All square at Kettering
26 December 2009
After an enforced break when the weather put paid to The Lambs trip to Salisbury, Tamworth made the relatively short journey to the A-Line Arena on Boxing Day for their next Blue Square Premier Fixture.
With Nick Wright out with injury whilst also on the verge of a move to Stevenage, Gary Mills made one change to the side that had defeated Mansfield a fortnight ago with Bradley Pritchard forced to sit the game out, earning a one match ban after accumulating five yellow cards.
The Poppies got the game underway, kicking towards the smaller of the two end terraces and inside the first minute Elding blazed a shot high and wide of the mark after a short run out of midfield.
There were two shouts for handball in the area on 3 when Smith and then Brown saw powerful shots strike the Kettering defenders in their way but it was more a case of ball hitting player than the other way around.
A trip on Shaw inside the Kettering half gave MacKenzie a freekick which was cleared but only as far as Tait who found Rodman on the left wing but he lost out and a foul by Christie brought play to a halt.
A foul by Smith gave the home side the ball midway inside the Lambs half, but Dance's resultant cross to Elding found the striker offside on 8.
On 10 Partridge cut the ball back from the right of the area for Heslop to shoot but he found his way blocked by Smith and when the chance ran free to Thomas he sliced his effort on the other side of the box, wide of the mark by some distance.
Handball by Wylde on 13 on the left side of defence gave Thomas and freekick which he flashed left footed into the danger area, but ultimately failed to find a team mate and caused the ball boy more problems than Alcock as it skipped into the piles of snow behind the goal.
Sheridan lifted a right footed shot from distance onto the empty terracing behind Harper's goal on 17 while at the other end it took a desperate by Tait on the line to deny Partridge's initial effort which both Elding and then Thomas failed to put the ball in the net on 21.
Shaw flicked the ball to MacKenzie to strike from distance on 23 but his shot went wide of the right hand post by a few feet and on 26 Brown fed a perfect ball through the last two home defenders to Christie who had lost his marker and hit an angled right footed shot aiming for just inside the far left post which missed by just a whisker.
MacKenzie set himself up for a left footed drive from 25 yards on the half hour mark, but dragged it wide of the right hand post with defenders bearing down and he repeated the feat on 32 after a good run from Rodman but this time struck the ball low and wide of the left hand post.
The offside flag ended a great movement from Tamworth after a five pass move in and around the box on 35 as the Lambs started to assert some positive pressure and more of the same saw Smith head Christie's left sided cross high over the bar at the far post, as the home fans started to show their frustration.
Then on 37 Brown set up Sheridan with a short pass to feet but he lifted the ball over the bar with a right footed sweep from 20 yards.
With five remaining Harper tipped a harmless but tricky cross over his bar for a corner and Tamworth pushed the home side back ending with Wylde heading wide of the mark after a teasing cross from Christie.
Smith headed a long ball forward into the six yard box but it was hooked away on 44 and Elding picked up a yellow card for protesting a foul on Sheridan on the half way line as one minute added time was shown.
Tamworth won a corner as the seconds ticked down but it was headed away and Harper collected Briscoe's flick on shortly before the half time whistle blew.
The Lambs got the second period underway, kicking down the field in the direction of the Lambs fans housed in one end of the main stand. Kelly replaced Elding during the interval for the home side and it was Heslop for the Poppies who had the first shot of the second half with a low strike at Alcock which didn't trouble him.
A left wing cross from Thomas was then met with a good header under pressure from Boucaud on 52 which went straight to Alcock.
Just short of the hour Boucaud received a booking for a challenge on Sheridan on the left wing and Heslop was forced to head the ball behind when MacKenzie's freekick whipped into the box. Smith headed over the bar from the resultant right sided corner which Kettering seemed to take as a wake-up call, pushing the ball forward more than they previously had without really threatening.
Rodman slipped under pressure on the left side of the box on 63 and won a freekick when his attempt to stand up was impeded giving Tamworth another freekick but it came to nothing after Heslop once again headed away.
A long freekick from Briscoe was headed back to Wylde a minute later by Smith, but the Lambs defender couldn't keep his shot down and it ballooned over the bar.
Sheridan won a right sided corner on 65 after good play from Mackenzie and Shaw put it onto the head of Smith, but he nodded the chance high over the bar as Tamworth struggled to get a good shot on target despite their increasing share of possession.
Smith tripped Noubissie midway inside the Lambs half on 69 leaving the Kettering man hobbling for a while and Heslop's free kick was headed into the arms of Alcock by Dempster in a rare attack on the Tamworth goal.
There was no one in the box to finish Sheridan's ball across the six yard box on 70 and a couple of minutes later Blackwood came on for Brown.
Wylde threw himself at Partridge's low drive from 20 yards to deny him a shot on target on 74 while at the other end a fortuitous blow from the referee's whistle earned Tamworth a freekick for a foul on Christie which MacKenzie put straight at Harper from a central position 30 yards out and on 76 Christie fired low into Harper's arms from a left sided position as half chances continued to come.
On 82 Rodman hit a low shot at goal from 25 yards which took a wicked deflection into the air, but Harper was untroubled as it looped up into his grasp.
Heslop fell in the area under pressure from Tait but the referee waved away his shouts for a penalty while at the other end Christie tried to curl a left footed shot at goal, but didn't get enough bend on the ball and it went out a good yard or two past the left hand upright.
Smith put in a timely tackle to deny Thomas a chance of a shot on 88 as he picked up the ball inside the Lambs penalty area before three minutes added time was shown.
As the seconds ticked down Tamworth pushed forward but seemed content with the point and the final whistle blew on a goalless draw.
Alcock, Tait, Smith C., Wylde, MacKenzie, Rodman, Sheridan, Shaw, Briscoe M., Brown (Blackwood 72), Christie
Subs: Lyttle, Langdon, Lake-Gaskin, Ulker
Kettering Town Team:
Harper, Dempster, Taylor, Dance, Noubissie, Heslop, Boucaud, Elding (Kelly HT), Thomas, Partridge, Davis
Subs: Cooper, Jennings, Wrack, Cherry
Referee: W. Barratt