed that they could do what had been done to them by Chelmsford and thus we were treated to a fast and furious opening to the second half. But it was the home side that had the first chance of scoring, heading wide from a corner in the 48th minute. Two minutes later Mudge pounced on a deflection to escape down left before cutting in across the face of the penalty area. Surrounded by three red shirts, there was no space for a shot himself so the ball was pushed wide to David Steele on the right. With a clear sight of goal, Steele could have done better than lift the ball two yards over the top. The Wings were content to play things safe. No great pushes in search of another goal, though they always looked as if they'd take the chance if it came their way. Hackett slotted a ball through the middle that sent Edwards on a one on one face off with Kelly and it was a brave spreading save to deflect the ball away that denied Darren his maiden goal for The Yellows. Nott saved well from Dyer, Collins fired wide after a piece of Holloway trickery went wrong. With 20 minutes to go Mudge was forced into the corner on the left but somehow managed to bundle his way along the by-line and lay the ball back to Kevin Nancekivell but Burgess was on the line to save on Kelly's laundry bill. Mudge lifted another effort over the top, Nancekivell set up Goff who didn't really get hold of his shot. Yes, plenty of chances but there was a feeling that If we'd stayed till Sunday we wouldn't have seen a Tivvy goal. But at least we'd not conceded any either. Wrong! as the digits flicked over on the stopwatch a scramble developed in and around Nott's six yard box. It started with a cross being fired in from the right that travelled beyond the far post. Wints brought it down but the next touch came from a boot topped with a red sock lashing the ball goalwards. Nott beat it away, and a second similar shot, the action moved into the centre of the goal. Push towards the net, off the line, another poke, off the line again but this time to Reviere who lashed it home.

It was cruel for Town. Individually they were not four goals worse than their hosts. Collectively, without realistic options on the bench, they were handicapped.


Tiverton Town: Ian Nott, Steve Winter, Shaun Goff, David Hallett, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Kevin Nancekivell, Chris Holloway, Darren Edwards, David Steele, James Mudge
Booked: Holloway, Rudge

Welling United: Gavin Kelly, Billy Burgess (Edward Hart 76), Anthony Henry, Brian Statham, Lew Watts, Jimmy Strouts, Anthony Reviere, Kenny Dyer, Phil Collins (Charlie Taylor 82), Paul Booth (Tommy Tyne 68), Austin Berkeley
Booked: Burgess

Referee: Mr C. Overall (Grays)

Attendance: 487


This report ©2004 John Reidy






Please note: The � or ? character in some older reports denotes where an error has occured in translation when the reports were transfered between databases