Match report

Tiverton Town 2 - 2 Welling United

   Saturday 17/04/2004   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Pessimism. Optimism. It all depends on your outlook. There is an old definition which explains the concept perfectly by referring to how you view a glass with a drink in it. Is it half full or is it half empty? Applying that principle to football is comparatively easy for fans of Tiverton Town FC this season. Tivvy´s recent run can be described‚ and has been by one sage posting on this site´s Forum‚ from either viewpoint. Are The Yellows suffering a terrible run that has seen them go nine games without a win‚ or are they enjoying a spell that has seen them only lose once in their last eight outings‚ and that in freakish weather conditions that made a mockery of the game at Eastbourne? Logically the same attitude can be taken about the chances finishing the season in a top 13th place‚ though it has to be admitted that the pessimists view has come more to the fore as Town have slid slowly down the table. That there is still any question about their final position is partly due to the tension that has affected their games also showing itself in the teams around them. Easter Monday´s performance at Weymouth gave hope to those leaning towards the sunny side of the fence. Fight‚ spirit‚ determination were all present and the feeling that the sequence without a win could well be broken against Welling‚ If those attributes remained in place‚ was pumping through the veins of the optimists. The visitors were comparatively secure‚ though by no means safe: a win would put Town on a similar footing. No end of season bore to be expected‚ then.

There was a bright start from Town and the first sign of aggression came from David Steele powering through the middle in the third minute. With space opening in front of him Steele kept going til he saw the white of the keeper´s eyes before taking the first shot of the game. Danny Naisbitt‚ who last played against Tivvy in that memorable FA Cup tie at Barnet last season‚ was untroubled as the effort was weak and wide. Welling manager Paul Parker was far from happy at the run and let his back men know in no uncertain terms‚ and his words were quickly heeded as United got their act together‚ pushing forward and holding play in the Tiverton half and midfield for five minutes. Breaking away from the pressure‚ though‚ it was The Yellows that carved out the clearer chances. On 8 minutes a slick passing move involving Danny O´Hagan‚ Jason Rees‚ Kevin Nancekivell‚ Steve Winter and finally Steele came to an end when the later again mishit his final shot wide. Two minutes later Steele made another expedition forward on the left and this time fired in a cross towards Nancekivell and O´Hagan that was turned away for a corner. The kick was taken short to Rees whose cross to the far post was sent well over the top as Nathan Rudge got his head under the ball. Yes. it was looking quite brightly yellow....until the fourteenth minute when it all went pear shaped. Tommy Tyne found space for the Wings out on their left just outside the Tiverton penalty area. One look was enough for him to spot Stuart Fraser off his line by a couple of yards. One swing of the boot was enough to send the ball curling over the Tiverton keeper and into the net. Once again Town had failed to take advantage of early supremacy and had dug themselves a pit to clamber out of before they could even contemplate climbing the hill. The goal brought contrasting reactions from the teams. Welling suddenly showed a belief and confidence‚ Tiverton set themselves for a battle bat the harder they tried the more things went wrong and they became frustrated and disjointed in their play. And that only served to encourage their visitors further.
It took about fifteen minutes for the home side to sort themselves out‚ regain their poise and get themselves back in the game. During that period all they had been able to manage in the way of attacking play were a few hopeful balls forward in the direction of O´Hagan‚ Nancekivell - when he could ease his way forward from defensive duties - and an unusually ineffective Jamie Mudge. Welling‚ for their part‚ were looking lively with Anthony Reviere prompting the front pairing of Phil Collins and Tyne into threatening positions. But‚ with the pendulum lodged firmly in the pessimists camp‚ The Yellows began to look like a unit again and could have drawn level in the 27th minute when Paul Chenoweth sent Steele forward on an overlapping run on the left and the final cross was fired low in bit O´Hagan´s lunge at the back post was inches short of contact. A good chance missed and two minutes later there was another as Fraser hoofed a long ball through the middle‚ O´Hagan flicked it on with his head without changing its route one path‚ to Mudge who burst between a pair of defenders only to miss the target with his attempted lob shot over Naisbitt. And again a two minute interval passed to the next Tiverton effort‚ this time from Nancekivell who scooped his shot wide after having done the difficult part in turning round his marker to create the space. More chances were to be created‚ though none as clear cut‚ before the half time whistle sent the teams in for the break with United still in the driving seat - if the scoreline were the only measure

