Tiverton Town set unwanted record as Swindon leave with the points
DEFEAT to Swindon Supermarine on Saturday saw Tiverton Town extend their winless record in the Southern League to 15 matches – a new club record.
Goals in either half from Chris Taylor and Ashley Edenborough gave the visitors a deserved victory.
And the margin of defeat could have been greater but for an inspired performance from goalkeeper Chris Wright, who saved a penalty before pulling off a string of superb blocks in a first half Swindon dominated.
Tivvy rallied in the second half and pushed hard for a leveller in an increasingly niggily and ill-tempered match, but the victory was no less than a talented and savvy Supermarine side deserved.
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Reflecting on Tivvy's new unwanted record, manager Mark Saunders conceded confidence was at a low ebb in the Tivvy dressing room, but said the players had to improve their decision-making to dig themselves out of their rut.
"Confidence is a massive factor," said Saunders. "At the moment everyone feels down, no more so than me and Hedley (Steele – assistant manager), but we need to keep the players going through it.
"They are a decent bunch of lads but they just need that bit of belief and they don't have it at the moment.
"We can't afford to carry players in the run we are in at the moment – we need to give ourselves every chance possible.
"We have come up against a lively side that are up there and that is why they are up there – they keep grinding out results.
"We were fortunate to only be 1-0 down at half-time because it could have been more. But we have come out at half-time and had much more of a go. We were getting into good areas but failing to hit the target.
"Our decision-making wasn't good enough. We were crossing balls into the box when nobody was in there and when we should be crossing we are taking an extra touch and the crosses aren't coming in.
"We are passing when we should be shooting and shooting when we should be passing and just choosing the wrong option.
"They were a tough side but we have got to help ourselves. The effort is there but it is just not happening."
In Tom Gardner's absence, the impressive Josh Concanen was drafted in alongside Kevin Hill at the back. But things got off to a disastrous start as Adam Faux was harshly penalised for handball when a cross struck his arm, although Josh Parsons sent the penalty straight down the middle, allowing Wright to save.
Parsons was again foiled – this time by the underside of the bar – before Edenborough saw a venomous low shot beaten away by Wright as Tivvy desperately clung on.
But the pressure became too much for them and, on the half-hour mark, Taylor was given too much space on the edge of the box and he lashed his effort low beyond Wright.
Josh Searle and Michael Nardiello picked up bookings for late tackles as tempers flared, before the winger tested Swindon's Kent Kauppinen with a low effort.
Hill then headed straight at the keeper as Tivvy went to three at the back as they searched for a leveller, which led to more chances going forward but also increasingly frequent gaps at the back.
And Swindon capitalised eight minutes from time as Edenborough breached a square Tivvy defence and, despite seeing his initial effort almost inevitably saved by Wright, the rebound fell kindly for him and he tapped home into an empty net.
Jules Emati-Emati and Nardiello both went desperately close, but it was too little too late against a solid Supermarine outfit.
"We need to make sure we turn up on Tuesday ready to have a scrap," Saunders said of tonight's game at home to North Leigh. "The lads were getting involved in things but I would rather see more aggression in the tackle than altercations afterwards.
"Chris Wright did ever so well. I told him to stand up for the penalty because, according to the photo in their match programme, he hit the last one straight down the middle, and he saved it.
"I also thought JC did very well at centre-back – he had an excellent game and played well."