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Brave Lambs go down to penalty at Kassam

FT: Oxford United 2    1 Tamworth

25 November 2006

“Show no fear” was Mark Cooper’s rally cry to his squad before the game against table topping Oxford United, who had suffered just their first defeat of the season seven days previously.
Cooper stayed with the same starting eleven that had beaten Woking comprehensively at The Lamb and were looking to inflict the U’s first home defeat of the season in front of potentially the largest Conference crowd Tamworth had played against (previous best = 5007 (A) at Carlisle).

Both sides started brightly, with Oxford perhaps edging it and the home side forced the first corner of the game on 5 minutes, but it was wasted. Former Lamb Eddie Anaclet showed skill on the left to beat Joe Kendrick and Eddie Hutchinson just failed to turn and shoot quickly enough allowing Veiga to gather. And it was Anaclet again on 7 who supplied the ammunition but Robbie Duffy’s header from 10 yards was well over the crossbar and didn’t threaten Veiga at all.
Steve Burton fed Jon Stevenson with an great through ball on 11 minutes, but Stevenson was not quite sharp enough to get enough purchase on the ball to get it past Billy Turley in the Oxford goal and the home ‘keeper managed to recover.
Jon McGrath found himself with time to shoot from distance after a knock back from Burton on 16 but the ball curled harmlessly wide of the right hand post.
Simon Heslop lost possession in the centre of his own half on 19 and this gave Duffy the opportunity to try a shot at Veiga, but his effort lacked conviction and Veiga collectedeasily.
A flowing United move which started in their own half, ended with a Hutchinson header over the bar from 6 yards on 23 as the home side showed some class while Tamworth continued to defend strongly when required, sometimes having to cover up mistakes quickly to save their teammates blushes, but working as a team nonetheless.
The Lambs won free kick a few feet outside the areajust before the half hour mark, but McGrath wasted the freekick and the chance went begging.
Anaclet once again showed pace to beat Kendrick on 40 and give Duffy a far post header, but Veiga was not troubled as the effort lacked power and was, once again, easy to collect.
Burton almost opened the scoring at the end of the first half, but met Darrly Taylor’s ball on the wrong side of the post and knocked it out of play for a goal kick.
HT: 0-0

Jim Smith made two substitutions at half time and his side came out with all guns blazing and it paid off on 52 minutes when Matt Day unleashed a right footed drive from 30 yards which took a slight deflection to deceive Veiga. Although the Lambs ‘keeper got his hand to it he had already committed himself and the ball carried into the goal. (0-1)
But Tamworth didn’t give up easily and hit back on 63 via the head of Taiwo Atieno who powered home McGrath’s corner to level the tie. (1-1)
The ground subsequently erupted with noise from the home fans urging their side on and The Lambs had to throw literally everything in the way to stop United from getting a quick reply.
Heslop blocked with his body on more than one occasion and Adie Smith used his torso to stop a powerful drive while Veiga held Chris Hargreaves header on 70 at the second attempt and blocked the same player’s attempt a minute or so later as Oxford pushed ever forward.
McGrath then cleared off the line twice in quick succession and most of the TFC side were involved in trying to stop a second goal, but it did come on 75 minutes via the penalty spot when Graeme Law was adjudged to have brought down Carl Pettefer and Duffy scored via the post. (1-2)

Atieno, Burton
Stevenson (Storer 88), McGrath, Heslop, Taylor
Kendrick (Law 62), Weaver, Smith, Laight

Subs: Friars,Cooper, Belford

Oxford United:

Slabber, (Odubade HT) Duffy
Johnson, Hutchinson (Pettefer HT), Burgess, Hargreaves, Anaclet
Day, Quinn, Wilmott

Subs: Tardif, Basham, Dempster

Yellow Cards: Burton 79
Red Cards:

Att: 6614 (163 TFC)

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