Match report

Bath City 1 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 22/08/2006   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Once more thrust into the darkness‚ the bleak and dreary Twerton Park where so many times in the past we have tried‚ so many times come up short. To say that our visits to the home of Bath City have been difficult would be a masterpiece of understatement the previous three attempts have ended in defeat for the Yellows‚ and it wasn´t so long ago we were battered out of sight in the first half alone‚ salvaging a semi-respectable 4-2 defeat having fallen four behind before the interval. The indications‚ drawn from both the past and the present were that we would have another very difficult game‚ and to take anything away with us would be an achievement in itself. Indeed‚ Bath City were pre-season title favourites‚ marginally shorter than King´s Lynn‚ while Tivvy were not even dark horses having shed almost half their playing squad over the summer‚ and barely having the resources to replace the numbers.

But on some nights the form book can be thrown out of the window‚ the betting slip too. City showed not once that they were capable of living up to their billing as one of the strongest teams in the league‚ and tended to prefer a counter-attacking system‚ utilising the pace of the forwards rather than a patient midfield build up. Such a tactic might have worked on another day it can be a clever trick to deploy in what is likely to be a physical derby match but on Tuesday night it simply allowed the Tivvy trio of Barry McConnell‚ Chris Bale‚ and particularly Chris Holloway to dictate the pace of the game. The Romans were still able to break with pace from deep positions‚ but often these counters would fail as they simply didn´t have enough bodies upfield‚ and Tivvy´s three centre-backs dealt‚ on the whole‚ reasonably comfortably.

McConnell was the first Yellow to shine‚ and his rampaging runs down the right flank were causing the home side a few problems. Bath should be thankful that their excellent goalkeeper Paul Evans was plucking out of the air everything that came near him‚ and he beat Mason‚ Holloway and Flack to crosses as Tivvy pressed in the early part of the match. It was against the run of play‚ but not necessarily against the quality of performance that Bath took the lead. A free kick‚ close to the bye-line and on the edge of the penalty area was conceded by Harris‚ and once the Tiverton wall had finally retreated the requested distance Mark McKeever floated the ball to the back post. Phil Walsh headed the ball back and consistent Tivvy nemesis Scott Partridge turned the ball home with an acrobatic volley from close range.

The visitors might have equalised soon afterwards‚ but Steve Flack inadvertently deflected Holloway´s shot‚ and Evans clawed the ball from beneath his crossbar and over the top for a corner. Bath were proving to be defensively very strong‚ aided by their deep-lying midfield‚ and with a one goal advantage it would seemingly need some divine intervention to halt a the three game Twerton Park losing streak in the second half.

Call it what you will one thing would be particularly dubious refereeing but the God´s were smiling on the Devonians as it turned out. A heated second period saw Town pepper the Bath area with crosses‚ particularly from the ever-improving Darren Davies‚ but Mason failed to connect well with a series of headers‚ and time was running out. Step up Richard Denney‚ the Yeovil based official. Bale´s cross-sot was deflected off a City boot and Evans took a comfortable catch. Alas! Mr. Denney awarded Tivvy an indirect free kick for a backpass. Fortuitous it was‚ Bale´s finish was clinical and without question.

It was as much as Tiverton deserved‚ but an unfortunate was to grab a point. The home supporters were understandably upset‚ but it would have been hard for a neutral to begrudge Tivvy of a point in a game were they were able to boss the middle of the park. Despite their best efforts Bath were unable to regain the advantage‚ and Mark Rock pulled off three excellent saves towards the end as the kitchen sink was seen speeding down the Twerton slope towards the away goal. Back to Bath in a few weeks for the FA Cup clash; Scott Rogers‚ absent tonight‚ may have recovered from injury by then. So might Jamie Mudge. The game will be a bitterly contested‚ and hopefully as entertaining. But we could do with being spared the inevitable controversy that this fixture always seems to throw us.

This report ©2006 Alan 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