For the first game of 2016, and with two players unavailable in Preston and Mettam, Lambs boss Andy Morrell made four changes at North Street (The Impact Arena), to the side that suffered defeat to Nuneaton on Bank Holiday Monday in the final outing of 2015. He picked himself alongside Ross Dyer up front while Lee Smith and Josh Heaton regained their places in the starting eleven with Connor Taylor while Elliott Durrell took a place on the bench.
Tamworth got the game underway going down the hill and mixed things up from the off with Alfreton not being allowed time on the ball. A corner and a couple or deep freekicks signalled the home side’s intent, then on 12 Leesley crossed from the left and Belshaw punched it clear, but only just. Bradley tripped Taylor on his route down the left wing on 14 but the dead ball was cleared then on 16 Morrell had the ball in the net on 16, but it was ruled out for a foul by the gaffer in the build up The Lambs were playing at a higher tempo than in recent games and this caused Thanoj to resort to a foul on Clarke 35 yards out on 20 which Green set up from distance to chip into the box but Morrell was unable to get decent purchase on it. Alfreton forced a corner on 21 which Burns headed behind for one on the other side which Belshaw punched clear under pressure and a foul halted play. A long range strike from Meikle was tackled behind for a corner which was halted for a foul on Burns in the area on 28. On 35 the first clear chance for Alfreton presented itself when Meikle sneaked through a static Lambs defence but was forced wide and shot off target. Heaton was booked on 38 for a foul on Thanoj in the centre circle and play continued in the breezy wet rain hitting Derbyshire. There was a booking for home side number 10 Smith shortly before the minute of added time ended the half.
HT: Alfreton Town 00 Tamworth
Alfreton restarted the game but The Lambs forced an early throw and Morrell tried a shot on the turn which was cleared. On the opposite side, Tomassen launched a long throw and it fell for Clarke but his shot went high over the target from 12 yards on the angle. A cross from Allan found from the head of Smith on 50 but he wasn’t able to get it on target and it went past the post by some distance. The home side continued to put pressure on The Lambs without any real end product. When Tamworth countered it was via Green freekick from the left that Morrell didn’t quite get onto to force home at the far post, A free kick by Green was met at the far post by Heaton on the hour, but he put the ball wide of the mark. A Dyer header from a long Tomasen throw on 65 hit the side netting so the game remained goalless, and Durrell replaced Morrell on 66. The substitute whipped in a good ball looking for Green on 71 but it was taken by Duke, then Alfreton sub Jackson caused some problems and a corner on the right resulted which Belshaw smothered. Allan was booked on 76 and Green’s freekick into the area didn’t do any damage as the whistle blew for a foul off the ball. Newton came onto the field for the first time since 07 November to a round of applause from the travelling faithful, but a corner was forced at the other end of the field and a chance for the home side to take advantage was wasted. Bradley whipped in a dangerous ball across the box on 85 but there was not a layer able to clear or finish. Durrell was tripped trying to make his way into the final third on 86 and took the freekick himself but it was straight at Duke and the keeper caught it easily. Then, on 89, Robertson’s left wing cross to the near post was converted by former Lamb Dan Bradley to take the three points, (0-1, 89 mins). Burns and Robertson picked up ye.low cards for a tussle in added time before the while blew.