TIVERTON TOWN 2-2 HEREFORD
For the first time in a month, or as near as makes no difference, the Yellows took to their Ladysmead home to entertain high-flying Hereford and twice had to come from behind after Pablo Haysham and former Evesham forward Lance Smith had headed the Bulls into the lead, Owen Howe won and converted a penalty and Tom Bath`s close range finish six minutes from time secured a share of the spoils while the visitors finished with only ten men, Mike McGrath sent for an early shower after picking up two cautions. Yes, the visitors will probably look to the fact that they created more clear-cut chances than Tivvy and subsequently feel hard done by that they didn`t take all three points but the only statistic that the majority really remembers or cares about is the full-time score.
Captain Jamie Price was restored to the starting line up in place of Callum Hall, the only change to those that had beaten Bishops Stortford last time out, while former skipper James Richards returned to the squad for the first time in over a year, the visitors remained unchanged from those who had comfortably seen off Kings Langley previously. The early chances fell in front of the large group of vocal travelling Bulls fans, prolific forward John Mills fired wide with the goal at his mercy and then produced a smart save from Rice and it was no real surprise when they took the lead on nineteen minutes, although a certain amount of controversy preceded it. A throw in awarded to the visitors allowed Jamie Bird to scamper down the left, although the majority in close attendance were convinced the throw should have gone the other way, but Haysham headed home Birds` precise delivery.
The Yellows, though, were soon back on terms. Ollie Knowles forward ball created confusion in the Hereford defence and eventually Owen Howe was clumsily bundled by Dara O`Shea to the floor and then emphatically despatched the resulting penalty, sending Bulls keeper Martin Horsell the wrong way for his sixth goal of the season. Chances came and went for both sides to take the lead before the visitors eventually did, another Bird delivery from the left found Smith unmarked at the back post to nod home although a slightly fortuitous Horsell save prevented Bath, his skidding shot finger-tipped onto the post and just out of the reach of the lurking Levi Landricombe, from drawing the sides level again before the interval.
A more even-steven second half followed. Owen Howe headed a great chance straight at Horsell almost straight from kick-off from Jamie Shorts` accurate delivery while the visitors continued to threaten with pace on the break, Smith headed a glorious chance wide to extend their lead further, a superb sliding Tom Gardner challenge prevented Mills from getting in again and Jamie Price volleyed straight at Horsell from Knowles free-kick in the second periods, thus far, stand-out opportunities. Tom Bath may not be, by his own admission, as prolific as his striking partners, but he definitely has an uncanny ability of delivering the goods at vital times. His was the winner in the opening game of the season versus Bishops Stortford, no-one will ever forget his contribution in last season`s Taunton and Salisbury play-off matches, and he was again in the right place at the right time to draw the sides level for a second time. A partially cleared Knowles corner found Levi Landricombe on the edge of the area and his initial effort was clinically turned home from six yards by Bath with only six minutes remaining.
In what had been a full blooded rather than nasty affair, cautions dished out were plenty to both sides and after Bulls midfielder McGrath had been cautioned in the first half he received a second for an off-the-ball incident shortly after Man of the Match Baths equaliser and try as they might with their numerical advantage in the final minutes, the Yellows couldn`t quite muster up a winner.
Tiverton: Martin Rice, Jamie Short, Michael Landricombe, Jamie Price, Ben Mammola, Tom Gardner (Callum Hall 81), Scott Rogers (Nick Hurst 81), Ollie Knowles, Owen Howe, Levi Landricombe, TOM BATH.
Goals: Owen Howe 26 (pen), Tom Bath 84
Report by: Simon Ellis