Farnborough 3-2 Tiverton Town
By Simon Ellis
Yellows fall to defeat despite valiant second half fight back
To sum up the latest fixture as a game of two halves would be very cliché, but on this occasion there is no other option. Two down at the interval and staring down the barrel of an afternoon to forget but were it not for the outstanding performance of the hosts goalkeeper Liam Beach in the second half, who was awarded their Man of the Match, the Yellows would surely have walked away with at least a share of the points. Kurtis Cumberbatch and John Oyenuga put the hosts two up at the break, CJ Fearn added their third before Josh Key scored a brace of headers in two minutes to set up a grand stand finale, which included another missed penalty and some outstanding goalkeeping. Isaac Furness replaced the absent Callum Hall in the only change from those who had seen off Salisbury last time out, Max Smallcombe still missing through injury, while the hosts at their very impressive Cherrywood Road Stadium, made two changes, Cumberbatch and Perry Coles returned to the starting line-up, to the personnel who had beaten Chesham United, the Yellows next opponents, by a goal to nil.
The two sides could not be separated in the reverse fixture at Ladysmead back in October, Andrew Sealey fired the visitors ahead in the first half before Jordan Rogers equalised just ten minutes later and that was that, but on this occasion it was the hosts that struck twice in the opening forty-five. Kurtis Cumberbatch, restored to the starting XI opened the scoring on twenty-two, only a few minutes after an Aaron Oakley header had rattled the crossbar, after skipping past a non-existent challenge on the edge of the area and fired low past Armstrong in to the far corner and three minutes before the interval John Oyenuga raced clear and doubled the lead for nothing more than their superiority merited, the Yellows thus far not at the races apart from a smart Beach save that kept out a Levi Landricombe header.
The second half was just over ten minutes old when the hosts further extended their lead, a free kick swung in from the right by the excellent Cooksley towards the back post missed everyone apart from Fearn who had ghosted in un-noticed and thus had all the time and space needed to nod home from close range. From then until full time though it was all Tiverton and as already said only the heroics of Beach in the Farnborough goal ensured the hosts claimed all three points, that said though Farnborough were given plenty of opportunities to break away and extend their lead further as the Yellows pushed higher in search of ways to get back in to the match.
Man of the Match Josh Key headed home twice from close range in the space of two minutes, the first from a Harrison Davis corner and the second from a Tom Bath cross, who had already been superbly denied a goal himself by Beach, and the unlikeliest of comebacks, with around quarter of an hour still to play, seemed on. Key was then denied his and the Yellows third of the afternoon by the pick of the bunch of Beach saves, tipping over a rasping Key drive after he had cut in off the right flank and moments after that the golden opportunity to draw level arrived. Davis and Beach contested a bouncing through ball and although there were little in the way of protests, referee Robson saw enough in the challenge to point to the spot. Beach though redeemed the situation superbly by not only guessing correctly which way Levi Landricombe would go, he also reacted quick enough to keep out Jordan Dyers follow up effort and with that, apart from another close range save to deny Bath again, the opportunity to come away with a share of the points was gone.
Tiverton: Liam Armstrong, Josh Key, Isaac Furness (Tom Gardner 46), Jamie Price, Ben Mammola, Jordan Dyer (Ethan Phillips 83), Michael Landricombe, Steve Colwell (Stewart Yetton 79), Tom Bath, Levi Landricombe, Harrison Davis.
Goals: Josh Key 74, 76.