The unofficial archives of Tiverton Town Football Club

Tiverton Town 1 - 3 Sholing

Saturday 18/09/2021   FA Cup
Tivvy Archive

Dan Hayfield’s corner is cut out and the Sholing defence ram the ball long. The trajectory is such that it awkwardly evades Louis Morison and Sholing have an immediate chance on goal. Lewis Williams saves, and the score remains at 1-1. Such fine, fine margins, such quick transpositions, such luck. Tiverton had already ridden theirs inside the opening thirty seconds, had led inside 180, and had been carved open countless times across the full ninety-five minutes of a cup tie that was equal in entertainment and – if yellow is your colour – frustration.  This one moment described above is a microcosmic element of a pattern that played out throughout a Ladysmead afternoon that started brightly and gradually succumbed with the clouds into a battle for survival.

The good thing about Tiverton is that, when they are in the mood, they will press forward and pin their opponents back. For most of the first half that is exactly what they did, and their positivity was ultimately their downfall. Sholing were sharp and executionary on the break, scored thrice and could have won by many more. Not for the want of trying, but something of a trend is that the Yellows lack the killer ball, the key run, the je ne sais quoi to cement their possessive and territorial supremacy into goals. A trend of the play was the long diagonal pass from defence to wing; a subsequent trend was the failure of the winger to deliver a suitably dangerous cross into the forwards (or, as the case sometimes was, the failure of the forwards to move into a suitable position to receive a dangerous cross). It is fine margins, it is unfamiliarity, it is ultimately not being quite good enough.

When Matt Wright nodded Alfie Pond’s cross past Sholing goalkeeper Ryan Gosney is seemed to suggest an easy afternoon. But that was a foolhardy take, particularly as Williams had already been forced into a reaction stop to deny Claudio Herbert following a loose pass from Morison which allowed Jake Cope to break. And it took Sholing just ten minutes to restore parity through Joe Adams’ low shot into the bottom corner. That was no more than the visitors deserved, if not for any more reason than they refused to be intimidated by Tiverton’s insistence on playing on the front foot, and the Hampshire unit had indeed quickly surmised that the Yellows were there for the taking on the counter.

It may be odd to suggest that Tivertton were playing well rather than the naïve exuberance their youthful line-up would be naturally drawn to, and the truth is that it was a mixture of both. What can be certain is that Sholing were capable opponents who were happy to soak it up when necessary, and they were also willing to get stuck in when the moment demanded more rigour. When Gary Warren was robbed the Boatmen from the south coast struck with devastating effect, moving the ball right, right again, and then into the net via the boot of the impressive Claudio Herbert. A game that Tivvy seemed to be in control of saw them behind.

It was a strangely impressive yet still disjointed performance from the Yellows; Jordan Lam saw a lot of the ball on the left, hugging the touchline, but did little with it. The other side of the midfield was largely vacant, with Dawson playing an anchor role, and both Hayfield and Morison ahead of him playing centrally. One might think that the space freed up would allow Pond to move forward, but he was seldom a factor aside from his assist for the early goal.  So, misaligned, unbalanced, left-focused… whatever you want to call it, it was not failing to work (if we forget the current score), but one had to feel there remained areas to exploit. Perhaps in the second half…

Or perhaps not! Lam’s cross just a few seconds after the restart was headed on the stretch wide by Wright, and that was largely the best Tiverton could muster for the next half hour. Sholing were in no hurry, and they were also happy to keep the Yellows at arm’s length. It resulted in Tivvy’s only really efforts on goal coming from beyond the penalty area: Morison over, Olaf Koszela wide, and debutant Nelsom Isaguan off the outside of the post.

In terms of approach, as the second half wore on, there was little significant change. That may be a good thing – trust in what you do; or a bad thing – what we do isn’t working. Nevertheless, the vulnerability to the counter attack remained constant, and while eventually Tiverton succumbed as Dan Mason was able to find the space to fire Sholing into a two-goal lead. With just thirteen minutes plus the token added time to salvage something (pride, or better still a replay) Tivvy continued to try and move forward, but without success. Kyle Egan’s introduction had seen s simple switch of full-backs, Iseguan came on to force a change of sides for the wingers and Andy Watkins, the final substitution, was just a change on the right flank. As uninspiring as the changes may have been, and as disappointing as the result was, Tivvy have played worse and won, and they will play this well again and win handsomely. To that end, one must offer praise to Sholing for dealing so stoically with what they faced, and also for being so sharp and effective when they moved forward. If their game plan was to counter then they did that perfectly. It is also worth noting that they played their game without being negative, without being cynical, without needlessly timewasting, and without being anything other than great competitors. Sholing absolutely deserve their place in the next round of the FA Cup; they may have won by more if not for some good late saves from Williams.

Tiverton Town: Lewis Williams, Alfie Pond, Joe Belsten (Kyle Egan 53), Aaron Dawson, Gary Warren, Austen Booth, Jordan Lam (Andy Watkins 70), Dan Hayfield, Matt Wright, Olaf Koszela, Louis Morison (Nelson Iseguan 61)
Goal: Wright 4
Booked: None
Sent off None

Sholing: Ryan Gosney, Ryan Cluett, Marv McLean, Charlie Wagstaffe, Dan Miller, Rob Nicholls, Claudio Herbert, Byron Mason, Dan Mason, Joe Adams, Jake Cope
Goals: Adams 14, Herbert 37, D Mason 77
Booked: D Mason, Wagstaffe
Sent off: None

Attendance: 314

This report ©2021 Tivvy Archive