Good first home show from Lambs
19 July 2008
Tamworth welcomed newly re-formed FC Halifax Town to The Lamb for the visiting side’s first ever fixture under the watchful eye of top Premiership and UEFA referee Howard Webb.
Aside from the ‘regulars’ Will Puddy made a start between the posts – previously Will has played for Cheltenham Town reserves and Stafford Rangers and Lambs boss Gary Mills also brought in Michael Wild although at the time of writing unfortunately no information was know about the player.
Former Lambs boss Paul Hendrie watched from the stands although his son Stuart started on the bench.
Sheets of driving rain welcomed both sides to the field but it did not hamper the enthusiasm of either team eager to impress the crowd which huddled under the stands.
Halifax were quickest out of the blocks and won a corner inside the first minute from Matt Wooley’s deflected shot which Puddy came out to collect.
Tamworth countered through Nick Wright only for the conditions to put paid to his run as he slipped en route to goal.
Lee Hidreth finished a good move with a low drive a few feet wide of the post on 4 as The Lambs tried to play a precise passing game and Halifax cleared Wright’s low ball into the box on 5.
Rodman made a surging run into the box on 5, also, but Mr Webb was having none of his ‘dive’ as the ball skimmed out of play.
Wright and Rodman combined with a neat passing move on 8 only for the former to put his final ball into the box over the far corner of post and bar.
Callum Burgess brought down Colin Hunter on the left of the area on 10 and gave the visitors a shooting chance from the free kick which Neil Ross curled a couple of feet wide of Puddy’s near post.
Wright skipped past defenders on the right on 12 and flicked the ball to the near post, but Bradley Pritchard was beaten to it by Craig Mawson in the Town goal.
A flowing move from the right of midfield involving 6 Lambs players ended on 15 with a crunching shot from Martin Foster on the left of the box which Mawson did well to stop but the corner he conceded in the process came to nothing.
The sun finally came out on 17 and with it the opening goal. Wright seemed to have taken too many touches but rolled the ball home into the far corner despite the best efforts of Steve Payne and the ball was judged to have crossed the line by the assistant referee. (1-0)
A clearance from a Wright cross robbed one spectator of his chips on 28 and from the corner Tamworth pushed for a goal, ending with Gareth Sheldon striking the bottom of the near post with a powerful low drive from 10 yards.
Wright sprinted onto a delightful ball from midfield and chipped to the far post for Rodman to try a header at goal on 31 but Mawson was untroubled by it.
A rare attack from the visitors saw Hunter curl the ball into the six yard area but none of his team mates were quick enough to convert the chance
A superb drive from Sheldon had to be tipped over the bar on 36 after Halifax only half cleared a Lambs attack. He hit the ball on the volley from 30 yards out and forced Mawson into a finger tip save which brought another round of applause from the home faithful.
Mawson earned the plaudits again on 40 denying Rodman from close range after a threaded move from the centre circle involving Wright and Hildreth saw the former Nuneaton striker with the ball at his feet in the area but unable to place under the advancing keeper.
Sheldon should have made it two a minute before the break, but put the ball over the bar from the left of the area after Wright made yet another bursting run down the right and unselfishly switch play to the other side of the box.
Halifax made six changes at half time with every sub except Dorryl Proffit taking to the field and as they tried to find their positions Tamworth pushed toward the Meadow Street end with Martin Foster seeing a shot deflected wide for a corner
On 54 Rodman headed straight at Mawson from Wright’s cross and at the other end Adam Morning brought a finger tip save from Puddy from distance.
Hidreth headed tamely at Mawson on 55 from Wright’s chip into the box after more good interlinking Lambs play.
Liam Smith denied Rodman’s run into the box from Wright’s pass on 59 with a great tackle and Tamworth won two corners in succession the second of which saw Pritchard float the ball to Hildreth who nodded it for Wright to head at Mawson.
There were five Lambs substitutions made just past the hour mark and a few minutes later Hendrie replaced Pritchard giving the Lambs a new look on the field but the plan was much the same.
However, Ross Clegg fired wide from distance on 67 to give Craig McAughtrie something to think about on his return from honeymoon and Hunter found some space amongst the back four to get a shot away on 75 but he missed the target when well placed.
With thirteen changes between both sides play was a little disjointed, but nonetheless enthusiastic giving Mr Webb little to do other than marshall the odd mistimed challenge to two.
Then came the goal of the game (so far?) when Lee Hildreth unleashed a low drive from 35 yards which gave substitute keeper Craig Ellison no chance as it flew into the far corner. (2-0)
A push on Jake Sheridan on the edge of the area set Sheldon or McAughtrie up for a freekick. Both lined up but it was the former that cleared the bar with his rising driven effort on 82.
Hendrie tried a dipping effort from distance which narrowly went over the bar on 86 and Halifax looked for a way through in the last couple of minutes but it was not forthcoming before Mr Webb blew time on the game and both teams were roundly applauded off the field.
Puddy, Burgess*, Langdon+, Smith*, Wild, Foster*, Wright*, Hildreth, Sheldon, Rodman*, Pritchard#
Subs: replaced * on 61 and # on 65 and + on 75
Sheridan*, Lea*, Jones*, Woolaston+, McAughtrie*, Hendrie#, Law*
Not used: Ransome (GK)
FC Halifax Town:
Mawson*, Scott, Awang, Payne, Barass, Lennon, Clegg, Wooley, Jones, Ross, Hunter
Subs: + used at Half time
Proffitt, Greaves+, Smith+, Brown+, Morning+, Buckley+, Ellison (GK)* (74)
Man of the Match: Lee Hildreth