Match report

Stafford Rangers 2 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 02/11/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

When you consider that language is basically a series of grunts and gurgles it is amazing that it has developed into such a complex method of communication. Through it‚ we are able to convey our deepest thoughts‚ wildest ideas‚ even our most passionate emotions. Mind you‚ we English speaking peoples are more fortunate than some in that our Mother Tongue has developed far enough to have words that can even express the finer degrees of difference within a concept - pretty‚ beautiful‚ gorgeous - unlike speakers of less developed languages such as Swahili which consist of only a couple of hundred words and are left to describe things as ´nice´. There is a downside‚ however. For those that do not speak English as their native tongue it is difficult to come to terms with some confusing aspects. Multiple spelling of words which are pronounced identically‚ the meaning only being defined in their written form - to‚ too‚ two and there‚ their‚ they´re. And worse‚ words with different meanings that both sound and are written alike. In my reading this week I came across one. ´Paste´. The sticky stuff I could never control as a kid‚ avoiding my mother´s protective newspaper barrier whenever I added to my scrapbook. Then there was the other kind of ´paste´. That used to make replicas of valuable jewels so that the real ones could remain securely locked away in the safe to the satisfaction of their owners insurance company‚ only appearing on the really big occasions. After recent Tiverton Town games‚ the thought crossed my mind that perhaps that was what was happening to Martyn Roger´s squad and that our esteemed manager was only putting the ´real´ thing on display on the odd occasion. Travelling up to Stafford I wrestled with the conundrum. Had the genuine article been stashed away after the Barnet game‚ or would we see it at Marston Road?

There were a couple of stones in the Tivvy tiara that had been swapped around in the intervening week. Scott Rogers had a stiff neck‚ Richard Pears was unavailable through illness. Paul Chenoweth replaced Scott‚ Antony Lynch started as Jamie Mudge´s partner. The soggy‚ overcast conditions entailed the floodlights being used from kick off and unsurprisingly they made the Yellows sparkle like the Barnet jewels. Tivvy went forward and were first to mount a threatening attack‚ were awarded a free kick midway inside the Rangers half in the 2nd minute‚ Jason Rees - who else? - lobbed the ball forward into the goalmouth forcing Ryan Price to flip the ball away from the right hand angle of his crossbar and upright for a corner. Three minutes later Rees found Antony Lynch on the right-hand edge of the penalty area but Jamie Mudge could only fire in a weak shot under pressure when Lynchy forced in a low cross. But artificial lighting made even Mr Ratner´s ´trash´ look good at first and so proved to be the case with the Yellows.
Stafford got their act together and soon began to make Tivvy look decidedly tarnished. Running well both on and off the ball they pushed Town back into their own half‚ then into their own penalty area and after 10 minutes took the lead. A long diagonal ball to the edge of the Tiverton penalty area resulted in a short rally of head tennis before falling to Daniel Davidson who brought the ball down and fired in a cross goal shot from just inside the penalty area that found it´s way past a multitude of stretching yellow socked legs and Steve Collis´s desperate full length dive to nestle in the net just inside the far post.

Town staged something of a revival but it was hardly a fighting one. They had most of the midfield play‚ the approach work looked good but it all tended to break down in the last third of the Stafford half‚ Lynch failing to emulate Pears´s holding operations on the Barnet slopes. Danny Haines sent in a weak shot after a Rees cross had been miscleared by a home defender and then saw his long curling lob to the penalty spot poked off Mudge´s toe milli-seconds before last week´s hero could tee up a shot. Meanwhile Rangers continued to move swiftly from defence to attack‚ particularly through their by now obviously dangerous front pairing of Edwards and Davidson‚ ably supported by runs from defender Alfie Carter down the left and Robert Heath and Robin Gibson on the right flank.
Collis saw action as he saved full length from Davidson following a free kick and plucked a long high cross from Carter off the head of Edwards. As the half hour mark approached the home side upped the pressure as they sought to consolidate their narrow lead. Edwards collected the ball out of defence and sent Heath on a run through the middle. Twisting first one way‚ then the other‚ Heath evaded Steve Peters‚ Nathan Rudge and Rob Cousins on his way to the edge of the penalty area but the exertion proved too much and he was unable to get much power into his shot - and even less direction as it went a couple of yards wide.
The Tiverton defence‚ though‚ failed to head the warning and on the 35th minute Heath again sprang onto a through ball‚ carried it to just about the same spot from which the first goal had been struck and fired in a carbon copy shot with exactly the same result. Two - nil to Rangers. Mudge had one decent chance for Town before the break but having turned neatly inside a defender his clever chip shot landed just outside the upright and it was a sad looking Tiverton that trouped off for what was surely a deserved half time rollicking.

