TIVERTON TOWN 2-2 BANBURY UNITED
For the second time in a matter of five days the Yellows had to settle for a two all draw, only this time the visitors, Banbury United, raced into a two-goal interval lead before a four-minute purple patch just after the hour mark saw Tivvy wipe out the deficit. Youngster Ravi Shamsi and veteran forward Jefferson Louis gave the visitors their lead in the first half, then Owen Howe continued his fine scoring run of form and Callum Hall scored his first for the club to set up what will now be 3 meetings between the sides in just seven days. One sour note for the afternoon was the sight of captain Jamie Price leaving the field on a stretcher just before half time with what looked like a serious knee injury and what will probably result in a lengthy period out of the game and the absence of the Landricombe brothers, at a family event, saw the squad stripped to the bones, only James Richards and George Rogers named as outfield substitutes.
After the eventful FA Cup tie back in August which saw Banbury eventually run out 4-2 winners, there was an air of revenge about the tie, for the Yellows anyway, both sides `sussing` each other out in the early exchanges until the first meaningful action of the afternoon saw the visitors take the lead on fifteen minutes. A throw in on the left allowed young forward Ravi Shamsi, on loan from Championship side Fulham, roll his way past Tom Gardner before firing accurately past Rice at his near post, which at least had some effect as most of the remaining thirty-or-so first half minutes saw Tivvy on top. Continuous quality wing play and deliveries down the right-hand side from Man of the Match Nick Hurst would on any other day have brought about an equaliser at least, one such delivery found Tom Bath who drew a fine close range save from Puritans keeper Jack Harding, while another just evaded the out-stretched Owen Howe. The Yellows thought, albeit briefly, they had drawn level just before half time as Howe tapped home a Bath cross, celebrations cut short by an offside decision, moments before the visitors doubled their half-time lead.
The returning James Richards, on in place of the injured Price lost possession in a dangerous area, appearing to get his studs caught in the turf and Charlie Hawtin took full advantage, centring for veteran centre forward Louis to tap in number two from close range deep in to stoppage time. The same pair combined again early in the second period, Louis heading home what he thought was number three, only to be penalised for a foul on Mammola and a Tom Winters free kick was well blocked as the visitors looked to hammer home their advantage. Banbury captain Luke Carnell was struggling with the strength of Owen Howe and resulted to illegal means in his attempts to stop him on more than one occasion, an Ollie Knowles free kick from one such foul deflected narrowly wide and similar circumstances resulted in the beginning of the comeback. Again Carnell fouled Howe on the edge of the box, the resulting free-kick was handled in the area, Jack Self the guilty party and Howe sent Harding the wrong way from 12 yards for his sixth goal in five matches and only three minutes later, the sides were level. An excellent passing move down the right between Hurst, Knowles and Short resulted in the latter crossing to Callum Hall who drilled in, left footed for his first for Tivvy from 15 yards.
Another fine cross from Hurst missed the sliding Bath by inches as visiting defenders stood watching as Tivvy looked to ensure they would be no mid-week cross country trek, alas to no avail and it was the visitors who almost snatched victory ten minutes from time. Second half substitute Conor McDonagh, on in place of Louis, was played through on goal and with only Rice to beat somehow contrived to screw his shot wide of the far post with the goal at his mercy. I don’t know if Tivvy have ever played the same side five times in one season but that is now the case for Banbury United. So, meeting number three will take place at the Spencer Stadium on Tuesday evening for a place in the next round of the FA Trophy before meeting number four takes place next Saturday, at the same place, in the Southern League.
Tiverton: Martin Rice, NICK HURST, Callum Hall, Jamie Price (James Richards 43, George Rogers 80), Ben Mammola, Tom Gardner, Jamie Short, Ollie Knowles, Owen Howe, Tom Bath, Scott Rogers.
Goals: Owen Howe 61 pen, Callum Hall 64.
Report By: Simon Ellis