BRAGGING rights will have to wait until the reverse fixture after One Tree Hill and Torrens Valley played out a tough 1-1 draw in an entertaining Hills derby at McGilp Road on Saturday.
The home side went ahead on 69 minutes through Richard Brodley, but Torrens Valley’s Jo Harvey equalised with a clinical strike ten minutes from fulltime.
The highly anticipated match, talked about during the week as one of the toughest fixtures of the season, was played in positive spirits and in frantic pace.                                                             

The Rams had all of the early chances, but Romeo Bismyf and Simon Rose both fired wide, before the latter skied his shot from ten yards when one on one with the ‘keeper. Rose thought he’d opened the scoring on 24 minutes after Shane Parker flicked on a Craig Bibby free kick, but the referee judged the striker to be offside.

Goalkeeper John Vyden prevented One Tree Hill from taking the lead on the half hour mark, as he brilliantly saved with his feet when Andrew Trimmers deflected a low cross goal-bound at the near post. The Hillbillies looked comfortable on the ball, but failed to make any further real impact up front as the strikers failed to connect to the positive service they received in the air from the wingers.

The home side started the second half sprightly and within two minutes Vyden was forced to flick away a dipping volley that was thumped on target from 25 yards out. It was end to end stuff and the visitors had another chance to take the lead.
Bibby sent Rose through on goal and veteran ‘keeper Ray O’Connor made himself big to swat the effort away. The crumbs fell to Andrew Liddemore who sent an appetising cross back into the fold and the ball found its way to Bibby who waltzed past his marker and unleashed a left-foot shot that curved to the right but cannoned off the woodwork.

One Tree Hill had another chance but Vyden stretched for his life and then pounced on his own handy work to keep the ball out of the net. Andrew Trimmers then found his way through the Rams defence, which was less cohesive than the first half, but Vyden was again called upon to make an impressive one-on-one save.

Liddemore then fired wide for the Rams after some good lead up work from Andrew Fowler, Rose and Bismyf and then immediately after at the opposite end, the super-slick Matthew Stepcich beat the back four with pace but flicked his effort at goal wide of the mark. Bismyf had a goal ruled out on 62 minutes after Short was judged to foul his marker. The striker should have converted moments later, but his shot dipped over the bar after collecting a cross from Liddemore.

On 69 minutes, the Hillbillies took the lead. A strategically overcooked corner kick sailed to the opposite side of the box, Jake Nightingale crossed it back into the mix and Richard Brodley dived in close to a horizontal Vyden and the ball bobbled under the custodian and across the line. The lead was deserved of the home side’s second half performance, but the visitors were not leaving without a fight.

Harvey entered the fray on 72 minutes and was greeted with a free header from a Bibby corner that he lifted over the bar. The same players combined two minutes later, but Bibby’s 18-yard strike arched the wrong side of the upright.

The Rams’ attacking persistence was rewarded on 80 minutes when Harvey produced a classy finish. A stray opposition header fell to Fowler who turned, punted forward to Rose, who flicked on an appetizing ball for Harvey to run onto and finish with a glorious strike that bulleted into the right side of the goal past a stunned O’Connor.
Stuart Grant and Trimmers forced Vyden into more top drawer saves in the final minutes as the home side looked for a winner.

Ironically, it was the former Torrens Valley player Grant that should have won the match in the 90th minute. Nightingale delivered another pin point cross to the unmarked striker, but Grant fluffed his six-yard effort and best afield Vyden managed to toe poke the ball away.

The Torrens Valley reserves suffered an embarrassing 6-1 loss to One Tree Hill in the early fixture. The home side had too much pace and class for the Rams who were down three goals within the first 20 minutes.

The visitors had a right to be upset with the third goal, as it came directly after the One Tree Hill goalkeeper grabbed the ball with his hands outside the penalty area and the hometown referee waved play on.

Josh Walter gave the Rams hope on the stroke of halftime when he fired a deft free kick into the top right corner. But, three quick goals after the break ruined any chance of a Torrens Valley comeback like last week’s heroics against Adelaide University.