Match report

Tiverton Town 3 - 1 Newport County

   Tuesday 08/10/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Modern science is pressing on at a remarkable rate. Hardly a week goes by without some new major discovery being announced‚ some previously unknown fact being uncovered that explains or goes some way towards explaining some of the mysteries of our planet. Much of it may seem irrelevant‚ insignificant. Some of it has obvious advantage to the human race. All of it answers questions‚ even if it poses more. However‚ there are some queries that even science has yet to satisfactorily answer‚ some of the great perplexities of life. I´m sure you will be aware of the kind of thing I mean. The oft quoted‚ "Why is there only one monopolies commission?"‚ "Why does your bread and butter always land butter side up if you drop it?"‚ "How can the Americans land a man on the moon‚ but not miss friendly troops on a battlefield?"‚ "Why is there no synonym for the word Thesaurus?". All questions that puzzle people‚ and obviously the scientists too for they have yet to come up with definitive answers. There is of course another conundrum that most people logging onto this Tiverton Town site would dearly like explained. How can the Yellows perform so badly‚ then so well‚ then so badly again‚ in consecutive matches - as they have in the last three games prior to facing Newport County at Ladysmead? Is it something to do with weekends? The phase of the moon? Martyn´s choice of aftershave? Whatever the reason‚ unless it is uncovered and dealt with reasonably soon then an enormous ´?´ must hang like the sword of Damocles over the Yellows chances of fulfilling their ambitions for their foreseeable future.

And the trend continued. Town were out of the traps and immediately rampant against the Exiles. All the lethargy of Saturday afternoon had evaporated. Within the first couple of minutes there were two decent chances. First Steve Ovens went away down the left and sent in a cross that was headed down into the goalmouth and had Newport keeper Pat Mountain stretching to scoop it up before a Tivvy boot could prod it into the net. Then it was Danny Haines down the same flank firing in a low cross that was neatly flicked against the base of the near upright via Mountain´s fingertips by Scott Rogers. So it continued‚ with the Yellows constantly moving forward‚ using both wings‚ spreading the passes around and generally looking like the team we know they can be. It took the visitors the best part of ten minutes to find their feet and when they did they came more into the game‚ but as Martyn Rogers was to say after the game‚ "You can´t expect to totally dominate a team like Newport." Never-the-less‚ things were looking bright. Then‚ like the introduction of Howard Hughes´ support for actress Jayne Russell‚ it all went ´mammaries elevated´. With just over quarter of an hour gone Nathan Rudge was guilty of a clumsy tackle. It was always likely to be a difficult game for Nathan - he´d been given a torrid time by Amber´s (that´s Newport! - even though the colour clash meant they had changed into Inter Milan replica kits for the evening) strikers Neil Davis and Gary Shephard in the first contest over the bridge. The free kick didn´t look to be in a particularly dangerous position; well outside the area and wide on the right. Central defender Jeff Eckhardt had different ideas as he moved forward to head Darren Robison´s cross firmly past Collis‚ giving the visitors the lead and releasing an under the breath chorus of "here we go again" sighs from the home fans. Three minutes later the deficit could well have been doubled (Cambridge revisited?) as Matt Rose blasted in a rising shot from the edge of the area that would have carried Collis with it into the net had it been on target. Luckily it crashed against the advertising boards above the goal and Tivvy breathed again and settled down to the task of getting themselves off the hook. County‚ though‚ tightened up their back line and were happy to protect their lead. There is always a key that will open a locked door. Unsurprisingly Tiverton´s key proved to be ´super´ Steve Ovens. As ineffective as the rest of the side in East Anglia‚ Steve was doing what he does best this time out. Hassling‚ chasing‚ bundling his way around among defenders‚ unsettling them. With 32 minutes gone he collected a Jason Rees throw in on the right and turned down along the line making for the corner flag. Two defenders went with him‚ trapping him in the Quadrant. Somehow Steve forced his way between the pair of them‚ retaining enough control to take the ball with him and in along the goal-line. His low cross had enough power to fly right across the goalmouth and out for a throw in on the far side‚ had not Kevin Nancekivell been lurking at the far post to intercept it and plant the ball squarely in the back of the goal. The Exiles bounced right back looking to restore their advantage and two minutes after the equaliser Collis had to be on his toes to parry a high shot from Shephard before grabbing the ball as it dropped. Town turned up the pressure and after 37 minutes forced a series of three corners and a free kick that stretched the visitors defence but failed to breach it. The last word of the half went to Newport as they strung a three man move together that terminated with another over the top effort from Rose. It had been an entertaining 45 minutes. One apiece was probably a fair scoreline.

