Match report

Tiverton Town 1 - 1 Taunton Town

   Saturday 28/09/2002   FA Cup
John Reidy

I believe it was Harold Wilson‚ erstwhile Prime Minister of this realm‚ that once said that a week was a long time in politics. He might well have thought that‚ I couldn´t possibly comment. What I would assert is that three seasons is a long time in football. Time enough for two clubs that once were close‚ to drift apart and then to ease closer together again. If it weren´t for the fact that there was never a great deal of love lost between Tiverton Town and Taunton Town‚ comparisons might be made to a pair of lovers‚ possibly even a married couple‚ who in a tumultuous spat go their own ways in animosity; remain well apart for a while; before drifting closer together as the hurts that were inflicted gradually heal to allow a degree‚ at least‚ of tolerance. Then something will happen to reawaken all the old bitterness... and the jibes... and the digs‚ all the old conflicts and rivalries will be rejuvenated. Wonderful thing the FA Cup‚ ain´t it? So here we all were‚ 1380 of us‚ at Ladysmead‚ scene of the last meeting between the two clubs. Taunton´s fans were still smarting from a disappointment that has never really been buried‚ despite their subsequent capture of the FA Vase‚ whilst their Tiverton counterparts were just as ready to rub salt into those still open wounds and continue to gloat over that long past victory (or two). A dangerous policy‚ particularly in a week that had seen an earthquake rock the very foundations of the country (the first time Dudley has been thus described‚ I´ll bet). It would only take a minor tremour for Tivvy´s House of Cards to collapse and reverse the emotions of the two groups of supporters‚ if not the current standings of their respective clubs. All the old rivalry has been rekindled (sort of)‚ all the past angst has returned to the surface (sort of)‚ 3.00pm approaches‚ let battle (well‚ sort of) commence.

Something was missing. There was little more atmosphere than there is for the start of an ordinary league match. Taunton kicked off and moved forward. Nathan Rudge clattered into Derek Fields‚ giving away the first free kick of the game and collecting a yellow card for his troubles. We weren´t even through the first half minute but you could hardly blame the referee for stamping his impression on a game that was a potentially explosive encounter. Robbie Herrara flighted in a curling free kick that Tom Stocco sent wide of the Tiverton goal and things began to settle into a pattern. Obviously more bouyed up for the occasion‚ it was Taunton making the forward moves and after four minutes Steve Collis had to be sharp to push Peter Knox´s shot away for a corned after Ellis Laight had shown his ball controll to win space to set up the Taunton No.9. It wasn´t until the 7th minute that Tivvy showed any real enterprise and that was extended to ten before the first attempt on goal when Danny Haines headed a Steve Winter cross well wide‚ swiftly replied to by the Peacocks as the lively Knox fired wide from the corner of the penalty area. Winter was involved in most of Tiverton´s threatening moves but it was mostly predictable stuff‚ long crosses that were coming from too deep and arriving in the middle over the shoulders of the forwards and into the faces of the Taunton defenders‚ and when Phil Everett did manage to nod one down to Antony Lynch the shot on the turn was easily closed down to be deflected safely into the arms of Ryan Draper in the visitors goal. Fifteen minutes gone and there was nothing to chose between the sides. Sixteen minutes gone and it was a different story. Knox (again!) created a problem for Steve Peters and forced a corner. Vunerable as ever at set peices Tivvy failed to defend effectivly and were caught as Ian Bastow sent the kick into the near post and Ellis Laight met it with the faintest of flicks to send it flying into the net. Right in front of His own fans! Jubilation! Celebrations! Not for the home fans obviously. They (we) were left to hope. To hope that the goal would fire the Yellows‚ inspire a lifting of their game‚ instil the fight and passion of days of yore‚ fire the revival that would carry them forward. We hoped. There were signs that it might happen but it looked to be more by accident than design. Tivvy pushed forward but without much shape to their moves‚ there was not a lot of flowing play. As the yellows applied pressure Barstow upended Rudge to collect the second caution of the game and as the middle mark of the first half approached and passed there were chances for Everett‚ Lynch‚ Haines and even Rudge as he moved up for a corner‚ got to the ball but sent his header high against the advertising boards at the sponsors end. Jason Rees flighted a ball into Rogers who was tackled as he shot by Stocco. So the chances were being created by effort rather than skill and the constant pressure finally paid of. After Everett had sent another shot flying high Rogers was again well forward to force a corner. Rudge charged forward‚ Rees delayed and Nathan retreated. With one less option in the penalty area Jason took the kick laying it back to Paul Chenoweth hovering five yards or so back from the corner of the area. There were the familiar groans from those fans that like to see corners lifted into the goalmouth. This time they were soon silenced as the alternative approach worked. ´Cheno´ swung in his shot‚ for it was certainly too fierce to be a cross‚ and it curled through the crowded sixyard box‚ hit the far post and rebounded into the net. Twenty eight minutes gone and all square again‚ probably a true reflection of the game. At last the Yellows started to look like the better side‚ the Premier Division side facing the enthusiastic but less able First Division squad. Draper had to stretch up and back to touch a Haines cross over the bar‚ and then swiftly leave his line to deflect away a Rogers shot with his legs after the Tivvy midfielder had latched onto Lynch´s cross from the left. Not that Collis was idle. Laight again showed his tricky skills to win himself space to send in a deep cross that Stocco met with his head forcing the Tivvy keeper into a late save. With the break approaching the home side went up another gear, forced three corners in quick succession and should have taken the lead from the last as the ball fell to Lynch from Rees´ cross. Three yards out, the chance was too much for Lynch who sent the ball skimming off the crossbar when the goal was at his mercy. It was the last chance before the interval and gave the visitors a chance to regroup. They were begining to look as if they needed it. Chenoweth, who had shown signs of struggling with an injury, was replaced as the teams came out for the second half.

