Match report

Oxford City 1 - 0 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 19/09/2009   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Tiverton Town’s season continued to toil as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at Oxford City. The only goal of an uneventful game came just three minutes before the final whistle when Lee Steele found space in the area and coolly finished. It leaves Tivvy without a competitive goal for four matches, a sequence that is the clubs worst since 1986.

Tiverton employed the new-look 4-4-2 system that was tried and tested in the midweek friendly against Exeter Civil Service, and despite utilising one less defender they were seldom threatened in their own quarters as a droll first half wore on. In fact it was the Yellows that forged the best openings but Jamie Hatch skied a free kick from the edge of the area, and City goalkeeper Richard Knight had to be on his toes as Andy Baird overhit a backwards header to his custodian.

Oxford has been struggling in front of their own fans and employed Craig Faulconbridge as a lone striker but he was seldom in the action. City forced a series of corners midway through the first half but they were all dealt with comfortably by Nathan Rudge and Matt Villis in the heart of the Tiverton defence. Behind them Steve Book in the Tiverton goal was not called into action throughout the first half.

Oxford increased the tempo at the start of the second half and Faulconbridge saw two chances go begging. Five minutes after the restart he latched onto a long ball through the centre and made headway towards goal, but pressure from the backtracking Rudge was crucial as the City striker eventually shot wide of the target. And moments later the same pair was again in the thick of the action; this time Rudge blocking at point blank range as Faulconbridge had picked up on a loose ball after Mark Bell’s initial shot from the edge of the area had been blocked.

At the other end Alex Faux shot straight at Knight and Matt Bye fired a free kick well wide of the mark as Tiverton began to probe forward more regularly. From their best move of the game Jamie Hatch teed up Adam Faux and his teasing cross was headed just wide by Craig Veal.

The hosts introduced Lee Steele to partner Faulconbridge up front late in the game and the substitution paid dividends. With time running out and a goalless draw seeming probable fellow substitute Mark James was released down the left flank and skipped over Adam Faux’s challenge. With time to pick out his man Janes crossed low to the near post and Steele was waiting unmarked, the first time in the whole afternoon the Tiverton defence had allowed space in the danger zone. Steele neatly turned and chipped the ball above Book to seal the victory.

Tivvy rallied but struggled to find a way through an extremely well organised Oxford defence, and only a difficult chance that fell to Rudge had the home defence on edge. Rudge’s header from Ben Cleverley’s late free kick sailed wide of the post, and Tiverton were left to contemplate another defeat as their season unfolded into one of continued struggle.

Oxford City: Richard Knight, James Clark, David Perpetuini, Dave Savage, Darren Pond (Lee Steele 69), Andy Gunn, Mark Bell, Liam Malone, Andy Baird, Craig Faulconbridge (Mark Janes 84), Jamie Brooks (Michael Alexis 75)
Goals: Steele 87
Booked: Perpetuini 32, Malone 34, Baird 45, Bell 90+3
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Steve Book, Adam Faux, Alex Faux, Matt Villis, Nathan Rudge, Tom Gardner (Luke Cole 90), Jamie Hatch, Matt Bye, Dean Griffiths, Ben Cleverley, Craig Veal (David Hood 78)
Booked: Griffiths 45
Sent off: None

Attendance: 201

This report ©2009 Alan Reidy