Allen Caps Much Improved Second-Half Display
THE Yellows will be glad to see the back of September. A problem throughout the month has been giving a good account of ourselves in one half, but not replicating it in the other, and I am convinced the results have fallen below the expectation of the coaches, players and fans.
Saturday's home draw against Southern League Premier South bottom side Swindon Supermarine highlighted this worrying dip in performance: although the second half saw us much improved, in the first half, we were mainly second best and lacking the movement, conviction in possession ,and awareness that was shown in the second.
The first half began at a quick tempo with the visitors displaying a slick passing game, moving through the thirds, and their movement and expansive play unsettled us. It was not lack of effort that was the issue: there was a fragility to our game that probably stems from a winless run over the last five league games and, too many times, players seemed to be on a different wavelength.
Jack Rice did force a very good save from Conor Brann in the visitors' goal, and a rasping low effort from Allen whistled wide of the post. However, when Levi Irving’s well-directed effort nestled in the corner of the Tiverton goal, it was totally deserved.
Jack Veale, when getting forward, did provide an excellent ball into Supermarine’s area and also forced a corner with a determined run, but our football was not flowing and, when the half-time whistle sounded, we were arguably fortunate to not be further behind: Williams made himself big, to prevent us conceding and, prior to Swindon taking the lead, the deceptively quick Josh Jones got back to make a magnificent goal-saving tackle.
Whatever was said at the break saw a much improved Yellows in the second half. Niall Thompson, who had been on the periphery of the match, became a lot more involved and, within a few minutes, had latched on to a ball over the top to outpace a couple of players and unleash a shot that was smothered by Brann. The 'keeper was again called into action moments later when incisive build up play saw him gather at his post.
River Allen was becoming influential and Cameron Salmon was a willing ball-carrier; Thompson skimmed a shot off opposition defenders and over the bar after a tidy move through the team; Jamie Richards turned away in annoyance at himself after arrowing a header wide; and Matt Britton also headed over.
Marine, despite some good possession play, were living dangerously. Tom Bath came on for Rice in a tactical substitution that saw Thompson move to the right wing. Then Jones was dispossessed trying to go past a player in his own half and the Tiverton backline did well to prevent the visitors extending their lead. The resulting corner had Tiverton players throwing their bodies at the ball and a second corner was comfortably headed away by Jamie Richards.
Within a minute the Yellows levelled. Allen’s cushioned pass gave Thompson time to control the ball and then power down Swindon’s left, skipping over an attempted tackle and sending over a pacy, low cross that Allen, who had continued his run, got on the end of.
Allen, who put in a real shift, then found Salmon with an exceptional long diagonal ball. Salmon, with good vision, returned the ball into Allen’s path but he fired over. A goalmouth scramble from a Tiverton corner, unfortunately ended with Supermarine clearing their lines.
A frantic finale saw a shot trickle narrowly wide of the home goal and then our opponents forced a top class save with an outstretched foot from Williams.
Bath appeared to be pushed and fell in the box but the referee did not agree and the game finished with honours even, a fair result on the balance of play.
Supermarine take over hosting duties next Saturday in the FA Trophy against us as we aim to go one better than Saturday.
Pictures from Club Photographer Viv Curtis