Match report

Tiverton Town 0 - 1 Hastings United

   Saturday 19/10/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

O.K‚ I know what you´re expecting!
Tivvy v Hastings‚ it´s obvious where JR´s going to be coming from for this one..... Battles.... One in the eye....etc. Yes?.... well some things are just too obvious so I´ll look back.... but not that far.
Hastings United were one of those teams that made an indelible impression on me in those formative early teenage years when I became a regular travelling footy fan. It was the turn of the decade - 50´s turning to 60´s - and Headington United had metamorphosed into Oxford United and were heading towards the first of a brace of Southern League Championships that were to see them replace Accrington Stanley as the Lancashire Club went bust and resigned from the Football League‚ failing to complete their fixtures and having their record expunged (Lovely word that‚ must use it again sometime!). The reason that I remember Hastings though were threefold. Firstly they played in Burnley replica kit‚ before football shirts became de rigor fashion statements. Secondly they were terrible. Effectively relegated by Christmas they nevertheless managed to drag the U´s down to their own level and hold out for 3-2 defeats both home and away. No mean feat when the likes of Wisbech (9-0) Gravesend & Northfleet (8-2) and Boston United (7-2) and Folkestone (6-1) were being ´tonked´) at the Manor that season. Thirdly came the end of season trip for the away game. My somethingteenth birthday. It was the last time I was to have the dubious pleasure of watching Hastings...I hoped. But‚ being a forgiving soul‚ here I was looking forward to the current re-incarnation (they´ve had more personas than Dr Who in the last 40 years) visiting the home of my new(ish) yellow clad hero´s and hoping for Tivvy´s sake that the modern team might prove as inept‚ though more entertaining‚ as their counterparts of 1960-1.

Two things were patently obvious within seconds of the kick off. Firstly that Hastings really were struggling to field a side - they could only name three substitutes‚ and secondly that the deluge earlier in the week had made the Ladysmead turf softer and slipperier than it looked - Danny Haines stretched in an attempt to keep the ball in play and left skid marks as he ended up sat upon his sit upon. Town were first to come to terms with the conditions and settled into a cautious but forward probing pattern of play. On 5 minutes Haines opened up the Hastings defence when he robbed Steve Yates as the defender hesitated on a clearance‚ left him standing as he cut in towards goal but squewed his cross from the corner of the penalty area high and wide past the near post. Two minutes later Danny again looked lively as he received the ball from Phil Everett‚ slid it past the outside of Yates whilst slipping past the Hastings man on the inside and this time managed to flight his cross to the far post. Steve Winter cruising in from wide on the right took a touch too many in bringing the ball down and when he managed to fire in a shot it ricocheted off a defender. Town were looking promising and had taken control of the game but another thing had become apparent. Hastings would be happy with a point. They were playing with just one man up front‚ Ellis Remy; one man in the hole behind him‚ former Brighton and Hove Albion player Danny Simmonds; two defensive midfielders and a six strong back line. Hardly an attacking formation but who could blame them? They were engaged on a damage limitation exercise‚ had a job to do‚ and used a formation that‚ though not adventurous‚ stood a reasonable chance of success. It was up to Tivvy to break them down and find a rout through the massed defences. Town continued to primarily try the left flank‚ taking advantage of Haines´s apparent beating of the defence on that wing. Eleven minutes in and another cross had David King in the visitors goal juggling the ball under pressure from Everett and Steve Ovens‚ grabbing it at the fourth attempt and a minute later Ovo nodded through a long ball down the middle that King just beat Kevin Nancekivell to. It was one of those displays from the Yellows that had the fans thinking that the goal was soon going to come. And so it should have in the 16th minute. Unsurprisingly the chance came from the left. Haines cross‚ Everett jump with the keeper‚ down across goal to Nance with the net yawning. It was the kind of opportunity that Kev would never have missed in his pre Argyle days. How times have changed. A calm sidefoot shot flew two foot over the crossbar. Heads were held‚ but didn´t drop. Onward and forward pressed Tivvy‚ though exaxtly half way through the first period Hastings did have a serious chance of their own. I nearly typed ´created a chance´ but that would have been a factual inexactitude (parliamentary privilege phraseology for a lie) as they were presented with it. Rudge moving forward played an abysmal ball straight to a defender who‚ following the visitors game plan‚ wacked it forward for Remy to chase. For the first time he found himself in space and headed for goal. It took a last ditch tackle by Steve Peters to rob him just as he was about to hit his shot. Town continued to do the pressing. Ovens shot wide of the upright as he was apparently surprised that the ball made its way to him through a crowded goalmouth and then‚ like Winter earlier on‚ failed to control the ball quickly enough on the right hand side of the six yard box and turning away from goal had to settle for a corner on the right. Rudge made a late run‚ thundering into the penalty area like a rampant wildebeest‚ connected fair and square with his head but before the ball could test King it was deflected out to the left where Ovens collected it. Steve sent it back in‚ low to the near post. Everett threw himself to meet it but again heads were held as the ball wizzed past the upright. Five minutes before the break and Nancekivell was closed down just inside the Hastings penalty area and executed a dizzying double pirouette to make himself space for a shot‚ on target this time but again deflected away for a corner before it reached King. Everett got a header on target in injury time but straight at the keeper so for all their pressure Tiverton had failed to breach the wall as they trouped off at the break....and King had yet to make a save as his defenders did their job.

