Match report

Tiverton Town 2 - 0 Banbury United

   Tuesday 18/11/2008   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

The league encounter against Banbury United at Ladysmead had all the makings of a dull draw. Tiverton Town were unable to win at home, barring a desperately late goal against Yate Town, while Banbury hadn’t won a league match on their travels since the tail end of last season, coincidentally here at Ladysmead. But it wasn’t a night for predictions or for normality as the game kicked off with Tivvy unusually attacking the Bolham Road end of the ground. And attack they did, once the early explorations were out of the way, with Paul Wyatt nearly getting a sight of goal as he raced towards a soft backwards header from the cumbersome Luke Bennett only for Banbury goalkeeper Andy Wheeler to reach the ball in the nick of time.

The Wyatt and Wheeler show continued as the custodian batted away a ferocious shot from the Tivvy attacker; Wyatt showing no rustiness on his first start for more than six weeks. A rare break from the visitors bore no fruit a few minutes later when Scott Bridges blasted a low shot that went a yard wide, with Steve Book casual and comfortable in his guard, and before long Wheeler was back in action to deny Arran Pugh as the Yellows midfielder received the ball from Mike Booth and worked his way to a shooting position on the edge of the Puritans’ penalty area.

Relentlessly Tiverton piled on the pressure, and Wyatt blazed a gilt-edged chance wide of the mark on the half-hour. Book cleared long and Wyatt, alone up front chased and beat Tommy Kinch before scampering into the area only to slice the ball wide of the target. All the while Tivvy were comfortable in possession and able to retain the ball almost at will against a lacklustre Banbury side, and the next opening wasn’t long in coming. This time it was Bobby Hopkinson, who had plodded almost anonymously to this point that put in an effort from distance. The looping shot had Wheeler backpedalling, just quickly enough to help the ball over the crossbar via the tips of his gloves.

Howard Forinton shot high and wide on the turn on another rare Banbury attack before Town finally took a deserved lead five minutes before the interval. Tiverton were allowing United some possession in the middle third, and this encouraged the Banbury fullbacks forward. Hopkinson was quick to exploit the space on the flanks as Nathan Rudge helped win the ball back, a long diagonal ball was pumped fifty yards towards the Puritans vacant right back spot. Aaron Stringfellow should have dealt with the launched cross field ball but as he reached it Alex Faux pelted down the wing to pressure and played the ball off the Banbury defender and out for a corner. Faux had made something out of nothing, Hopkinson’s kick from the quadrant was something else and Phil Walsh jumped highest of all to powerfully nod the ball beyond the otherwise exceptional Wheeler.

Stoppage time saw the visitors’ first shot on target but Book was down well to save from Nicky Gordon, and the early exchanges after the change of ends all saw Tiverton once more back in the ascendancy. Wheeler once again denied Wyatt with a smart save, and Adam Faux, who was enjoying an exceptional game on the right, could only scuff a weak left footed effort straight at the ‘keeper after a jinking run. Wheeler kept up his one man show by pushing Walsh’s curler over the top and then saving from James Fraser, and at the other end, as the game opened up Forinton saw his strike clip the outside of the post.

A double substitution from Banbury had little effect on the balance of play and the recently introduced David Buckwell was relieved to see his mistimed clearance loop over his own crossbar as he clambered to deal with a through ball from the increasingly dangerous Walsh. But while Buckwell was still sighing in relief Hopkinson jogged across to take the corner kick, and once again found Walsh on the edge of the goal area. The front man met the cross, not as cleanly this time, but with the same result of beating Wheeler. Two-nil, and with little threat from the away side that was enough of an advantage.

Tiverton passed and moved, kept the ball and made Banbury chase shadows for long periods. Hopkinson eventually worked a shot which bobbled wide, Adam Faux blasted a powerful effort into a defender, and even Tom Gardner was forward only to witness his header clawed over the top by Wheeler. Glenn Gould was introduced in place of Walsh for the final act and was quick to join in the fun of passing through the opposition defence, but the last chance of the match fell to the reds and to Gordon. However, the Banbury striker was slow in despatching his shot and Booth was able to deflect the ball away for a corner that summed up the Oxfordshire side – it amounted to nothing. The final whistle sounded soon afterwards and Tiverton’s poor home form received a welcome boost, while Banbury still search for those elusive three points on their travels.


Tiverton Town: Steve Book; Adam Faux, Alex Faux, Mike Booth, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner, James Fraser, Bobby Hopkinson, Phil Walsh (Glenn Gould 82), Arran Pugh, Paul Wyatt
Goals: Walsh 41, 61
Booked: Wyatt 45, Rudge 88

Banbury United: Andy Wheeler; Aaron Stringfellow (Dan Reeves 82), Tommy Kinch, Mark Essex (David Buckwell 60), Luke Bennett, Alan Robinson, Lewis Travers, Scott Bridges, Howard Forinton, Nicky Gordon, Troy Bryan (Anton Sambrook 58)
Booked: Bridges 80, Robinson 88

Attendance: 253


This report ©2008 Alan Reidy






Please note: The � or ? character in some older reports denotes where an error has occured in translation when the reports were transfered between databases