Steve Collis was the first custodian to be called into action as the second half got underway having to be both alert and brave to dash out and smother at the feet of Edwards as he threatened to put the game beyond Town after just three minutes. Town settled and‚ as in the first half looked more than a match for their hosts in midfield‚ but still lacked the incisive edge that might have brought them into the game as far as the scoreline was concerned.
Stafford had no such problems. Edwards continued to be a thorn in the side of the Yellows defence and after 55 minutes embarked on another diagonal run‚ evaded the challenges of Peters and Cousins and sent in a shot from the right hand corner of the penalty area that trickled across the sodden goalmouth just begging for the final touch.
Phil Everett replaced Lynch and Kevin Nancekivell took over from Steele in midfield as Martyn Rogers searched for that little extra that might pierce the Stafford back line. The move did add a little more sparkle to Town´s forward moves as they probed and prodded their way towards the home penalty area but the threat was minimised by a well marshalled and organised defence. Rangers introduced Danny Bailey in place of a justifiably tiring Davidson as they sought to hold up the ball when they managed to break out from under the Tivvy pressure which eventually paid a dividend when Paul Chenoweth narrowed the margin with six minutes remaining. An ´all forward men´ assault on Price´s goal culminated in the ball being scrambled out to ´Chens´‚ central on the edge of the penalty area. The Tiverton midfielder who had made only occasional forays forward struck the ball through the mass of bodies before him and into the net to give the handful of Yellows fans a glimmer of hope.
That was all it proved to be. Stafford weathered the Tiverton onslaught. Jamie Mudge had a late chance but chose to send in a low cross when a shot might have been more fruitful‚ and Steve Peters got his head to a right wing corner but was well under the ball which flew up into the dazzle of the floodlights and the safety of a goal kick. Time ran out for the Yellows but in all honesty one had the feeling that Stafford were always in ontrol of the overall situation and would have held out even if the teams had played another 90 minutes.

Dr Martens football‚ is I suppose‚ the ´working class´ end of the game. As such perhaps we should resign ourselves to the fact that we will have to make do with High Street jewellery and leave Hatton Gardens to the wealthier Premiership elite. Overall‚ I guess I´ll settle for that. I just wish the sparkle could be a tad more enduring.

Tiverton Town: 1. Steve Collis‚ 2. Steve Winter, 3. Danny Haines, 4. Steve Peters, 5. Nathan Rudge, 6. Rob Cousins, 7. David Steele, 8. Jason Rees, 9. Antony Lynch, 10. Paul Chenoweth, 11. James Mudge.
Subs: Phil Everett ( Lynch,65), Kevin Nancekivell (Steele,65), Steve Ovens (Rudge,79), Scott Rogers.
Cards: Yellow: Chenoweth (Tiverton, 63).

Stafford Rangers: Ryan Price, Alex Gibson, Alfie Carter, Lee Barrow, Wayne Daniel, Craig Lovatt, Phil Robinson, Robert Heath, Paul Edwards, Daniel Davidson, Robin Gibson.
Subs: Lee Downes, David Berks, Richard Beale, Dennis Bailey (79 mins for Davidson), Karl Ward.
Cards: Yellow: Gibson (Stafford, 47).

Referee: Mr D G Cooke (Wednesbury)

This report ©2002 John Reidy






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