The unofficial archives of Tiverton Town Football Club

Tiverton Town 1 - 0 Hemel Hempstead Town

Tuesday 25/01/2011   Southern League Premier Division
Tivvy Archive

It will remain for some weeks yet unclear just how important the three points gained against Hemel Hempstead are; it might be the difference between Premier and First Division football, it might be the catalyst for Tiverton to string a sequence of positive results together, it might encourage the team and prove that they are far from buried. Or it might be a false dawn, a rare three points in a season of misery culminating in relegation. But that is for another time, because the Yellows deserve to enjoy the moment and should be able to go into Saturday’s match at Windsor & Eton with morale high and tails wagging.

There wasn’t much sexy football on a week when sexiness and football have been in the firing line, but there was no shortage of desire, no shortage of passion, and no shortage of working for each other from the Tivvy boys from the first whistle to the last. It is fair to say that Hemel had much more of the ball and they had much more of the territory but it is goals that win matches and Hemel were left wanting in the final third, seldom testing Ryan Draper in the Tiverton goal as he was so well protected by a three-man central defence that saw a return to the heart for Liam Ellis alongside Tom Gardner and the sweeping Jak Martin.

And it was these three that had the biggest influence on the match, particularly the man-marking Ellis and Gardner who both excelled and both delivered their finest performance of the season. Martin was able to pick up what few pieces got past his defensive partners and clear the lines, but in truth Ellis was superb in the tackle and distributed well, while Gardner thrived as Hemel’s lack of attacking intelligence allowed him to pick out everything in the air against a visiting attack that were hardly threatening in the aerial department.

In front of the defence Tiverton’s main attacking threat came down the right flank with Ian Sampson deployed in a forward-thinking wingback role, and his performance was key as the three central midfielders were seldom going to offer any dynamism. It was a just reward that Sampson popped up with the only goal of the game after 21 minutes as he was often the first port of call as an outlet and his unsung role deserved more.

The goal itself arrived after Tiverton had weathered some incessant Hemel pressure, although the visitors only forced Draper into one save – and it was a good one – low down at his near post to bat away a glancing header from Jeff Hammond. Ryan Blake had been the architect of that move and the waster of Hemel’s other early shot on goal as he fired in a shot from 25 yards that was still rising as it cleared the crossbar.

Then struck Sampson with a little help from Hemel ’keeper Michael McEntegart and a lot of help from Michael Nardiello and David Steele. It was the Tivvy striker and former Manchester United and Liverpool youth-teamer that made the chance from nothing, simply running head down at the heart of the red defence. Matthew McEntegart got back to cover and was then sent on a one-way ticket five yards ahead of play as Nardiello stopped at the edge of the area. And with time and space earned he found Steele in space to fire in a low shot. Michael Mac saved but couldn’t hold, and from no more that six or seven yards Sampson was in place to snap up the rebound.

It is almost possible to wrap up this match report at an early stage, such was the pattern of the game. Hemel looked to exploit the flanks, particularly their right where Blake was seeing a lot of the ball but having little luck, while on the left it was more the responsibility of full-back Ryan Parsons to float in crosses for Gardner to snaffle rather than winger Sonny French who may as well have stayed on the team coach such was his ineffectual performance before being justifiably withdrawn early in the second half.

There were shots for Hemel – Parsons wide, Blake wide, Blake again this time at Draper and easy to hold, Blake once more high and wide at the same time, and finally Dennis Fennemore, the league’s second highest scorer but how is a mystery, curling and a Draper save that would have looked good for the television cameras but in reality was relatively comfortable. All of these from outside the area, only one of Blake’s wayward efforts even remotely could be considered a good chance. Hemel, we thank our lucky stars, were toothless in attack. A better team would have scored goals with all that possession.

So while Hemel had 70 percent of the ball Tiverton proved that it is what you do with it that counts, and in fact the second best chance of the game fell to the Yellows but Joe Bushin, who it should be pointed out worked himself ragged all evening, was just a matter of inches away from turning in Sampson’s cross from the right, a task made more difficult for Bushin due to the pressure of the recovering Ryan Wharton and perhaps a clever push in the back on the blind side of the referee.

Otherwise Tivvy didn’t muster a great deal – Nardiello dragged a shot wide from the edge of the area after a clever step over and reverse pass from Bushin, Adam Mortimer might have broken through late on but was forced wide. Which was helpful because time was running out and it’s always useful to be boxed into the corner.

Four minutes of added time were tense for the home side but the battling instincts led by Bushin at the front and perfectly anchored by the immeasurable performances of Ellis and Gardner at the back meant that Tivvy were actually largely in control despite surrendering the ball to their opponents. Hemel were poor up top – the shooting was wayward and the creativity was in short supply, so Tiverton must not get carried away with grabbing this vital win. But you can only play against what is in front of you and the Yellows did that and did it for each other and for the fans. This much was clear seeing Sampson celebrate his goal with a gesticulation of encouragement to the supporters behind the goal.

Tiverton Town: Ryan Draper, Ian Sampson, Alex Faux, Kevin Hill, Liam Ellis, Tom Gardner, Jak Martin, Russell Jee (Ryan Turner 79), Michael Nardiello (Adam Mortimer 84), Joe Bushin, David Steele
Goal: Sampson 21
Booked: Jee 9, Faux 55
Sent off: None

Hemel Hempstead Town: Michael McEntegart, Ryan Wharton, Ryan Parsons, Jake Gilbert, Brad Hewitt, Matthew McEntegart, Ryan Blake, Bruce Wilson (Scott Thomas 49), Dennis Fennemore, Jeff Hammond (Denilson Vincente 74), Sonny French (Ryan Ashe 56)
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance: 124

This report ©2011 Tivvy Archive