Tiverton Town (1) 2, Guildford City (0) 0
By Barry Underwood
Against the odds this was a vastly improved performance by Guildford against a side still chasing the South & West Championship. Composed in defence and dangerous on the break a number of home supporters were questioning how this side had conceded so many goals over the season.
Just one goal down until 90th minute stoppage time, City were only thwarted in the second-half by two quite magnificent saves by home keeper Mike Searle. Such a performance was remarkable given that a major traffic incident en-route had led to four players travelling independently to be severely delayed, and indeed three of them failed to arrive at all! City thus played the first 20 minutes of the match with ten men, and then after Anthony Bridgeman’s arrival (to cheers from the crowd) they had no substitute available during the match.
Of course sterling performance against the odds or not this was still a defeat and with Fleet gaining a point in their match, City will need to gain a minimum of two points from their last two matches and hope that Fleet slip up in their remaining fixtures.
On the break City, and in particular Joel Hughes, looked dangerous. On 14 minutes a typically strong Hughes run from deep raised optimism in the visitor’s ranks, and on 25 minutes seconds after Antony Hall had saved well from a close range header, Joel Hughes launched another raid down the right before sadly seeing his low cross intercepted at full stretch.
Minutes later a long throw from Anthony Bridgeman was flicked on at the near post and in a goalmouth scramble the ball was eventually cleared for a corner. Whilst Tiverton enjoyed territorial advantage, Antony Hall and the City backline were well organised and direct threats on goal were kept to a minimum. Just as it looked that City had reached the interval without incident the home side inevitably struck. Max Kowal found enough space on the right edge of the box to fire low into the corner.
Half-time Tiverton Town 1, Guildford City 0
Not deterred City played some assured football during the second period. Early on Jordan Taylor had chance to run across the front of the box but his effort when it came was sliced wide. On 52 minutes chances were exchanged at either end. Firstly Matt Oldring headed out from under his own crossbar and from the resultant loose ball Tiverton volleyed over, and then seconds later City won a corner from which Joel Hughes headed over. Antony Hall twice made assured saves, but always dangerous on the break City came close when Nuno Pereira latched onto Hall’s quick clearance to shoot just wide.
A minute later Joel Hughes, quite probably the best player on the pitch, wriggled his way into the right side of the box. After weighing up his options he cut inside and unleashed a thunderbolt of an effort that seemed goal bound but somehow Searle in the home goal got a touch and the ball rattled the crossbar before bouncing down and being cleared from the resulting scramble.
With fifteen minutes remaining the home side thrice went close; the last occasion Antony Hall saving well with his legs. Minutes later City had another glorious chance to equalise. Dom Ogun showed great skill on the left flank and his fine cross was met by young Joe Thoroughgood at the far post whose close range volley was heading goalward only to be miraculously saved at full stretch by a scrambling Searle.
Tiverton enjoyed possession in the final stages and sadly for City hope of getting something from the game was extinguished in stoppage time when ex-Liverpool forward Michael Nardiello raced clear to lob Antony Hall and confirm the home side’s victory.
Team: Antony Hall, Bruce McPhail, Dammy Bada, Matt Oldring, Jamie Thoroughgood, Jordan Taylor, Joe Thoroughgood, Anthony Bridgeman, Nuno Pereira, Joel Hughes, Dom Ogun.
Yellow card: Bruce McPhail
Red cards: Nil
Referee: Andrew Quin
Attendance – 248
Match Day Photographs Here