Match report

Tiverton Town 2 - 1 Bath City

   Wednesday 04/09/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Of all the professions a young person might chose to pursue there are certain ones that could only be chosen by an outright masochist. Public opinion polls and surveys - have they ever asked YOU? - always agree that the most disliked and mistrusted people in Britain are Estate Agents‚ Politicians and Insurance Brokers‚ not necessarily in that order. As far as the later are concerned I have to admit to a personal aversion to them. I dislike having to pay for household insurance that covers for flood damage when if my home were to be flooded only Noah and his menagerie would survive undampened‚ such is the height of my abode. It´s like when I considered subscribing to ´Sky´ a couple of years ago so I could watch MTV‚ and finding I´d have to pay for The Movie Channel as well. I don´t like having to fork out for a package that includes something I don´t want‚ or don´t need. And what about the let out clauses with Insurance Policies? I don´t like them much either. Can´t say I don´t have a degree of sympathy for the underwriters though; accidents don´t happen they´re caused‚ so you can hardly blame them for claiming ´Knock for Knock´‚ or reducing their liability if they deem the policy holder to be negligent or having a hand in causing the accident. Even the so called Act of God can usually be avoided....we could all live at the top of hills. Then it would only be the true catastrophes that mattered‚ the real disasters. Pompeii‚ 79 AD - at least 4000‚ 20% of the population‚ buried in dust and lava from the eruption of Vesuvius. Earthquake hits Central China‚ 1543‚ 870‚000 loose lives (how did they count them?). San Francisco‚ 18 April 1906 - over 3000 perished. Ladysmead‚ 4 September 2002‚ Tiverton Town lose their unbeaten record for the 2002-3 season at home to ´local´ rivals Bath City - now that´s what I call real disasters! So from Wednesday lunchtime I crossed my fingers and hoped that the last one would not happen‚ sure that no Insurance Company would pay out if it did! Fat lot of good crossed fingers did.

