BANBURY UNITED 1-2 TIVERTON TOWN
At last, the Yellows finally managed to register a W against the familiar opposition of Banbury United in meeting number four out of five for the season. After the two-all draw between the two sides at Ladysmead the previous Saturday in the FA Trophy, the tie was settled in favour of Banbury by three goals to two in extra time, coming from 2-1 down with only ten men, on the following Tuesday evening and again, the Yellows had to come from behind to this time seal victory. Only one place and one point separated the two sides in the standings before kick-off, the close cagey affair expected by most was not far from the full story, the only difference, chances taken. Matt Peake-Pijnens` deflected effort gave the hosts the lead ten minutes into the second period before Levi Landricombe drew the sides level in spectacular fashion and Owen Howe continued his fine recent scoring run, heading home with eight minutes remaining.
Depleted in numbers by the long-term injuries to Messrs Jamie Price and Jordan Rogers, add to the list the hamstring stricken Jamie Short but boosted by the arrival of central defender Owen Irish from Division One South &West side Taunton Town, the Yellows could at least manage to name more than just George Rogers on the subs bench, whilst the hosts made one change from the previous encounter, Connor McDonagh, who scored the winner in mid-week, was given a starting place in place of Charlie Wise. Both sides had clear-cut first half chances to take the lead, Mike Landricombe was inches away from getting on the end of Tom Gardners` flick-on from eventual Man of the Match Ollie Knowles corner while veteran Puritans forward Jefferson Louis headed wide when well-placed early on and then Louis curled millimetres wide following a quick break, hitting the side netting and sparking ill-judged home celebrations which were quickly curtailed while wing-back Nick Hurst dragged a left foot shot wide after getting on the end of a fine move involving Michael Landricombe and Howe down the right hand side.
The Yellows will have little trouble in maintaining their lofty league position for the rest of the season if they can replicate the form and match-play of that seen in the second half, albeit having to come from behind, especially in tough up-coming fixtures at home to Redditch, Stratford and Kettering as well as their shortest journey of the season to Weymouth. Jefferson Louis` audacious chip almost gave the hosts the lead four minutes in, his effort coming back off the upright and Nash blasted the rebound straight at Rice and another good passing move involving Louis, Shamsi and Hawtin six minutes later saw Banbury take the lead, Peake-Pijnen played though on goal and his shot deflected in off Gardner despite Rice getting hands to it and only wayward finishing prevented the hosts from extending their lead further and were made to pay the ultimate price for their profligacy in front of goal.
A simple ball forward from Knowles to Levi Landricombe just inside the Banbury half appeared to pose little, even no threat to Jack Hardings goal, but Landricombes vision spotted Harding too far out and as he has done on several previous occasions, from fully 35 yards, expertly lobbed in the equaliser for his fifth goal at the Spencer stadium in only four matches this season. Again, Banbury piled on the pressure in search of the winner but were undone by a quick counter. Ollie Knowles broke away down the left only to have his progress crudely brought to a halt and his delivery from the resulting free kick found Owen Howe unmarked, who headed home from 12 yards for his seventh in as many matches.
Cue the proverbial `kitchen-sink` thrown at the Yellows back-line in the 12 or so remaining minutes, but this time there would be no way back in to the match for the Puritans and with favourable results from other matches, the Yellows climbed one place to sixth, Banbury’s defeat dropped them to tenth.
Tiverton: Martin Rice, Nick Hurst, Callum Hall, Owen Irish, Ben Mammola, Tom Gardner (James Richards 65), Michael Landricombe, OLLIE KNOWLES, Owen Howe, Levi Landricombe, Tom Bath (Scott Rogers 67).
Goals: Levi Landricombe 72, Owen Howe 82.
Report by Simon Ellis