Southern Premier League

Tiverton Town

Mudge (66)

Hednesford Town

Palmer (50)

(0) 1

(0) 1



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Lee Barrow



Grantham Town (H) 4.12.04

The Pitmen are held to a draw this afternoon as struggling Tiverton earn themselves a point at Ladysmead by pegging the visitors back after Carl Palmer's opener

Having beaten the same opposition at Keys Park just seven days previously, player/manager Chris Brindley made two changes to his side for today's reverse fixture as midfielder Lee Williams returned to the starting XI in place of Grant Beckett and Marlon Walters replaced the injured Andy Bell

Tiverton - who had played well at Keys Park for large parts of the game but had succumbed to Bell's solitary goal - made two changes to their side for the return to Ladysmead as Tom Stocco and Kezie Ibe came in ahead of Steve Winter and David Steele

With only a month until Christmas, the weather had started to take a turn towards winter with temperatures dipping across the country in the past week. The Ladymead pitch was hard and bobbly, although the visitors made light of this as they started with an assertiveness; in the second minute, a fine through ball from Williams - aimed at McSweeney - was cut out by Tiverton goalkeeper Mark Ovendale, who raced to the edge of his penalty area to smother the ball at the feet of the Pitmen's top scorer

Tiverton's first corner of the game was cleared by the visitors a minute later, prompting a quick counter-attack that saw Matt Turner break down the right and play Leon McSweeney into space. The Irishman drifted inside of Chris Vinnicombe's covering tackle and unleashed a left-footed shot from twenty yards out that was just wide of Ovendale's right-hand post

Stocco's first involvement in the game came in the eighth minute as the stand-in right-back allowed McSweeney to rob the ball off his cheaply, allowing the striker to enter the Tiverton penalty area and drill a shot in across goal that Ovendale did well to hold down to his left

The hosts had struggled to get going on the hard, bobbly surface and had been guilty of several misplaced passes in the opening ten minutes that had gifted possession straight back to the Pitmen, who had looked dangerous on the break through McSweeney and Turner

The Yellows' first sight at goal came in the fourteenth minute as neat approach play involving Mike Booth and Vinnicombe played the dangerous Jamie Mudge into space down the right flank, ahead of Mark Branch. His low cross from the byeline was aimed at Ibe, but Lee Barrow was on hand to scramble the ball away from danger at the near post

Three minutes later, McSweeney left Rob Cousins standing in midfield with a clever swerve of the body and made his way down the left flank. He showed Stocco a clean pair of heels as he cut inside and shaped to shoot, only for Nathan Rudge to come across and intercept promptly for the home side before the striker could shoot

Palmer was spoken to by referee Mr Greenwood on twenty minutes for bringing down Cousins in the centre circle with a mistimed tackle on the Tiverton man

It had been a game short of quality in either penalty area thus far, with neither side really having an attempt of note in the opening quarter of the game. Ibe did well to hold off the attentions of Richard Teesdale on twenty-four minutes as he received a pass from Mudge out on the right flank, cutting inside but stabbing his shot wide of the near post that Ryan Young had covered

The 462 strong crowd had to wait until after the half-hour mark for any play of any real note as both sides looked to control the midfield area over the next ten minutes. On thirty-two minutes, Booth did well to outfox Branch down the right and cut into the Hednedsford penalty area, attempting a curling shot beyond Young at into the far corner of the net but not getting enough curve on his shot and saw his effort drift wide

Three minutes later, Booth's cross-field pass found Ibe on the left, who did well to control the ball and beat Teesdale before unleashing a long-range effort that Young pushed around his post with a fine one-handed save

Vinnicombe's lofted cross on thirty-six minutes dropped over the heads of everyone and landed in the Hednesford six-yard box, close to the incoming Ibe at the far post. Barrow - having a good game at the back for the visitors - was once again on hand to hack the ball away from the clutches of the Tiverton striker

The home side were finishing the half strongly and Young kept his clean sheet intact a minute later as he made an unorthodox flying save to push away a shot from Harvey at the second attempt as his initial save spun towards goal

This was to prove to be Harvey's final action of the game as he picked up an injury in the build-up and hobbled off following treatment; he was replaced by Shaun Goff

With four minutes of the first half remaining, Rudge picked up the game's first booking as he clattered into Marlon Walters and was rightly booked for the challenge

Williams had his name taken by the matchday official in first-half added time as he had sent Iain Harvey sprawling after the pair had challenged for a high ball forwards from Booth

It had been a dreadfully poor spectacle of a game so far in truth, with only a late rally from Tiverton offering any goalmouth action of note in a first period that had been largely flat and uninspiring

Both managers appeared to rally their troops at the break, with Martyn Rogers' side having a good chance to open the scoring just ninety seconds after the restart; Mudge went on a mazy run past three white shirts before shooting from the edge of the Hednesford penalty area that Young held well down to his left

