Tiverton Town 0 Harrow Borough 0
Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South
Saturday, November 11, 2023
THE presence of the Royal British Legion and the Tiverton Town Band made the commemoration on Armistice Day at the ground, a wonderfully moving tribute to those that sacrificed their tomorrows for our freedom today. The Bugler's Last Post was beautifully played and received. The two minutes' silence was impeccably observed.
Leigh Robinson came exceptionally close to making the perfect start when taking charge of the team for the first time in league action. Initially neither side stamped any sort of authority on the opening passage of play. Perhaps it was on the minds of both sets of players that a lot was at stake in this early six-pointer.
It was fairly scrappy in the first ten minutes and Tiverton were a little inhibited in their play. Harrow were the first to settle as a flashing cross had a bit too much purchase on it and the ball hurried behind our goal. Then, from a set-piece Reece Yorke’s, header eluded his team mates in the Tiverton penalty area.
The Yellows then got a foothold in the game, taking over possession and fluently playing through the team as we probed for an opener. That nearly came when Jack Rice collected the ball near the corner flag and threaded the ball into the path of River Allen who conjured up an excellent cross that was met by Elliott Dugan, who headed over from close in.
Tiverton continued to have a period of domination and a strong kick downfield from debutant goalkeeper Zak Baker found Rice, who was brought crashing to the ground by his marker. The free-kick was deflected behind for a corner and, after a spot of pinball following it, Boro cleared.
During this spell, the team were playing some flowing, attractive passing football that was enjoyed by the Tivvy faithful. A Niall Thompson scamper to the bye-line left a few Boro players trailing in his wake and, when he cut the ball back, there was a frantic clearance from a Harrow defender.
Then it was Harrow’s turn to exert some pressure as neat interplay, inviting balls into our box, and three successive corners gave our rearguard plenty to to think about. The Yellows’ response saw Carlo Garside gallop down the visitors’ right and his driven ball across the six yard box was just fractionally ahead of Tivvy runners.
Plymouth Argyle loanee Baker’s handling and kicking had looked very assured. He showed his agility when Victor Osubu shifted the ball into a shooting position after a slick counter attack and shot low and hard to Baker’s left corner. Razor sharp reactions and athleticism saw him at full stretch, making a high quality fingertip save. He backed this up with an authoritative claim when under intense pressure from two Harrow players during a corner situation.
Another Harrow attack exposed our defensive line and Jack Veale did very well to concede a corner with a Harrow forward contesting the ball about six yards out. As the half ended, Tiverton were once again playing some enterprising stuff. Garside sprung free for a second time and his cross shot just evaded the onrushing Dugan. A very positive opening 45 minutes from the Yellows, who had had slightly the better of things.
Tivvy started the second half with real intent and, although some timely interventions from Harrow’s backline stopped us in our tracks on a few occasions, we were being treated to some entertaining, purposeful play. Veale floated a header over the visitor’s crossbar and then Bailey Kempster, whose forays into Harrow’s half had often kick-started attacks, then covered across and round well to prevent Harrow from moving into our penalty box.
A typical Thompson surge and cross saw two efforts blocked well by the away side. Dugan then had a very good opportunity to give Town the advantage. Good movement from him had seen him take up some good positions, but on this occasion he missed the target with the goal at his mercy. Then Jerry Lawrence, on for Rice, was immediately involved as he joined an attack and fired over.
Dylan Jones, back after a lengthy lay off, reminded the supporters of his powerful running as he rampaged down the Harrow right, although his cross was dealt with by Tyler Tobin, who was definitely the busier of the two keepers at that stage.
Cameron Salmon then replaced Garside and, shortly after this, Allen’s pinpoint ball from a free-kick was met by Veale ,who showed excellent technique with his volley on the turn which was not too far away from breaking the deadlock.
As the match reached its conclusion, crosses and balls were going into the opposition’s box with greater regularity, but the ball just would not quite fall for Yellows. Five minutes were added at the end of 90, but neither side was able to create anything meaningful.
The groundstaff did a good job in getting this game on. Despite a heavy and grassy surface, the football played by Tiverton was very good on the eye. It was not the result they wanted, but Leigh Robinson and his team can feel happy with this performance - lots of positive signs and a first clean sheet of the season: a great effort by all at the club on Armistice Day.