Jules and Jee play key roles as under-strength Tivvy win again
JULES Emati-Emati came off the bench to help Tiverton Town secure a fine away win over Cinderford Town and lift them up to third spot in the table.
Russell Jee opened the scoring with a fine finish on 25 minutes for Tivvy, who were without the services of influential trio Paul Kendall (suspended), Harry Nodwell (unavailable), and Andy Taylor (injured).
Cinderford started to enjoy the lion's share of both possession and chances, and the Yellows' failure to deal with an innocuous free-kick saw Scott Wilson level for the hosts.
It was then that Emati-Emati – admonished by manager Mark Saunders for not turning up for last week's draw against Didcot Town – turned things around, coming off the bench to set up Josh Searle before bagging a late third himself.
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Assistant manager Hedley Steele praised his players for the manner in which they battled to victory, but conceded the Yellows did not have it all their own way against a spirited Cinderford Town outfit.
"It was a thoroughly deserved win. Going away to Cinderford is always tough, and it was made even more so with the missing players we had," said Steele.
"Although it was a convincing win, it was by no means all one-way traffic. It was a good win but we had to work hard to get it on the day.
"They managed to get in behind us a couple of times and we had to rely on Chris Wright to bail us out on several occasions.
"We conceded a goal from a ball into the box which we did not think was particularly dangerous, but everybody left it for everybody else and one of their players smashed it home to level.
"But we weathered the little storm that came afterwards when they were probably looking to win the game and won it ourselves."
Tiverton made a solid start to the match, and with David Steele shifted to the right side of midfield, Jee soon took centre stage as he dictated play from the middle of the park.
And the central midfielder opened the scoring with a neat turn to beat a couple of defenders, before drilling home from 15 yards into the far corner of the net. The hosts' Lewis Sommers was then denied twice in quick succession by the alert Chris Wright in goal as Cinderford pushed hard for an equaliser. Kevin Hill then squandered a clear chance to extend the Yellows' lead.
Scott Wilson and Dean Lee also saw presentable chances blocked by Wright, who was certainly the busier of the two keepers as the first half drew to a close.
And the second half continued as the first ended, with Geraint Bater and Lee Smith forcing two superb blocks from Wright from close range.
But the keeper was eventually beaten on 63 minutes when Matt Barnes' apparently-unthreatening free-kick was not cleared, allowing Wilson to smash home from close range.
After a continued spell of Cinderford pressure, Tivvy regained the initiative with the introduction of Emati-Emati and Searle, with the striker setting up the former Exeter City player to restore Tivvy's lead with a tidy finish.
Young substitute Max Bristow again impressed for the Yellows, this time after coming off the bench, and he set up Emati-Emati to fire home a third two minutes from time.
Steele singled out a number of players for praise in the wake of the match, including Adam Faux, who partnered the sturdy Tom Gardner in central defence before a facial injury forced his withdrawal.
"We did our usual homework and sent the team out to cope with how we thought opposition was going to be like," said Steele.
"We set ourselves out to be more physical than maybe we thought they were actually going to be.
"Adam Faux took a whack to the face which has probably resulted in a broken nose but, being as tough as nails, he wanted to carry on.
"But we had a good look at the lad and realised that we wasn't firing on all cylinders with it so decided to take him off and move JC (Josh Concanen) to central defence.
"It isn't a position he is unfamiliar with and he did a really good and competent job there."
Steele continued: "Tom Gardner in central defence put in an extremely good performance from start to finish.
"In their centre-forward, he came up against one of the biggest players there is in our league, and he stood toe to toe with him and came out on top.
"With a little bit of time left we threw on Max Bristow, and with his youthful energy he chased everything down and did not give them a second to dwell on the ball.
"He ended up laying the ball off for Jules to score his goal, so we were very pleased with his contribution again."