Match report

Bath City 0 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Tuesday 12/11/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

Obviously‚ as a sports fan‚ you and I have a competitive element in our make up. Personally‚ despite the opinions of some Psychologists‚ I don´t think it is in anyway harmful. The only effect it had on me as I grew up was to make me want to win more‚ not to make me feel inferior or inadequate if I didn´t. This part of my make up served to add a little spice to what might have been a comparatively tedious couple of trips up to Somerset as the ´double header´ games between Bath City approached‚ got postponed‚ and then approached again. From my first ever visit to Twerton Park‚ circa 1960‚ I had never left with a winners smile on my face. Indeed‚ there was not even a draw to brighten the record of teams I had been supporting. Whether the game had been between Oxford‚ nee Headington United‚ and City or later on their tenants Bristol Rovers‚ or more recently Tivvy´s visits‚ they had always ended in a home win. And so last week´s DM Cup draw - for I don´t really count penalty shoot out wins as a victory‚ more as a way of tidying up the draw for the next round - was something of a landmark. In an optimistic frame of mind‚ the second leg of the journey for the league game was made to the mental accompaniment of ´Things can only get better´ and ´The only way is up´ running through my mind. Forget the psychological damage it might do‚ I wanted the satisfaction of an away win‚ the three points it would bring and the improvement in League position that would go with them.
The Romans were the first to invade ´foreign´ territory‚ charging forward from the off. Naturally enough it was returning goalkeeper Paul Edwards‚ Eddy to those that remember him‚ that was the first Keeper to have a feel of the ball‚ rising high to clutch it from the crossbar/upright angle in the second minute. Without actually laying siege to the Tiverton penalty area City had almost all the early play whilst Town´s midfield and front men shook the cogs around in the box searching for an acceptable gear. It was seven minutes before they found one. Eventually the Yellows ventured far enough up field to examine their opponents half of the field and whilst there were awarded a free kick. Jason Rees found Nathan Rudge head (though I was unaware he´d lost it) but the big man´s header was deflected away for a corner. Rudge remained forward for the set play and showed he is not totally lacking in pace as some might claim as he beat a hasty retreat when Bath broke quickly out of defence and Nathan found himself deflecting a fearsome shot away for a corner at the opposite end of the field.
Tiverton‚ having sorted out their drive problems gradually put their foot down and the game settled into a pattern. End to end‚ with each side taking it in turns to break or send players chasing long clearances. Rather like how I imagine a game between Hinckley United and Hinckley United would appear. Route 1 v Route 1a. The difference between the sides was that Bath were swifter in clearing their lines and were therefore spending more tome round the Tiverton area than Tivvy were round theirs. One thing‚ though‚ that was noticeable about the home side´s play was that there was less evidence of the neat triangular play that had been so conspicuous in there previous contests with Town. After 17 minutes there was a remarkable display of the Wimbledon art of football. A City defender hoofed a long high clearance from deep inside his own half to a similar position in Tiverton territory. Without touching the ground it was duly despatched back in similar fashion. Straight forward it went again‚ still not getting within a foot of the green. Another lofted clearance from the visitors‚ again returned before it went to ground. Whack‚ whack‚ whack‚ whack‚ whack was the soundtrack. The last effort was finally bought to earth by a City man but again Rudge was on hand to block his shot
