Wimborne bagged their fifth successive home league win to demonstrate that they belong at this level.
In a highly entertaining game, both teams created goal attempts galore, but fine goalkeeping, heroic defending, and profligate finishing restricted the scoring to a Toby Holmes header, some Luke Burbidge magic, and a late consolation by Tivvy substitute Josh Wadham.
Manager Matty Holmes restored Scott Arnold to the centre of defence, and had a strong bench to call on.
Tiverton came flying out of the blocks and had the better of the early exchanges. On 9 minutes, skipper Arnold and another defender went to clear a cross in the penalty area. The Wimborne stalwart stayed on the ground in obvious agony, and after prolonged treatment, he was carefully stretchered off the pitch. Manager Holmes adjusted his formation with Lee Francis coming into midfield.
When the game resumed, Tiverton’s danger man, Levi Landricombe, was only just wide with a speculative overhead effort. Wimborne grew into the game and Luke Burbidge floated a delicate cross over tall keeper Liam Armstrong which was scrambled away, before the elusive winger’s next cross was headed over by Toby Holmes on 13 minutes.
With both teams playing creative, expansive football, play flowed from end to end. Tiverton’s Harrison Davis charged through midfield to shoot narrowly wide; Franklyn Clarke played Toby through but he was stopped by a well-timed block from Tom Gardner.
At the mid-point of the half, the elegant Tom Bath selflessly set-up Landricombe who was thwarted by an acrobatic goal-line clearance from Paddy Hester. Play immediately switched to the other end where Burbidge’s chip over Armstrong came back off the cross-bar. In the next minute Sam Davidson’s volley was cleared off the line by Josh Key and Toby blasted the rebound over the bar. It was breathtaking stuff, and terrific entertainment.
Surprisingly we had to wait until the 48th minute for the first goal. Billy Maybury’s 25 yard free-kick evaded the wall, but not Armstrong who made a spectacular diving save. From the resulting corner, Luke Holmes’ cross to the far post was headed home by Toby.
Three minutes later Tivvy’s Davis once more surged through midfield and Matt Oldring put his body on the line to block the shot. After a corner slipped from his grasp, home stopper Gerard Benfield made a triple save, twice with his feet and once with his hands, to keep out the visitors.
Wimborne’s full-backs, Stefan Penny and Hester, were in eye-catching form and joined the attack at every opportunity as delicate one-touch football on the soft surface (well done groundsman Brian Sibley and his helpers for making the pitch so playable) was appreciated by the crowd.
Referee Scriven decided it was time to give out his cards, and chose 7 recipients in the second-half. This is no way reflected the tone of the game.
But a one-goal lead is precarious. And after Landricombe had spurned two more good chances, Burbidge settled nerves with a great individual goal on 87 minutes. Setting off thirty yards out, he beat two defenders before drawing the keeper and slotting home.
Tiverton substitute Josh Wadham pulled one back three minutes into stoppage time when his low shot from the right-hand side of the penalty area rifled across Benfield and into the far corner, but by then Wimborne’s defence had secured the points.
A terrific team performance by the Magpies. All the boys have to do now is to take this home form on our travels – maybe Salisbury on Saturday is a good place to start!
Before that game, we start our defence of the Dorset Senior Cup at Shaftesbury on Tuesday, kick-off 7:45 pm.
Wimborne: Benfield, Penny, Hester, Arnold (Francis 9), Oldring, Clarke, Davidson, L.Holmes, T.Holmes (Flynn 87), Burbidge, Maybury.
Unused subs: Collins, Young, Lee