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Tivvy Need to Be Battle-Ready

Basingstoke Town 3 (Ferdinand 41, 86, Wilson 80)

Tiverton Town 2 (Wright 19, Allen 90+7)


Pitching In Southern League, Premier Division South

Saturday, January 20

 

THE Yellows’ have definitely made improvements since their shaky start to the season, but the seeds were sown for what looked like a difficult campaign and, in spite of progress being made, there should be no illusions about the battles that lie ahead. Tivvy will need to conquer these if they are to maintain their place in the division.

 

Enforced changes did not aid Yellows in the lead-up to the game, losing Dylan Jones to illness and Jerry Lawrence to injury. Basingstoke, too, were missing key players and the outcome of the game was hard to predict. There was a debut for young right-sided Exeter defender Aamir Daniels, who was bright throughout the game, especially in the first half.

 

Tiverton were quickly into their stride and, within a minute of the kick-off, had manufactured a corner. Bradley Wilson rattled the crossbar for the hosts in the fourth minute; however, this did little to halt a Yellows’ team playing with intent and poise.

 

River Allen and Carlo Garside were pulling the strings in midfield and the heavily involved Daniels was a real threat as he ran into advanced positions. Our attacking players, Jack Rice, Niall Thompson and Javan Wright were looking sharp, displaying good movement and combining neatly and effectively.

Basingstoke broke menacingly in the 12th minute, but the pacy Daniels’ recovery tackle stopped them in their tracks. The expressive Allen was influential in the opening exchanges and his promptings saw Tiverton in the ascendancy. The vision of Garside spotted an overlap, forcing the third of three corners, highlighting Yellows clearly having the better of the game at that stage of the match.

 

Daniels' forays forward had been a real concern for Stoke and it was his ball in behind a few minutes later in open play that was turned in by the onrushing Wright, giving Tivvy the opener. A rampant Yellows quickly looked to double their lead as the lively Wright brought goalkeeper Simon Grant into action, palming the shot over after another well constructed Tiverton move.

 

The Yellows continued to be the dominant force and passing and movement was excellent. Rice and Wright were busy and buzzing around as they linked up with Allen and Garside on a regular basis. Thompson was finding plenty of joy in wide areas and a typical burst of speed saw him travel with the ball from just inside the hosts’ half to a good crossing position, although his cross shot could only find Grant’s gloves.

 

Then, against the run of play and without a hint, Basingstoke drew level. Just over 40 minutes had been played when Simon Dunn’s exquisite pass found one of the most in-form strikers in the division, Liam Ferdinand, and he fired his shot past Zak Baker.

The home team finished the half on the front foot and Josh Jones’s diving header to safety was just in the nick of time to prevent further damage. It was all square at the interval and all to play for in the second period, although Yellows’ failure to press home their advantage and score a second goal when they were on top would come back to haunt them.

 

The first notable action of the second half came in the 49th minute when, after some neat interplay through the team, Charlie White picked out Garside whose shot went into Grant’s midriff and he held the speculative effort comfortably.

 

It was breathless stuff as both sides looked to exert some authority. Danny Rowe’s dipping long-range effort went over for Stoke, and a wicked ball in from River Allen was on its way to being turned in , but for a desperate block from a Basingstoke defender.

 

On 67 minutes, Wilson’s scorching drive hit the upright and, buoyed by this, the home side started to move into the ascendancy. The pressure on the Tiverton goal was becoming more intense, Yellows having to defend a string of corners. Much-needed respite came when Thompson broke away and put the afterburners on. Unfortunately, though, his cross was intercepted by Grant.

 

Baker then came to Tivvy’s rescue to deny Rowe with a good stop when the winger was in on goal. Allen then undertook an enterprising run before a strong tackle stopped him just as he  was about to enter Stoke’s area.


In the 76th minute, Baker once again thwarted Rowe with an outstanding reaction save from a header from six yards out.

 

The writing seemed to be on the wall with this flurry of chances and, shortly after this, Basingstoke moved into the box seat. In the 80th minute, substitute Ben Cook’s Cross found Wilson and, this time, he slotted the ball into the corner of the net.

 

Ferdinand made it three with four minutes of normal time left, once again demonstrating his finishing qualities as he emphatically put the game to bed when in the clear.

 

The Yellows, for all their first-half promise and dominance, were heading towards a disappointing defeat and although there was still time for Ferdinand to see a hat-trick denied by the Tivvy Post and Allen’s deflected shot give Tivvy a very late consolation, this was a difficult defeat to take.

Losing sees the Yellows drop into the fourth relegation place. However, we will have time, with no midweek game, to lick our wounds, before returning to the Ian Moorcroft Stadium next Saturday to face Poole Town.


There has been no shortage of effort or good football from the team in recent months but we do need to find that winning formula again. The performance of debutant Daniels was another bright spark and supporters will once again be right behind the boys at the weekend.

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