Match report

Hinckley United 1 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 17/08/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Sex´ I replied quickly. Without pausing to consider my reply‚ my interrogator fired the second question. ´Sex´ I replied equally swiftly. After all‚ I had been told that the whole experiment revolved on me saying the first thing that came into my head‚ and I was only a teenage lad so was unsurprisingly pre occupied with the recreative process and....... In reality‚ though‚ I was cheating. Before starting on that Basic Psychology experiment I´d done a little research of my own and found that ´childhood sexual repression´ was‚ according to some practitioners‚ the cause of all mental conditions. No point in trying to prove the experts wrong! Were I to have been asked a couple of years later for an instant retort to the name Hinckley‚ I probably would have come up with either Mallory Park‚ the nearby race circuit where I saw my first‚ and many subsequent‚ major Motorcycle Race meetings‚ or more likely John F Hinckley who 21 years ago attempted to make a name for himself and impress the focus of his manic infatuation‚ young actress Jody Foster‚ by assassinating the then President of the USA‚ Ronald Regan. The recent history of Tiverton Town FC has‚ however‚ forced those things further back in my consciousness and Hinckley has more recently become associated in my mind with football and a consistent rivalry between Hinckley United and Tivvy. Since Town joined the Dr Martens League the two clubs have never been far apart. Western Division 3rd & 4th; Western Division 1st & 2nd; Premier Division12th & 6th‚ the widest positional gap but only six points. If it hadn´t been for that remarkable late spurt that saw the Yellows recover from a 3-1 deficit to poach the points with three goals in the last dozen minutes up at Middlefield Road at the turn of the year then the clubs would have finished level on points and have been separated by a single goals difference - with the Knitters coming out on top. By such fine threads have the two sides been separated since their paths first crossed. No doubt the Leicestershire men would be seeking revenge for that late‚ late reverse‚ as well as a flying start to their season. Not only seeking but perhaps expecting‚ since they had home advantage and both sides had had mixed pre season warm up results. Warm up was something neither side needed at kick off as the sun beat down.

You could hardly call the opening exchanges exploratory‚ unless you expect exploration to be carried out at full tilt. The Knitters were the first to show and Steve Collis was the first keeper to see action as he easily fielded a long range free kick from Hinckley´s Martin Fox. The enthusiasm of the home side led to them becoming a little boisterous in their challenges‚ or at least that was the opinion of the man in charge of such judgements. When Zeke Rowe commented on one such decision the referee had stern words with him but the former Kings Lynn man failed to heed the warning and almost immediately clattered into Nathan Rudge to earn a 10th minute Yellow card. The solidity of the Tiverton back line was frustrating the home side‚ the degree to which they were ´rattled´ showing when another foul on a yellow shirted defender‚ and another free kick‚ resulted in another ´yellow´ (this time for failing to retreat 10 yds). Richard Mitchell saw the card on this occasion and we still were only 11 minutes into the season.
Hinckley settled down and began to play the more constructive football‚ though Tivvy were well in control of things in defence. Jamie March managed to find space to break forward down the left and find Rowe with an excellent cross but the big striker tamely sidefooted the ball into Collis´s arms. Town were making occasional forays forward but United were seeing more of the ball and it looked as if their possession had paid dividends after 21 minutes when Rowe‚ having worked his way wide on the right‚ swung in a cross that March met with a duck of his head as he ploughed forward out of midfield. Collis was beaten. Fortunately the crossbar wasn´t and the ball flew back into play to be hacked away.

The constant pressure was beginning to tell and the Yellows midfield was unable to get anything much underway. Steve Peters blotted his copy book‚ picking up a yellow card for a silly piece of retaliation after a free kick had been given in his favour and Jamie Mudge had Tivvy´s best chance so far when pouncing on a missed headed clearance to sprint clear towards the left hand corner. His cross towards Richard Pears making ground through the middle was weak and bought under control by a defender. Credit to Jamie‚ he challenged and forced a corner but that too had little threat and was easily cleared. Just when it looked as if the Yellows were beginning to force their way into the game their hosts retook the initiative with a bout of attacking play. A corner on their left was curled in to the far post‚ evading Collis and the entire Tiverton defence. Mitchell and Rowe both closed on it‚ got in each others way and though Rowe´s hear made contact the ball flew harmlessly high and wide for a goal kick. Hinckley kept the pressure on and were rewarded with a free kick on the edge of the penalty area when Scott Rogers made an undisciplined challenge as the Tiverton defence struggled to clear. It was plain that the Leicestershire men were familiar with their routine in these circumstances. Martin Fox strode up and curled the ball over the wall‚ past Collis´s desperate dive and into the top corner of the goal. It was a beautifully executed kick and even the Tiverton supporters had to admit the 38th minute lead it gave United was deserved. That lead‚ though‚ should have been short lived. Within minutes of restarting Mudge burst through the middle‚ holding off a challenge from the redoubtable Andy Penny‚ but his flicked shot was well held by Hinckley´s Azerbaijani keeper Afandiyev. Back at the other end and Rowe had the ball in the net again but was adjudged to have fouled Collis as the pair of them jumped for a long curling cross. With the referee checking his watch Steve Peters made his way forward to make contact with a long free kick from Jason Rees but was unable to keep the ball below the eight foot mark. The goal kick was the signal for the whistle to end the half. Hinckley had had the better of it but there had been few real chances of a goal from open play at either end.

