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Tiverton Town 0 - 0 Hayes & Yeading United

Saturday 20/11/2021   Southern League Premier Division
Tivvy Archive

Second in the table, undefeated, just two points dropped across eleven league matches; Hayes & Yeading United are promotion candidates of the highest order. Efficiency at both ends of the field is illustrated broadly with an attack only outdone in potency by league leaders Farnborough (four more goals from five more games), and a defensive record bettered just by the renowned stoicism of Metropolitan Police. Tiverton were therefore going to be tested to their limits and came into the match on a decent run of three wins, two of which were in cup matches, the other a tricky game at Hartley Wintney. And with respect to Hatley Wintney, Hayes & Yeading is a different animal altogether: they may lack the following that their current form deserves, but they have enough clout in the transfer market to be able to entice high-quality players to the club, and when they work as a team this leads to wins. One high-quality player who was absent from the team was Tyler Goodrham, who had returned to parent club Oxford United after a hugely impressive loan spell with the United of the Southern League, so that was one obstacle cleared for the Yellows. Plenty more would lie ahead.

To write a play-by-play account of the match would be to do its protagonists a disservice: this was a game of the highest quality one could wish to see at Level Seven in the English football pyramid, with pulsating attacks, brilliant defending, and two goalkeepers who absolutely refused to be bettered. It was battle of nerve, wit, skill and endeavour that very seldom lowered its value to the 386 paying spectators, made up by a decent number from the Borough of Hillingdon, along with a vocal contingent behind the home side. It was everything non-league football should be – even the referee was on top form – and lacked only one thing: goals!

I have spoken at length at my moderate frustration (and occasional disillusionment) at Tiverton’s attacking play, about their lack of ideas, about the aesthetic charmlessness of the direct style to which they tend revert frequently. None of that this time though. Frankly, there weas no point in Tivvy playing direct, for the line was led by Jordan Lam and Nelson Iseguan flanking Chris Shephard, and Sheps ain’t winning much in the air. Of course, the Yellows’ tactics were adjusted to suit the personnel, and what it showed is that the team is perfectly capable of playing with intricacy and zest high up the pitch. They meant business from the first whistle, pinned United back, and the visitors looked rattled through the early adventures from the hosts. That Town were not able to score, although the source of some frustration, was not through the lack of trying, nor indeed through the lack of ability, but because they were up against the best side this league has to offer, and Hayes has the wherewithal to thwart, soak up, and gradually play themselves out from the back. Every Tivvy attack was snuffed by strong defensive organisation, timely challenges, and calmness that underlined Hayes’s status as Divisional frontrunners. Left-back Jordan Norville-Williams was a stand-out performer for the away side, but even his efforts were dwarfed by the brilliance of goalkeeper Tyla Dickinson, heroically (okay, we’re are maybe getting into the realms of hyperbole!) saving from Iseguan and Dan Hayfield, Lam and also Gary Warren. With further shots from Iseguan, Hayfield and Kyle Egan, there was no doubt that the first half belonged to the Yellows with regards to efforts on goal, and this is also the case in terms of possession and territory; however, the truest truism in football is that the only stat the matters is the one in the top-left corner of your screen: in the top-left corner of Ladysmead, also known as the tea hut, the scoreboard at half time read nin-nil.

The second period went a long way towards mirroring the first, but Hayes & Yeading were not quite as dominant as Tiverton had been. Furthermore, their dominance didn’t begin until a few minutes after the restart when they were given a further stark reminder that their unbeaten record was under serious threat: Shephard was tripped in the box by the otherwise unflappable Dickinson, and the away goalkeeper promptly made up for his misdemeanour by saving with his legs Louis Morison’s penalty. United regrouped, now reduced to ten men after Omar Rowe was dismissed for lashing out between the foul on Shephard and Morison’s failed spot kick, and the discipline they showed henceforth helped galvanise the remaining players and allowed them to assert their own authority on the match. Both Francis Amartey and Moses Emmanuel had chances saved by Tivvy keeper Lewis Williams, while further threats from the visiting ten ranged from narrow misses to the more speculative: Shaquille Hippolyte-Patrick and Ben Frempah in the middle part of the second half, and late on Amartey again, who, had he found the target might have secured victory. All the while, Tiverton were not down and out, with Dickinson saving well from Hayfield, while the same midfielder lashed a couple of long-range efforts off target. As the clock ticked down Olaf Koszela and Matt Wright were introduced for the Yellows, by which stage the longer ball had become something of a necessity in order to ease pressure from the back line, but neither had sufficient prospects to influence the game.

Thus it ended as it started, goalless, but fine fare it was, and it was one of those rare occasions when both sets of supporters would have probably been happy with the point: Tivvy fans taking into account the topsy-turvy nature of the season so far, and the standard of  opponent before them; Hayes fans as their side had retained their unbeaten start to the season, and had risen to the challenge of coming through unscathed amid intense first-half pressure. And collectively, because the game was simply a wonderful ninety minutes of viewing. The clean sheet marked just the second time Lewis Williams had secured consecutive shutouts for Tivvy, but it was his opposite number Tyla Dickinson who was ultimately the real star of the show.


Tiverton Town: Lewis Williams, Kyle Egan, Craig Woodman, Aaron Dawson, Gary Warren, Alfie Pond, Louis Morison, Dan Hayfield, Jordan Lam (Matt Wright 80), Nelson Iseguan (Olaf Koszela 77), Chris Shephard (Joe Belsten 86)
Booked: Dawson
Sent off: None

Hayes & Yeading United: Tyla Dickinson, Marcel Elva-Fountaine, Jordan Norville-Williams, Scott Shulton (Jack Connors 77), Keano Robinson, Ben Frempah, Shquille Hippolyte-Patrick (Liam McDevitt 90+2), Omar Rowe, Moses Emmanuel, Francis Amartey, Hassan Jalloh
Booked: Dickinson, Amartey
Sent off: Rowe 47

Attendance: 386


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