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The Final Sholing

Saturday, April 27 . Ian Moorcroft Stadium . 3pm 

Tiverton Town v Sholing 

Pitching In Southern League, Premier Division South 


IN a dramatic second half last Saturday, Tivvy’s Javan Wright cancelled out Harrow Borough's first-half opener. Then Zak Baker saved a penalty before Jack Rice had a penalty saved. With less than a minute left of added time, a sweeping break from the Yellows was decisively finished by Dylan Jones.  


Cue the celebrations with Pitching In Southern League Premier Division South safety virtually secured and hero status for a player who has always been a fan favourite. Arithmetically, that was confirmed on Wednesday night by Plymouth Parkway’s victory against Hayes & Yeading, so Saturday’s meeting with Sholing is no longer fraught with danger. 


It is only fair to praise Leigh Robinson and the impact he has had since taking the hot seat at the beginning of November, when the Yellows were struggling on 10 points with 13 games played. Since then, they have taken 39 points from 28 matches going into the final game of the season.   

Leigh Robinson (left) and Ben Gerring: Deserve praise

It is a top effort with the bulk of an inherited squad and, to my mind, the obvious but telling contribution of serial goalscorer Joe Parker and the significant, but not as well documented, influential performances of Bailey Kempster, Jerry Lawrence and fellow loanee Joe O’Connor. 


The arrival of goalkeeper Zak Baker on loan from Plymouth Argyle cannot be underestimated. Performances beyond his years have been equally as valuable in Tiverton’s fight for survival. The young ’keeper’s all-round goalkeeping abilities and Parker’s instincts in the final third have been pivotal. 


With their performances under the microscope, the squad that started the season have risen to the task they have faced, and players like Jack Rice have responded to the changes at the club in a positive and inspiring fashion and Rices has blossomed into the player he was always capable of being under Leigh Robinson and assistant Ben Gerring. 


A model of consistency, for me, has been Josh Jones, who so often has been our best player this term. His powerful and commanding performances have been a constant in the Yellows’ backline. Namesake Dylan Jones has always been popular at the Ian Moorcroft stadium and his industry, ability on the ball, and never-say-die attitude have made a big impression amongst the Tiverton faithful. 

Zak Baker: Pivotal addition

Wright’s balance, skill and superb work-rate have made him a rough diamond and Carlo Garside, too, has emerged at this level. The creative, ball-playing midfielder is, like Wright, one for the future. The potential of Marcio Neves, who has dazzled at times, definitely needs exploring; Alfie Moulden, too, is similarly technically gifted and is starting to resemble the player that will provide assists and goals in equal measure. 


The experience, quality and knowhow of semi pros Jamie Richards, Niall Thompson, Matt Britton and River Allen have been essential in winning the fight against relegation and, latterly, Ben Gerring’s displays and organisation have been vital. 


Jack Veale, although missing through injury at the back end of the campaign, was integral to the side before that. 

Joe Parker: Serial goalscorer

The team will be looking to complete the double over another side for only the second time this term. Sholing, meanwhile, are I am sure, eager to avenge their 4-0 reverse a short way into Leigh Robinson’s reign. 


The Boatmen, who were newly promoted into our division this season, found their way to 49 points last weekend with a 3-0 win against fellow strugglers Swindon Supermarine, Parkway’s victory in midweek guaranteeing them another campaign in Southern League Premier South. 


The Southampton-based side who are ahead of us in the table by a goal, are managed by Paul Doswell. He had big shoes to fill as the much-heralded Dave Diaper, their previous boss, was in charge for 23 seasons, gaining promotions from the Hampshire League, the Wessex League and Southern League Division One and winning the FA Vase in a meteoric rise.  


Sholing have a close-knit dressing room and four of last Saturday’s matchday Squad all made their debuts in the 2011-12 season.  

Jack Rice: Blossomed

Brothers captain Byron Mason and striker Dan Mason - apart from one season away - have been part of the success, as have central defender Dan Miller and Marvin Mclean, who has been converted into a full-back after starting out as a winger. 


Levi Colwill, the Chelsea and England defender, was watching Sholing last Saturday and the nephew of the Masons has attended quite a few games in recent seasons. 


With the pressure off, both sides should be free to express themselves. There are plenty of goals in the Boatmen's front two, with Dan Mason having scored more than 200 goals in his time with the club. Strike partner Lee Wort also has a century of goals to his name in three spells with Sholing; attacking midfielder James Hesketh made a few appearances for Southampton in the Premier League at the start of his career. 


Much like the Yellows, Sholing are a very capable side, so we all look forward to the season finale and anticipate a good and entertaining game.  

Josh Jones: Defensive stalwart
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1 Comment

Adrian C
Adrian C
Apr 27

Hopefully we can finish this season with a win, then onwards to 24/25! Well done Leigh Robinson and his team 👍

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