HARTLEY Wintney were left to rue missed chances after they lost 2-0 away to promotion contenders Tiverton Town, writes TYLER HOUSE.

In a dominant first half for the hosts, Tiverton went close in the fourth minute when Michael Landricombe saw his header saved by Hartley goalkeeper Luke Williams.

The Yellows came close again soon after when Josh Key set up Alex Fletcher, but Williams was down quickly to save again.

In the 14th minute, Hartley’s Ty Smith blocked a shot from Fletcher, before Williams made a great fingertip save to deny Jordan Bastin from the resulting corner.

A minute later, Tiverton scored the opening goal when an excellent pass from Bastin allowed Fletcher to turn and fire a low shot past Williams.

Key went close with another chance for the Yellows in the 25th minute but he failed to beat Williams from a tight angle.

Mitchell Parker then had the chance to score at the other end for Hartley, but his effort was cleared by Kyle Egan.

As the Row pressed for an equaliser, Tiverton added a second goal in the 28th minute. After a Hartley corner was headed clear, Key led a clinical counter attack that saw him race into the penalty area before squaring the ball to Bastin to tap in and score.

Hartley responded and ended the half strongly, but Sam Argent shot wide before Joe Grant had his effort saved and Matt Drage headed over from a corner.

The Row’s resurgence continued in the second half, but they could not find the goal their performance deserved.

On 51 minutes, Aaron Kuhl played in Argent, who was pulled back by Jordan Dyer, but the resulting free kick was off target from Parker.

Tiverton goalkeeper Lewis Williams then did superbly in the 64th minute, saving a shot from Parker, who was through on goal after Grant’s pass.

Hartley introduced new signing Kingsley Eshun for the final 20 minutes and he immediately set up Grant, whose shot clipped the outside of the post.

Joe Gater then headed another chance narrowly wide following a set piece before Grant hit the side netting as the Row’s hopes of a comeback faded.

Three minutes from the end, Parker blasted over from a tight angle before Eshun missed two further chances for Hartley.

Tiverton nearly added to their lead late on as Williams pushed a shot from Bastin into Fletcher’s path, but Nathan Smart denied him a second goal with a good block.

After the game manager Anthony Millerick said: “We changed our shape and mentality after 30 minutes and for the remaining 60 we were on the front foot and the better side.

“It was a heavy pitch and although I’d agree we started poorly, Tiverton had a good 25 minutes and showed the composure that’s needed in the box.

“Our boys deserve credit for how they played after going 2-0 down. They were brave and have controlled the vast majority of the second half.”

Next for Hartley is a home game against Beaconsfield on Saturday.