TIVERTON TOWN 1
BY JIM CUNNEEN
SHORTWOOD hot-shot Duncan Culley bagged a brace as the Nailsworth outfit made it four points from the opening two Division One South and West matches in a testy clash with Tiverton Town.
Some players may have moved on after last season’s FA Cup and Southern League heroics, but this result proved one thing: That the Shortwood United spirit lives on.
Rovers were without James Singh, James Coates, John Can and Ross Langworthy, but raced into a two-goal lead thanks to two goals from Culley, but they were forced to dig deep as Tiverton roared back in the final 20 minutes.
Wood held out – and might have scored a third – but the celebration at the end showed what this win meant to the side and management.
Co-manager John Evans said:“We would have bitten your hand off if you offered us four points from the first two games – and we were delighted with the effort.
"It was backs against the wall for a while and all 14 of the players contributed. Matt Bennett and Jake Lee were outstanding.”
The open exchanges were even but Wood slowly pushed Tiverton back and former Sharpness starlet Marley Thomas found space but could not get enough power on his shot to bother Town keeper Wright.
Left-back Phil Veal and Bennett found time to push forward although a last ditch intervention from Jake lee once came to Wood’s rescue and Western curled an effort over.
Morford and Bennett shot over for Shortwood before the game changed in the 42nd minute. Bennett’s long-range shot was tipped over and from the resulting corner Culley headed home.
Wood came out after the break the stronger and Marley Thomas curled a cross just too far in front of the lunging Will Morford and Wood deserved their second goal just after the hour.
Culley was tripped as he raced into the box and the dynamic front man scored from the penalty spot.
Minutes later he was inches away from making it 3-0 but then the Devon outfit came back at the Wood and the pressure mounted.
After 71 minutes Tivvy scored the goal they deserved when Tom Gardner poked the ball home from close range.
Western then found himself unmarked at the far post but his shot lacked power and Thomas cleared another effort off the line.
Shortwood rang the changes and Dan Martin sent a fierce volley over the bar as Shortwood started to reassert themselves.
Culley troubled Wright with a flick that almost went in at the far post – but the last word went to King as he saved an injury time effort from Jesse Howe.
Shortwood: T King, S Rawlings, P Veal, A Thomas, J Lee, T Haddock, M Thomas, N Hancock, M Bennett, W Morford, D Culley, N Humphreys.