TIVERTON TOWN 2-1 BISHOPS STORTFORD
So, following the relevant promotions and relegations and the first meeting of the teams since two tightly contested FA Trophy matches in 2008, which the Yellows won 1-0 in a replay, Bishops Stortford rolled into town for the first league meeting between the two sides and the first Premier Division match seen at Ladysmead since 2011. Again, Tivvy would come out victorious and secure their first 3 points of the season after they came from behind to win, Jason Williams fired the visitors into an early second half lead before Tom Gardner (One of only two remaining players from the previous meeting, Stortford keeper Nicky Eyre being the other) drew the sides level before Tom Bath, only minutes after coming on, smashed home what would turn out to be the winner.
Clear cut chances were few and not too much separated the sides at the interval, although quite how Darren Foxley didn`t open the scoring for the visitors shortly before half time, only he will know, as his effort from close range crashed off the outside of the post with an open goal facing him. That said, both sides were clearly getting used to their respective new faces and played some nice football at times, there were several debutants in the Stortford side from that who were relegated from the Conference South last term, whilst Martin Rice, Man of the Match Callum Hall, Ollie Knowles, Jordan Rogers and eventually Glenn Gould (for the second time) made their competitive Yellows debuts.
The second half started in a similar vein, until the afore mentioned Foxley was given the freedom of the park down Stortford’s left wing, his accurate cross found Jason Williams unmarked, who guided a close-range effort home to give the visitors the lead.
Their lead lasted barely 5 minutes though. Tom Gardners last goal for Tivvy came in last seasons 2-1 defeat at Hereford as he volleyed home from close range from corner. Not an identical replica this time, but not a million miles away in the same breath, his control and left foot shot from the edge of the area squeezed its way through a crowded penalty area and past Eyre from a Ben Carter corner.
Last seasons top scorer Levi Landricombe returned to the side just after the hour after a summer operation to cure a troublesome knee, but it would be strike partner Tom Bath who would seal the victory. Bath made a nice habit of scoring timely and vital goals last season and he picked up from where he left off last term. Barely 2 minutes after he and Glenn Gould had entered the action in place of Howe and Carter, the two combined with probably their first touches as Goulds ball over the top of some statuesque defending found Bath in all sorts of space in front of goal, and despite the calls for offside (which was clearly not the case) he steadied himself to volley home from close range and despite their best efforts, Stortford could not find a way back into the match in the minutes that remained.
Tiverton: Martin Rice, Nick Hurst, CALLUM HALL, Jamie Price, Michael Landricombe, Tom Gardner, Jamie Short, Ollie Knowles, Owen Howe (Tom Bath 77), Jordan Rogers (Levi Landricombe 65), Ben Carter (Glenn Gould 77)
Goals: Tom Gardner 58, Tom Bath 79.
Report by: Simon Ellis