Without too many references to a previous 2-0 win for Town at the RayMac stadium some four-and-a-bit years ago, when the FA Cup draw was made and an away trip to Salisbury was announced, like myself, I’m sure many feared the worst before even a ball was kicked, especially after last years visit in the FA Trophy, when the Yellows lost 6-0 to a side that was bang in form.
Tiverton had several injuries to contend with and also two players, Woodman and Warren missing through suspension, so Neil Martin and Theo Simpson returned to the starting eleven and new signing Lennie Pegg was part of the squad.
It’s fair to say that the first half an hour was fairly uneventful, with no more than a few half chances falling to both sides, the hosts coming closest to breaking the deadlock when the Yellows back line was beaten with a deflection but Blair, when through on goal, was superbly denied by Williams. Blair was quickly back in the action again moments later, but for the wrong reasons this time, when he was invited to take an early shower after a pretty gruesome challenge on Yellows captain for the day Aaron Dawson and the referee was left with little choice other than to show a straight red to the former Dorchester forward.
Six minutes before half time (the exact same time that Michael Landricombe opened the scoring in THAT match) the Yellows fashioned their closest opportunity to registering after an outstanding flick by eventual opening goal scorer Matt Wright set Olaf Koszela free but the in form strikers run was brought to a premature end with the linesman’s flag correctly raised for offside. Eventually after three minutes stoppage, the half time whistle was blown for both sides to re-group.
The Yellows got the second half underway but still seemed to struggle to make their numerical superiority count, with the extra man and maybe even the hosts could have taken the lead eleven minutes into the half, Marvin Brooks was played through on goal with only Williams to beat but the Yellows ‘keeper managed to scramble the ball away from his feet.
Just before the hour, new signing Lennie Pegg was introduced in place of Simpson and comfortably played the ball in midfield, passing simply which quickly spread calm throughout a so far frustrated Town team. The Yellows continued to press and started to find confidence and opportunities started to present themselves, Matt Wright fizzed a ball across the box but Koszela was just unable to reach it and provide the decisive touch.
With eight minutes to go and a replay on Wednesday at the Ian Moorcroft Stadium looking more than likely, Man of the Match Joe Belsten had clearly not read that part of the script and his cross from the right found Matt Wright, fresh from his brace at Weston last time out and he calmly slotted the Yellows in front for his third in two games. The Yellows weren’t done though and when Tiverton won a corner Hayfield, who got better and better as the game continued delivered a superb cross to find Koszela at the back post who nodded in Tiverton’s second and secured a hard fought win for Tiverton, nothing more than they deserved based upon their second half performance and with that a place in the second qualifying round of the FA Cup.
Tiverton Town: Lewis Williams, JOE BELSTEN, Neil Martin, Aaron Dawson, Austen Booth, Louis Morison (Isaac McCue 90), Jordan Lam, Dan Hayfield, Matt Wright, Olaf Koszela, Theo Simpson (Lennie Pegg 58). Goals: Matt Wright 82, Olaf Koszela 87. Attendance: 399.