With three games to go Tamworth knew that two wins and a draw would guarantee them the league title and if Telford could beat Southport while the Lambs were playing Vauxhall then it would just require two wins – as easy as that! But no one was taking anything for granted while the decision was still in the sides own hands, and Gary Mills made one change to the side that drew away at Redditch on Easter Monday with Alex Rodman coming in for Tom Shaw.
At a gloriously sunny Lamb boss Mills joined in with the pre-match huddle shortly before kick off and The Lambs got proceedings underway with a long ball forward which gave Coates his first touch with less than 15 seconds on the clock. Vauxhall pushed forward on got the ball into the box on 3 and Burke put the ball low into the near post in the next move only to see Wylde cut it out. Tait put a header on target from Blackwoods left wing cross on 6 and Wright received the ball in the area on 7 from Sheldon but was forced to play the ball out wide. From the return ball from Smith, Wright headed over the bar but the team got a round of applause for the work rate. The Lambs worked the ball into the six yard box shortly after but a fortuitous deflection put the ball into the hands of Coates. At the other end Noone and Dames combined to whip the ball across the face of Alcock’s area which saw it headed behind for a corner which Tamworth cleared as they continued to push forward. On 14 Sheldon threaded a pass through the middle looking for Tait, but it was about a yard too strong and Coates collected Sheldon hit a snap shot on the half volley from distance on 16 but failed to threaten the goal and on 18 Tait sent a long ball from the right wing looking for the head of Sheldon, but he was beaten to it and Blackwood took the resultant corner. From the flag kick, Tait got purchase on it with a header but sent it wide of the far post. Karl Noon hit a hopeful punt over the stand at the top end of the ground on 25 and Holden’s freekick was hit toward the target by Burke in the next move, but Tamworth responded and won a corner which Vauxhall pushed out but only as far as Lyttle who picked his target and struck a sweet shot into the top left hand corner from 30 yards. (1-0, 27 mins) The Motormen won a freekick a minute later which Tamworth cleared but Coates rushed out to deny the run of Wright and Foster received a stiff talking to from referee Mr. Stretton when he got in the way of Field as the ball ran away from him in the centre circle. Rodman, minus his blonde spiky hair, hit a low shot into the arms of Coates on 33 from the edge of the area. And it was 2-0 to Tamworth on 36 when Wright ran onto Sheldon’s through ball and he rounded Coates before slotting home to raise the roof on The Lamb. A bang of heads brought a break in play shortly before the end of the first half, and at the same time Blackwood was replaced by Sheridan for what looked like a muscle pull. On 44 Wright glanced a header towards the back post from Lyttle’s right wing cross but Coates was wise to the move and was well positioned to gather the effort before the whistle blew on the first half.
HT: Tamworth 20 Vauxhall Motors
If half time scores stay as they are Tamworth need only worry about Southport, currently beating Telford, but there was another 45 minutes to go and at The Lamb and Vauxhall got the second period underway, kicking towards the Castle End. Wright hooked a right wing cross from Rodman onto the roof of the net on 48 and Wright made a surging run into the box before looking for Tait who was just beaten to the ball by Holmes and conceded a corner in the process on 51. Sheridan’s flag kick was booted clear but Tamworth soon won possession back although play was a little scrappy around the midfield. The shed choir split into two during the second period, setting up behind the goal and also in the shed and enjoyed some healthy banter between the both as The Lambs looked for a third goal on the field and Ricketts warmed up. Holden hit a shot from the left of the area wide of the mark on 59 and Field’s shooting left him down dreadfully on the hour when a back header fell kindly between the Lambs back four as his right foot shot went well wide. Rodman left the field to be replaced by Ricketts a minute later and the Lambs defence had to work hard to clear the danger from Furlong’s initial shot on 65 which ended with Sheldon launching the ball long from inside the area. Tait won the ball on the left wing but found Wright just offside on 68 and although Tamworth were still working hard, Vauxhall were not going to give up easily. A tussle on the touchline by the shed brought a booking for Field on 73 and with 15 to go Ricketts was found in the box by Tait and he got a shot away which Coates put out for a corner with his feet. Although the initial dead ball was too long Ricketts won it back and Tait hit a low angled effort towards the right hand upright which Coates collected. A foul on Ricketts set up Sheldon to put the ball into the danger area from edge of the area on the right about 8 yards in but a push stopped play as soon as it restarted. Burke picked up a booking on 82, presumably for something he said, as the play was no where near him when the referee blew his whistle and called him over. As the game entered the last five minutes Tamworth continued to look for a third goal and it was learned that Telford had equalised, which meant if scores stayed the same, Tamworth would have 81 points and only need a win on Tuesday night to guarantee not being caught. A foul by Griffiths on Ricketts earned him a booking as Wright came off for Nicholson in the final substitution for Tamworth. Three minutes added time was indicated by the fourth official and Nicholson forced Coates to tip the ball away from danger with a right wing cross. Play continued for a couple more minutes before the whistle blew to set up a massive game on Tuesday night.