Thankfully‚ for the morale of the home supporters at least‚ the second half started as the first half had ended with Town pouring forward in their attempt to get back on terms. The degree to which they were making the effort was reflected in the first shot on goal before a minute had passed‚ a rare direct effort from Rees that was goal bound until smashed clear by Brian Statham at the last minute. Despite some feisty play from The Yellows it took them ten minutes to attain their first target. It came from a throw in on the right. Winter took the throw to Milsom who had difficulty controlling the ball‚ not for the first time in what was turning out to be something of a mare game for him‚ but managed to control it enough to play it back to Winter. Wints´ hoisted the ball into the penalty area where Nancekivell brought it down with his first touch‚ turned outside and round his marker with his second and third touches and hit his shot with his fourth‚ under Naisbitt and home for the equaliser. There was an air of relief around Ladysmead both on and off the field. It was not to last long. Just three minutes later Welling hauled themselves back into the lead. A long ball in from the right looked dangerous but not critically so. As it reached the goalmouth‚ just outside the six yard box‚ Fraser came. Over and through between two defenders who had the ball covered‚ Tivvy´s last man failed to get a decent connection, the ball spilled to Tyne who pushed it to Collins who, wide of the tangle of bodies, coolly slotted in United´s second. Back came Town, their spirit dented by the rapid setback but showing a determination to make amends. And tactically there were changes too as Carl Cliff-Brown replaced injured Milsom, adding another prong to the Tiverton attack in the 65th minute. Not that it was only the forwards who were moving up field. A free kick from just inside the Welling half was hoisted high into the box by Rees where it eventually fell to Rudge who hit wide from 25 yards out.
With a fraction over twenty minutes to go, It was Winter´s turn to lift the ball into the danger area, a ball that created chaos in the Welling goalmouth as Cliff-Brown, O´Hagan and finally Nancekivell all attacked it but Naisbitt finally managed to grab it on the line. Then, a minute later, the pressure told, albeit somewhat fortuitously. Winter sent in another ball from the right by-line after having been sent on a run down the flank by a perceptive ball from Rob Cousins. Winter´s laid back pass teed up Mudge who sent a rocket of a shot screaming in the right direction. The ball came back off Ian Cousins. The yell went up for hands´, and the whistle sounded. In fairness, Cousins probably didn´t even know what had hit him, certainly there were protests about ball hitting hand not hand playing ball. The official, though, was adamant and his decision stood. When all had quietened down enough, up stepped Winter to maintain his run of successful spot-kicks. Naisbitt continued his protests even, riskily, after he had been shown the yellow card for his ongoing dissent. From that point on there was only one team that looked likely to score a winner, apart from brief moments when Welling substitute Paul Booth ranat the Tivvy defence, as The Yellows turned in what was probably the best display of passion and effort seen this season. Every one of then dug deep into physical reserves - even those who we have seen fade´ in the latter stages of previous games. But it takes two to tango, and Welling showed just as much resolution to hang onto the point that they still had so despite chances falling to O´Hagan and Cliff-Brown the ball stayed out of the net. How that happened in the 90th minute was a miracle as far as the visitors were concerned as CCB´s effort almost ran the complete length of the crossbar before dropping the wrong side of the line and being cleared away.

So it ended all square...again. Welling seemed to be happier with their share of the spoils than the Tivvy camp where, but then that´s hardly surprising since they are in a far less precarious position and the majority of the other results suited then. The Yellows will have to battle another day before they will know whether it was an important and satisfactory point or not. Was their glass half full.....or half empty

Tiverton Town: Stuart Fraser, Steve Winter, David Steele, Jason Rees, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Kevin Nancekivell, Paul Chenoweth (Shaun Goff, 88), Danny O´Hagan, Paul Milsom (Carl Cliff-Brown, 65),Jamie Mudge.
Subs: David Hallett, Darren Edwards, Ian Nott.
Booked: Rees.

Welling United: Danny Naisbitt, Brian Statham, Anthony Henry, Dave McSweeny, Ian Cousins, Danny Slatter, Anthony Reviere, Jimmy Strouts, Phil Collins (Paul Booth, 80), Tommy Tyne, Billy Burgess.
Subs: Austin Berkley, Edward Hart, Kenny Dyer, Christian Hunt.
Booked:Naisbitt.

Referee: A Graves (Weston-s-Mare)

This report ©2004 John Reidy






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