Injury to Lyttle and all square at Bower Fold
08 November 2008
Tamworth, with Southport not in action this weekend, travelled to Steve Burr’s Stalybridge Celtic looking not only for ‘revenge’ for their only league defeat of the season so far against Celtic earlier in the season, but also to make the most of their game in hand over the Sandgrounders.
There was just one change to the side that drew 0-0 with Gainsborough last weekend - with David Bevan suspended Will Puddy came into goal.
Tamworth kicked off and immediately forced Celtic onto the back foot keeping the home side in their own half for the first few minutes.
Chris Smith rose highest to nod the ball home after 5 minutes from a long throw on the left, but the referee blew for a push on the keeper as both rose for the ball and the goal celebrations were cut short.
Wylde discarded his bandage (from the head injury sustained on Tuesday night at Stratford) on 7 after a deft header, from Foster’s ball forward, over the home back four was ruled out for offside.
Stalybridge came forward then and Terry Barwick hit a hopeful low ball into the box but it was too hard for Nicky Platt to reach and Puddy kicked long. The ball bounced kindly through everyone for Sheldon to chase, but Paul Phillips collected off his toes as he advanced into the area.
Sheldon missed his shot after good work from Wright set him up with a seemingly ease chance from 18 yards on 12 as The lambs continued their dominance of the game.
Platt, Torpey and Battersby combined to win Celtic their first corner on 17 after Langdon put the ball behind and Puddy was helpless to do anything as the ball flew in at the far post direct from Smart’s dead ball, against the run of play. (0-1, 18 mins)With a new found confidence Celtic pushed forward again and won another corner on 22 but play was stopped for a seemingly harmless tackle on Lyttle which saw the Lambs defender requiring treatment and ultimately leg strapping and a stretcher, and a substitution with Callum Burgess coming on.
The loss of Lyttle and the goal prior to his early departure understandably rattled Tamworth and Stalybridge tried to push forward again but a long Delap style throw from Langdon won a corner on 31 only for the chance to go begging. However, The Lambs recovered and duly equalised through Smith’s low shot from the edge of the area which sneaked in at the far post on 31 (1-1)
Wright, on the right wing, moved more centrally and struck a shot from considerable distance on 38 which Phillips caught and Barwick hit a similar audacious dipping effort at Puddy on 40 with the same result.
Platt unleashed a right footed volley seconds later which cleared the bar by just a few inches.
Craig McAughtrie, who had travelled with the squad, but not been named on the team sheet went with Des Lyttle just before half time as the Lambs defender left for treatment elsewhere and Rodman sent his shot out of the ground on 44 when well placed following a booking against Briggs and freekick into the danger area.
At the other end, Joynes was penalised for a clattering challenge against Puddy despite winning the header as three minutes added time was shown, and a foul by Pritchard set up Celtic with a dead ball 30 yards out. Tamworth defended strongly to clear the danger as the half time whistle blew.
Celtic won a corner on 47 which Smart took but Tamworth broke from only for Wright to lose possession at the by-line under pressure from two defenders.
Briggs his a low effort on the angle from the right which Puddy dropped to smother on 52 and Sheldon tried a similar effort shortly after which was easy for Phillips.
Rodman turned well and hit a low effort at goal on 55 which Phillips tipped wide with a dive to his left and Tamworth won a corner which Smith headed well at the far post but saw his goal bound nod cleared en route to goal.
Wright and Rodman combined to set the latter up with a right footed shot from 18 yards on 58, only for his strike to clear the bar with ease and on 59 Shaw won a corner after a good ball from Rodman.
There was little to choose between the two sides in the forthcoming minutes although The Lambs were putting the more passes together when they had the ball but found themselves frustrated by the home back four when they got within the final third of the field.
Celtic won a corner on 67, took it short and Toprey saw his shot blocked by his own man on the near post before Tamworth cleared as Rodman had a shot blocked and Sheldon saw the ball flicked away from him.
Pritchard then put the ball into the net after very good work from Sheldon held the ball up and played it into his path before he slotted home from close range (2-1, 68 mins)
Sheridan took the place of Wright and Sheldon unleashed a good drive on 73 but cleared the bar after The Lambs broke from the back.
Stalybridge won a freekick following a crunching challenge 25 yards out on 75 and Smart hit his second of the game with a powerblaster of a strike which gave Puddy absolutely no chance (2-2, 75 mins)
Foster had his name taken on 76 and the home side made their third change shortly after.
Sheldon saw his shot deflected out for a flag kick on 81 but nothing came of it for The Lambs as they tried to get the ball forward against a hard working home side.
Smith lost the ball to Barlow who in turn passed to Torpey on 83 but he didn’t get his shot away early enough and Puddy collected and Torpey missed a golden headed opportunity a minute later putting the ball wide from close range when it looked a certainty he would score.
It was testament to both teams that the pace didn’t let up as the final whistle drew near and Celtic won a corner on 86 which Sheridan won and sent Sheldon free on the left. He won a throw which Langdon launched and Foster tried a shot but found Phillips well positioned.
Torpey’s left wing cross just cleared the bar on 88 and 3 minutes added time were shown.
Phillips left his area to fire a freekick in which Joynes headed towards goal only for Langdon to head away in added time and Celtic won another corner on 93 which Puddy collected.
Sheldon set Rodman free and the Lambs player crossed but Philips saved, took the ball out of his area and launched it upfield.
Added time came and went and both sides shared the points.
Puddy, Lyttle (Burgess 25), Langdon, Smith, Wylde, Foster, Wright (Sheridan 71), Shaw, Sheldon, Rodman, Pritchard
Subs: Lea, Birley, Law
Stalybridge Celtic Team:
Phillips, Battersby, Meynell, Sharpe, Barwick (Williams 73), Smart, Torpey, Briggs, Ellington (Barlow 73), Joynes, Platt (Wilkinson 79)
Subs: Wood, Keeling
Referee: D. Lawrence (Barnsley)