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Rampant Lambs smash Spartan's record

FT: Blyth Spartans 0    4 Tamworth

20 September 2008Tamworth travelled to Blyth for the next league encounter – and faced a tough test against the home side who had not lost at Croft Park in their four home league fixtures scoring three goals in each game and conceding just once. Spartans were struggling to recreate that form on the road and had lost every game but it would take a big effort from The Lambs to upset the form book.
So Gary Mills’ Lambs travelled up with an overnight stop courtesy of UK Erecting Services and arrived at the ground ready to try and extend their unbeaten run to nine games (eight in the league). There was, however, a change to the previously hardly changed starting eleven with Craig McAughtrie sitting out with a slight injury. This meant that Lee Hildreth returned to the eleven for the first time in just over a month.

On what could best be described as a bobbly pitch Tamworth kicked off and on 2 minus Sheldon broke through courtesy of a fortuitous deflection and squared for Wright who really should have opened the scoring but found Bell in the way of his close range finish and the ball was cleared.
On 5 a long Blyth ball forward by Brown was looking for the head of a fellow attacker and Puddy rose highest to collect earning him a round of applause from the travelling fans.
Tamworth were being forced to push the ball back to Puddy when Blyth pushed forward and on 8 Wylde took the brunt of his keeper's clearance but from the Blyth throw Tamworth broke but found the home defence in the way.
However, on 10 Wright almost got onto the end of a left wing cross from good work by Hildreth and Rodman but missed his header at the far post by a few inches.
The Lambs went close on 13 through Wright who screwed a shot from 12 yards wide and won a corner from it. Staprtans broke well, and quickly, from the short flag kick and it was just a boot from Lyttle that denied McCabe from getting a clear strike on goal from 15 yards.
Wright in actionAlmost immediately at the other end Wright ran at Bell who only half cleared and Sheldon tried to lob the ball back over the stranded keeper from 40 yards but missed the target by some distance.
Wright appeared to take a stray elbow in the face on 18 and fell to the floor but the referee saw no infringement and play went on as Blyth broke but were unable to create a chance.
Sheldon ran onto a very long goal kick from Puddy on 21 but lifted the ball over the crossbar as well as Bell and Williams sent a good ball into the area looking for a teammate only to find Puddy there before his intended target once again.
Handball by Hildreth gave the home side a freekick 35 yards from goal on 23 but Wylde cleared the imminent danger as both sides continued to work, and sometimes tackle, hard.
The Lambs then took a deserved lead through via a superb Sheldon strike – his fifth of the season – a right footed half volley from 25 yards on the left of the field which flew into the far corner. (1,0 26 mins)
Wright tried to add to his personal tally on 33 shooting from 30 yards, but couldn’t keep his effort down and it rose harmlessly over the bar.
Hume needed treatment after acrobatically rolling over Wylde’s back and a freekick was awarded a yard or so on the left of centre of the area on 39. Leading scorer Williams stepped up but saw his effort strike the wall and go out for a corner which Tamworth did well to clear up field.
Hume fired a half chance at Puddy from 6 yards after good work by Dale on the left to get the cross in on 42 and a trip on Rodman then gave Tamworth a free kick, in an almost identical position to Blyth’s earlier effort, on 44, but Hildreth struck wide of the near upright.
In added time at the end of the first half Wright set up Pritchard to shoot right footed but his strike was straight at Bell.

HT: Blyth Spartans 0    1 Tamworth

Blyth were forced to make a change at half time – their keeper Mark Bell was replaced by defender Gary Brown as the home side did not have a sub keeper on the bench and Tamworth forced their way up field, winning a corner on 50 but wasted the chance.
Hume put in a cross come shot for the home side on 52 which was ‘bread and butter’ for Puddy and another flag kick came for The Lambs on 55 but nothing came of it.
Rodman managed to make the makeshift keeper fumble a deflected effort on 56 but he recovered in time to steal the ball of the toes of Wright.
At the other end Pell put a good header goalward but it didn’t have enough power to trouble Puddy and Blyth won a corner on the hour from a deflected cross which Puddy collected easily.
Puddy pulled off a fingertip save from an excellent left foot volley by Dale on 62 from Pell’s back header and deflected what looked like a quality strike onto the post and out.
After a good spell from the home side Blyth shot themselves in the foot though when ‘keeper Gray miskicked a simple clearance and Wright stole in to sidefoot number eight of the season home into an otherwise empty net. (2-0, 65 mins)
With the second half deadlock broken The Lambs sensed more goals were available and pushed forward and reshaped slightly with Lea up front flanked by Rodman and Sheldon on the wings.
Shortly before being substituted Wright had set Rodman free and his shot won a corner which Pritchard took into the box, and although he looked like he’d been bundled to the ground there were no shouts and the referee waved play on.
Puddy then fumbled a cross in a crowded 6 yard box on 76 but Wylde cleared the danger and a push by Sheldon gave the home side a freekick which eventually won them a corner on 77 but the danger was short lived.
McCabe picked up a yellow card for dissent on 78 and Spartans won another corner on 80 which Rodman headed clear and Tamworth won a penalty on 83 when Pritchard was upended by Williams as he turned in the box after a fine flowing move down the left wing. And Sheldon made it 3-0 from the spot giving Brown no chance.
Lea makes a scoring runAnd Lea made it 4-0 on 86 bursting from the halfway line before finishing with a cool chip over Brown. Lea picked up a booking for his celebrations after the striker ran to the crowd after netting his first league goal for The Lambs.
There was still time for the home side to have a go though and it took a good sliding tackle from Smith to deny Leeson ghosting in at the far post on 89.
Four minutes added time were shown and with it Graeme Law came into the fray giving Rodman’s tired legs a brief rest before the whistle.
Puddy received a knock on his ankle and needed treatment, prolonging the game slightly as Hindmarsh put a tame near post header in towards goal and Lea almost capitalised on a wayward back pass which Brown just managed to clear.
Tamworth finished the game with 10 men as Foster left the field hobbling slightly but the final whistle soon came and the Lambs players and fans celebrated a very satisfying result.

Tamworth Team:
Puddy, Lyttle, Langdon, Smith, Wylde, Foster, Wright (Sheridan 73), Hildreth (Lea 65), Sheldon, Rodman (Law 90), Pritchard
Subs: Warburton, Burgess

Blyth Spartans Team:
Bell M (Boyle HT), Leeson, Brown, Williams, Pell, Todd, Poole (Gladwin 81), McCabe, Dale, Hume (Hindmarsh 70), Bell P
Subs: Snowdon, Fenton

Attendance: 550

Referee: Mr Stalker

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