There was an air of optimism in the tea queue at half time. The feeling that Tivvy would find a way through´ would find that little extra penetration‚ that little extra sharpness that would cut through the defensive curtain. And that once split‚ it would shred. That was a feeling soon dispelled as the second half got underway. Haines carried the ball in from the left and shot wide after five minutes but the visitors were already beginning to look more enterprising than in the first half. In the 53rd minute they came close for the second time in the game when a free kick from just inside the Tiverton half was headed goalwards by Tony Burt and Steve Collis was just in time to scramble the ball away for a corner. Three minutes later a speedy run from Simmonds‚ who had looked the most threatening and sprightly of the Hastings squad in the first half‚ had Rob Cousins happy to give away another corner on the visitors right. Orthodox high cross into the area‚ up went the heads and at least one arm‚ that of Rudge. The arm made contact‚ the referee saw it and the whistle was blown. Simmonds made no mistake from the spot and totally against the run of play Hastings were in front. They may have come for one point but now they had three in their grasp and weren´t going to let go easily. Off Town went again‚ and off was the operative descriptive word as the Yellows became ragged. Hastings played with more confidence. As Town pushed further and further forward so United found they had more space when they could break out of defence. The Yellows found nothing new. Winter did manage to emulate Danny Haines by cutting in to fire in a shot but the keeper merely took a couple of sideways steps and gathered it cleanly to his midriff. As the visitors broke they found themselves winning more corners and from one on the right in the 69th minute Remy again found himself in space and forced Collis to show his worth with a crashing shot that the keeper palmed round the post for another corner. With 20 minutes left‚ and less signs of a goal for the Yellows than there had been in the first half‚ the boards were shown. Antony Lynch replaced Everett, Jamie Mudge replaced Nancekivell. Town had been lacking shape and direction before the changes. They made little difference. Another effort from Haines as he carried the ball in from the left was the best that Tivvy could muster as the United defence packed and hacked and from one such clearance Yates ran half the length of the field before feeding the ball through to Simmonds who wasn´t too upset to see his snap shot fly high and wide - it allowed him time to retreat to his defensive position. The frustration began to show as the game went into the last ten minutes, epitomised by a clumsy tackle by Peters on Remy that earned the Tiverton man a yellow card. Lynch had one moment of near impact on the game as he held off a challenge to send Ovens bursting into the penalty area. Steve carried the ball to the line (!) before crossing but such an unusual tactic completely baffled his team-mates and there was nobody in the middle to receive the ball which flew across the goal and out towards the far touch line. Hastings hardly saw the ball in the last five minutes but it didn´t worry them overly much. Tivvy had it but took it nowhere as they tried unsuccessfully to walk it into the goal. Two minutes into stoppage time Paul Chenoweth swung in a corner that Mudge headed over the top and then it was all over.

It was a disappointing result for the local fans. Not only the result but also the performance. Not as bad as at Cambridge but not good enough. There is a lack of innovation, a dearth if ideas in the way the Yellows are playing. Patience and the belief that the goal will come if you continue to exert pressure are all very well but time runs out. There comes a time when patience runs out and you have to stop waiting for the goal and go and find it by trying something new. The Yellows have reached that stage.

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 (Everett,70), 14. Jamie Mudge(Nancekivell,70), 15. Paul Chenoweth (Rudge,83), 16. David Steele (Nancekivell,87), GK. Paul Edwards.
Cards: Yellow: Winter (9), Peters (82).

Hastings United: 1. David King, 2. Steve Yates, 3. Nick Hegley, 4. Tommy Osborne, 5. Tony Burt, 6. Adam Flanagan, 7. James Boddy, 8. Paul Ruddy, 9. Ellis Remy , 10. Danny Simmonds, 11. Chris Honey.
Subs: 12. Graham Webb (Remy,82), 14. Tim Olorunda, 15. Joe Cornwall.
Cards: Yellow: Ruddy (47).

Referee: S. Hollick (Plymouth).

This report ©2002 John Reidy






Please note: The � or ? character in some older reports denotes where an error has occured in translation when the reports were transfered between databases