14 March 2009The start of a run of three game against clubs in the bottom four started with the visit of Blyth Spartans to The Lamb, and there was one change to the starting eleven from the win against Farsley last weekend. An injury to Alex Rodman ruled him out while Bradley Pritchard came back into the line up after a week out through suspension.
After the normal pre-match handshake with Tammy the Lamb sides lined up with the both sides in need of three points for very different reasons – The Lambs looking to keep up the momentum in their quest for promotion – unbeaten in eight, while Blyth were in need of a boost away from the relegation zone – looking for their first victory in seven.
Shaw and Pritchard got things underway and it became immediately apparent of the visitors tactics – long balls forward – which pushed Tamworth back on occasion.
But the first chance fell to Sheridan on 5 who turned his defender after a pushed ball through from Sheldon however his curled his shot straight at keeper Farman.
More Lambs pressure saw the ball in and around the Spartans box on 9 but there was no chance of a shot on target as the visitors were working hard to clear the ball at every opportunity.
The Lambs won a freekick 35 yards out which Shaw floated into the area and won a corner from the defensive header to deny Smith. Shaw ran to the flag and Smith got his head to the long ball, but Farman caught.
The ball whizzed to the opposite end and Blyth won a flag kick from which Tamworth broke through Sheridan. He beat at least four players on route to the box but a defensive boot put the ball out for a throw which Smith collected on the edge of the six yard box but he was unable to create a chance.
Tamworth were caught out by the offside trap for the second time in the game on 22 when it looked like they had managed to pull the Blyth defence apart while at the other end Dale flashed a deflected shot high over the bar for a corner which Shaw cleared.
As Blyth worked the ball back in, McAughtrie was unable to stop Walton flashing a shot across the six yard box and out for a goal kick.
Another Spartans corner came on 26 and The Lambs were unable to clear sufficiently allowing Blyth to keep up a bit of pressure before play returned to midfield.
Webster hobbled off the pitch after requiring treatment on the field of play on the half hour mark and both sides were finding it very hard to make any in roads into their opponents areas.
Play continued to be very scrappy, with very little passing movement and more balls in the air and misdirected than anything else.
Pritchard picked up a booking for a late challenge on the edge of the Blyth area on 39, at the other end Walton almost capitalised on a slip by McAughtrie which allowed him to advance into the area, but the Lambs defence cleared and a run by Sheridan was cut short when he caught a defenders boot and pulled up in some discomfort. The visitors kicked the ball out so he could get treatment and he carried on until half time.
Two minutes added time were shown at the end of the first half and with it came a Lambs corner by the clubhouse. Shaw put the ball on the head of McAughtrie but his effort was tame and didn’t trouble Farman at all.
Blyth started proceedings but The Lambs soon tried to push the ball forward after their half time team talk.
Sheridan tried his luck with a right footed curler on 50 only to miss the target by some distance and it was too high for Sheldon to latch on to too.
McCabe and Leeson played a neat one two into the Lambs area on 52 and Wylde was on hand to put the ball out for a corner to deny the former. From the flag kick Pell rose high but not quite high enough to connect with a header as play started to open a little more than it had in the first 45.
Disaster in the Lambs defence allowed McCabe to nip through all the tackles and despairing dive of Alcock on 55 to give the visitors the lead with a close range finish. (0-1, 55mins) and Wright came on for Pritchard shortly after.
Tamworth responded and with a corner on 57 which Shaw hit to the back post for McAughtrie again but again he couldn’t get his header, under pressure on target.
A bursting run by Wright down the right wing on 58 was not matched by his cross, which cleared the conifers behind the goal.
Sheldon did a lot better with his shot from 25 yards on the hour as the ball just cleared the bar and Tamworth looked a lot better, getting the ball down on the floor more.
Sheldon took a clattering in the area on 63 but no penalty was given despite the hefty challenge being heard all around the ground. A foul was given against Blyth on 63 though, allowing Sheldon to line up his shot from 25 yards out centre to goal. He struck the effort well enough, but Farman was well positioned and caught it easily.
Another pull on Sheldon by the visiting defence set him up again on 66 slightly closer to goal and more to the right this time and this time he outswung the ball and in off the far post for the equaliser (1-1, 66 mins).
Lyttle won a corner on 68 which Farman collected and at the other end Blyth won a corner when Walton was beaten to the ball at the near post by an outstretched boot.
Nicholson came on for Sheridan with 20 to go and Wylde flicked his header from Smith’s half way line freekick a few feet wide of the mark on 71.
Birley unleashed a right footed volley which caused Farman to dive to gather on 76 and chances were then at a premium as both sides worked hard to stifle the play of the other.
Wright though did get around the back of the Blyth defence and won a corner when his shot took a deflection off a defender but Shaw’s flag kick went out past the far post unhindered on 87.
A fortuitous deflection put the ball into Alcock’s arms on 89 when it looked like McCabe may squeeze through the back four and Banks hit a hopeful effort high and wide from the right of the area.
A minimum of three minutes added time was shown at the end of the game and Sheldon hit a good effort right footed from distance which just went wide of the left hand upright and with virtually the last kick of the game, Birley hit a left footed shot over the bar from the edge of the area.
Alcock, Lyttle, Wylde, Smith, McAughtrie, Foster, Sheridan (Nicholson 70), Shaw, Sheldon, Birley, Pritchard (Wright 55)
Subs: Lea, Burgess, Langdon
Blyth Spartans Team:
Farman, Boyle, Brackstone, Williams, Pell, Leeson, Webster, McCabe, Dale (Brown 72), Walton (Banks 84), Todd
Subs: Dalton, Reay, Laidlaw
Match Sponsors: J. Clarke Transport
Matchball Sponsors: Tamworth Quality Services
Associate Sponsors: Clive Tomlinson and Friends
Man of the Match: Chris Smith
Referee: Mr. J. Law (Worcester)