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Didcot Town 2 - 0 Tiverton Town

Saturday 02/04/2011   Southern League Premier Division
Tivvy Archive

If the Lord Mayor’s Show consisted of three football games then Tiverton’s players seemed to have enjoyed too much punch at the party and the match at Didcot was most certainly after it. Hung-over from the intoxicating effects of three clean sheets on the trot and the tempting scent of Premier Division safety, the Yellows undid a lot of the hard work of the past two weeks by failing to play at anywhere near the levels they had reached against Exeter, Stourbridge and Chippenham. More frustrating was the fact that Didcot weren’t exactly oozing fluidity and never really needed to extend themselves to pick up the victory – two goals were handed to them, another was almost gifted and defeat could have been greater but for some heroic goal-tending in the first half.

Initially Tivvy struggled in the face of a stiff wind which meant it was difficult to clear quarters, but Didcot’s territorial advantage lead to little real threat on Ryan Draper’s goal – just as the wind was proving troublesome for the Yellows it was also awkward for the hosts as several balls that wouldn’t normally run away were left to roll beyond the line for a goal kick. The Railwaymen won a few corners but with them came nothing in the way of shots on target, and once Tiverton’s players had learned the true force of the breeze they were able to pump balls forward for the impressive Jules Emati-Emati to hold onto and reveal quite a box of tricks in his armoury. And it was the big frontman who had the first real shot of the game after nine minutes – a cheeky drag-back, a jink around a defender and a shot from well outside the area that flew wide of Sam Warrell’s left goalpost. There was hope…

And then the hope was sapped as Didcot stole into the lead when Tivvy failed to clear. David Lawrence’s initial shot was parried by Draper and Tom Gardner arrived on the scene to hack the ball upwards and only slightly outwards. Josh Huggins regained possession for the hosts inside the area, fed Lawrence and this time Draper was beaten.

Two minutes later Lawrence could and perhaps should have doubled his tally for the afternoon as Elliot Osborne-Ricketts cut in from the right, opened up the Tivvy defence and teed up his strike partner, but this time Draper saved well by batting the ball behind for a corner. From that set piece Alex Stanley’s near-post header was deflected over the top – just – by Emati-Emati, and eventually Tiverton cleared the pressure and began setting about chasing down the deficit.

For the final fifteen minutes of the first half the Yellows were in charge and bombarded the Didcot penalty area with high balls that caught on the wind and caused discomfort amongst the home defence, while crosses rained in from both sides, Alex Faux and Liam Ellis both seeing plenty of the ball and delivering dangerously. However, there was no breakthrough. Joe Bushin nodded a looping header from Elllis’s cross over with Warrell flat-footed, Emati-Emati pulled a left-footed shot across the face of goal after Bushin had flicked on David Steele’s up-and-under, and on the stroke of half time Emati-Emati again tried and failed, this time with an overhead kick that was easy for the home goalkeeper to gather.

That ten-minute spell into the wind had at least given Tiverton some belief and life should be easier kicking the other way after the interval. So it nearly proved just a couple of minutes after the restart when the Yellows won a corner on the right. Ryan Leonard delivered towards the far post, Emati-Emati rose and won the header, did well to direct the ball down, but with Warrell again stranded the foot of the post came to Didcot’s rescue. Unfortunately Tiverton were unable to capitalise on the advantage of having the wind at their backs other than this early chance, and in a perfect mirror of the first half it didn’t take Didcot too long to get to grips with the conditions and stifle most of the attacks they faced.

What is true in reflection is that Diddy didn’t create a great deal themselves, certainly not as much as Tivvy had in the first half, but crucially they were able to muster a second goal. A Tiverton throw-in should have been launched down the touchline but was instead taken short and inside. Didcot quickly put pressure on the ball and Kevin Hill was forced to play it back to Draper, who frankly didn’t want it. The custodian promptly underhit a pass back to Hill which allowed Osborne-Rickets in… Draper saved the first shot, then remarkably the follow-up from Michael Bartley, but was unable to complete a hat-trick as Lawrence was on hand to ram his shot high into the net. The goal was a present for Didcot and the combination of poor errors and decision making from Tiverton. Leonard elected the wrong throw, Hill used his goalkeeper rather than brute force, Draper, fluffed the return, nobody in yellow was able to get into the mix each time the ball bobbled free. Letting up goals like that costs games, and Tivvy can ill-afford to gift-wrap points to anyone, least of all their relegation rivals.

There were chances for Tivvy thereafter but the dejected Yellows looked empty. Leonard nodded a difficult chance over the top, Bushin headed a slightly easier chance on target only for Warrell to get down well and make a strong save, Steele missed the target from distance, and Leonard did likewise from Alex Faux’s left-wing cross. At the other end Draper dived to push Osborne-Ricketts’ free kick around the post in one of few chances the home side had in a moribund second half that lacked quality and boasted only the hallmarks of a relegation battle.

Didcot Town: Sam Warrell, Jamie Heapty, Morgan Williams, Michael Alexis (Jordan Tabor 63), Jamie Vincent, Alex Stanley, Josh Huggins, Jason Castello (Paul Bedwell 90+2), Michael Bartley, David Lawrence, Elliot Osborne-Ricketts
Goals: Lawrence 17, 53
Booked: Osborne-Ricketts 24, Stanley 80
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Ryan Draper, Alex Faux, Ian Sampson (Ryan Turner 82), David Steele, Adam Faux, Tom Gardner, Liam Ellis (Adam Mortimer 73), Kevin Hill (Michael Nardiello 90+1), Jules Emati-Emati, Joe Bushin, Ryan Leonard
Booked: Bushin 13
Sent off: None

Attendance: 187

This report ©2011 Tivvy Archive