Within a handful of minutes of the kick off the underwriters would have been declaring a policy invalid as Tivvy appeared to be set on a path of self destruction. Just as an earthquake gave warning that Vesuvius would soon erupt‚ there were rumblings in the Yellows defence. Bath were first to attack and after five minutes Steve Collis reached to claw down a cross from the right. Steve advanced ready to clear upfield but the referee stopped him from doing so‚ indicating that the ball had gone out and that a goal kick should be taken. Collis has never shown any weakness in the kicking department‚ he´d saved it ´til now. His weak kick only travelled about 30 yards and fell to Andy Williams. Williams controlled it cleanly‚ advanced a couple of yards and slid the ball sideways to fellow striker Adrian Foster. Collis changed direction and fell at Fosters feet just as the Bath man shot and the ball fortuitously span away off the keepers legs. ´Dodgy´ moment! Worse was to follow. A minute later Jason Rees underhit a back pass to Collis and again the young keeper was forced to sprint out and throw himself at the feet of Williams. This time there was no connection with the ball‚ only with the City man´s legs and over he went. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and even less in drawing Collis off to one side to show him the Red card. Game over was the pessimists point of view. Jamie Mudge was taken off to allow Richard Pears to take over between the sticks. We´d seen ´Tricky Dicky´ do the same at Crawley last season and perform bravely in conceding only a single goal in 45 minutes‚ but surely this would be different. Eighty Four minutes in a local Derby‚ and a penalty to be faced to start with. Richard pulled on the jersey and took up position. Jason Drysdale placed the ball on the spot‚ walked back‚ ran up and hit the ball just inches inside Pearsy´s left hand post. The Tiverton striker‚ for he´s surely no keeper‚ flung himself horizontally and shoved the ball away. Drysdale hadn´t missed. Pears had saved! Tiverton‚ though still level‚ were also still a man down‚ but the save had given them a lift and they began to set about the game as if convinced they were under little handicap. A deaf man entering ten minutes late would hardly have noticed that it was 10 men against 11. There was little ´pretty football on display as the game continued in traditional ´derby´ fashion‚ plenty of commitment‚ plenty of blood and thunder‚ plenty of yellow cards. First to collect a caution was Foster who talked himself into the referees book after an elbowing of Steve Peters. Hardly had the game restarted than Drysdale completed a bad evening for himself by getting into a fracas with Steve Winter which started with the proverbial push and shove and was completed with the City man swinging a punch and then a kick. And all because the referee had over-ruled the linesman over who should have the ball for a throw in. Red card - Drysdale. The late coming‚ aurally impaired man probably thought Bath were a man short now. If that was so then he would have been impressed with some of their midfield play. Long series of intricate triangles were being worked by the visitors but they weren´t going anywhere. Pears was enjoying the ultimate protection of the defenders in front of him as they closed down everything well before it approached the penalty area and became a threat. City just didn´t seem to have the nous to slam in long range shots and put pressure on the stand in keeper‚ and their frustration began to show. Town were growing in confidence and themselves beginning to play better football. Steve Winter was getting well forward‚ so well that Iain Harvey felt it necessary to fell him and earn another outing for the yellow card. Pears made another save‚ back peddling and leaping(!) to touch a right wing cross over the crossbar and in the 26th minute a cleverly worked free kick saw Paul Chenoweth blast a fearsome shot just over the bar at the other end. Like the Neapolitan earthquake of 76 AD it was a harbinger of the eruption to come. A ´beep´ from my stopwatch told me we´d reached the half hour mark as Tivvy attacked again. Another long cross into the area (I´m sorry‚ my goldfish length memory lets me down - was it a corner‚ open play‚ a free kick ?) and Nathan Rudge climbed head and shoulders above everybody else to meet it and head down goalwards. The ball skidded off the right hand upright and flew across the goal- ine to Phil Everett at the opposite post. Tivvy´s lone striker poked it towards the net but the upright got in the way and out came the ball again. Chenoweth crashed it back, Mark Bryant looking like a lone tangerine in a bowl of black and white striped ´bullseyes´ managed to reach Cheno´s effort but in the confusion could only scoop it clear to Scott Rogers six yards out. Scotty hit the ball with every thing he had. Over the bodies, through a gap and into the net. Tivvy were alphabetically top of the table with an identical record to Worcester City. The thought momentarily crossed my mind that there was a case for renaming the club AFC Tiverton. It was a short lived thought as City restarted and wasted no time in pushing for the equaliser. They had a serious opportunity in the 36th minute when after a corner was only partially cleared, it was headed back diagonally across the Tiverton penalty area and to the foot of Jim Rollo who lost his balance as he swung his boot to shoot and toppled over in a tangle of his own legs and two minutes later Steve Peters gave away a free kick that could have proved dangerous but was needlessly wasted by the visitors. Five minutes before half time came the aftershock. Jason Rees, continuing in his new ´Mr Controlled & Reasonable' persona, made a mistake. Like the incident that lead to the early penalty he underhit a pass. This time Jason challenged back immediately and regained possession, feeding a beautiful pass through to Everett in the centre circle. Every one was moving out of defence in expectation of a break from the first pass. City's players were still forward expecting to maintain pressure having been re-presented with the ball. They were wide open as Phil turned and headed through the middle. Haines was sprinting down the left, Winter down the right, Rogers through the middle. With the crowd screaming for Phil to switch the ball to Danny, who had so much space he looked lonely, the ball was fed to Steve on the right. Down the wing he sped, sent in a perfect low cross and the yellow shirts were queuing to tie things up. Bryant stood no chance as Phil finished what he had started. It was a goal worthy of a far bigger stage. As good a move as you'll see at any level of the game. No longer was the fact that 'T' came before 'W' relevant as Town topped the table on goal difference. Winter and Everett both had half chances before the break but most of the 900+ in the ground were happy to settle for a two goal lead as they sought much needed refreshment.

