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MATCH REPORT: Tiverton Town 2 Salisbury 0

Tiverton Town 2 Salisbury FC 0
Evo-stik Southern League South and West Division
Saturday, 18 March 2017

By Alec Hayter

This game made it easy to forget that the Whites had been unbeaten in the league since early January, and although at some stage a reverse was not unexpected, it is unfortunate that it should occur against one of the other teams in the hunt for a play-off place. There will be references to fat ladies and singing, and there is some truth in that with another important result going against rivals Taunton Town, but my lasting impression is that the absence of a key player on this occasion had more influence than it should have on the final result.

The game was more or less over with only seconds on the clock, and this was confirmed by Steve Claridge after the match when he said that against lesser teams there would be a chance of clawing back and early goal, but against those more capable sides it was much more difficult. The pitch at Tiverton did not help – it was possibly the worst I had ever seen it and maybe beyond home club's control because of adverse weather, but was nevertheless more suited to the type of game that Tivvy played. In truth after their early lead, all they had to do was to contain efforts of the visitors, and, maintaining for the back against one attacker indicated to me that they intended to hold onto the slender lead and perhaps then seal the match with a 2nd goal late on stop this is exactly what they did and probably what Manager Martyn Rogers demanded.

Games start on the referee's whistle and it only took 22 seconds before Tiverton took the lead and unfortunately there were some aspects which set the tone. Levy Landricombe found himself centrally placed with the ball at his feet but completely miskicked in front of goal, but the ball kindly found its way to Jamie Price whose firm shot was too hot for Alex Bass to handle, the ball creeping agonisingly over the goal-line.

This signalled the start of some blatant time wasting which, surprisingly, only resulted in 3 minutes being added at the end of the first half and most of which therefore had probably escaped the attention of the referee.

With only 4 minutes on the clock, Tiverton were already in "breakaway" mode and speculative lob by Landricombe only just missed the target with Bass off his line.

Although the Whites were having a fair share of proceedings it took until the 26th minute before they produced a serious threat on goal and by not taking the chance which could have changed the course of the game the writing was on the wall. Adam Flint crossed from the left, the ball flying across the face of the Tiverton goal, but Claudio Herbert could neither control it nor apply the finishing touch, with keeper Joe Perry gratefully gathering.

S
ome 7 minutes before the interval Lewis Benson, who was one of the few players performing to their potential, sent a trademark free kick just over the top from the edge of the box and was not until 2 minutes into time added that Landricombe again produce something for the home side, blasting the ball well over the top from 15 yards again a 2nd goal at that stage would have completely settled matters.

The theory is that with only one and sometimes maybe 2 goals in a game there was always a chance and once more in the saga of "ifs and maybes" Salisbury might have pulled a goal back 3 minutes into the 2nd period when Taurean Roberts went close with a left foot effort from the edge of the area.

This brought a response from the home side when Jamie short had an effort easily saved by Bass denied minutes and then 2 minutes later when Bass was forced to make a great stop from Owen Howe in a one-on-one.

The tirelessly working, but lonely, Tommy Wright seemed to take on the whole of the Tivvy defence on 56 minutes, but his cross was just too high for Roberts header went over the top, and Wright himself might have done better with a 71st minute header from a Roberts cross which hardly troubled Perry.

The Whites were now at the stage of really chasing the game and paid the price in conceding a goal very similar to the one conceded against Winchester a few days earlier, with players caught upfield and what proved to be a devastating attack down the left side of the home side's attack. The ball was worked out to price and no one could argue the precise finish as he curled a right foot shot past Bass to finally kill off any hopes Salisbury might have had of getting something from the game, and the match finished with the keeper fighting his own battle against Tiverton who might well have had added to the final score without his efforts.

In the space of 2 minutes he made a good save from Landricombe and then denied how the great block after finding himself one-on-one with the striker, but how was guilty of a bad miss on 79 minutes were failing to convert from 3 yards after being supplied by Landricombe.

Howe might have grabbed a second-half hat-trick but with 5 minutes remaining he was again foiled by Bass.

Tiverton became only the 2nd team to take 6 points from the Whites this season and we can only hope that a trio is not completed when we play Hereford next Saturday, but in order to avoid that it is imperative that all, not just some, of those who play do so to their full potential. If that happens then there is every chance that effect of today's loss of 3 points can to some extent be remedied, but a different answer is required when, as at Tiverton, we come across a defence that makes it seem like we are playing in the land of giants.

I'm not quite sure what they feed to players in Devon but whatever it is seems to produce footballers in excess of 6 feet tall. At Tiverton even those coming off of the subs bench in the main qualified! 

Tiverton Town: Perry, Price, Hurst (Storey 80), Mammola, Kingdon, Gardner, Short, M Landricombe, Howe (Bath 88), L Landricombe, Rogers (Carter 83).
Subs not used: Norrish, Rosenquest.

Salisbury FC: Bass, Colson, Flint (Roberts 37), Whelan, Wheeler, O'Keefe, Benson, Mundy (Hart 68), Wright, Herbert, Perrett.
S
ubs not used: Blake, Ball.