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Lambs make a point at St James' Park

FT: Exeter City 2    2 Tamworth

25 September 2004

It was an emotional return to pastures old for Lambs manager Mark Cooper on Saturday when he made took his squad to St. James Park on the back of 5 straight defeats. The home side went into the game unbeaten in four but both sides were feeling the pinch of a depleted squad.
With injuries to Tris Whitman, Marcus Ebdon and Adie Smith, Cooper gave debuts to two new faces – Marvin Brown and Shaun Harrad – and one old one – Dave Robinson while Lee Colin made a welcome return.
While The Grecians looked the more likely to get on the scoresheet in the opening encounters it was Tamworth who twice took the lead through Bob Taylor on 19 minutes and a Shaun Harrad penalty after the restart on 46.
Exeter's Les Afful hit the cross bar with 9 minutes gone, Chris Todd's effort was ruled out for offside on 12 and Sean Devine's attempt hit the outside of the right hand upright 5 minutes later. But a Dave Bampton throw was whipped across goal by Brown for Bob Taylor to head home his second goal in a Tamworth shirt and give the Lambs a surprise lead.
A momentary lapse in the Tamworth defence allowed Exeter to equalise on 28 minutes when Sean Devine powered home Steve Flack's flick on from Santos Gaia's cross to leave it all square at the break.
Cooper's injury list appears to be never ending as Dave Bampton hobbled off at half time with a gashed knee to be replaced by an out of position, but seemingly unphased Aaron Brown. And it certainly didn’t appear to bother the rest of the side too much when a long ball out of midfield by Cooper immediately after the restart released Harrad who was bundled over by Chris Todd in the area. The on-loan Notts County striker dusted himself down to regain the lead from the spot much to the delight of the rather diminished Lambs following.
Although under pressure from then on Tamworth started playing for what could well have been a shock win with a renewed sense of purpose. Scott Stamps had to leave the field with a broken nose and missing two front teeth after a tangle with Dean Moxey but when play restarted with the home side’s corner a moment of madness by youngster Kyle Storer was ultimately Tamworth’s undoing. As the ball bounced past the far post Storer grabbed Afful’s shirt and pulled him to the ground for an Exeter penalty which Barry McConnell placed home on with 25 minutes remaining..
Exeter coach (and part time Grecians cheer-leader) Steve Perryman spent much of the second half in the press box on the phone to the Grecians now departed manager, Eamonn Dolan, with words of encouragement, but neither side could create the decisive move to claim all three points and both sets of players were justifiably applauded off the field at the final whistle.
Although Cooper’s side have now stopped the rot with their first point out of a possible eighteen, a major worry will be the apparent ill-discipline of the side. The yellow card table shows the Lambs at the top with 27 bookings from 10 games, double the average of the rest of the league. Over enthusiasm is the more likely cause but with a number of players almost ‘at the limit’ it is one area that Cooper will surely be looking at ahead the next few tough games.

Cooper said after the game;
"I thought we defended well and really we should have won. Dave Robinson was outstanding, as we’ve come to expect, and new lads Shaun Harrad and Marvin Brown also put in great displays. As for their penalty - I did have a word with Kyle about, but it was inexperience that caused him to do that - we all know he has the makings of a great player, but he's still young and is learning all the time. We worked hard prior to the game and hard through it. It would have been superb to win, but the dressing room has regained some of its atmosphere after our fantastic display"

Price, Bampton (Brown A. HT), Stamps (Sheppard 68), Redmile, Robinson, Storer, Brown M., Harrad, Taylor, Colkin
Unused: Stannage, Smith N., Shaw

Att: 2664

MOM: - Dave Robinson – showed what the Lambs had been missing at the back.

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