Match report

Hastings United 0 - 3 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 14/12/2002   Southern League Premier Division
John Reidy

I had a dream.
Not as revealing as the one that was experienced by Martin Luther King‚ but then I don´t really subscribe to the notion that dreams are harbinger´s of the future. I´m more inclined towards the view that they act as some sort of incinerator for the odds and ends of memory and thoughts that somehow get misrouted through the complex working of the mind. Thus when I had my dream and woke recalling it‚ in itself a rare occurrence‚ I was able to analyse it‚ or so I thought. I had dreamt that Archimedes was sitting in the bath making world shattering discoveries with an apple balanced on his head‚ when in charged The Lone Ranger waving a crossbow....and I awakened. Really it was simple. I´d relaxed in the Radox before taking to my pit. Half thinking about the trip to Hastings‚ half reading a Sunday supplement article about the recent BBC Poll to find the ´Greatest´ Briton (how on earth did Di Spencer get to be 3rd?). High in that list was Sir Isaac Newton. Blasting away in the kitchen was a CD of classical overtures. The last one on the disc was Rossini´s William Tell. Got it? Inspiration when sitting in the bath - eureka; sitting under an apple tree and apple descending onto head - leads to comprehension of gravity; William Tell Overture - used as theme for Lone Ranger. All a bit disjointed‚ but all the parts were there. A bit like most of the Yellows performances this season‚ I thought. All the components there but incomplete and not quite fitting together. Barnet had proved that all the parts of the jigsaw were in the box and would fit. Would Hastings be the scene of another successful completion of the picture‚ or were the dozen or so fans making the trek to Sussex to be faced with another abstract Picasso?

With Steve Winter and Danny Haines both out injured‚ and skipper Jason Rees serving a suspension there was obviously a ´´juggled´ look to the team sheet. Only four substitutes could be named‚ including the unfit Haines and Martyn Grimshaw‚ but there were no undue concerns about the selections‚ many of those present believing that they should be the preferred ones anyway. From the moment the Yellows poured onto the pitch it was clear that they were ´up for it´. The pre-match huddle drew a few derisory cat calls from the home fans but they were soon silenced as Town went straight on the offensive. It took just over two minutes for Tivvy to find a potential weakness as Phil Everett sent Jamie Mudge away and Hastings keeper Dave King justified his ´Teflon´ tag by allowing the young strikers shot to slide off his chest to be grabbed at the second attempt. A minute later King was down at the feet of Kevin Nancekivell at the foot of the post and again spilled the ball leaving a defender to hack the ball away to safety. Hastings tried to press forward but were caught offside and the Yellows swarmed back into the home half. Nathan Rudge was far enough forward to be fouled on the edge of the United penalty area. No Rees to take the kick so with Paul Chenoweth hovering‚ Scott Rogers standing over the ball‚ it was Mudge that drove the ball goalwards. Non stick King could only parry the ball wide to Everett who´s cross was cleared upfield. The signs were good. Nine minutes gone. Wing back Phil turns inside and takes a pot. King is down well‚ body behind the ball. Just as well for United‚ as once more the keeper spills. With eleven minutes gone the home side created their first chance. Ellis Remy‚ who was to turn out to be the only Hastings player to consistently impress‚ put Danny Simmonds through but Nathan Rudge was close enough to deflect the strikers shot out for a corner‚ comfortably defended. As if to suggest that that one attack was a turning point in the game there was a startling difference in the outcome of the next action in the Hastings half. Tivvy won their first corner. Short‚ back deep to ´Chens´‚ floated into the area. And here the variation. King caught it cleanly! But it was only a momentary improvement in the stickability of the keepers gloves. Town broke with a swift break from the back that started from Rogers‚ swept the length of the field switching from Everett on the right to Chenoweth on the left. Paul beat the United back and slipped the ball to Nancekivell who sent in a fierce cross that had King stretching to palm the ball on its way towards the far post. Phil had continued his run on the right and was perfectly positioned to say thank you very much‚ and blast the ball home to give Tivvy the lead with 13 minutes gone.

