Match report

Oxford City 2 - 1 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 27/09/2008   FA Cup
Alan Reidy

FA Cup Second Qualifying Round



With plans now in place to travel to Oxfordshire rather than Berkshire, Tiverton set off with the long-coveted Phil Walsh aboard the team coach, the Bristol based Newport County striker having finally been signed just a matter of hours before the deadline. Walsh went straight into the starting line-up meaning there was no place in the team for Paul Wyatt, while with Mark Saunders absent and Bobby Hopkinson serving the second of a three match suspension Mike Booth helped fill the midfield. Good news defensively was that Matt Villis had now recovered from a hamstring injury, but Adam Faux was still unavailable.



The reshuffled Yellows set about knocking Oxford City out of the FA Cup for the second time this season, and for large chunks of the first half it was Tiverton that found themselves in the ascendency. Walsh and Tom Knighton seemed to hit it off in the opening exchanges, but Tivvy were typically shot-shy and Ryan Harrison in the City goal was seldom stretched. Knighton raced onto a long ball from Scott Hiley after five minutes but saw his shot blocked, Walsh fired straight at Harrison from the edge of the area, and the Oxford glovesman showed unflappable handling when he confidently plucked from the air a hanging cross from Hiley.



City were sprightly on the counter attack, and Andy Baird had the first sight of goal for the home side but lifted his effort well over the top having jinked inside Nathan Rudge and unleashed a scud from eighteen yards. James Faulkner was denied by a desperate block from Villis as the Blues started to even up proceedings, and George Redknap wasted a shooting opportunity by firing high towards the city centre.



Knighton was Tiverton’s main threat and saw a brace of shots blocked in quick succession, and Steve Jackman nicked the ball from Walsh and nodded away the danger after Chris Vinnicombe had found space on the left and delivered a fine centre. Harrison remained untested as he watchedJames Fraser’s shot sail up and up, and gathered comfortably as Walsh met Hiley’s cross with a soft header. The first half was to remain goalless as Vinnicombe messed up Tiverton’s best opening – Walsh and Fraser exchanged a number of passes as the veteran leftie drifted inside and into space, but the final ball sat unkindly and Vinnicombe found his feet tangled.



If Tiverton were the dominant team before the break then the roles were well and truly reversed on the resumption, and the increasingly influential Mark Bell began to cause problems down the Oxford left. Firstly he skinned Hiley and fired straight at Steve Book in the Tiverton goal, then set Faulkner on his way only for Book to stand up to the task once again, gathering a potentially awkward bobbling shot. On the hour Bell dragged a shot across the face of goal, and just a foot or two wide of the post as Oxford piled on the pressure.



At the other end Town came close twice – Fraser finally put in a shot that Harrison found too hot to handle but his parried save was hacked clear, and Booth dipped a fine effort that finally beat the Oxford ‘keeper but rattled the crossbar. But those two attempts would be the end of the Tiverton threat, and City deservedly nosed ahead just after the hour mark. Booth had nudged Liam Malone ten yards or so outside of the area, conceding a free kick. Steve Davis floated the set piece towards the penalty spot; Faulkner rose highest and glanced a header into the far corner.



Malone saw his sweet volley headed around the post by Rugde as Oxford sought a second, and Craig Falconbridge was twice denied by the left upright, the second from a spectacular diving header as he met Bell’s fine cross. Andy Gunn was also denied by the Tiverton goal frame, nodding onto and over the bar from a corner with ten minutes remaining. Five minutes later the game was all but decided when Rudge was sent off for showing his disapproval to the referee in the most agricultural manner, and a minute further on the Oxford lead was doubled thanks to substitute Michael Lyon’s unstoppable low drive from the right side of the penalty area.



Fellow substitute Jon Gardner skied a shot after racing clear with sleight of foot and leaving Tom Gardner in his wake, and with virtually the last kick of the game Tivvy pulled a goal back – too little too late – through Paul Wyatt, who had beaten a flat-footed defence and remained calm in sliding the ball beneath the advancing Harrison. But that was that, dreams of Wembley are now reserved for the FA Trophy!



Oxford City: Ryan Harrison; James Saulsbury, Steve Davis, Andy Gunn, George Redknap, Steve Jackman, Mark Bell, Liam Malone, James Faulkner (Jon Gardner 89), Andy Baird (Michael Lyon 41), Craig Falconbridge

Goals: Baird 62, Lyon 87

Booked: None

Sent Off: None



Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Scott Hiley (Paul Wyatt 71), Chris Vinnicombe (Paul Jarvis 74), Matt Villis, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, James Fraser, Arran Pugh (Radley Veale 60), Tom Knighton, Phil Walsh, Mike Booth

Goals: Wyatt 90

Booked: Vinnicombe 47

Sent Off: Rudge 86



Attendance: 257

This report ©2008 Alan Reidy






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