It was more of the same as the second half got underway. Neither side were prepared to settle for what they had‚ both were looking for more. But the defences were holding‚ though neither were too solid. And Tivvy had the key‚ didn´t they. Six minutes in and that key turned again. Ovens repeated the feat. Down the right‚ confuse the defenders that attempted to dispossess him and play in the cross. This time it was deeper‚ to the edge of the penalty area. Same recipient‚ Kevin Nancekivell‚ who tried to carry the ball forward and into the box. He passed one man‚ swayed to make his way past the second and was tripped. The referee had less doubt than the supporters of either side. In fairness to the Newport players their protests were restrained. The decision‚ obviously stood. Nancekivell sent Mountain the wrong way from the spot and the Yellows were in front. On the hour mark David Steele replaced ´Nance´, a move that surprised some of the home fans. County fought to get themselves back on terms and for a while were aided by some poor play from their hosts. For no apparent reason Town seemed to lose the plot, and with it the ball. Passes were going astray, the wing backs ceased making the runs, defence consisted of hoofing the ball upfield. The earlier composure vanished. Steele failed to get constructively involved, and Rees looked to be strolling around as casually as a pensioner on an afternoon walk in the park. On 68 minutes Rose left Haines making a close examination of the Ladysmead greenery as he cruised down the wing and cut in to test Collis, and two minutes later the keeper had to be quick to save his captain from embarrassment as a long, but too short (?), back pass presented the ball to Shephard. Collis was quick off his line to tackle the Newport striker as he reached the edge of the area and Steve Winter was fortunately back to hack the lose ball away. A scary moment that could have proved costly. Newport introduced new blood up front after 70 minutes. David D´Auria replaced Scott Walker whose ship plainly wasn´t coming in, he´d hardly shown all evening, where-as D´Auria nearly made an instant impression firing inches wide within a minute. Tivvy sorted themselves out as the game made its way into the last ten minutes. There were half chances at both ends. Michael Fowler had a couple of cracks from free kicks but Collis dealt with one and the other was off target and flew wide. And as the visitors threw everything forward in an attempt to save something from the game, they inevitably ran the risk of leaving themselves exposed. Tivvy capitalised. Steele made an impact at last, splitting the remnants of the visitors back line with a pass that sent fellow substitute Richard Pears away down the left. Pearsy showed surprising pace to reach the by line and drive in a low cross that Ovens struck home to round off a match winning personal performance. In the last minute of normal time there was another break that could, should, have led to a goal. This time Pears started it as he fed the ball left to Scott Rogers. With Ovens and Pears ploughing through the middle it was unfortunate that Scott delayed the return too long and it was deflected and cleared with the two Tivvy men unmarked in the middle. The final word of the half, as in the first period, went to County. Collis was beaten but Rees cleared off the line. So said the officials. Newport players and supporters who were closer to the action disagreed. Again the decision stood and the final whistle left the result as a 3-1 victory for Town. The scoreline was possibly flattering but the result probably right.

There is no truth in the rumour that Town have attempted to re-arrange the Weymouth cup tie for Friday evening. If Tivvy want to play the game under lights to improve their chances they will have to settle for a replay in Dorset. It would be far better for the fans if they could produce an ´evening´ performance at Ladysmead on Saturday afternoon.

Tiverton Town: 1. Steve Collis, 2. Steve Winter, 3. Danny Haines, 4. Steve Peters, 5. Nathan Rudge, 6. Rob Cousins, 7. Kevin Nancekivell, 8. Jason Rees, 9. Phil Everett, 10. Scott Rogers, 11. Steve Ovens.
Subs: 12. Antony Lynch, 14. Jamie Mudge, 15. Richard Pears (Everett,73), 16. David Steele (Nancekivell,60), GK. Paul Edwards.
Cards: None

Newport County: 1. Pat Mountain, 2. Darren Robison, 3. Andrew Thomas, 4. Billy Clark, 5. Jeff Eckhardt, 6. Nathan Davies, 7. Matt Rose, 8. Mike Fowler, 9. Neil Davis, 10. Gary Shephard, 11. Scott Walker.
Subs: 12. Stuart James (Davis, 79), 14. Richard French, 15. Dave D´Auria (Walker,71), 16. Alan Stevenson, GK. Tim Hart.
Cards: Robison (Yellow,42).

Referee: W. Lillington (Dorchester)

This report ©2002 John Reidy






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