Atieno strike gives Lambs hope
21 April 2007
It was do or die at The Lamb as the final home game of the season reared it’s head and Graham Heathcote’s Altrincham side stood in the way of The Lambs giving themselves a fighting chance of Conference survival.
Lambs boss Gary Mills made one change to the side that had fallen 3-0 to Stevenage a week ago with Michael Tuohy dropping to the bench and Simon Weaver coming in.
At a packed out Lamb under glorious sunshine, John McGrath had the first attempt on goal after 3 minutes but shot high and wide of the
The ground erupted on 14 when Taiwo Atieno gave Tamworth the lead with a great downward header from 6 yards out that nestled in the far corner from Simon Heslop’s pinpoint right wing cross. (1-0)
Altrincham won a bizarre freekick on the left by the clubhouse on 17 which resulted in a yellow card for Heslop when he jumped at the visiting throw in, but thankfully Atieno eventually cleared the Lambs lines.
McGrath struck a freekick from the left of the area on 20 which was deflected away for a Lambs corner but Briscoe glanced his header well wide from the flag kick.
Jake Edwards cross goal header on 28 from Heslop’s right wing cross caused Atly ‘keeper Stuart Coburn some bother but Atieno couldn’t get round his marker in time to get onto the bouncing ball.
Atieno and Helsop took advantage of a missed pass and advanced two on two on 32 but the visitors somehow managed to shepherd the ball out for a McGrath corner which Edwards met but knocked out of play for a goal kick at the near post.
McGrath let fly from fully 30 yards with a left foot half volley on 37 and Coburn had to parry it over his bar to stop the ball going in at the top right hand corner.
Joe O’Neill took a knock on 38 under pressure from Law and could not continue forcing the first substitution of the game on 40.
Simon Weaver headed behind for an Alty corner on 45 but The Lambs cleared easily as two minutes added time at the end of the first half was shown.
1st half Altrincham sub Rod Thornley curled an effort from the left wing agonizingly past the far upright on 48 before Adie Smith won a corner for The Lambs on 51 which Briscoe headed straight at Coburn.
The visitors won a corner on 54 and Rikki Bains cleared his lines the wrong way immediately after for another flag kick which Tamworth cleared.
The ball ran clear from the half way line on 54 and Thornley broke one on one with Veiga. But the Lambs keeper did magnificently well to block his run and Weaver eventually nodded the ball, which had cannoned off the Lambs keeper, away from danger.
Matt Williams replaced Darryl Taylor on the hour mark and when Colin Little put the ball in the back of the net on 63 the visiting fans erupted but their joy was short lived as the linesman had already flagged for offside.
Williams had a tame shot at Coburn on 64 and Thornley cleared the bar with a right footed half volley from distance on 67 and Michael Tuohy entered the fray for Edwards.
Alty got a freekick 30 yards from goal and Robbie Lawton’s driven effort had to be punched clear by Veiga on 71. The visitors then won two corners in succession the second coming after a clash at the near post between which left Veiga requiring treatment but he recovered to collect the flag kick at full stretch.
Steve Bushell tried an overhead kick on 75 which bounced past Veiga’s left had upright from Warren Peyton’s freekick and Weaver put the ball behind for another Alty corner on 67 which saw Veiga deny Little from close range for another corner which flew harmlessly over the bar to give The Lambs some respite.
Tension was at a high around the ground for both sets of supporters as the final 10 minutes came with the home faithful knowing nothing less than three points was what was required.
McGrath struck from distance on 88 and Coburn could only parry but Williams cut back was cut out by the ‘keeper.
The Lambs were doing everything to try and get a second goal while at the other end Veiga was doing his utmost to prevent the visiting side getting anything from the game as four minutes added time was shown.
Alty won a corner in added time after Veiga carried Weaver’s header over his line but Tamworth blocked and tackled as required to deny them getting close.
The final whistle came to a standing ovation from the home crowd as “The Great Escape” played….
To be continued!
Edwards (Tuohy 67), Atieno
McGrath, Weaver, , Heslop, Taylor (Williams 60)
Law, Bains, Briscoe, Smith
Subs: Tuohy, Bampton, Friars, Storer
O’Neill (Thornley 40), Little
Chalmers, Bushell (Aspinall 77), Owen, Lawton
Peyton, Band, Munroe, Rose (Talbot 60)
Subs: Acton, Scott
Yellow Cards: Heslop 17, Aspinall 85
Goals: Atieno 14
Referee: Mr M. Oliver (Ashington)
MOM: As chosen by match sponsors BT Felton and Son, DF Baxter Holdings, Zero-One Design:
Jose Veiga and John McGrath