Young made another timely stop two minutes later to deny Paul Milsom, claiming a bouncing ball ahead of the striker after Ibe had headed a long free-kick from Goff into the path of his strike partner

Despite their bright start to the half, Tiverton switched off momentarily at the crucial moment on fifty minutes as Barrow's long, hopeful ball forwards was allowed to bounce by Cousins, who assumed the pass was running through to Ovendale. The ball was seized upon by McSweeney, who was alive to the ball and controlled it well and showed excellent control to dummy his shot at goal and leave Ovendale on the floor before unselfishly teeing up Palmer. The Hednesford skipper had the simple task of rolling the ball into the empty net from ten yards out, with Ovendale powerless to get back to his feet and make the save

The visitors could have extended their lead three minutes later as Williams whipped in a free-kick from the right flank and found the head of Teesdale at the far post, only for the former Walsall youngster to head inches wide of the upright

A quick break from Tiverton on fifty-six minutes saw Mudge make an enterprising run down the right to reach Vinnicombe's pass; his cross found Milsom, who could only head straight down into the turf, with Young on hand to claim the bouncing ball on his goal line


Striker Steele came on for Tiverton in place of the hapless Stocco just before the hour mark, who had looked ill at ease at right-back having been forced into playing out of position to cover for the loss of the injured Winter 

Barrow went close to doubling the Pitmen's lead on sixty-two minutes as he met Anthony Maguire's inswinging corner kick with a full-blooded header, but got underneath the ball and headed over the crossbar and into the Hednesford supporters gathered behind Ovendale's goal

Four minutes later, the home side produced a positive response as they got themselves back into the game; Booth's long ball forwards was flicked on by Ibe into the path of Milsom, who in turn played a lovely through ball on to Mudge, who timed his run to perfection to break the flimsy Hednesford offside trap and curl his shot beyond the reach of Young and into the far corner of the net from twelve yards out

Ovendale denied the Pitmen a response on seventy minutes as he tipped Teesdale's goalbound header onto the crossbar after Turner's free-kick had found the young defender at the far post

A minute later, a quick break from Tiverton saw Mudge seize upon a loose pass from Ross Adams and play Ibe in on goal, only for Young to spot the danger early and make a save at the feet of the Yeovil Town loanee before he could pull the trigger

The game had very much been a slow burner and reached fever pitch with fifteen minutes remaining as the hosts pushed forwards in search of a winner and were awarded a penalty kick. A period of pressure on the Hednesford penalty area saw the ball worked out to Mudge, whose cut-back and subsequent shot looked to be heading for the far corner of the net until Branch intervened with a clearance that clearly struck the teenager's hand. Mr Greenwood awarded the Yellows a spot-kick and sent the left-back off for denying the home side a certain goal

Steele spotted the ball and took the subsequent kick, but despite sending Young the wrong way from twelve yards, skewed his effort wide of the left-hand post as he tried to place his penalty to the goalkeeper's left

This appeared to affect Tiverton's attacking instincts as they struggled to recapture their attacking form of earlier in the half in the final few minutes; Ibe got in behind the makeshift Hednesford defence on eighty-one minutes but his first-time lob over Young ended up on top of the stopper's net as the Hednesford defence appealed in vain for offside

McSweeney made a fine run into the Tiverton penalty area three minutes as he received a threaded pass from Williams, only to be pulled back by a late offside flag when he appeared to have come from behind the Yellows defenders to receive the ball


With five minutes remaining, Maguire won a free-kick on the left flank and quickly teed the ball up to goalscorer Palmer, whose powerfully struck low shot took a nick off the leg of Booth and skipped past the post

The already-booked Rudge was the second player to see red with a couple of minutes remaining as his mistimed tackle on Turner saw him earn a second yellow card for the foul and led to a bout of pushing and shoving between both sets of players before Rudge departed the field of play

Both sides appeared to have settled for a point apiece at this juncture, with the Pitmen the happier of the two sides having taken four points off their struggling hosts in the past week and having played the final fifteen minutes with ten men. The draw leaves Brindley's men still stoutly stuck in mid-table, sitting in ninth place in the Southern Premier League standings after a hugely inconsistent past ten games. they get the chance to exact revenge on another side they have played very recently as they play host to fellow mid-table dwellers Grantham Town at Keys Park next Saturday, having lost 2-0 at the South Kesteven Stadium just a couple of weeks ago

Tiverton Town: Ovendale, Stocco (Steele 58), Vinnicombe, Booth , Rudge   (88) ©, Cousins, Willis, Harvey (Goff 37), Milsom, Ibe, Mudge      Subs Unused: Hallett, Densham

Hednesford Town: Young; Adams, Branch  (75), Barrow, Teesdale, Williams , Maguire, Palmer ©, Walters, McSweeney, Turner    Subs Unused: Brindley, Evans, Anthrobus, Beckett, Rogers