The unofficial archives of Tiverton Town Football Club

Bath City 2 - 2 Tiverton Town

Tuesday 05/11/2002   Southern League Cup
John Reidy

Even had Oscar Wilde been a Non-League football fan it is unlikely that he would have ever chosen to write a play entitled ´The Importance of Being in the Dr Martens League Cup´. If he had made such a rash decision then he could hardly have expressed any disquiet at being thrown into prison for his beliefs. And such a thespian work of art would never have filled a theatre‚ let alone find it´s way as a major blockbusting box office success to the silver screen. This fact was made clear by the 318 half interested souls that trickled into Twerton Park for Bath City´s tie against Tivvy‚ and put further into perspective by a quick glance through the makeshift programme the home team had rapidly produced for the game. A ´run´ of six wins would secure the trophy and the prize of...£1‚750! By anyone´s calculations that meant that winning the cup for twelve consecutive years was worth just ´a grand´ more than one FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round win. Little wonder then that enthusiasm was notable by it´s absence as the teams took the field to the sound of Nov. 5th festivities from the surrounding residential areas‚ with Tivvy giving an outing to Willand Rovers´ Simon Hill.

The contest got underway to a cacophony of wizz‚ crackle and bang. Fireworks exploded all around the pitch and for a few minutes it seemed as if there might be a display of pyrotechnics about to occur on it too. Tiverton went straight on the attack‚ winning a corner after just 55 seconds but from the second ball play Antony Lynch was caught offside as the home defence sprinted forward. Bath charged forward and Tivvy hacked clear. Lynch collected the ball just inside the Tivvy half and made a bee-line for the home goal‚ holding off the defensive challenge but sending his shot up to meet the descending rockets as he closed on the penalty area. A bright start by the Yellows but it fizzled out as City took control of midfield and as in the league encounter at Ladysmead began to play some pretty triangles without going anywhere. Gradually the game deteriorated into a shapeless mess. It was in many ways reminiscent of a Screwfix league game - plenty of movement but little co-ordination - and the alternative entertainment was grabbing more and more of the attention of the spectators.

There were odd moments of football excitement as the players off both sides went through the motions but they were sparse. Phil Everett whipped in a cross that the diminutive Mark Bryant‚ looking like a promotional character for ´Outspan´ in his bright orange goalie´s jersey‚ plucked of the heads of Kevin Nancekivell and Lynch and the Bath keeper did well in a 1 on 1 situation with Steve Ovens to concede only a corner. On the half hour Nathan Rudge‚ who was having an excellent game‚ was well forward in a Tivvy attack and had a decent shot beaten away by a massed defence but most of the time the ball was bobbling around in mid field and the game lacked pattern and life. The entire point of a football match is to entertain the paying supporters and as far as the players are concerned to put the ball in the net. There was plenty of entertainment for the fans but it was all in the air around Twerton Park. As far as the players went there was no sign of them producing the end product - a goal.

Five minutes before the break‚ like a rabbit from a hat‚ appeared the strike we´d waited for. Bath front man Sam Allison broke down the left and cut in towards goal. Tivvy defended but a scramble developed at the foot of Steve Collis´s right hand post and just when it looked as if the ball had been scrambled away the referee‚ who had made and was to continue to make some strange decisions‚ awarded City a penalty. It was impossible to see from the halfway line what offence had been committed but Jamie Goslin crashed home the spot kick to give the home side the lead.

Half time.

It was another bright start as the second half got underway. There were even a few signs of enthusiasm on the field. Within six minutes Tivvy could have drawn level. A corner on the right scrambled out for another on the left. Over it came‚ high. Nathan Rudge up and over a defender. Keeper up and flapping. Whistle blows and referee awards a penalty. Mysteriously. Usual reaction from a man in black would be a free kick in favour of the defending side. Foul on the keeper or climbing by Nathan. Tonight´s official might (must?)have seen something the Tiverton fans hadn´t - or perhaps he felt that a little comedy would add to the evening. Up steps Nancekivell and fires towards the bottom left hand corner of Bryant´s goal. Bryant went the right way and the score remained the same. Paul Chenoweth‚ was left in a heap in the goalmouth after following through and colliding with Bryant and eventually was helped back to the Tivvy bench to be replaced by Jason Rees. The game though had been kicked into life and for the first time began to take on the mantle of a battle. Never-the-less it was fifteen minutes before the net was to bulge again. Steve Ovens sprinted onto a neat through flick from Lynch and carried the ball into the right hand corner. In typical Ovo fashion he managed to lose the ball‚ regain it and break away from his defender to hammer in a low cross. Lynch had carried on through the middle and though in space failed to make contact. Not so Bath´s Craig Hopkins who deflected the ball neatly past his keeper to gift the Yellows the equaliser.

The parity lasted six minutes. Collis spread himself well to turn a diving header out for a corner but was unable to do anything as the ball was half cleared away and crashed back in by Mark Keen to restore City´s lead. That advantage‚ too‚ only lasted half a dozen minutes before ´Nance´ redeemed himself by bursting through the middle to poke home Tivvy´s second equaliser.
Town poured forward looking for the win. Richard Pears had a shot touched out for a corner by Bryant‚ who then cleanly held Ovens´ shot in another one to one situation. City were not conceding defeat either and there were chances at the other end too......but no more goals.

As if deciding that there was no disgrace in losing the game in extra time‚ and looking as if they were enjoying the openness of the game‚ both sides went into the extra hour in attack mode - throwing caution to the wind. There were chances at both ends‚ risks taken and got away with by both teams. But no goals.... until the ´dreaded´ penalty shoot out.

Up the slight slope decided the man in Black. Tiverton to go first.

David Steele scores with aplomb.
Josh Jefferies sends Collis the wrong way.
Richard Pears doesn´t miss.
Sam Allison scuffs his shot which bounces twice before passing two yards wide of the upright.
Nancekivell takes an identical penalty to the one he took earlier. Bryant makes an identical save.
Andy Minturn takes his turn. Collis saves‚ deflecting the shot onto his crossbar and away.
Jason Rees thumps the ball home.
Chris Honor hits the ball low to Collis´s right. Collis parries and Town have earned a second round tie with
Cirencester Town. Win that and they are guaranteed prize money of £150.
No wonder emotions ran so high among the respective supporters.

Tiverton Town: Steve Collis‚ Phil Everett‚ Danny Haines (Steve WInter 75)‚ Simon Hill‚ Nathan Rudge‚ Rob Cousins‚ Kevin Nancekivell‚ David Steele‚ Steve Ovens‚ Paul Chenoweth (Jason Rees 52)‚ Antony Lynch (Richard Pears 72)
Booked: Hill 45

Bath City: Mark Bryant, Stuart James, Jason Drysdale (Mark Keen 52), Chris Honor, Andy Minturn, Luke Scott, Craig Hopkins, Ellis Willmot, Josh Jefferies, Sam Allison, Jamie Goslin (Ben Trace 70)
Bookled: None

Referee: A. Sainsbury (Devizes, Wilts)

This report ©2002 John Reidy