HARTLEY Wintney made the 260 mile round trip across to mid Devon for the second time this season, having suffered a heavy defeat at Tiverton in the FA Trophy replay a few weeks earlier, writes KEVIN O'BYRNE.

The Row arrived on the back of a dip in form which had seen them pick up just three points from their last seven league games, with a particularly disappointing defeat coming last Tuesday at home to Met Police.

The Hartley squad had an unfamiliar line-up; no new names but several absentees from the team defeated on Tuesday night.

There was a start for exciting young winger, Jayden Englefield, with promising youngsters George Frise and Kye Nash on the bench. Striker Michael Campbell is recovering from injury but was on the bench, and there was a welcome return to the squad for centre-back Steve Noakes.

The first action, three minutes into the game, saw the Row's Tyron Smith deliver a free-kick into the Tivvy box which was eventually cleared by right-back, Josh Key.

At the other end, Row fullback Jacques Kpohomouh made a hash of his attempted clearance and the Row were fortunate that Tivvy centre-forward, Tom Bath, was unable to capitalise on the mistake.

Row goalkeeper, Adam Desbois, pulled off a superb save on 12 minutes when Cameron Allen picked out Tiverton's prolific goalscorer, Levi Landricombe, whose volley was tipped over the bar.

The same two players combined five minutes later when Allen released Landricombe. He took it on himself but fired wide from the edge of the area.

The visitors had to sustain some pressure but exerted some of their own. Nic Ciardini's cross was palmed away by Tivvy 'keeper, Liam Armstrong, and Englefield, following up, was unable to find the target.

A good spell of Hartley pressure was eventually relieved, and when the home side won a corner on the half hour, it led to the opening goal. A Levi Landricombe free kick was headed away for a corner.

Landricombe took the corner and Jamie Price's flicked header put Tiverton ahead on 31 minutes.

Hartley responded well, Jayden Englefield going on a terrific run and exchanging quick one-two passes with Romario Hart before unleashing a shot that flew narrowly wide.

Just before the half-time whistle, Tivvy's Ben Mammola was booked for a foul on Hart, and captain Jamie Price was also cautioned for something he said.

Row goalkeeper Desbois was called into action, three minutes into the second half. He rose well to palm away an Allen cross, but it fell into a dangerous area and the visitors were relieved to see Levi Landricombe fire wide.

Hartley then had a good spell, winning three corners in succession, and although unable to make them count, their tenaciousness paid off on 63 minutes when, from another Ty Smith corner, Jack Ball stole in at the back post and chested the ball in from close range.

Hartley were now exerting good pressure and, minutes after the equaliser, Tivvy 'keeper Armstrong raced out to gather a risky back header and clattered into Romario Hart.

Fortunately for the home side, the offence occurred on the edge of the area and the free kick came to nothing.

The game was getting more stretched, with both sides pushing for the winner. Tivvy's Michael Landricombe, brother of Levi, played a great through ball, but Tom Bath failed to read the pass and Desbois was able to gather easily.

Then on 79 minutes, Levi Landricombe's header towards goal was wayward but fell to Tivvy left back, Callum Hall, and he blazed over.

Play was end to end going into the final minutes, with the Row looking the more likely to find a winner. Another Ty Smith corner caused Tiverton's defence problems, but Jack Ball flicked his header just over the bar. Ben Mammola did very well to deal with a Louie Paget delivery, then play switched to the other end and Tom Bath played Levi Landricombe in on goal, but the usually dependable striker fired over with only Desbois to beat.

As the game moved past the 90 minutes, there was still one last chance for Hartley to find the winner, but a free-kick was curled wide.

The final whistle saw the Row travel back with a much deserved point from a gritty, encouraging and spirited performance that will have helped them shrug off their recent dip in form.

This evening, Hartley travel to the Camrose to take on Basingstoke Town.