A clean sheet was the bedrock of Wimborne’s third away league victory of the campaign, as three second-half goals clinched a vital three points. Toby Holmes scored twice, and substitute Curtis Young scored with his first touch in stoppage time, with the master-of-assists, Luke Burbidge, setting up all the goals.
Manager Matty Holmes sent out the same XI as last week. And it was the Magpies, 5 points and 4 places above their hosts at the start of the day, who took the game to their opponents from the first whistle.
In the first minute, a mis-placed defensive header from Franklyn Clarke’s free-kick forced a good save from keeper Liam Armstrong. Five minutes later the keeper was in action again, this time saving from Toby after Luke Holmes had played him through on the left, and in the next attack the keeper could only watch as Toby’s shot from the right went past him and agonisingly wide of his far post. In the next minute Burbidge charged down the keeper’s clearance, wriggled along the by-line, but was unable to find a black & white shirt to complete the job. And all this in the first nine minutes – it was a promising start.
On 18 minutes Stef Penny worked his way in from the left touchline, and his 20-yard shot was heading for the far top corner until the flying Armstrong made a spectacular save. Shortly after Toby worked his way inside on the opposite wing but had no power on his shot. Burbidge played a ball through to Toby but the yellow-shirted defenders crowded him out before he got a shot away.
But gradually Tiverton came into the game as they hustled and harried in mid-field, and Gerard Benfield made a confident catch under pressure on the half-hour mark. All of Tivvy’s goal attempts were either wide of the target or blocked, but with Levi Landricombe and Stewart Yetton up front they were always going to be a handful. At one stage the game threatened to boil over as inconsistent refereeing frustrated both players and dug-outs, with players running thirty yards to surround the man in black over minor misdemeanours. Fortunately all 22 players remained on the pitch, and there was time for Toby to send another effort inches wide after Burbidge led a quick counter-attack, before referee Annis brought an incident-packed half to a close.
Benfield saved from a Tivvy header at the start of the second period before Burbidge was brought down just outside the penalty area at the other end from Clarke’s overlapping pass. It was Billy Maybury distance! The skipper’s free-kick beat the wall, but crashed back off the cross-bar.
Home full-backs Josh Key and Callum Hall were causing problems down the flanks, and for a time the balance of the game was on a knife-edge. But on the hour mark, Wimborne took the lead their enterprising play deserved. Burbidge played a perfectly-weighted ball over the central defenders for Toby Holmes who finished with aplomb. Luke Holmes epitomised the Magpies’ determination with a towering header in midfield against a taller opponent. Clarke continued to be a threat down the right, and Burbidge hit the outside of the post following a corner on the left.
A floated through ball by Max Smallcombe was just out of Landricombe’s reach as Tivvy’s aerial assault tested the visiting defence. However, a crucial second goal came on 75 minutes. Sam Davidson intercepted in his own half, strode purposefully forward and found Burbidge. He released Toby on the left, and the prolific striker bided his time before finding the back of the net.
A series of Tivvy free-kicks were launched into the Wimborne penalty area, and on 82 minutes a header went just wide. Keeper Armstrong denied Toby a hat-trick with a brave save at his feet, but the visitors did get their third in time added-on. Burbidge played Curtis Young through and the substitute scored with virtually his first touch of the game.
This was another excellent team performance which lifts the Magpies to tenth in the table, but looking down still only eight points above the relegation zone. Recent statistics, however, are impressive – one defeat in the last 11 league games, 10 goals scored in the last three, Toby scoring 11 in the last six. Tough games await, but momentum is with the Magpies in their attempt to stay in this division.
Wimborne: Benfield, Clarke, Penny (Lee 46), Davidson, Oldring, Maybury, Stokoe, Francis, T.Holmes (Young 89), Burbidge, L.Holmes (Shepherd 90+2). Unused subs: Walsh, Prior
Report by Graham Dunn