Captain Smith gives Lambs three points against league leaders
06 February 2010
Tamworth welcomed top of the table Stevenage Borough to The Lamb with both sides keen to protect an unbeaten 8 match run. Stevenage had scored 23 times in their last 8 compared to Tamworth's 7 but with both sides having very mean defences - Stevenage having conceded 3 to Tamworth's 2 - a tight hard fought game was expected.
With Richard Tait contuning to recover from illness and Neil MacKenzie out with a heel injury Gary Mills handed Jay Smith his full debut while FA Trophy goalscorer Jerome Murdock took a place on the bench.
Stevenage got the match underway kicking towards the Meadow Street End and while Wright lay prostrate on the floor Christie almost prodded the ball home but the visiting defence pushed it away for a corner.
After being helped from the field, Lake-Gaskin came on in place of Wright as The Lambs put pressure on Boro but were unable to break through and Stevenage redressed the balance for a few minutes.
Stevenage won a corner on the left on 10 which was headed behind past the far post for another flag kick on the other side which Bostwick headed high and wide from a good position at the back of the box.
Jay Smith swung a low shot from the left of the box into Day's side netting on 15.
Wylde and Blackwood combined to deny a shot from Beardsley on 16 while The Lambs made some good moves in a well worked counter but were hampered in the final third and the move broke down.
Shaw lost Beadsley on the halfway line on 20 and he made headway towards Alcock's area before finding Odubade well placed to fire a right footed shot at goal from the left of the box which he did, but also cleared the target by some distance.
A foul on Christie by Bostwick set up Shaw with a freekick on the left of the area on 22 which Day punched out but only as far as Chris Smith who pushed the ball towards goal and after a deflection off a covering defender who was unable to stop it going over the line to give Tamworth the lead (1-0, 23 mins).
It could have been two on 26 after great work by Blackwood to feed Sheridan down the left and after beating his man on the by-line he fired a low ball into the area which Christie met but couldn't get on target.
With Stevenage on the ropes, a similar move won Tamworth a left sided corner on 27 but Briscoe's header was a mile off target.
The Lambs continued to press as and when they could with a fine cross into the area coming from Jay Smith on 33 which ran just too long for Sheridan and although he got a shot away the angle was tight and Henry cleared.
A corner came on 34 following good work from Pritchard and Shaw swung the ball in from the Cross Street entrance but Stevenage hoofed the danger away.
Griffin received a booking on 37 for a shoulder on Alcock as he jumped to collect a high ball and as the game entered the final five minutes of the first half Borough pushed on with a couple of freekicks of their own - the second of which came when Sheridan received a booking for a seemingly harmless challenge on Long on the halfway line which left the Borough man on the floor.
Two minutes added time were shown at the end of the first half and as the seconds ticked away Tamworth won a freekick just inside the Boro half which Briscoe fired into the area. Chris Smith;s header was cleared but Tamworth kept up the pressure but Odubade broke and Briscoe took a booking to halt his progress but the freekick was well and truly wasted.
Tamworth started the second half and Sheridan was brought down on the left wing as The Lambs pushed towards the Castle End. Shaw rolled the ball short but Jay Smith's effort rose high and harmlessly over the bar.
Sheridan crossed from the left into the arms of Day on 50 while at the other end Obudabe swilled a left footed shot wide of the right hand post from distance on 51.
Graham Westley made a double substitution on 56 and after a high and late challenge on Pritchard was waved play on the referee but Tamworth won a freekick on the right wing as the move continued and although Stevenage won the ball back, when Sheridan got the ball on the halfway line Stevenage captain Henry received a red card for a wild challenge on the Lambs player.
Christie was felled as he made a way into the final third and Chris Smith got his head to the ball at the far post but Borough cleared it away as it looked to be dropping toward goal on 63.
Murphy then picked up a yellow card for an elbow on Christie on the halfway line as the physical nature of the game increased and Murphy was booked for the second time in three minutes after another foul on Sheridan and didn't bother turning around to receive the card, heading immediately for an early shower.
Despite the increased numerical disadvantage Borough still pushed forward and made the home defence work and Westley made another sub on 71 removing the other player in his side on a booking.
On 77 sub Cole forced Alcock to come out and protect his goal and concede a corner in the process with a fine advancing save on the right of his box and the visitors wasted the flagkick.
A flowing move out of midfield involving five or six Lambs players ended with Jay Smith firing wide of the mark and Lake-Gaskin was replaced by Murdock on 80.
Ashton rose high to glance a header wide of the mark on 83 and Pritchard flashed a shot just wide of the right hand upright as Tamworth moved out from the goal kick.
Blackwood was booked for time wasting after taking too long to take a throw in by the dugouts on 85 and Christie fired a shot from the left of the area which looked like it was creeping inside the post but went just a foot or two wide on 87.
A foul gave Long a freekick 40 yards out on 88 which Sills headed harmlessly behind.
Long then got booked for picking the ball up and putting in place for a Tamworth freekick (!) on 89 and four minutes added time was shown.
Cole overhead kicked a good chance wide of the mark in added time and Murdock made a good run into the area at the other end shortly after and tension and songs emendated from the terraces as the seconds ticked down on a superb three points for The Lambs.
Alcock, Blackwood, Smith C, Wylde, Wright (Lake-Gaskin 4, Murdock 80), Pritchard, Sheridan, Shaw, Briscoe, Smith J, Christie
Unused: Hurren, Fankem, Lyttle
Stevenage Borough Team:
Day, Laird, Ashton, Murphy, Long, Griffin (Byrom 71), Odubade, Bridges (Cole 56), Beardsley (Sills 56), Bostwick, Henry
Subs: Bayes, Albrighton
Man of the Match: Chosen by Practical Car Rental: Michael Blackwood
Referee: A.J. Madley