Rudge was again in the right place in the 22nd minute as he blocked a spectacular overhead bicycle kick shot from Jason Eaton who three minutes later made a speedy break that should have been converted by Paul Milsom who sent the ball a yard or so wide. Jamie Impey took his turn at going forward for. a Tiverton free kick‚ heading down Rees´ swinging ball to the feat of Phil Everett who got in a shot in a crowded six yard box but it lacked power and Mark Bryant held easily. With six minutes to go to the break‚ Bath who were definitely on top‚ had their best chance of the half. Another scramble‚ another deflection‚ another City corner. A dangerous cross‚ an effort on target‚ Eddy beaten‚ Steve Winter not. headed away for another corner and Tivvy´s goal still unblemished. Town fought back with two chances of their own. Everett sent Scott Rogers through the middle. Scott´s shot on the run was beyond criticism but so was Bryant´s save as he deflected the ball away for a corner. Then on the stroke of half time Chris Holloway‚ back to goal just inside the Bath penalty area‚ chested the ball down into the path of Winter who released one of his torpedoes that wavered from its course to explode against the advertising hoarding inches wide of the upright. None of the Devon contingent could complain about the half time parity.
The second half started as if it were likely to mirror the first. Bath attacked for the first five minutes, Tiverton defended. Then the pace dropped. Perhaps the interval refuelling had been with lower octane fuel, perhaps the engines were showing signs of wear. Fourteen minutes had elapsed before the first dodgy moments in the Tivvy goalmouth, terminated by a thumping shot from Roman defender Gary Kemp that curled away to whistle past the post. Then the incident that possibly cost City the game. Milsom had seen yellow for dissent as early as the 19th minute. The (lady-though that adjective might be regarded as either irrelevant or sexist depending on your point of view) referee had then given him a long lecture about the same subject. When he then opened his mouth again there was little option. Yellow, then red. Not only did the decision upset the home fans it upset the tactics of the home side. Substitutions made, formation adjusted. It took Town a while to even begin to take advantage of the extra man but they eventually worked it out and started to push forward a little more. From a free kick in their own half the ball was worked across to Holloway on the right who fed Kevin Nancekivell but Kev´s shot found the side netting.
With City stretched it was time for Martyn Rogers to try something new. Jamie Mudge was introduced to replace Nance as Tivvy´s second frontman alongside Everett in the 75th minute. The clich is ´Inspirational substitution´. I wouldn´t go that far, but it certainly worked. Tiverton attacked down the right. Holloway found himself trapped in the corner quadrant by two defenders. Slipping their attentions Chris found enough space to fire in a low cross to the feet of Jamie just inside the Bath penalty area. Jamie was confronted by three defenders. He leant one way sending two of them in the wrong direction. The other closed to tackle but Jamie´s second touch poked the ball beyond him. The third touch sent the ball flying past Bryant, two foot below the crossbar, a foot inside the upright. A true striker´s strike.
City were unable to muster an answer. Tivvy became more confident and the few half chances that arose fell their way. The lead was never threatened, the destination of the points only being questioned by an unsuccessful penalty appeal by the home players and fans.
And so my desire to see an away team win at Twerton Park was finally realised, nearly half a century after my first visit. All I want now is to see it done by a team in Yellow for inexplicably, as you may have noticed from reading this piece, Tiverton played in their white away kit - hence no references to the Yellows.

Tiverton Town: 1. Paul Edwards, 2. Steve Winter, 3. Danny Haines, 4. Jamie Impey, 5. Nathan Rudge, 6. Rob Cousins, 7. Kevin Nancekivell, 8. Jason Rees, 9. Phil Everett, 10. Scot Rogers, 11. Chris Holloway.
Subs: 12. Jamie Mudge (Nancekivell,75), 14. Antony Lynch (Everett,84), 15. Steve Ovens, 16. David Steele, 17. Richard Pears.
Cards: Yellow: Haines (42), Rudge (47).

Bath City: 1. Mark Bryant, 2. Frankie Bennett , 3. Mike Trought, 4. Gary Thorne, 5. Gary Kemp, 6. Jim Rollo, 7. Andy Minturn, 8. Chris Honor, 9. Jason Eaton, 10. Paul Milsom, 11. Andy Williams.
Subs: 12. Dan Cleverley (Eaton,67), 14. Stuart James (Honor,65), 15. Josh Jefferies, 16. Jamie Goslin, 17. Sam Allison.
Cards: Yellow: Milsom (19), Minturn(70). Red: Milsom (61).

This report ©2002 John Reidy






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