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Tiverton Town 1 - 3 Brackley Town

Saturday 19/03/2011   Southern League Premier Division
Tivvy Archive

Saturday’s defeat at home to Brackley means Tiverton have dropped to the bottom of the Southern League Premier Division for the first time this season, and with just seven games remaining need to gain five points on Didcot Town in order to avoid relegation to the First Division. Based on the first half performance Tivvy will struggle to have five shots on target in those seven matches, let alone collect the required points, but chasing a 1-0 deficit the Yellows greatly improved after a half-time dressing-down and managed to push big-spending Brackley all the way after the interval. Adam Mortimer’s late strike gave Tiverton false hope and in the end it was Brackley that came good, securing the game with an added time goal having spent much of the second half defending for their lives.

Even before many had settled into their seats Brackley had forced their way into the lead as Tiverton gave up a thirteenth penalty of the season, handball following a right-sided cross that popped up awkwardly. Tom Winters showed no sympathy for the Yellows’ struggles and shot to Ryan Draper’s left, Draper almost saved but didn’t, and in just the fourth minute Tiverton were left to chase the game.

But chase it they didn’t, at least not for the next forty minutes, and seldom were the hosts able to string together a series of passes that would stretch the Saints’’ defence let alone open them up. For almost all of the first half it was one-way stuff and Draper made a collection of saves to keep his goal intact. The Town goalkeeper tipped over Owen Story’s free kick from wide on the left, backpedalling to palm the ball away, and also got down well to deny Winters a second after the Brackley winger had been put through onto a direct ball from Tom Kemp. Elliot Sandy rattled the crossbar with a snapshot volley for the visitors, and Alex Faux eventually scrambled away a loose ball following another save by Draper to keep out Story.

There was little to enthuse the home supporters and the silence from the terraces was tangible. Jon Bond palmed away a high cross as Jules Emati-Emati lurked, and on the stroke of half time Ryan Leonard chipped in a free kick from 25 or 30 yards that Bond had little difficult collecting, just a step to the left and a simple take at head height. David Steele had a shot that was deflected wide but the linesman’s raised flag signified it wouldn’t have counted anyway, and a disjointed opening period was brought to an end with Tivvy looking more likely to concede a second rather than score to tie the game.

For five minutes after the restart there was little indication that there was a way back for Tiverton, and the only early chance of the second half fell to Sandy, his shot always rising over the crossbar. And then the tide turned and finally the Yellows began to create some openings; Ian Sampson squirmed into the box and shot for Bond to save low at his near post, and then Sampson again, and Bond again with a save that he didn’t know a great deal about but still managed to get something in the way of – hand, knee, foot, who knows? There was hope, and now there was a little momentum too, but as often happens that momentum was soon brought to an abrupt halt with a sucker-punch at the other end of the pitch. No sooner had Brackley cleared after Sampson’s second effort that they doubled their lead – a long ball was planted behind the Tiverton defence, still advanced an extra few yards as the hosts pressured, and Michael Chennells got in behind Tom Gardner to coolly finish with a side-footed effort.

There was still some stuffing that hadn’t been knocked out of Tiverton’s resistance and to their credit they kept coming. Ryan Turner was added to the attack in place of the largely ineffectual Steele, and Bond had to be alert to save from Gardner after the Tivvy captain had glanced Ryan Leonard’s corner towards goal. Faux was also pressing forward more in what had now become a 3-4-3 system that Tivvy played, and he almost set up Adam Mortimer for a chance, but the Yellows’ second substitute didn’t read Faux’s intentions and the ball rolled harmlessly through to the Brackley ’keeper.

Aside from a shot wide by Winters there was little threat from Brackley as they found themselves pressed back, and Jamie Clifton made a stunning block to divert Faux’s goal-bound effort over the bar when it looked odds on that Brackley’s lead would be halved. And if that wasn’t enough Bond made another excellent top, diving full length to his right to get the merest fingertip onto Leonard’s low shot and send the ball just around the post for a corner. The goal was coming, but by the time it arrived it was too late. A long throw from the left in the final minute of regulation time caused a scramble in the box, the ball finally broke and Mortimer lashed in a shot from close range that finally had Bond and his defence beaten. With three minutes of added time was an escape still on the cards?

Potentially yes, but it was almost as if Brackley had been playing in a conservative gear, and no sooner had the game been put on edge that the visitors went about making sure they weren’t about to drop points. Story, who along with fellow winger Winters had been impressive on both the left and the right, made and scored the goal two minutes into stoppage time by jinking nonchalantly past the Yellow defence before the calmest of calm finishes wrapped things up.

A game of two halves? Certainly, but one always felt that there was plenty in reserve for Brackley should they require it, and they proved this in the end. Tivvy didn’t exactly pummel the visitor’s goal when they were on top but they had a degree of control, and perhaps against a less stubborn resistance there were points to be gained. As it was Brackley, particularly Bond and that sublime block from Clifton did what they had to do, and forced Tivvy to do even more in the final seven league games, otherwise a first relegation since 1981 could well be guaranteed before the final-day trip to Bashley.


Tiverton Town: Ryan Draper, Alex Faux, Ryan Leonard, Kevin Hill (Russell Jee 78), Adam Faux, Tom Gardner, Liam Ellis, David Steele (Ryan Turner 61), Joe Bushin, Jules Emati-Emati (Adam Mortimer 73), Ian Sampson
Goal: Mortimer 89
Booked: Ellis 15, Adam Faux 90+1
Sent off: None

Brackley Town: Jon Bond, Jamie Clifton, Marcus Bignot (Jack Hartley 87), Barry Quinn, Chris Willmott, Tom Kemp, Owen Story, Paul Dempsey, Elliot Sandy, Michael Chennells, Tom Winters
Goals: Winters 4p, Chennells 59, Story 90+3
Booked: Dempsey 62
Sent off: None

Attendance: 208


This report ©2011 Tivvy Archive