Match report

Banbury United 2 - 2 Tiverton Town

   Saturday 21/08/2010   Southern League Premier Division
Alan Reidy

Tiverton Town’s record against Banbury United is very good – the Yellows travelled to the northern tip of Oxfordshire in the knowledge that they had won the last four meetings between the clubs, and with a squad as fully fit as it is probably ever going to be there was an atmosphere as relaxed as it was determined.

But there was a problem – Banbury had produced a pitch of bobbles and knots that simply wasn’t conducive to standing up straight let alone playing attractive football. And this may be the reason United are so direct, looking to get the ball forward early behind the defence for their nippy forwards to chase. It was like watching Tiverton when we had Steve Ovens and Pete Varley legging it about in the top third of the pitch, only far less devastating.

However, eleven minutes in the opening goal arrived for the hosts and it was against the Puritans’ ethos and also against the run of play. Dean Coppard fouled Marvin Martin out on the Banbury left, some 30 or 35 yards from goal, Martin dusted himself down to chip the free kick into the box, and Delroy Gordon (who was so hopeless in every respect when he played for Rugby last season) snuck in to nod the ball past Chris Wright.

From here Banbury began to enjoy the better of the game, although to be fair even when Tiverton had possession in the opening exchanges they did little with it, and Joe Murrell wasn’t called into action in the United goal. Another ball pumped into the box just before the half-hour mark was innocuous enough – Wright came to punch as the lineman flagged Nabil Shariff offside, the ball ballooned away upfield, Wright bright his arm down upon the striker’s head, Shariff eventually picked himself up, but Wright didn’t. After lengthy treatment Tom Gardner took the gloves, Wright’s arm was in a plaster cast and the luckless Tivvy ’keeper confirmed a broken arm following an X-ray early the next day..

Gardner’s first action without bare hands was to pick the ball out of the net as Shariff – by no means the villain of the peace it should be said – latched onto one of those colourless yet effective long balls, rounder the temp in goal and doubled the lead. A better team than Banbury would have shut up shop at that stage, game won, points in the bag. But Banbury are not in the same class as the likes of Chippenham or Salisbury, and they allowed Tivvy a lifeline on the stroke of half time. Bushin cut in from wide on the right, into the area, over a red-socked leg, penalty. The Town striker took the responsibility himself, belting in a powerful spot kick as Murrell obliged and dived out of the way.

The second half was played with pace and vigour yet little or no finesse, and while Gardner enjoyed his afternoon by throwing himself about to make a couple of decent double-saves, Bushin found his shooting boots slightly lacking with a couple of openings which failed to test Murrell.

It was left to the evergreen and ever-keen Mark Saunders to wrap things up with an equaliser that was deserved twenty minutes from the end. Russell Jee, who had replaced Wright earlier in the day, swung in a teasing free kick that found its way to the back post, and Saunders got ahead of everyone for the simplest of tap-ins.

A half chance or two was presented but nothing glaring was missed thereafter, and on a day where Tivvy’s injury jinx struck again a point on the road was welcome. Wright will be out of action for some time, and with Jamie Hatch still injured the rest of the squad will be fully tested in what is a busy couple of weeks.


Banbury United: Joe Murrell, Ollie Stanbridge (David Staff 70), Adam Howarth, Delroy Gordon, Adam Learoyd, Nathan Haisley, Joe Coleman, Declan Benjamin, Nabil Shariff, Jason Taylor (Scott Cross 85), Marvin Martin
Goals: Gordon 11, Shariff 36
Booked: Martin 26
Sent off: None

Tiverton Town: Chris Wright (Russell Jee 32), Dean Coppard, Chris Vinnicombe, Liam Ellis, Adam Faux, Tom Gardner, David Steele, Mark Saunders, Joe Bushin, Adam Mortimer (Jamie Densham 70), Alex Faux
Goals: Bushin 41p, Saunders 69
Booked: None
Sent off: None

Attendance: 200


This report ©2010 Alan Reidy