Match report

Tiverton Town 3 - 2 Plymouth Argyle

   Monday 11/11/2002   Devon St Luke's Cup
John Reidy

Ecclisiastes: To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
My mum (and no doubt yours, too): There's a time and place for everything.
In entertainment:-
The place for Ballet is Covent Garden.
The place for Classical Music is The Albert Hall.
The place for Opera is The Royal Opera House.
The place for Rock Concerts is the N.E.C or Wembley Arena.
The place for Farce is The Whitehall Theatre - NOT LADYSMEAD.

The contempt which Exeter City showed towards The Devon St Lukes Bowl, or to give it its new title, The Westinsure Bowl, by their last minute withdrawal from their tie with Bideford was more than echoed by Tiverton and Plymouth in the teams they fielded in this game. Some mitigation might be allowed by the fact that both clubs made it quite clear beforehand what their intentions were, and that Tivvy made no secret of the reason they wanted the tie played when it was. Never-the less, the two incidents may have damaged the competition beyond recovery and left the sponsors wondering why they bothered. The Devon Bowl might not be the most important trophy to the senior clubs involved but it does provide the 'Davids' of Devon football with the chance to pit themselves against the 'Goliaths', and if you're in it you might as well put on a decent show.
Rant over!

A Wimbledon-esque crowd of 214 souls welcomed the teams onto the pitch. Plymouth fielded their Youth side and the Tiverton squad consisted of an assortment of Dorset and Bristol area players supplemented by a couple of Tivvy regulars and substitutes from Twyford Spartans. Expectations on the terraces might have been for a low key contest but it was soon obvious that the players were determined to provide an entertaining game. And they were successful in that aim. The opening minutes saw the Argyle side settle first as the Tiverton players learnt each others names and playing style and it was Steve Ovens who had the first shot on goal after 5 minutes. Town were being marshalled by Pete Conning and David Steele in midfield and the understanding between the Bridport contingent helped them contain the early pressure from the young Argyle squad. It was Ovens, whos early play had shown that he was among the best if not THE best player on the park, who broke the deadlock 17 minutes into the game. Bursting through from just inside the visitors half he held off a defender's challenge as he cut across the penalty area, drawing the keeper out of position before rolling the ball into the net. Two minutes later Ben Trotman increased the lead from the acutest of angles after it looked as he, also on a solo run, had been forced too wide for a shot on the right hand side of the penalty area. Tiverton were looking good and by this time were worthy of their lead but were dragged back from any risk of complacency when Argyle's Stewart Yetton forced his way through with a decent run down the right wing before sending in a cross that was hammered home by Ryan Fice to bring Argyle back into the game in the 25th minute. Ben Trotman restored the margin just four minutes later when he lobbed a shot over three defenders and the advancing keeper to put Tivvy's makeshift team into a 3-1 lead, a score that was to remain unchanged until the half time break.

The second half opened with the Plymouth 'kids' looking to pull themselves back for a second time and they had the better of things for the entire period. Tiverton, though, defended well and held them at bay despite being unable to create much in the way of attacking moves themselves. A gap opened between the midfield and the two front men, Ovens and Trotman, and when they did manage to latch onto clearances they were inevitably isolated and outnumbered. For all their possession Argyle were creating fewer chances than might have been expected as the Tivvy guests showed a resilience and determination similar to that which we associate with more familiar Town back lines. As the heavy pitch began to take its toll there were the normal spate of substitutions but it was the 85th minute before another goal. Reflecting the balance of play, it went to Argyle but even then was the result of a mix up between Chris Ryland in the Tivvy goal and defender Chris Brown, which allowed Dan Bulley to nip in and poke the ball into the net. There was one other moment of excitement before that final goal. Two minutes earlier Tiverton had made their last substitution. Veteran frontman Martyn Grimshaw made his traditional cameo appearance in this competition. Bringing himself on to try to hold up the ball at the front we were treated to a reversal of roles as for the last few minutes the ball held him up!

So despite all the doubts about the game it all turned out well in the end. Tiverton go through to meet either Clyst Rovers or Bideford in the next round. Tomorrow's game at Bath will clear Steve Peters' suspension. And those that made their way to Ladysmead had good entertainment value from the 'honourary' Tivertonians. Anything but farce!

Tiverton Town: Chris Ryland (Bridport), Dave Newland (Bridport), Ben Trotman (Yate Town), David Steele, Tom Gardner (Bridport), Pete Brown (Winscombe), Chris Rogers (Winscombe) (Darren Goff (Twyford Spartans) 80), Richard Trotman (Yate Town) (Danny Bailey (Twyford Spartans) 60), Steve Ovens (Martyn Grimshaw (Veterans United) 83), Pete Conning (Bridport), Chris Armstrong (Bridport)

Plymouth Argyle: Kenny Schofield, Paul Connolly, Ben Steward (Dan Bulley 72), Craig Holman, Matt Villis, Gary Sawyer, Lee Coxon, Kevin Willis (Scott Kerr 83), Stewart Yetton (Tom Entwhisle 46), Ryan Fice, Jake Barwick

Referee: Nigel Cockwill (Barnstaple)

This report ©2002 John Reidy

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