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FT: Stevenage Borough 1    1 Tamworth

08 August 2009And so, here we are again, after a short hiatus The Lambs are back in the top flight and with a big test against Stevenage Borough - one of last season’s losing playoff Semi-Finalists who will no doubt be out to do one better than last time around.
With an unbeaten pre-season behind them and great spirit within the camp Tamworth are out to start the campaign off with a bang and record their first win at Broadhall way in five attempts.
Michael Briscoe is the only current player who has played here before, and The Lambs have only netted twice here in the past – Mark Cooper and Matt Redmile being the scorers in past games in which a total of eleven have been conceded.
But back to the game – without Dominic Langdon and Gavin Hurren unavailable through injury, boss Gary Mills made no changes to the side that had performed so well against Blues, with Lake –Gaskin and Benjamin both hoping for their debuts from the subs bench.

Glorious sunshine bathed Broadhall Way, although the loud travelling lambs fans were seeing none of it under the shadow of the large seating stand behind the goal which Boro started the game off kicking towards.
Tamworth won posession quickly and a measured ball over the defence by Sheridan allowed Wright to run down the left and force keeper Day into conceding and early throw which Wylde hit into the box but it went out of play unhindered.
Boyland found Drury with a square ball into the area shortly after but The Lambs defence cleared just in time and a freekick was won on the half way line on 3which Smith fired into teh area looing for Wylde but his header went out behind for a goal kick.
A floated cross from Stevenage was headed behind by Murphy and Boro continued to press . Good work by long was headed away by Shaw and Rodman dropped back to clear from Boylan. Tait was then turned by Long but the Boro striker’s pass was poor and cleared easily although Long was doinng his best to frustrate Tait when he had the ball.
Drury won a corner for Boro on 7 with a deflected cross and took the flag kick himself right footed. His low ball to the edge of the 6 yard box was headed well by a diving Murphy and flashed a foot or two wide of the post much to the travelling faithfuls relief.
Briscoe booted clear a right wing cross by Murphy on 11 and a penalty was then conceded in the next move as Briscoe was adjudged to have brought Laird down as he moved into the far corner of the area.
The spot kick was dispatched by Boylan sending Alcock the wrong way for the first goal of the season for either side. (0-1, 12 mins)
A push on Wright set up MacKenzie with a freekick 25 yards out on 15 left of centre but rather than go for goal Pritchard and Sheridan combined in a rehearsed move which didn’t work as planned Stevenage halted quickly.
The home side could quite obvioulsy move the ball around for fun and were doing so at times, forcing errors from Tamworth but the Lambs heads had definitely not dropped and they continued to work hard.
They won a corner on 21 which MacKenzie took from the right and was headed clear before falling to Pritchard who puut his shot well over the woodwork from the edge of the area.
Sheridan was felled by Henry on 23 and MacKenzie played the ball short to Shaw who sent a looping cross into the box but none of the three Lambs in the danger area could find the finishing touch.
Pritchard celebratesTamworth then enjoyed a spell of possesion and Rodman was tripped for another MacKenzie dead ball thiws time on the right of centre from 30 yards. It was headed clear but worked back in only to be headed clear again on 27. From the resulting throw, Smith flisked his header towards the near post but it was wide of the mark.
Henry flicked the ball into Murphy inside the box on 29 and he beat Alcock to it as it rolled agonisingly towards goal. But it was cleared b y Briscoe and play switched immeditaley to the other end where an inch perfect pass to Pritchard allowed him time to shoot home from the edge of the area to level the scores (1-1, 29 mins)
Drury caused Alcock to concede a corner with a half hit off target shot on 35 and Murphy headed into Lambs fans row Z from the flag kick much to their delight.
A foul by macKenzie on Murphy earned the Lambs midfielder a stiff talking to from Mr Ross.
Drury fired a corner onto the head of Griffin but the Lambs cleared and Smith fired a half way line freekick forward as Tamworth continued to put pressure on the home side when posession allowed.
Tait was unended on 42 and Bryom recieved a booking for his troubles allowing MacKenzie to once again put the ball into the box from a freekick. It was headed away and Stevenage broke only for their move to break down when a ball into the area was mopped up by the numerous Lambs helping out at the back.
MacKenzie unleashed a right foot drive from 25 yards on 44 after good play from Sheridan and Wright but his shot curled wide of the right hand post and brought a round of applause from the Lambs fans.
Drury tried a lob under pressure from the edge of the area as Stevenage pushed forward from the goal kick but clearedthe goal with ease.
Two minutes added time was shown at the end of the half and a hefty foul by Rodman on Roberts went unpunished as the whistle blew.

