Slough Town 2-0 Tiverton Town 17/10/2017
Tiverton Town set off at 14:30 on a 163-mile journey from Ladysmead to play Slough Town at their new ground called Arbour Park. A one hour thirty-minute delay didn’t help our spirits sitting in traffic on the M5 between Junctions 19 and 20 whilst emergency resurfacing work was being completed. Three of the four lanes were closed and a big thank you must go to our coach driver from Redwoods who drove excellently throughout the evening, Through his expertise we arrived at the ground in time for the 19:45 Kick Off.
With the majority of players having worked during the day and then having a four and half hour coach trip it was to their credit that they were ready to take on the third placed team in the Evo Stick Southern Premier League. Tiverton restored Ollie Knowles to midfield and Owen Howe up front fresh from his two goals at St Ives. The pitch at Slough is one of only twenty-four 3G pitches to be approved by FIFA in the United Kingdom.
The opening ten minutes saw the rebels ping the ball about on the 3G surface and they utilised the spacious pitch by using their wingers at every opportunity. Slough obviously used to the surface and how to get the best out of it played some lovely football with neat interchanging passing and their forwards looked like they had pace to burn. Tiverton however are a hard team to break down and restricted the home team to half chances and long-range efforts in the first twenty minutes. Good interchange play between Levi Landricombe and Owen Howe saw Tivvy’s number 10 have a snatch shot on goal on 21 minutes but it sliced off Howes boot and didn’t trouble Jack Turner in the Slough goal.
It seemed that James Dobson was at the forefront of all Sloughs good moves and so it was to be no surprise when he received the ball out wide in the 21st minute and beat three players before unleashing a powerful shot past Martin Rice into the net. Tivvy came straight back looking for an equaliser and a minute later a Nick Hurst howitzer just went past Jack Turner’s post. Levi Landricombe then had a trademark 25-yard free kick which the Rebels Keeper Turner beat away at full stretch to deny the Devonian from adding to his impressive tally of goals from free kicks. The keeper smiled as the Tivvy fans applauded him for doing his homework on Tivvy’s talisman. Levi Landricombe then tried his luck from twenty yards out with a thunderous shot just going over the crossbar. However, it was Slough who doubled their lead when a low cross from that man again James Dobson was invitingly drilled across the Tiverton goalmouth and it was converted by Chris Flood to give the home town team a two-goal cushion. This was harsh on Tiverton but at this level teams will punish you when they get the opportunity. Slough nearly made it a three before half time when Chris Flood put in a delicious cross but Manny Williams failed to convert at the back post.
Half time saw a change in Tiverton’s goal with Martin Rice obtaining an injury and he was replaced by Tom Gardner whose last appearance in goal was against Willand Rovers in the Devon Bowl a few seasons back. Liam Gregory came on to replace the Exeter Born Keeper. Gardner was forced into an early save when he expertly flicked a Flood free-kick over the bar. Tivvy then had a good chance of pulling a goal back when Nick Hurst crossed a great ball into Sloughs area but Nathan Smart cleared before a Tivvy forward could pounce. Tiverton continued to have the greater possession in the second half and were starting to try and unlock the hosts defence. Jamie Short and Ollie Knowles were working tirelessly to find that crucial final third pass and Mike Landricombe was the midfield enforcer. Slough seemed content on the odd foray forward but were happy to soak up the pressure. Owen Howe had one final chance from a Jamie Short pass but Jack Turner saved well. Tom Bath came on for Nick Hurst with twenty minutes to go but chances were at a premium. The final minutes were played out and the majority of the 514 supporters went home happy. Matches like these are a learning curve for Tiverton and there were plusses that came out from the night. Tom Gardner as he has proved before is an able replacement keeper and the team have a never say die attitude. Onwards and upwards to Bishop’s Stortford on Saturday.
Tivvy: Martin Rice (45), Nick Hurst (68), Callum Hall, Jamie Price ©, Tom Gardner, Ollie Knowles, Jamie Short, Levi Landricombe, Owen Howe, Mike Landricombe.
Subs Liam Gregory (45), Tom Bath (68), Not used George Rogers, Scott Rogers.
Report by Jay Richardson