St Neots Town 1- 0 Tiverton Town
The last time Tiverton Town played St Neots at The Premier Plus Stadium was nearly four years ago on 8th April 2014 in the second leg of the Southern League Cup Final. In front of 522 people St Neots beat Tiverton by one goal to nil with a 43rd minute Lewis Hilliard goal. Tiverton were looking to avenge that defeat and hoped that the adage that lightening doesn’t strike in the same place twice came true.
The pitch was in excellent condition and despite rain in the previous week the green like baize looked an ideal playing surface to play some neat football on. This was one of the best surfaces that I have seen since Christmas 2017. Tivvy started with the usual 3-5-2 formation with Alexis Andre Jnr in goal with the wing backs Jamie Short in for the injured Nick Hurst and Callum Hall. The back three were captain Jamie Price with Tom Gardner alongside Ben Mammola. The midfield three were Scott Rogers alongside Michael Landricombe and making his debut on loan from Bath City for a month George Rigg who replaced the departed previous loan signing River Allen. The front two were Levi Landricombe and Jared Lewington. On the bench was Jordan Rogers, Tom Bath and Owen Irish.
The first ten minutes saw Tiverton start brightly and matched the hosts without creating any clear-cut chances. Jared Lewington was winning his battles at the top of the pitch and the midfield were looking to push forward and thread the ball through to Levi Landricombe. The next thirty-five minutes however Tiverton were forced back into their own half and rarely ventured out again. ST Neots without three regulars started to play with authority and an early Dylan Williams effort after he had cut in from the flanks was a warning signal to Tiverton. Further shots from Jack Bradshaw and David Bridges brought saves out of Andre Jnr and it appeared to be a matter of time before the opening goal would cheer the Saints supporters in the crowd of 284.
The opening goal did come on 26 minutes when a corner was swung in to the back post and a marauding centre half Tom Wood sneaked into the box and powered a header into the Tivvy net. The Saints thought they had a second on 37 minutes when a Nabil Shariff header that evaded Andre Jnr was ruled out for a push in the box. Then moments later a sweet Lewis Irwin volley from a cultured pass from Stefan Broccoli had Andre Jnr beaten all ends up but the goal was again ruled out this time for offside. Tivvy had failed to have a shot on target in the first half and the score-line of 1-0 was fully deserved to the team from Cambridgeshire.
Tiverton came out in the second half with much more purpose and a Nice move found Callum Hall scampering forward and he tested Finlay Iron with a low shot. Michael Landricombe had an effort that went wide and Brother Levi Landricombe had an overhead shot that also went wide of Iron’s goal. Tiverton looking to get at least a point out of the 460-mile round trip then took a positive step and put on Tom Bath and Jordan Rogers with twenty minutes to play for Jamie Price and Scott Rogers. The more attacking formation nearly paid dividends with Rogers running the channels well and getting past his man. Rogers was providing some excellent balls into the box with Tom Bath and Jared Lewington looking to get on the end of the crosses it looked like Tiverton may well take something from the game.
St Neots meanwhile were still dangerous with Shariff having a second shot saved by Andre Jnr and Broccoli and Irwin also stretching the dependable Tivvy back guard. The best chance of the second half then fell to Levi Landricombe who had a trademark lob from 20 yards that young keeper Finlay Iron did well to pluck out of the air. Tivvy for the last ten minutes pilled on the pressure but the Saints back line held firm and there were no major scares for them to overcome.
Lightening unfortunately did strike twice with Tivvy losing 1-0 at St Neots. One bright spot though, with the League restructure next season this is one fixture that is unlikely to occur again. We won’t miss the travelling but the hospitality and welcome we received was excellent.
Andre Jnr, Scott Rogers (Jordan Rogers), Callum Hall (Owen Irish), Jamie Price © (Tom Bath), Ben Mammola, Tom Gardner, Jamie Short, George Rigg, Jared Lewington, Levi Landricombe, Michael Landricombe.