HT: Stevenage Borough 1    1 Tamworth

The Lambs kicked off the second half towards the Lambs fans. Boro won a freekick after a spell of Tamworth being in charge which was cleared and Shaw fed Wright on the left giving Mackenzie the ball again after the Lambs striker was brought down. Smith recieved the ball on the left wing and fired in a cross which was screwed behind for a corner on the right but it was wasted and Boro regained posession only to lose it straight away.
Gary Mills’ promise of The Lambs trying to play a passing game when possible is definitely being applied by the players – short balls moving forward is the order of the day when possible and it is frustrating the home players who have just been told to pick up their heads by the Stevenage boss Graham Westley.
The home side then put in a good move of their own resulting in a foul on Byrom 20 yards from goal causing a six man wall to form infront of Alcock as Bostwick hit a powerful drive at goal which was only a few feet over the bar.
Prolonged Tamworth pressure on 58 ended with Day collecting the ball easily but Sheridan had been denied a penalty claim during the build up while Shaw saw a shot blocked.
At the other end Briscoe cleared for a corner from a Boylan run which Byrom put on the head of Griffin and he duly headed it over the bar.
A superb showboating turn in the corner by Laird deserves a mention purely for the skill to get round two Lambs defenders but ultimately came to nothing,
Blackwood came on for Wright on 62 leaving Rodman alone on the half way line as Stevenage pushed forward with a freekick which was rolled to Bryom, who shot from distance right footed over the bar and Tait picked up a booked shortly after.
Balckwood had taken up a left midfield position leaving Wylde at left back the former using his pace to keep up with right back Henry.
Shaw put in a timely tackle to deny Boylan and concede a corner which Roberts met well with his head, but put high over the crossbar.
MacKenzie fired another right footed freekick into the danger area from the right wingn on 70 but the chance went when Day collected and Griffin fired past the right upright with an angled drive from the left of the area a minute later after a neat triangular move past the Lambs back four.
With 15 to go the home side were definitely looking the stronger of the two teams in terms of the amount of time the ball spent in the oppositions half, but Tamworth did not appear fazed.
Briscoe cut out a cross for a Boro corner on 77 and play was halted as a clash of heads left Shaw protrate on the floor.
Shaw was guided tentatively from the field as Benjamin came on for his debut and the formation switched to four-four-two.
A foul on Cole set Boro up on the left of the area which Byrom planted onto the head of Bostwick and his effort was going in only for Alcock to tip onto the bar before spinning off behind.
Roberts was quickest to a through ball lookng for Rodman on 85 and Alcock raced clear of his box to clear the danger as the ball whipped back down the field as the pace continued to keep on at the same rate.
Briscoe headed behind to deny Boylan with 2 to go and the corner came to nothing as six minutes added time was shown.
Sheridan was screaming for a cross as he ghosted unmarked to the back of the box but the ball was shielded away by the Boro defence on the opposite side of the field as the clock ticked down.
Blackwood brought down Byrom 10 yards inside the Lambs half and as Pritchard went for a high ball he was caught by Byrom who was duly sent from the field with a straight red despite already being booked.
Alcock and Tait got tangled up and both fell to the floor as both tried to clear the ball as it bounced towards the edge of the area.
Stevenage worked a freekick into the box and Alcock collected. From his kick Rodman was pushed and MacKenzie was given a chance to set something up but the whistle blew on a fine point for The Lambs in their opening fixture.

Tamworth Team:
Group hugAlcock, Tait, Briscoe, Smith, Wylde, Shaw (Benjamin 79), Rodman, MacKenzie, Wright (Blackwood 62)Pritchard, Sheridan
Subs: Lyttle, Lake-Gaskin, Nicholson

Stevenage Borough Team:
Day, Laird, Murphy, Long (Cole 56), Griffin, Boylan (Oduabe 90), Byrom, Roberts, Drury (Ashton 90), Bostwick, Henry
Subs: Bayes, Beardsley

Attendance: 2130

Referee: S.J. Ross

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