Bampton strike sees Tamworth through
12 January 2008
Lambs boss Gary Mills handed debuts to three players for the only all Blue Square North tie in the last 32 of the FA Trophy.
There was £5000 on offer to the winner and while was not quite the frozen North it was bitterly cold and a part of the pitch in front of one of the goals only just defrosted enough to get studs in prior to kick off.
So Gary Mills’ squad, currently 16th in the table faced Blyth Spartans in 18th, looking to progress in a welcome distraction from league worries, although neither would relish the prospect of a replay.
Des Lyttle’s ball over the home defence on 2 was just too long for Jamie Reed to latch onto, and a foul on Jonti Richter set up a freekick on 4 but nothing came of it.
A moment of hesitation by the Lambs defence on 8 meant that Dominic Langdon was forced to foul to stop proceedings and handed Blyth a freekick 25 yards out, and Andrew Johnson forced Alex Cisak to bat the ball away with his strike at the near post before Lyttle picked up the first booking of the game on 10 for a late tackle on Robert Dale.
Reed set up Robinson with a close range chance which he took only for Adam Bartlett to push round the post on 15 then at the other end Lyttle, prevented Johnson with a well timed header back to Cisak on 17.
Michael Briscoe sliced a long range effort wide from distance on 19 after a good pass from Reed who was doing a lot of running in the last third of the field.
Tempers frayed and the referee’s notebook hard a work out around the half hour mark as frustration showed and quality from both sides was taking a back seat, although a good break by Spartans was halted only by the offside flag on 33.
Gareth Williams then put in a great tackle to deny the opening goal from Reed on 38 – the best chance of the game so far. Robinson had flicked the ball over the back four and Reed burst onto it before pushing it around the keeper but Williams was on hand to deny Reed netting on his debut.
The Lambs exerted some pressure at the start of the second half with Reed and Robinson linking up well but were foiled by the Blyth defence.
Dominic Langdon’s low shot from the edge of the area was blocked en route to goal and on 50 Dave Bampton’s shot on the turn inside the area cleared the crossbar by a few feet.
Blyth then came back at Tamworth on 53 with Gary Brown forcing Cisak to put the ball out for a corner from a teasing cross and then to make a double save from the Martin Houlahan when the flag kick came into the area.
Play switched to the other end and Reed was denied by the feet of ‘keeper Bartlett on 55 after controlling a chipped ball from Langdon to his feet while facing goal and Bartlett caught Briscoe’s powerful header easily from the resultant corner.
Andrew Johnson fed Gildea who in turn passed to the feet of Houlahan on the hour mark only to be denied again by the outrushing Cisak.
The Lambs then took the lead, backed by vociferous supporters behind the goal, after winning a corner on 67 which Bampton fired home from close range after Reed’s initial shot was stopped by Bartlett. (1-0)
Bartlett pushed Sheldon’s drive out for a corner with a flying stop to his right on 71 and Reed misdirected his header a minute later.
Houlahan almost bagged an equaliser on 73 only to see Andrew Teague deflect the ball out and Cisak denied Chris McCabe’s header with a point blank save from the corner.
The pace of the game did not let up in the following minutes, although chances were limited as Blyth looked for an equaliser and did their best to pen Tamworth into their own half forcing a succession of corners.
The Lambs though did look for a goal themselves, with Reed having a run blocked and then just failing to connect with a right wing cross from Richter on 85.
Fourt added minutes were shown and a lot of Lambs nails were being bitten around the ground hopeful that the side would hold on to make it through to the last 16 and they did just that.
Bartlett, Brown, Christensen, Williams G, Forster, Gildea, Webster (Hedley 61), McCabe, Dale, Johnson, Houlahan
Subs: Snowdon, Logan, Fenton, Evans M.
Alex Cisak, Lyttle, Langdon, Gareth Evans, Teague, Bampton, Richter, Briscoe, Robinson, Jamie Reed, Sheldon
Subs: Williams, Law, Ebdon, Sheridan, Wright
Yellow Cards: Lyttle 10, Briscoe 30, Gildea 30
Referee: Mr Davison