The unofficial archives of Tiverton Town Football Club

Tiverton Town 0 - 0 Chippenham Town

Tuesday 29/03/2011   Southern League Premier Division
Tivvy Archive

K is for the kissing of the badge
How ridiculous that looks six months later when they're at another club

Lyrics from Half Man Half Biscuit’s humorous jangle 'The Referee’s Alphabet', and to a man we can all understand where this ironic idiom comes from. In the days of yore footballers would see out entire careers at one club – the mere thought of deserting was something that might result in being struck down by evil forces. But since money gained less value and winning trophies became more important than playing with your mates and representing your club it has been rare to see a footballer stick around for more than a couple of seasons. Therefore it was a mighty achievement for Tom Gardner, central defender and now captain of Tiverton Town, to celebrate his 250th appearance for the club, a total racked up over five-and-a-half years since he made his debut in a league victory against Northwood back in October 2005. Congratulations are in order for Gardner, who was curiously brought to the club as a replacement for Nathan Rudge who had been ruled out for the season with injury, yet on this momentous occasion would be lining up in the other number six shirt.

And it was Rudge, a former Tivvy captain, who was involved in what was arguably the game’s most prominent talking point when, ten minutes before the interval, he tripped Ian Sampson as the dynamic Yellow looked like breaking through on goal. Despite protests from Sampson and his teammates, not to mention plenty of noise from the terraces Rudge survived to fight on with just a yellow card to his name, and was able to breathe a second sigh of relief when Ryan Leonard ballooned the resultant free kick. Rudge may have been lucky, the referee - who was excellent throughout - might have made a judgement call that defensive partner Steve Casey was suitably covering for the “last man� rule not to be enforced, and happily the incident didn’t otherwise detract from what was a pulsating game played in fine spirits by the former Western League rivals.

By the time the dust had settled on the “was he, wasn’t he?� incident there had already been plenty of fine football and no shortage of full-blooded tackles and challenges. And there were chances at both ends too, with Sam Allison guilty of missing two fine openings, the first as he dragged a shot across the face of goal, and then just a few minutes later with a half-volley that flew over the top. Chippenham seemed happier in possession, particularly when in enemy territory, and Ryan Draper gathered at the second attempt as Lewis Powell’s shot skidded off the surface, while Kevin Hill did well to deflect Scott Lye’s effort around the post.

But it wasn’t one-way traffic in the slightest and Tiverton played some fine expansive football of their own, as well as some determined pressing from the first whistle to the last and from front to back. As early as the seventh minute Chippenham goalkeeper Chris Snoddy had to be alert when Joe Bushin cheekily attempted an overhead kick after being teed up by David Steele, and Sampson fired in a low shot that tested Snoddy and to which Snoddy passed the test. There were other half-chances too, notably another Leonard free kick that sailed over the top, and long-range efforts from Sampson and Liam Ellis which failed to mark the visiting custodian’s gloves. To wrap up an enthralling opening half Lye again tried from distance and Draper came out on top, but the game wasn’t so much about the chances as it was about the tempo of both teams, the breathless manner in which it was played, and particularly about Tivvy’s determination. Could they keep it up or would they run out of gas?

The answer, frankly, was that they couldn’t keep it up. At least not to the degree that they would be able to press forward regularly and pose questions of Chippenham’s defence, and it was the visitors who bossed the second half but ran into a yellow wall which often comprised of midfielders amongst the defensive line or, less frequently, forwards amongst the midfield line. One of the most noteworthy aspects of Tivvy’s second half showing was just how much energy was expended. Steele was everywhere, harrying, blocking, rushing; when Chippenham tried to settle in midfield they weren’t afforded the time and space because Bushin and Jules Emati-Emati were running themselves into the ground to close down the fullbacks and force play into the centre of the park when Tivvy held a numerical advantage. Tactically the Yellows were smart, but it wouldn’t have worked without the tireless running of the front pairing, and both Joe and Jules came out of the game with immense credit.

All of the main chances fell to the Bluebirds, but for the amount of possession and territory they had they would have liked to have created more and been rewarded. James Martin bobbled a shot through that was deflected behind for a corner; Powell had two sights at goal but both times found Draper in tip-top form (although the second chance was for nothing as the linesman was stood, flag raised and static). With ten minutes to go Hill deflected another shot wide for a corner, this time stretching at his fullest with legs splayed like the girls in those videos you watch only when alone.

Tivvy created very little, although Bushin did go on a superbly majestic run down the inside right channel only to be chopped down by Shaun Lamb, for which the Chippenham left-back became the third of three yellow cards for the evening, and Mortimer wasn’t able to react when Bushin chased down a lost cause to cross from the left. The final throes were all about Chippenham, frustrated, getting the ball forward, winning free kicks and corners, but finding Tivvy’s defence in control despite being pinned back deeper than they would have liked.

For Gardner, on his 250th appearance, it was business as usual. Plenty of headers to win that were won, plenty of chances to BOOM! the ball forward (although Hill has taken over this mantle recently), and a generally solid game Tom doesn’t do much spectacular stuff just as previous Tivvy Number Six Rob Cousins before him didn’t. But this season he has come of age as the senior member of a relatively young team, Hill aside, and his level-headed approach to the game has justifiably seen him rewarded with the captaincy.

Tiverton Town: Ran Draper, Alex Faux, Ian Sampson, David Steele, Adam Faux, Tom Gardner, Liam Ellis (Adam Mortimer 88), Kevin Hill, Jules Emati-Emati, Joe Bushin, Ryan Leonard
Booked: Ellis 65
Sent off: None

Chippenham Town: Chris Snoddy, James Martin, Shaun Lamb, Ashley Williams, Steve Casey, Nathan Rudge, Scott Lye, Luke Gullick, Lewis Powell, Alan Griffin, Sam Allison (Ryan O’Hara 79)
Booked: Rudge 37, Lamb 70
Sent off: None

Attendance: 210

This report ©2011 Tivvy Archive