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Magnificent Yellows Poop the Party

Saturday, April 13 . The Ian Moorcroft Stadium, Ladysmead 

Tiverton Town 2 (Moulden 71, Rice 78)  

Chesham United 0 

Pitching In Southern League, Premier Division South 


WITH us enjoying some improved weather, there was never any doubt that this game would go ahead. The only doubt around the Ian Moorcroft Stadium was how the Yellows would respond to the challenge of a meeting with the league champions and to the pressure of knowing that defeat here would signal a desperate fight to the finish, potentially meaning them winning three of their last four games to avoid relegation. 


Chesham's promotion party is in full swing - a decent travelling support and two of their youth teams who have been touring this part of the country were in attendance. A crowd of more than 400 witnessed this one and, not for the first time in recent weeks, there was a wonderful atmosphere around the ground. The sun was also a welcome visitor. 


A depleted Tiverton could not call upon the services of Josh Jones (suspended), River Allen (suspended), Joe Parker (unavailable) and Marcio Neves (unavailable).  

Dylan Jones did declare himself fit, though, despite still getting over tonsillitis, and Niall Thompson played whilst managing a muscle injury.  


Another boost was the return of Exeter loanee Joe O’Connor from injury and he took his place amongst the substitutes, which included Under-18 defender Sam Gleeson. The Yellows’ squad, as on Tuesday night against Gosport, was looking fully stretched. 

The match got underway with Tivvy once again, in the absence of Josh Jones, including Ben Gerring and Matt Britton in their defensive unit. In a cagey opening, Chesham exuded the confidence of champions as they slickly maintained possession through their team. Tivvy were well organised, looking focused and determined. 


Javan Wright, once again, was our biggest threat in the final third. For the visitors, the powerful and pacy front two of the league’s leading scorer Ricardo German and Ogo Obi had already given a clear indication of their danger. Britton, Gerring and Jamie Richards stood firm, though, and were solid. 


Apart from a free-kick that was bent wide from Chesham from just outside our box, the first 20 minutes passed without alarm for either side. The industrious Jones then received a superb diagonal ball from Matt Britton and, moving inside beyond his marker, flashed wide from about 20 yards out.  


This gave the side confidence and they started to play purposefully. Wright, with boundless energy, and the fired-up Rice were not just causing problems to the Generals’ backline when skilfully weaving beyond them, but their pressing and closing down was unsettling the Chesham rearguard.  

A Rice curler went slightly over and wide of Zaki Qualah’s goal from a corner and then Alfie Moulden, who was growing into the game nicely, was tripped as he tried to slalom through a few of the visitors’ players.  


From the resulting free-kick, Rice thundered an effort to Qualah’s right and the ’keeper missed his attempted save, the ball hitting his head and going out for a corner to prevent Tiverton taking the lead.  


Minutes later, it was Alfie Moulden’s turn to try his luck after Tivvy goalkeeper Zak Baker showed good vision with his kick to find him in space. His stinging shot forced a good save from Qualah, this time with his hands.  


With Jones overlapping with greater regularity and his combination of both skill and determination becoming a major influence on the game, Tiverton went into the break goalless, but on top. 


When the players resumed following half time, it briefly seemed that history was repeating itself.  

Conceding two goals just after the break on Tuesday evening was not a good memory for the Yellows and a stray ball from Britton left 31-goal German one-on-one with Baker. A miraculous save low down to his left as the ball headed to the corner of the goal, with the powerful frontman about 12 yards out, kept the scores level. It was a fine stop! 


Tiverton quickly tightened up, though, and the Generals were getting little change out of the hosts’ defence, Gerring and captain Richards often providing an impressive shield, in front of Baker.  


Britton has found the form of late which saw him scoop Two player-of-the-season awards last year and, the mistake aside, was once again a colossus for the Yellows, his ball-winning often breaking up Chesham attacks and then his passing laying the foundations for our own forays into our visitors’ territory. 


Carlo Garside, who has often found himself out of the starting 11 recently, reminded his manager of his passing abilities and vision, as he often set the tempo of our play in the second period.  


Sixty-five minutes had been played when the lively Wright menacingly ran a channel and, despite having two Generals to contend with, gained a corner for his team-mates. Rice’s delivery arrived on Gerring’s head, but he couldn’t climb high enough to direct it goalwards. 


Then, on 71 minutes, with Garside involved twice in the move and the ball intentionally or otherwise coming off Alex Fletcher's heels, Moulden picked up the pieces, gliding past a defender and finishing emphatically to open the scoring.  

O’Connor then replaced Fletcher and, a few minutes later, Qualah was beaten again.  

Wright moved the ball into the path of Rice and the number 11, scored his 11th goal of the league campaign, and what a strike it was - a decisive, scorching curling effort, that found the top bins and left their’ keeper clutching air as he dived in vain across his goal. 


About 15 minutes remained and the Yellows’ management of the rest of the game was really good. When the referee blew the final whistle, the Ian Moorcroft Stadium was rapturous in its cheers and applause.  


A renewed hope for everyone who follows the Yellows. 


We cannot get too carried away, though, as there is plenty of work left to do.  

That starts again on Tuesday night, when the most in-form side in the division, Dorchester Town, come to us. 


Then, on Thursday, mid-table Winchester City are the visitors.  


An absolutely fantastic display, though, on Saturday, from Leigh Robinson’s men. 


Photos by Viv Curtis

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