Bath made the only interval substitution bringing on Gary Kemp for Chris Honor and we wondered if we were in for a 'vocal duet' featuring him and Andy Williams, but the pace of the game in the first half had taken its toll and things were noticeably quieter in the second. Rollo was first to see yellow on the 48th minute, Everett had Town's only early chance but Bryant easily gathered his header from Rogers cross. The Romans were setting up camp round the Tivvy penalty area, they would no doubt would have liked to have got in closer but the Yellow wall was having none of that as they protected Pears and their goal. There were infrequent breaks by the home side. On the hour Rob Cousins sent Everett away through the middle. Phil's shot was blocked and Rogers shot on the turn from the rebound flew just wide. The yellow card came into action again, though only the referee seemed to know why he flashed it at Ellis Willmot, and Mr Buller completely missed the chance of giving the red another airing when he was looking elsewhere as Iain Harvey kicked out at Phil Everett. With 69 minutes gone Bath introduced their second substitute, Gary Morgan. It proved to be an inspirational move. Morgan was prepared to do what his team-mates hadn't and take a pot-shot at Pears. It paid off as Richard remained routed to the centre of his goalline as Morgan's 30 yard poke skimmed all the way along the ground and just inside the post to bring the visitors back into the game. A couple of minutes later and our hearts were in our mouths as Foster in space on the left corner of the penalty area found space and cut in towards goal, unleashing a shot that Pears could only scoop across the goalmouth. We breathed again as Nathan Rudge was at hand to turn it safely out for a corner. Bath were coming on full song and with the Yellow back line under pressure we could have done without the next incident. Steve Peters and Gary Throne both rose to a high ball. Heads met. It looked nasty as both players crumpled to the turf. After what seemed like an age both were on their feet but one of Steve's eyes was a mess, pouring blood and there was no way he was going to take any further part in matters. Everett moved back into the defensive wall, Antony Lynch replacing him as the front chaser. Kevin Nancekivell replaced Rogers who had no right to still be standing, let alone running around, such was the energy he had burnt as he provided the extra man in defence and the extra man up front as well as covering every patch of midfield. Pears again saved well from Foster. The fresh legs gave Tivvy a new lease of life and they began to defend by attacking, the action moving further away from their penalty area. Bath came back again with a final push. Time for another reading of the small print on our policy as with three minutes remaining Steve Winter was adjudged to have fouled Williams just inside the box. A second penalty. For all his heroics it was asking too much of Pears to 'do it again', wasn't it. Yes it was. But Richard didn't need to. Ignoring the barracking from the black and white replica shirts behind his goal, Pearsy faced Foster. The city man stepped forward and blasted the ball into the net. The net above the roof at the Devco end. The replica shirts were silenced, holding their heads. The Yellow ones at the other end were noisy, celebrating. Bath had fluffed it.

Comparisons were drawn with the visit of Weymouth last season when the Yellows had two penalties saved and lost the game. The verdict was the same. A team that fails to score from two spot kicks in one match, can hardly complain if they fail to take a point. There were heroes a-plenty in Yellow shirts, even Jamie Mudge who played just five minutes before making way for Pears to come on, accepted it was a role he had to play, knowing that fellow striker Everett would be a better proposition if the game developed into a 'backs to the wall' affair for the Yellows. There's a long way to go before the season ends but I for one am going to enjoy this milestone in Tiverton Town's history, and I'm sure there's more than a few out there that will join me.... All the way to Moor Green and hopefully beyond.

Tiverton Town: 1. Steve Collis, 2. Steve Winter, 3. Danny Haines, 4. Steve Peters, 5. Nathan Rudge, 6. Rob Cousins, 7. Paul Chenoweth, 8. Jason Rees, 9. Phil Everett , 10. Scott Rogers, 11. Jamie Mudge .
Subs: 12. Kevin Nancekivell (Rogers,75), 14. Antony Lynch (Peters,75), 15. Steve Ovens, 16. Richard Pears (Mudge,6), 17. David Steele.
Cards: Collis (Red,6), Winter (Yellow,12).

Bath City: 1. Mark Bryant, 2. Jason Drysdale, 3. Mike Trought, 4. Gary Thorne, 5. Chris Honor, 6. Jim Rollo, 7. Ellis Willmot, 8. Iain Harvey, 9. Adrian Foster, 10. Dan Cleverley, 11. Andy Williams.
Subs: 12. Sam Allison, 14. Andy Minton, 15. Gary Morgan(Harvey,69), 16. Gary Kemp (Honor,46), GK Mark Hervin.
Cards: Foster (Yellow,11), Drysdale (Red,12), Harvey (Yellow,22), Rollo (Yellow,48), Willmot (Yellow,67)

Referee: Keith Buller (Bridgwater).

This report ©2002 John Reidy






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