The half time pep talks over‚ the second period started in the same vein as the first had ended. Considering the heat a lot of energy was being expended out on the pitch but to little avail. Neither team were going anywhere‚ or not for long anyway‚ as the defences dominated and the midfields struggled to gain control and create any meaningful moves. Both sides seemed to lack a ´playmaker´; the man that could put his foot on the ball and then use it to pull the strings that would jerk a prolonged series of passes from his team- mates. Long balls were thrown forward for front runners to chase‚ some even reaching the goalkeepers, but in the main it was purely speculative stuff. Tivvy were having more than their share of the ball and even though it was difficult to see where the goal was going to come from, the travelling fans were more optimistic than they had been at the end of the first half. When Phil Everett and Antony Lynch were introduced for Richard Pears and Kevin Nancekivell there was a notable change in the game. Penny had been solid at the centre of the Hinckley defence but the persistence of Pearsy had had it´s effect and against the fresh legs of Everett and Lynch he began to look tired. Both men were able to hold the ball and ride Penny´s challenges to lay it off to colleagues. It began to look brighter for the Yellows. For the home side Rowe and Mitchell were still looking lively, both had chances, but so did Steve Winter who blasted high and wide, and Jamie Mudge who completed a jinking run with a weak shot with Lynchie waiting in the middle to pounce on the spoils. With seven minutes of normal time remaining Hinckley survived their scariest moment of the match as Scott Rogers fierce drive was beaten away by Afandiyev into a crowded goalmouth where follow up shots were deflected and scrambled away before the ball was hoofed up field to safety. As the watch ticked past the 5 minutes remaining mark The Knitters were hanging on. Tivvy were pushing forward and the home side were using every tactic in the book to break up the game. Every tackle resulted in an injury. Every piece of open play resulted in a stoppage for a substitution. It seemed to work for them. With the officials checking their watches and signalling to each other Nathan Rudge, who had given next to nothing away all afternoon, cleared of the line with Collis beaten and Mitchell drove the ball against the foot of an upright before being called off as Hinckley´s final substitution.

Time was up - apart from what the man in black decided he should add for the visits of the physios. One minute. Two minutes. Three. Four. Surely the Yellows record of never losing an opening day Dr Martens match was doomed. Five, and the ball still in play with Hinckley chasing it down into the Tiverton defence´s right hand corner to shouts of ´keep it, keep the ball´. They didn´t. It was cleared up field to Everett. Phil pushed it through to Jamie Mudge. Faced with two defenders Jamie feinted to his right, sending one in that direction, turned left inside the other and shot beyond the desperate dive of Afandiyev. Five minutes and 35 seconds according to my watch. Only Diss Town score later equalisers! There was just time to kick off, not enough for a winner. Town had done a Houdini act to save a point. John F Hinckley was found not guilty of the attempted murder of Ronald Regan on the grounds of insanity. There were a few decidedly mad Hinckley fans at Middlefield Lane and its hardly surprising if they felt Tiverton to be guilty of robbery.

Tiverton Town: 1. Steve Collis, 2. Steve Winter, 3. Paul Chenoweth, 4. Steve Peters, 5. Nathan Rudge, 6. Rob Cousins, 7. Kevin Nancekivell, 8. Jason Rees, 9. Richard Pears, 10. Scott Rogers, 11. Jamie Mudge.
Subs: 12. Antony Lynch (Pears,70), 14. Phil Everett (Nancekivell,70), 15. Danny Haines (Rees,86), 16. David Steele, 17. Luke Vinnicombe.
Cards: Peters (Yellow 24).

Hinckley United: 1. Farhad Afandiyev, 2. Neil Cartwright, 3. Jamie March, 4. David Crowley, 5. Andy Penny, 6. Niki Preston, 7. Stuart Storer, 8. Guy Hadland, 9. Richard Mitchell, 10. Zeke Rowe, 11. Martin Fox.
Subs: 12. Leon Mitchell (Rowe,79), 14. Gavin O´Toole, 15. Leon Doughty (Hadland,86), 16. Justin Jenkins (Mitchell,90). Cards: Rowe (Yellow,10), Mitchell (Yellow,11).

Referee: Kevin Ingram (Kingswinford)

This report ©2002 John Reidy






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