Dragons fire two more past Lambs unfortunate opener
23 August 2011
Following Saturday's victory over Darlington, the Lambs journeyed into Wales to take on Dean Saunders' Wrexham side who defeated promotion hopefuls Lincoln City at the weekend. Both teams came into the game in the knowledge that a positive result could see either hit a very early morale boosting top spot in the league.
Previous meetings at The Racecourse ground are forgettable for different reasons - the first was a cold midweek 0-0 draw in 2009-10 and in 2010-11 a bumper home crowd roared their side on to a 4-2 victory which flattered The Lambs somewhat. The latter result put the home side into the play offs and although off the field circumstances had changed massively since then, they would be eager to repeat the feat again this season if not go one better.
And so, on a balmy summer evening Marcus Law made five changes to the side that took three points against the Quakers with Cain and Green not featuring at all due to illness and injury respectively.
With the big terraced end empty bar for a few ball boys and girls and the travelling Lambs fans up in a section in the main stand Tamworth emerged in white, black and white in contrast to the home side's red white and red.
Reynolds slotted alongside Francis at the back in a 4-4-2 formation, as Christie and Patterson kicked off proceedings and a freekick was quickly won in the centre at the back of the final third. Smith fired it in but Mills headed was cleared and after escaping a dangerous ball in the penalty area The Lambs pushed on.
Wrexham pushed forward too though and Francis conceded a corner from a deep cross from Fowler on 4 and Morrell saw his shot deflected over the bar for a corner which evaded every one then came back in.
Tolley tried to put the ball in at the far post but Christie blocked it for another flag kick as Barrow and Speight received a talking to.
The game was moving at a faster pace than the previous two home games forcing Tamworth to think on their feet although Mills took Obeng's from him and conceded a freekick on the right in front of the box on 8. Ashton fired the ball but it was badly headed miles over the bar.
The ball bounced kindly for Thomas on 10 and set him up from distance but his shot let him down and then Christie won the ball from the last man but was unable to really test Maxwell from 18 yards and won a corner instead which Smith scuffed short.
A minute later Barrow took a knock and appeared to be suffering from slight concussion despite comments from the Wrexham supporters in front of the press box suggesting, in no uncertain terms, the contrary as he was eventually helped the extra foot off the field.
Three minutes later after a snap shot from Knight-Percival Barrow was helped back to his feet and helped back onto the field.
Wrexham enjoyed a spell with the ball in the Lambs half and then a cross from Mills on the right saw Patterson unable to direct his header, but Christie hit his follow up shot wide of the mark.
Then, on 18 Reynolds scored, but in the wrong net when a harmless cross from the right wing that appeared to be covered by Hedge was put into his own goal with a misplaced defensive header from 8 yards. (1-0, 18 mins)
Tolley's shot deflected off Smith for a corner on 27 and Hedge caught at height under pressure but nothing came of it, before another came from a defensive header from Mills at the near post on the right. The Lambs broke from thee deadball with Bradley feeding Tait on the right but his final ball was easy for Maxwell to take.
Morrell almost hit his fourth goal in four games but saw a sweet shot come back off the left hand upright on 32 and from the rebound Speight put the ball into the side netting on the same side.
A Smith corner was punched high by Maxwell on 34 and a free-kick eventually won on the left wing when Bradley was upended earning Speight a booking. Mills was unable to get the ball out of his feet from the dead ball and the home side cleared.
Tamworth moved the ball around well on 36 moving forwards all the time, but Bradley's final shot from 20 yards failed to test Maxwell who caught at chest height.
A finely threaded through ball for Tolley to run on to was matched equally by the rush out from Hedge to deny him his chipped shot over the keeper, clearly using his chest outside the area on 40 to prevent a second goal against.
The home side tried to tease Tamworth with some almost suicidal defensive passes around 42 and Christie steamed in to try and rob Maxwell outside his area but couldn't prevent the home keeper clearing his lines.
Patterson's cross landed on the roof of the net on 45 as two minutes added time was shown, and much of it was spent by the home side playing triangles to run the clock down frustrating both their own fans and the Lambs players.
Wrexham found themselves in top spot at half time and with Fleetwood looking at a steep climb to get anything at Barrow it was all to play for as the home side got the second period underway.
Inside the first minute Obeng cut into the box and unleashed a shot on target and with everyone expecting it to go in, Tait somehow clawed it off the line to safety in a great stop.
Smith quickly won a corner at the other end and Tamworth kept possession but failed to threaten before Wrexham were able to clear their lines.
The home side played keep ball on the 18 yard line to the annoyance of their fans once again but they didn't have to wait too long before Wright his a shot goalward and Tait was on hand to put it behind.
Morrell jumped and headed goalward but a slight defensive touch took it over the bar until Francis headed away strongly.
Reynolds was booked on 52 for a body check on Speight as he approached the halfway line and Francis developed a slight hobble in his run but played on despite an intermittent conversation with the bench but appeared to have shaken the problem off a few minutes later.
The Lambs won a freekick in a central position on 58 which Thomas curled into Maxwell's grasp and in the next move Bradley won a corner on the right which Francis flicked goalward but saw it cleared away.
As Wrexham broke away Tolley lay prostrate on the floor, but the home side refused to put the ball out and looked for goal. It was only when a throw was conceded by a Tait clearance that the Dragon's front man was able to get the treatment he needed. Following a melee in the area when the ball bobbled and bounced from the launched throw in, Speight hooked a half chance off target past the far post to keep the lead a slender one.
An attacking spell from Tamworth ended when they were forced back over the halfway line on 63 and hedge booted long to Maxwell. But they regrouped and Christie and Patterson tried to force a way through, winning a corner on the left on 65. It came out to Bradley and his dipping effort came back high off the bar.
Law made a trio attacking of changes on 65 but it was Wright who put a good header at Hedge on 66 as The Lambs regrouped.
Cieslewicz broke in the area from the left on 73 but was unable to get a shot away and his cut back was cleared by the Lambs defence.
A corner was headed over the target by Francis on 77 and within a minute a ball to the feet of Tolley allowed him to advance into the Tamworth area and direct a hip high shot home to the right of the keeper from 15 yards despite the efforts and fingertips of Hedge, in full flight. (0-2, 78 mins)
Then it was three as Cieslewicz curled a superb low shot from the right of the box into the far right corner giving Hedge no chance of getting anywhere near it. (0-3, 82 mins)
Hedge pushed a low shot away and Barrow conceded the corner on 87 as the home crowd called for four goals and the fourth official indicated four minutes added time.
There was time for a rifled effort from Shariff which Maxwell gathered at his near post but little more and the home side celebrated the win when the whistle blew.
Hedge, Tait, Francis F., Smith, Mills (McDonald 65), Thomas (Shariff 65), Patterson, Bradley, Barrow, Reynolds, Christie (St. Aimie 65)
Subs: Collister, Francis L.
Yellow Cards: Reynolds 52
Maxwell, Obeng, Ashton, Creighton, Harris, Fowler (Clarke84), Wright, Speight (Cieslewicz 70), Morrell (Tomassen 84), Tolley, Knight-Percival
Subs: Mayebi, Taylor
Yellow Cards: Speight 34
Referee: K. Johnson