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Lambs and Boro share the spoils

FT: Tamworth 3    3

05 August 2006

Last seasons Nationwide North playoff semifinal losers came to The Lamb for Mark Cooper’s sides last home friendly before the season kicks off next Saturday.
Local rivals Nuneaton Borough came with three ex-Lambs in their squad and the last time the two sides met was when
Tamworth were en-route to the FA Trophy Final. In that game Cooper and Acton both featured for TFC in a three nil home win. The sides have since swapped leagues with the home side now holding the upper hand.

There was an earlier opening for Cooper’s side with Lee Moore striking from the right of the area over the top of Acton’s goal and this was followed by a John McGrath corner which unfortunately came to nothing.
Persistent approach play from Jon Stevenson allowed Kyle Storer a shooting chance but his effort was blocked and the ball ran free to Graham Ward on 7 minutes, but Ward curled his strike wide of the far upright.
McGrath struck a freekick from 30 yards over the bar less than a minute later as a vociferous home crowd cheered on their side.
On 11 minutes Matty Collins forced Sean Bowles into a fine one handed save to his left with a point blank header from a David Staff cross from the left bi-line.
Graeme Law denied Staff a far post headed chance on 15 and former Lamb Mark Noon mis-hit a good chance on 24 from the edge of the area.
Poor defending by Tamworth allowed Gez Murphy to unleash a 35 yard half volley over the top of a stranded Bowles (0-1) to give the visitors the lead on 26 but Bowles was well placed to deny Derek Brown a bullet header from a corner shortly after.
Positive play by Tamworth saw McGrath strike the ball well towards Acton’s goal on 30, but Boro’s Rob Geir threw himself at the effort to deny an equalizer.
Moore moved the ball out wide right and crossed for Jon Stevenson on 33 but, although his header was well placed, Acton collected easily.
Tamworth equalized on 39 through Stevenson who ran through to collect a low driven pass from Dave Bampton and after calmly rounding Acton he fired past the last defender much to the delight of the home faithful. (1-1)
McGrath saw a shot deflected for a corner just before half time, after Ward and Storer had combined well, and when the ball came back out from the flag kick Storer’s 20 yard drive deflected off a Nuneaton defender to wrong foot Acton and make it 2-1 to The Lambs.

HT: 2-1

Nuneaton signaled their intentions shortly after the restart as Gary McPhee unleashed a close range shot at Bowles which the Lambs keeper parried out for a corner before Murphy equalized on 49. Picking up the ball from a Lambs defensive error he rounded Bowles and rolled the ball in from a tight angle. (2-2)
Former Tamworth starlet Scott Rickards joined the fray for the visitors in a triple substitution by Borough boss Roger Ashby on 63 while Cooper continued with his starting eleven until 69 when Alan Neilson came on for Adie Smith and Dave Bampton dropped into the back four.
Moore and Stevenson linked up for the first Lambs chance of the second half but the former Alfreton striker could not get the ball under control quick enough and it skipped of his boots and went wide.
Oli Burgess shot wide of the post on 69 and on 72 McPhee tried his luck from the right of the area and when Bampton slipped to allow the same player in again a minute later it took a double save from Bowles to deny him. And Bampton was almost immediately substituted for youngster Shaun Ridgway as Tamworth reshuffled again.
Nuneaton took the lead for the second time on 81 through substitute Duane Darby who finished from close range after Tom Bonner had drilled the ball in low from a corner. (2-3)
Oli Burgess shot over the bar on 83 from the edge of the area to give the Lamb another defensive scare as the visitors continued to hold the upper hand over proceedings.
Ex-West Brom man Daryl Burgess handled a Ward ball into the box on 86 to give Storer the chance of a goal from the spot which he duly took, firing low to Acton’s right to level the scores. (3-3)
Graeme Law saved The Lambs blushes by denying Darby a winning goal deep into injury time with a goal line clearance after he had rounded Bowles.

Tamworth:

Stevenson, Moore
McGrath, Storer (Cooper 86), Bampton (Ridgeway 75), Ward
Friars, Smith (Neilson 69), Kemp, Law
Bowles

Subs: Dormand, Brown, Dryden

Nuneaton Borough:

Acton, Gier (Oddy 63), Bonner, Reeves (Burgess O 63), Moore, Brown (Burgess D HT), Collins (Rickards 63), , McPhee (Barby 79), Murphy (Blenkinsopp 79), Staff

Subs: Clarke

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