Russel Muskers men had sorted themselves out somewhat and were quickly on the offensive. Knox burst free and fired in a shot that slid off the top of the crossbar within a minute of the restart but Tivvy were soon into their stride again and looking for the lead. Kevin Nancekivell, who had replaced Chenoweth, was forced to turn away from goal when looking dangerous in the area and then neat work between Lynch and Everett saw him through on Draper who again managed to leave his line quickly, make himself big, and get his legs in the way of ´Nance´s´ goal attempt. Steve Winter was once more swinging in crosses from the right. Draper repeated his tip over routine from one as it looked to be dropping into the top corner and Stocco was given little option other than to send another flying over his own bar for a corner, but the goal wouldn´t come. In the 57th minute the ´Substitution Round´ started. Both No.11´s were replaced as on came Jamie Mudge for Tiverton and Gary Fisher for Taunton. Knox, quieter since the break, threatened with a low cross/shot that had Winter scooping the ball away as it flew across the goalmouth in the 58th minute and four minutes later Winter was almost the villan as he gave away a free kick on the edge of the penalty area that saw a Laight shot curling just wide of Collis´s goal. More substitutions and the game became scrappy with neither side looking likely to break the deadlock until the 70th minute when for the umpteenth time Draper turned the ball over the top, this time from an Everett header. Taunton were defending in numbers allowing Tiverton´s defenders to push up. Rudge climbed high to meet a Rees free kick and Mudge jinked free of his marker down in the right hand corner to send in a low cross that begged for the slightest of touches to help it into the net but evaded every boot to fly right out to the left flank. Into the last ten minutes and there was some desperate pressure from the home team. Everett crashed a ´Wints´ cross against the wall beside the goal and another ball in from the same source had Everett and Nancekivell scambling in vain to force the ball into the net, not that it would have mattered as the flag was up for offside. At the other end Laight twisted and turned his way through before at what seemed like the tenth attempt he was dispossessed and another Tiverton attack started. For a change, maybe from fruatration at the lack of sucess from his crosses, Winter cut in from the right and had a shot himself. It lacked the power he sometimes imparts and though on target it failed to test Draper who scooped it up. Time ran out. The referee added some. Knox shot over the top for the Peacocks in the first minute and in the second an almighty mellee developed in the Taunton goalmouth that saw Nancekivell force the ball into the net after the flag had been raised to signal the ball had gone out of play for a goal kick. It was the last of the action.

The blue shirted fans were the happier, no doubt fancying their chances at The Drive on Wednesday evening and on the showing if their side over this 90 minutes they have every right to. The Yellows supporters will be hoping for changes that will see the ball in the net. It was a game that failed to live up to expectations, either in the play or the passion, such are the risks of expectation. The stakes are high and still there for the taking - by either side.

Tiverton Town: Steve Collis, Steve Winter, Danny Haines, Steve Peters, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Paul Chenoweth (Kevin Nancekivell 46), Jason Rees, Phil Everett, Scott Rogers, Antony Lynch (Jamie Mudge 57)
Booked: Rudge 1
Sent off: None

Taunton Town: Ryan Draper, Danny Bance, Robbie Herrera, Toby Redwood, Tom Stocco, Tom Kelly, Derek Fields (Adam Butterworth 60), Ellis Laight, Peter Knox, Chris Myers (Mar Gammon 80), Ian Bastow (Gary Fisher 57)
Booked: Bastow 18, Butterworth 65

Referee: C. Spence (Newquay)

Attendance: 1380

This report ©2002 John Reidy

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