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Comeback point secures life at the top

FT: Tamworth 2    2 Southport

14 April 2012

Following the abandonment of the match at Telford and subsequent rearrangement this coming Tuesday, Tamworth started their fourth from last game of the season ‘again' by welcoming Southport to The Lamb.

Liam Watson's Sandgrounders found themselves in need of three points to have a chance of getting back into the play off zone, a far cry from this time last season when relegation was a distinct possibility.
On the other hand, Marcus Law's side although still not mathematically safe from the drop were realistically past the post with Hayes and Yeading having to win all three of their remaining games and overturn a deficit of ten goals.
A Lambs win over Southport, or indeed a Hayes draw or loss to against third placed Mansfield, would mean that the trip to relegation threatened Telford and the subsequent trip to a similarly worried Stockport would be without any pressure for points whatsoever setting up a relaxing final day of the season against Cambridge United. But all that was 90 minutes away and anything could happen...

Lambs boss Law made two changes to the side that had run out at The New Bucks Head as Franicno Francis and Nick McKoy did not feature, with Kyle Nix and Connor Gudger coming into the starting eleven.

The Lambs got the game underway kicking towards the Castle End and almost got an early advantage through Nix's shot from 20 yards but his miss-hit the ball and it went high and wide of McMillan's goal.
The height difference between The Lambs and the Sandgrounders was obvious to see with The Lambs likely to come off worse in the battle for aerial supremacy.
But on 5 Christie chased down the loose ball and McMillan advance just out of his area to clear but the two caught each other and the keeper needed length treatment to his ankle before play could continue.
Tait unleashed a right footed drive from the right channel on 10 which didn't threaten to go into the goal but did bring a ripple of appreciation from the home faithful.
The visitors took the lead on 11 though thanks to a long throw on the left from Owens which was flicked on by in the box Davis and Whalley nodded home from a yard out with Gray behind him just in case. (0-1, 11 mins)
Southport were forced to make a change after 16 as Davis hobbled off the field of play with assistance and Lever replaced him.
A foul on Christie as Tamworth pushed forward allowed McDonald to fire a deep freekick into the back of the box which Green met with his head but put the chance behind the goal from an angle on the left.
Green conceded a penalty for a deliberate push in the back of Gray and he dusted himself down to fire home the second of the afternoon on 23. (0-2, 23 mins).
Christie took an extra touch before hitting a shot from the edge of the box on 25 minutes but only found a defender in the way of his effort.
At the other end Southport won a corner after a strong run from Whalley down the right wing but the resultant flag kick went too long for the visitors to do anything with.
A through ball flicked on by Christie and Nix tried to get through the covering defender. His way was hampered and shouts of handball rang from thee terraces but nothing was given. Tamworth kept up the pressure though and when Patterson received the ball into the box he fired a right footed volley over McMillan and just over the bar with the ball coming to rest on the roof of the net.
Southport won a pair of corners on 34 and the second one from the left saw Grand head for goal only to be thwarted by Nix on the line who headed the ball away.
Gudger was unable to head past McMillan as the dropping ball came to him on 35 and his effort from 18 yards was easily collected by the keeper.
Tamworth pressure failed to break the Southport defence around the 35 minute mark and although The Lambs had the ball in and around the area for a good few minutes nothing was forthcoming including two failed penalty shouts as Nix and Collins were bundled over as high balls came into McMillan's area.
Parry picked up a booking for a foul on Nix midway into the Southport half on 42 and four minutes added time was shown at the end of the half.
McDonald sent a right sided corner into the danger area  and found Patterson but his header went away and then Gudger could only see his shot blocked by the in coming defence.
Christie got a head on target on ‘48' but found McMillan exactly placed to catch the ball at chest height in the final action of the half.

HT: Tamworth 0    2 Southport

After what seemed like a age for the break to end Marna replaced Collins prior to Southport starting the second half and when Nix sent a long ball through to Tait to race onto he tumbled over McMillan and required treatment for an injury to his right arm and was unable to continue, bringing Grayson into the fray.
In the next move, Marna's ball looking for Christie found the striker but his shot sailed over the terracing.
A corner on the left then came The Lambs way and was headed away but Barrow put the ball back in and Christie slid home to reduce the deficit with a low strike at the near post (1-2, 53 mins)
A flowing move up the right wing ended when Christie was brought down on the edge of the area and McDonald's freekick was headed behind for a corner which caused some problems before being cleared.
Nix tried his luck but failed to hit the target with an angled lob on 58 and then a corner from the left went just over the target.
Ledsham picked up a yellow on 63 and Tamworth pushed on with the ball eventually finding the back of the next through Gudger's strike (his first for The Lambs) from the left of the box inside the far corner past the despairing dive of McMillan, levelling the tie. (2-2 64 mins)
Barrow fed Gudger down the left who in turn placed the ball into the path of Patterson on 72 but he couldn't force the ball over the line from close range and a similar move on 80 ended with a low curling shot past the same post.
Grand became the third booking for Southport on 85 and The Lambs pushed forward and tried to do something with a corner from Marna on the left, but it was booted clear and made its way back to Hedge.
Barrow was unable to continue, feeling a tight muscle in his right leg and was replaced by Habergham for the final few minutes and it looked like his first touch had let in Whalley who rounded Hedge and rolled the ball towards goal but found Habergham sliding in to deny him.
Tamworth broke quickly from the corner and Gudger fed Patterson on the right of centre but the latter put his shot past the left hand upright.
Four minutes added time was shown and Grayson was booked for a late tackle by the clubhouse corner of the ground allowing Southport to float a wasted freekick into no man's land.
With Hayes having suffered defeat to the hands of Mansfield the result no longer mattered, but all things being equal the point gained was ultimately enough and a come back from two down justified by the second half performance.

Tamworth Team:

Jonathan HEDGE (GK), Richard TAIT (Ashley GRAYSON 50), Sam OJI, Liam McDONALD, Kyle PATTERSON, Kyle NIX, Paul GREEN (c.), Connor GUDGER (Sam HABERGHAM 89), Scott BARROW, Iyseden CHRISTIE, Charlie COLLINS (Jean-Paul MARNA HT)

Subs: Connor TAYLOR, Danny THOMAS

Yellow Cards: Grayson 90

Southport Team:

Tony McMILLAN (GK), Steve AKRIGG, Earl DAVIS (Chris LEVER 17), Simon GRAND, Shuan WHALLEY, Alan MOOGAN (capt.), Tony GRAY, Andy PARRY, James SMITH, Andrew OWENS, Karl LEDSHAM (James ELLISON 83)

Subs: Matt NEMES, Russell BENJAMIN, Adam CARDEN

Yellow Cards: Parry 42, Ledsham 63, Grand 85

Attendance: 830

Man of the Match: Occasions Catering chose Connor Gudger

Referee: Mr. W. Barratt

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