It was no more than the Yellows deserved. They had looked the better side in all departments‚ and so it continued. United offered little threat apart from some lively runs from Remy‚ but with little support even he was ineffectual against a back line that was in total control of the situation. In midfield‚ Rogers and Holloway had matters under their authority‚ and Richard Pears and Mudge up front were making the Hastings defence work harder than any other players on the field. United tried to increase their share of the game but despite gaining more possession were unable to make much progress and it was Town that created the majority of chances. Remy‚ in desperation tried a 35 yard shot that Eddy collected comfortably into his midriff and then Simmonds found Steve Yates on the right hand corner of the penalty area but the sight of the Tiverton keeper approaching was enough to force the midfielder into an early shot that was still rising as it cleared the crossbar by a dozen feet. Right on the break Rogers set Mudge free again but Jamie´s shot as he cut in towards goal only set the side netting bulging and the home side could consider themselves fortunate to be only a single goal adrift as they trooped back to the dressing rooms.

So often the half time break seems to change Town´s play. If they have been good‚ they go to pieces. If they´ve been bad they improve. This interval did nothing to change the pattern of the game. Another ´bonding´ scrumdown and Tivvy continued where they left off. United did manage to make me hold my breath for a second or two in the 48th minute as they were awarded a free kick in a similar position‚ though slightly longer range‚ to the one that cost the Yellows so dearly at Folkestone. Blasted towards the top of the floodlight pylons‚ it was no threat. United looked as if they had been told to push forward more‚ which is fine as long as you have the ball. Without it there is a tendency to leave space which players of the ilk of Mudge and the now speedy and agile Pears are well capable of exploiting. And so it proved eight minutes into the second half. Jamie it was that took advantage to sprint down the right before cutting in and unselfishly slipping the ball sideways across the face of an unguarded goal to provide Kevin Nancekivell with his first early Christmas present. At 2-0 Town were comfortable. And it showed. They confidently played the ball around. Man to man‚ foot to foot. When the home players did gain possession they could not be accused of lack of effort‚ lack of ideas perhaps‚ as only Remy appeared capable of creative play. It was Remy that came closest to finding the net for the home side in the 62nd minute. Hastings had won a corner‚ the kick was defended but only back to a home player whose second ball in came chest high to Remy with his back to goal. With an acrobatic leap the big striker threw himself backwards in a spectacular overhead kick that connected well and sent the ball skimming off the top of the crossbar. It would have been a memorable goal - but would have beens don´t change results.

And there was to be no change to the result of this contest‚ only to the margin by which it was attained. With the game degenerating into a competitively dull spectacle as the conditions took their wearying toll‚ Jamie Mudge brought it back to life. The lad can be relied on in his present form to give his all and just as I thought he´d given it and was about due to be substituted‚ he dug deep and found a few more unused calories. A typical Jamie run‚ swerving and swaying like a Latin dance perfectionist he embarked on another twisting run that saw him clear of the challenging defenders as he entered the penalty area and forced in a none too powerful shot that was never-the-less robust enough to find its way under the advancing and dropping King to creep just inside the upright for a well deserved solo goal. It was all over for the home side. They went through the motions, as did many of their fans who rapidly evacuated the ground.

For the first time this season Tivvy had picked up all three league points from a Saturday away game. With efficient all round performances like this they will secure a lot more before May comes around.

Tiverton Town: Paul Edwards, Phil Everett, Paul Chenoweth, Steve Peters, Nathan Rudge, Rob Cousins, Kevin Nancekivell, Chris Holloway, Richard Pears Scott Rogers, Jamie Mudge.
Subs: S Ovens (Pears,87),D Haines, D Steele, M Grimshaw.
Cards: Rudge (48), Rogers (70).

Hastings United: Dave King, James Penfold, Nick Hegley, Tommy Osborne, Tony Burt, Steve Yates, Stuart Playford, Chris Honey, Ellis Remy, Danny Simmonds, Dean Wordsworth.
Subs: J Body, J Cornwall, J Bevis (Honey58), G Webb (Wordsworth,78).
Cards: Playford (23).

Referee: Kevin Merchant (West Ewell).

This report ©2002 John Reidy






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