Lambs bag another vital three points at home
27 March 2007
Gary Mills made one change to the side that had lost at Weymouth at the weekend with Adie Smith coming back from injury and Kyle Storer taking a place on the bench. On the injury front Matt Williams, Simon Weaver (both medial ligaments) and Steve Burton (muscle strain) were ruled out with on going problems but were hoped to be back sooner rather than later.
Liam Daish’s Gravesend had won just once in their last eight games and were still pushing for a playoff place while there was no need to remind The Lambs how important every point was after slipping into the bottom four at the weekend.
An early chance fell to Taiwo Atieno who worked his way into the box and took on two defenders before seeing his shot blocked for an early corner but the flag kick was cleared.
Chukki Eribenne held off the challenge of Rikki Bains on 5 but his left footed shot from the edge of the area flew harmlessly over the bar.
John McGrath released Darryl Taylor on 14 with a glorious through ball out of midfield but Taylor was pushed slightly right of centre by the visiting defence and his shot whipped across the face of goal.
A long throw saw a back header from Jake Edwards knocked out for a Lambs corner on 20 but Atieno’s header went over the far corner of bar and post.
’Fleet pressurized with a pair of corners on 31 and while chances were at a premium for both sides the ball was moving freely between the halves.
A rare effort on goal from Danny Slatter on 37 was easy for Veiga to collect and Edwards played a dangerous ball into the box from the left bi-line on 39 but there was no one there to finish the chance.
Atieno crossed low from the left on 41 but visiting ‘keeper Lance Cronin denied Simon Heslop a goal with a good save with his legs from close range at the near post.
Atieno and Edwards didn’t have a chance to shoot as the ball seemed to take and age to drop 6 yards out on 44 and the ball was cleared.
In stoppage time at the end of the first half, McGrath won a freekick on the left which Adie Smith powered towards the goal with a header from the right of the area. Cronin parried but only as far as Edwards who reacted very quickly to knock the ball home from a yard out. (1-0)
A quickly taken freekick on the left from Sacha Opinel found substitute John Keeling who shot wide at the far post on 53.
Tamworth won a freekick when Ross Smith tabgled with Atieno 25 yards out in the left channel which McGrath fired into the box and when Atieno overhead kicked Bains’ header Cronin parried and Taylor fired home from close range (2-0)
Michael Briscoe got his whole body in the way of a Eribenne close range shot on 63 and dropped like a stone but prevented the visitors getting a quick goal back.
Another Lambs freekick down by the tea hut came on 70 which McGrath delivered once again but it came to nothing and when Taylor crossed from the left wing a minute later Opinel was quickest to head over his own bar ahead of Atieno at the far post.
Gravesend made their final substitution on 72 in a last ditch attempt to mix things up and get something from the game and a rare wayward shot from Opinel came on 80 after a fair amount of pressure from the ‘Fleet came to nothing.
But MacDonald pulled a goal back via an over the shoulder shot from a corner setting up a tense finish for The Lambs who had just brought Dave Bampton into the fray.
Gravesend then won another corner on 83 but Rob Quinn’s header from Briscoe’s headed clearance was yards off target.
Opinel got a shot away on 86 after Eribenne flicked a header over the Lambs defence but, under pressure from Law he screwed the chance wide before his side won another corner on 87 which Adie Smith cleared and as Tamworth broke away Edwards went one on one with the ‘keeper but his chip beat Cronin and also the bar.
’Fleet won another corner on 89 and kept up the pressure but took the ball out of play to give the Lambs some respite as the seconds ticked down.
The fourth official showed four minutes of added time and Tamworth had to do everything possible to block the ball and deny the visitors. Another corner for Gravesend came on 94 which The Lambs defence dealt with and eventually the final whistle blew on another three points.
Edwards, Atieno (Storer 88)
McGrath, Smith A, Heslop (Bampton 80), Taylor
Friars, Bains, Briscoe, Law
Subs: Curtis, Stevenson, Quistin
Gravesend and Northfleet:
Opinel, Debolla (Long 72), Quinn, Coleman (Moore 67), Slatter (Keeling 52)
Hawkins, McCarthy, Smith R
Subs: Mott, Varney
Yellow Cards: Edwards 45, Atieno 54, Smith R. 60, Smith A. 76, Veiga 83, MacDonald 83, Opinel 90
Red Cards: none
Goals: Edwards 45, Taylor 61, MacDonald 81
Referee: Mr D. Coote (Notts)
MOM: Michael Briscoe and Jake Edwards: As voted for by Drive Assist / SOL and TOL Decorators