Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 0 Worcester City

   Wednesday 21/08/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

I recently had reason to want to listen to a song from Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice´s musical bending of historical truth‚ ´Evita´. As is my wont‚ having started a train of thought in progress it merrily steamed off down the track and I found myself skipping through a pile of CDs of all‚ or most of‚ that composer´s work. It was probably just a coincidence that by the time I reached his collaboration with Tony Nunn that was based on the works of T.S.Elliot it was time to go on line and search for the latest football results. That caused the disc hopping to be curtailed and the feline strains of ´Cats´ continued unabated. It was probably just as coincidental but equally appropriate that as I pulled up the Dr Martens League results‚ the last ones I was seeking‚ the speakers were pouring forth the sweet tones of Elaine Paige in the persona of former ´glamour puss´ Grizabella reminiscing. ´Memories´‚ the stopper of the show‚ fitted nicely into my mood of the moment as my thoughts turned towards the seasons opener at Ladysmead. Regular readers of these ramblings will be aware that almost all of Tiverton´s opponents these days seem to bring memories to my mind. If not a direct recollection of a game I have seen then at least some form of association with the place or a person connected‚ however tenuously‚ with the club. Worcester City are one of the exceptions. Though in my first spell of spectating at Southern League football in the late 50´s and early 60´s I must have seen them a dozen times I have no recollection of the encounters. Even in the intervening years the club do not seem to have made any impact on my ol´ gray matter. Perhaps this visit to Ladysmead was going to be etched permanently into my memory bank. After a run of uninspiring (aren´t they always?) pre season friendlies‚ and a dour opening ´away day´ in Leicestershire‚ I was certainly hoping so. As if to try and impress me‚ or more likely fired by the knowledge that a convincing win could take them to the top of the table‚ Worcester started the more brightly of the two teams.

The Tiverton side showed a number of changes from that which had started at Hinckley. Phil Everett was given the starting role up front‚ Danny Haines slotted in at left wing back with Paul Chenoweth starting in midfield with David Steele replacing Kevin Nancekivell and Jason Rees‚ but the changes made little difference as Town lacked shape early on . The defence was sound enough and though they were the busier of the two back lines their endeavours seldom involved Steve Collis. Tivvy persevered and after Worcester´s Jon Hollaway picked up a yellow card for petulantly kicking the ball away at a free kick the first real opening fell their way after quarter of an hour. Danny Haines scuttled down the left wing and whipped in a low cross that found its way across the goalmouth to Phil Everett. Phil connected first time but only managed to scoop the ball over the top with the goal at his mercy. We waited ten minutes for the next threatening move from the Yellows. Steve Winter and Paul Chenoweth hovered over the ball as a free kick was awarded deep out towards the left wing. It was Steve that swung the ball into the goalmouth and Nathan Rudge that powered into the area to send his header flying in the same direction as Everett´s effort had gone earlier - way over the top. And a minute later it was Scott Rogers turn to drive forward and crash in a shot from an angle out on the right that was always going to be too acute‚ though it did force Danny McDonnell in the visitors goal to make the save‚ pushing the ball out for a corner. Throughout all this‚ Worcester were resolutely pushing forward and maintaining pressure on the Tiverton defence without seriously threatening. It all became a little much for manager Martyn Rogers. In his frustration Dodge said (shouted?) something to which the ´Referee´s Assistant´ - that´s linesman to we commoners - took exception. The boss of the black clad men was summoned and after a short consultation the offender was banished from the touchline. All the pundits that had predicted the first Red Card of the season would go to Rees or Rudge had lost their stake money! Mark Owen‚ who had set the Dr Martens Premier Division alight with his goalscoring exploits in the first couple of months of last season before breaking his leg‚ began to find a way through the Tivvy defence and caused Collis to be on his mettle to cut out a low cross and then to collect his flicked on header. Between these two efforts Steve Winter was ´yellowed´ for a reckless tackle on City midfielder John Snape. Another free kick to the Yellows provided Steve Peters with his turn to maraud forward‚ his header lacking power‚ and the visitors had another chance when Pat Lyons completely miscued his shot. Half time arrived with a blank scoresheet. Town had had slightly the better of a scrappy 45 minutes.

