A bad night in the office for Tuffley as Abingdon move off the bottom

A poor performance from Tuffley Rovers saw their run of three wins in a row brought to an abrupt end by an Abingdon United side who moved off the bottom of the Hellenic Premier.

Goals from Jason Smith, Callum Harvey and a late Nathan Baker penalty were enough for Abingdon to claim the points on a poor night for the Gloucestershire side who netted through captain Joel White.

Tuffley, who had gone into the game on the back of wins away at Holmer Green as well as wins at home against Royal Wootton Bassett and Virginia Water, started brightly with Kieran Alder firing at Abingdon keeper Max Evans and Ash Bird firing over inside the first 6 minutes.

Abingdon grew into the game and went close through Nathan Baker, who fired over from the corner of the box.

Two minutes later the visitors won a corner which lead to the opening goal. The ball was floated in and Tuffley Luke Merchant caught the corner, dropped it and Abingdon defender Jason Smith was on hand to smash the ball home.

On Saturday Tuffley’s passing was of a high quality and accuracy and they were able to win the 50/50’s…tonight was the complete opposite. Touches were heavy, passes were poor and the commitment in the tackle just wasn’t there in the first half in particular.

Ash Bird and Sam Wharton exchanged shots over the bar as both sides tried to force the issue. Ultimately, the first half almost fizzled out.

Into the second half and Tuffley new boy Henry Birkett came off the bench and nearly equalised, as his 25 yard effort called Max Evans into action. Harry Walker then headed wide just before the hour mark as Tuffley began to create chances.

Brett James turned one way then the other on the left hand side to create space before crossing to the back post, Dom Kent met the ball with a half volley but could only fire over for Rovers.

With just twenty minutes to go Tuffley got their equaliser, through captain Joel White who thundered a header into the net from an Alder corner. It’s White’s second goal in two games for the club.

Just when you expected Tuffley to press and kick on it was Abingdon who created the better chances, Sam Wharton went close with a smothered shot before Callum Harvey diverted a cross into the bottom corner with less than 15 minutes to go.

Chances came and went for Tuffley as Brett James and Sam Hill fired over and they were made to pay the penalty, literally.

An Abingdon counter attack saw a through ball to Ryan Jackson. As he rounded Merchant he was caught by a trailing leg and the penalty was given. Nathan Baker stepped up to send Merchant the wrong way and seal the points for Abingdon.

Tuffley will be looking to get back to winning ways when they travel to Brackley Town Saints on Saturday, whilst Abingdon United are away to Alresford Town in the FA Vase 1st Round on Saturday afternoon.

Tuffley Rovers: Merchant, Hill, Walker (Carter 85′), White, Pritchett, Phillips, Alder, Kent (Rhodes 85′), Bird (Birkett 50′), Smith, James

Subs Not Used: Herbert, Loveridge

Abingdon United: Evans, Wright (Bestley 70′), Pykett (Sims 58′), Lynch (Moss 77′), Smith, Green, Harvey, Beckford, Wharton, Baker, Jackson

Subs Not Used: Davies, Pritchard

Severn Sport Man Of The Match – Joel White (Tuffley Rovers)