Blunder costs Tivvy top place in the table as Hungerford win
TIVERTON Town blew a chance to underline their promotion credentials after being edged out in their top-of-the-table clash at Hungerford Town.
Diak John left Tivvy keeper Chris Wright red-faced after his shot squirmed through the stopper's hands for the winner 20 minutes from time.
The Yellows piled on the pressure in the final 15 minutes and Owen Howe planted an angled drive wide as the visitors probed for the equaliser.
Yellows boss Mark Saunders admits his side lacked fluency, but still felt they deserved a share of the spoils.
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"Conditions were tough and the pitch was heavy," said Saunders. "But both sides tried to play football and Hungerford probably just edged it.
"We didn't do ourselves justice and that is probably being a bit harsh on the lads. But saying that, I felt we merited a draw.
"In the first 20 minutes we went a little bit long ball and that is unlike us. We got better after that and it was a shame because we probably did enough to have got a point out of it.
"We kept going, dug deep and had a go. But I just thought from our point of view our quality with the football let us down at times.
"It didn't quite happen for us and when we did get near their goal we took the wrong option and we didn't pull the trigger when we should have done.
"I said to the lads before the game that if they don't get anything from the next two league games (Hungerford and Poole) there is nothing to be ashamed about. They (Hungerford) are a good side with some good players and their left winger was frightening. Josh Concanen is quick, but their winger made him look slow at times.
"We didn't really create too many chances. Owen Howe went through on an angle and dragged a shot wide when, if he had got his head up, he could have squared it. Joe Bushin had a shot that bobbled through to the keeper, but they were half chances.
"They kept the ball better than us in the first half and we kept it better than them in the second half. It shows how far we have come that we have gone to a team towards the top of the league and proved we are as good as them.
"We need to move on and get back to the type of form that has got us to the top of the league."
After falling behind on 70 minutes, Saunders went for broke by bringing on Howe and Dave Pearse in place of Bushin and Michael Nardiello and the switch gave the Yellows a fresh attacking dimension.
But despite applying late pressure, they were unable to break the stiff resistance of the Hungerford defence.
"We had a real go at them in the final 15 minutes," added Saunders. "I just felt their centre-halves looked a bit sluggish and so I brought on Owen and Dave to have a go at them.
"But we weren't able to force that breakthrough."
Saunders took a swipe at the referee, claiming the official made a number of strange decisions.
"I thought the referee was abysmal," he added. "I said to him at half-time he needed to start giving us some little decisions that he was giving to them all the time. But in the second half he got even worse and nothing went our way.
"But it is not the referee that has cost us the game, because Chris Wright has chucked one in."