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All's Well That Ends Well

Pitching In Southern League, Premier Division South 


Tiverton Town 2 (Parker 37, 61) 

Hanwell Town 0 


Saturday, March 23, 2024. Ian Moorcroft Stadium 


IN a game played in front of an improved crowd with players, coaches and parents from Moors Youth in attendance, there was a real community spirit evident. The atmosphere, party-like at times, found us delivering a performance and result that was necessary in our battle to beat the drop. 


Leigh Robinson and his assistant Ben Gerring reshuffled the pack, as Marcio Neves was handed his first start. The Yellows faced a Hanwell side who themselves are not out of the woods and the incentive for Tivvy was to close a gap of four points to one and have a game in hand against their relegation rivals. 


There were early chances for either side to take the lead. Alex Fletcher, after a neat bit of control, threaded the ball through to his strike partner Joe Parker. To be fair to Parker, the ball stuck somewhat in the surface and allowed the Geordies to cover back.  

Despite this, he did get his shot away and it deflected off a visiting defender, rebounding off the crossbar before being cleared to safety. The Fletcher/Parker show was just warming up. 


Hanwell then produced a good opportunity to open the scoring. After stretching the Yellows with some incisive interplay, a cross to the back post was an inviting one, although Gianni Crichlow could not convert Issac Olurunfemi’s ball in and Tiverton breathed a sigh of relief. 

For around 20 minutes, it was a scrappy encounter and moments of quality were a collector’s item. Long over hit passes, frequent losses of possession, and lots of free- kicks made the game very stop-start. 


Josh Jones, like so many times this season, saved his side with a fine recovery tackle inside our box, preventing an almost certain Hanwell goal. Week in, week out Jones has been our most consistent outfield player.  


One flowing move from the home side was an exception and, after some good build-up play involving Jack Rice and River Allen, Fletcher flashed his effort wide from a difficult angle.  


Tivvy goalkeeper Zak Baker was then alert to palm away a goalbound effort and luckily the follow-up was blocked by another Geordie attacker.  


Then a move not in keeping with what had gone before saw Tiverton get their noses in front. Allen, over by his own corner flag, showed good footwork to glide past a visiting player. However he quickly ran out of road and had to win a tackle, which he did, to keep possession.  

Playing the ball inside, it was returned to him over by the technical areas. Using the sole of his boot he skilfully dragged the ball past his marker and exquisitely, with the outside of his boot, found Fletcher who showed excellent vision to play the ball into Parker's path for an emphatic finish.  


This was probably the best team goal from Tivvy this season and lit up a generally sub-standard first half. The powerfully built, yet classy, midfielder Matt Mackenzie stood out for the visitors as both sides struggled on a heavy pitch. 


A little way into the second half, Niall Thompson was booked and perhaps his mistimed lunge for the ball could have seen a card of a different colour. Thompson, playing as a right-back, utilised his pace well in defensive areas and was able to burst forward on a few occasions, also. 


Then an enforced change saw the injured Jamie Richards replaced by Dylan Jones, Calum Thomas moving into the slot left by Richards at left-sided centre-back and all-action Welshman Jones taking up Thomas’s previous left-back position. 

Looking better in possession and showing more cohesion, Tiverton were having the better of things. Just beyond the hour mark, we doubled our lead as Fletcher once again unlocked the Geordies’ defence. Showing a fantastic weight of pass, Fletcher released the lethal Parker, who had time to pick his spot, delighting the young fans behind the goal and completing his brace. 


Hanwell did respond and Dwayne Duncan headed over, but Baker was relatively untroubled for the remainder of the game. A close-range Allen attempt went into the side netting as the Yellows demonstrated much better fluency and crisper passing in the second period. 


The Geordies have been much stronger away from home, with 26 of their 38 points coming on the road, so this was a very good day for Tiverton.  


However, we cannot afford to think that this is job done. It continues on Tuesday night, when Winchester City are the visitors. Do not forget - we are still in the relegation places. 


There was wonderful support for this game and I am sure Leigh Robinson’s men thrived in what was a fantastic atmosphere.  



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