TIVERTON TOWN 3-0 SLOUGH TOWN
It has been said on a few occasions already this season, with some justification, that the Yellows have been punching above their own weight this season and whilst some performances recently have been `below par`, it must not be forgotten that a healthy percentage of the current squad are plying their trade at this Premier Division level for the first time. The feeling though, after the manner of the defeat at Basingstoke last time out, was that changes clearly needed to be made. So, young goalkeeper Alexis Andre Jr, signed on loan from Bristol Rovers to replace the departed Martin Rice and Shane Krac returned to make his first Yellows appearance for over three years after Ollie Knowles had joined Frome Town as manager Martyn Rogers looked to `freshen things up`.
The Yellows made a mockery of the recent form book and had any neutrals watching been asked at full-time which of the two sides had only won once in their previous six outings based on the previous ninety or so minutes of football, the majority would have surely got it wrong. Granted, Slough were marginally the better side for the first forty-five but Tivvy bossed the second period and were worthy winners. Matt Lench struck a post as early as the second minute, Alexis Andre Jr on his debut announced himself with a fine finger-tip save after the shot had come through a crowded area and then Tivvys` cause took an early blow as Nick Hurst stretched to block a cross and after just four minutes his afternoon was done with a recurrence of the hamstring injury that had side-lined him recently and there would certainly have been the `here we go again` feeling amongst home fans. Slough keeper Jack Turner though produced two smart saves to prevent Jared Lewington from adding to his tally whilst at the other end Tom Gardner produced an excellent goal-line clearance from the impressive Lench to keep the score level and with the visitors spending large periods in possession in the Tivvy half, the Yellows would certainly have been the happier side come the interval.
The second period though was a completely different story. Levi Landricombe had already stung the palms of Turner with a vicious, swerving volley from fully 20 yards before eventual Man of the Match Callum Hall, who had replaced the injured Hurst, gave Tivvy the lead. His cross toward Lewington was only half cleared straight back to him and despite the best efforts from Turner, Halls` effort from a tight angle was adjudged to have crossed the line. Bath replaced Lewington just after the hour mark and as he has done on previous occasions, his first meaningful touch was to put the ball in the net. Mammola sent the again impressive River Allen away down the right-hand side and his cross was tapped in by Bath, through the legs of Turner, for number two. Slough had already made two substitutions and barely two minutes after they made their third and final change, forward Chris Flood was forced off after an accidental clash of heads and subsequently the visitors would play the final twenty with only ten men. Chances for Bath and Price came and went to extend the lead further before Hall did exactly that. Allen, with a glorious ball out of defence as Slough pushed higher and higher for a way back in to the match, gave Hall the freedom of Ladysmead to scamper clear and fire his second and the Yellows third in to the far corner.
A breakaway involving Bath and Landricombe almost added a fourth late on, again Nisbet with a timely intervention after Andre Jr had produced another fine save to keep out a James Dobson free-kick to maintain his thoroughly deserved debut clean sheet, the first keeper to since Dan Law in April 2013 and the visitors afternoon was summed up when substitute Manny Williams sliced horribly wide with the goal at his mercy.
Tiverton: Alexis Andre Jr, Nick Hurst (CALLUM HALL 4), Michael Landricombe, Jamie Price, Ben Mammola, Tom Gardner, Jamie Short, River Allen, Jared Lewington (Tom Bath 61), Levi Landricombe, Shane Krac (Jordan Rogers 84).
Goals: Callum Hall 49, 77 Tom Bath 63.
Report by: Simon Ellis