Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 1 Bristol City

   Wednesday 31/07/2002   Friendly
John Reidy

A goldfish‚ I´m told has a very short memory span. That´s probably why it´s eternally happy to swim round in a bowl exploring all those new places and experiencing all the different views. What sets mankind above the goldfish in the scheme of creation is not only our slightly longer memory span but also the brain power that allows us to connect memories and from them form threads of relevant recollections. Thus‚ when at a dog show‚ I´d see a Lhasa Apso I would automatically connect it with Tibet‚ the Dali Lama‚ then to China and then Chairman Mao and then the cultural revolution and so on. It may be the Cockney blood in me but whenever I hear mention of Bristol City my thoughts always fly to two things. Once those thoughts have passed through what passes for my mind‚ then football matters usually take over. Tiverton´s visitors for their fourth pre-season run out have had a chequered career in the last few decades. A brief run of success that saw them climb to the old first division‚ facing the likes of Manchester United‚ Arsenal and Chelsea. There was a subsequent slump that threatened their very existence‚ a long laborious fight to rebuild and consolidate and it now look as if they may haul themselves back to former glories. That a city the size and importance of Bristol does not boast a team in the current First Division is an anomaly that many pundits feel the current squad under Danny Wilson is capable of correcting. And when the teams were announced it was plain that the Tivvy faithful that had braved the inclement weather were going to be given the chance to make judgement on the strength and depth of that squad for themselves as City‚ despite a number of omissions through injury‚ named a total of twenty players‚ eleven of which had first team experience. Not that the level of past competition showed as the game got underway in torrential rain. The Yellows were quickly into their stride‚ grabbing the initiative and looking hungry for an early lead. In the first minute Danny Hains shrugged his way down the left and swung in a cross that Richard Pears failed to get his head to cleanly and only managed to send looping out for a goal kick. Two minutes later the visitors conceded a free kick for handball deep inside their own half. Jason Rees managed to stop Scott Rogers from taking it quickly and delayed long enough for Nathan Rudge to power forward to meet his belated effort‚ though the ball flew wide of the City goal. The early spurt had set the alarm bells ringing in the Bristol side´s back line and they tightened up considerably but it was still the Yellows that mounted all the attacks for the first 15 minutes‚ building from midfield with some swift and accurate passing moves. Then‚ as so often happens‚ completely against the run of play‚ City conjured a goal from nothing. Their first serious pressure on the Tiverton defence saw them string three or four passes together‚ spread-eagle the back line and present former Exeter City man Christian Roberts with the chance to drive low past Steve Collis making his debut in the Town goal. For the ex Yeovil keeper it must have been hard. Up to than he´d been a mere spectator but here he was handling the ball for the first time as he retrieved it from the back of his net. The goal lifted the visitors‚ settled them and allowed the game to become more open. Both defences seemed able to cope‚ both midfilds looked capable and comfortable on the ball‚ both sets of strikers found little room to manoeuvre. An open game but not a lot of goal mouth action even though the game flowed from end to end of the middle two thirds of the field. Pears sent another header wide following the second cross after a right sided corner had flown too deep and Paul Chenoweth thundered a shot wide from 20 yards. At the opposite end it was Marcus Brown that missed City´s best chance of increasing their lead as he too met the ball well but missed the target in the dying seconds of the first period. It was no change at the start of the second half‚ apart of course for the fact that the teams were kicking in the opposite direction. The personnel were the same‚ the pattern of the contest was the same. Plenty of pretty approach work from both sides but little action in either penalty area. On the hour it was City manager Danny Wilson who was first to change things. No half measures for that man. With substitution boards having numbers on both sides it was pointless holding them up‚ he wouldn´t have had enough. Easier to record which players stayed on than those that came off. Only the Goalkeeper‚ central defender Mark Lever and striker Marvin Brown continued. While they were sorting themselves out Martyn Rogers swapped Pears‚ Mudge‚ Chenoweth and Winter by Antony Lynch‚ Steve Ovens‚ Kevin Nancekivell and David Steele. The disruption gave Tivvy the edge again but there were still few opportunities in front of goal though with the additional pace and chase that the fresh legs had given the Yellows it was they that looked the more likely to find a way through. With 20 minutes remaining defender Darren Jones returned to the fray after Mark Lever retired hurt and almost immediately Kevin Nancekivell eluded him to find space to fire in a shot that flew inches wide. Twelve minutes remaining‚ Tivvy exerting most of the pressure‚ time for it to be increased further. The solid as ever Steve Peters removed from the back line and replaced by Phil Everett - up front. Within minutes it looked as if the gamble might pay off. Firstly two City defenders and the goalkeeper got themselves in a tangle but managed to scramble the ball clear before a Yellows man could get to them‚ then Ovens burst through but was forced wide and had to settle for a corner. Fewer men at the back for Tiverton meant more space for the City forwards and at last Collis was called on to make a save or three‚ spectacularly tipping a Micky Bell drive out for a corner‚ smothering bravely at the feet of Lee Peacock after a neat headed flick through by Leroy Lita and then holding a Lita shot cleanly. With the clock ticking away it looked like a good performance but no reward. Then Steve Ovens made ground down the right flank. He whipped in a low cross. Darren Jones‚ probably wishing he´d not returned from the subs bench‚ swung a boot to hack clear but sliced it. The ball flew past Frank Talia in the City goal and a deserved equaliser was in the net. It would have been nice if it had been scored by a man in a yellow shirt but when you´ve had such a fair share of a game you don´t really care where the goals come from‚ they all count. City for promotion? On this showing I doubt it - which probably makes them certainties. Tivvy matched their opponents in every aspect: pace‚ ball control‚ commitment and most importantly‚ fitness. They looked good. Now all we need is goals.

Tiverton Town: 1. Steve Collis‚ 2. Steve Winter, 3. Danny Haines, 4. Steve Peters, 5. Nathan Rudge, 6. Rob Cousins, 7. Jamie Mudge, 8. Jason Rees, 9. Richard Pears, 10. Scott Rogers, 11. Paul Chenoweth.

Subs: 12. Phil Everett, 14. Kevin Nancekivell, 15. Antony Lynch, 16. Steve Ovens, 17. David Steele, 18. Marcus Gross.

Bristol City: 1. Frank Talia, 2. Darren Jones, 3. Craig Woodman, 4. Rob Hulbert, 5. Mark Lever, 6. Clayton Fortune, 7. Christian Roberts, 8. Liam Rosenior, 9. Albano Correa, 10. Marvin Brown, 11. Simon Clist.

Subs: 12. Micky Bell, GK. Steve Phillips, 14. Lee Peacock, 15. Matt Hill, 16. Danny Coles, 17. Leroy Lita, 18. Matt Rouse, 19. Tom Doherty, 20. Aaron Brown.

This report ©2002 John Reidy






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