There were no signs during the early stages of the second half that anything was going to be different . Another yellow card for another needless incident (shirt tugging) was ´won´ by City´s Darren Middleton. Five minutes in and Collis had to back peddle sharply to take a hooked lob by John Snape and just after the hour mark we were treated to a rare sweet move when Everett touched the wall inside to Rogers who swept it wide to Haines who blasted his shot wide to spoil the moment. Danny was looking good going forward and his 64th minute chase down the right resulted in him pushing the ball inside to Rogers who edged it forward into the path of Jamie Mudge. Into the path of‚ but too far in front of‚ as Jamie just lost the race to the ball to McDonnell. Still neither midfield had established control and though Tivvy were creating much more than they had done last Saturday or in pre season‚ it was still the visitors who were having more possession - not that it was doing them much good with the Yellows back three of Mudge‚ Peters and the impeccable Rob Cousins in the kind of form that suggests there will not be many entries in the Tiverton goals against column come the end of the season. Unfortunately‚ unless something changes there will be an equally low number in the goals in the for column‚ particularly if opportunities like the one that fell exactly midway through the second half are not converted. David Steele split the Worcester defence with a pass that set Jamie Mudge sprinting clear of the last man. Jamie advanced on the keeper and smashed a shot that looked to be heading into the net until McDonnell somehow spread himself to parry the shot into the path of Everett. Phil cracked the ball towards an empty net but Mark Shail appeared from nowhere to hack it away again‚ only as far as Paul Chenoweth. Cheno´s shot was even fiercer than Phil´s had been‚ but again the net was protected‚ this time Carl Heely blocking on the line and allowing the ball to be scrambled clear. Worcester went straight on the offensive and only a last ditch tackle by Rudge prevented Owen from opening the scoring. The game began to flow Town´s way but it was still scrappy with few bouts of clean possession or prolonged attack from either side.

Time ticked on. Antony Lynch replaced Everett‚ Richard Pears replaced Mudge. time ticked on. If the game had had 0-0 written on it from midway through the first half‚ the writing had now turned to etching. With three minutes left that situation should have been changed. Steve Winter drove in a cross from the right flank. Lyons‚ back in his own area controlled the ball down to his foot with his arm. The referee who had not had the best of evenings ( read what you like into that phrase - can´t be too specific like saying he was half blind‚ incompetent‚ inept or frankly useless or I might get banned from every ground in the country and have to compile my ´View´ of the game from the roof of the swimming pool‚ such is the sensitivity of match officials to criticism) either did not see‚ or chose not to see the contact and waved play on. It was not the last chance. Wints got in another cross that Lynch headed wide and then another that Pears failed to control but the etching was deep and true. The final whistle sounded and the scoresheet remained blank. it was disappointing. It was scrappy. It was 0-0. It was what Worcester came for and John Barton was the happier of two managers.

Tiverton Town: 1. Steve Collis‚ 2. Steve Winter‚ 3. Danny Haines‚ 4. Steve Peters, 5. Nathan Rudge, 6. Rob Cousins, 7. David Steele, 8. Paul Chenoweth, 9. Phil Everett , 10. Scott Rogers, 11. Jamie Mudge .
Subs: 12. Antony Lynch (Everett,78), 14. Kevin Nancekivell, 15. Richard Pears (Mudge,83), 16. Luke Vinnicombe, 17. Jason Rees.
Cards: Winter (Yellow,31).

Worcester City: 1. Danny McDonnell, 2. Jon Holloway, 3. Paul Carty, 4. Carl Heeley, 5. Mark Shail, 6. John Snape, 7. David Foy, 8. Pat Lyons, 9. Mark Owen, 10. Darren Middleton, 11. Mark Blackwood.
Subs: 12. Dan Jones, 14. Alan Davies , 15. Leon Jckson (Blackwood,89), 16. Duncan Willetts, 17. Paul Wyatt.
Cards: Holloway (Yellow,13), Middleton (Yellow,47)

Referee: T. Jackson (Bristol)

This report ©2002 John Reidy






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