Lambs close in on the play-off places
19 March 2016
On the back of six league games without defeat (four wins and two draws) that saw them rise to within a couple of points of the play offs, The Lambs travelled to the Horsfall Stadium to face their 16th placed hosts. Andy Morrell made no changes to the eleven that were unable to force a win against bottom placed Corby seven days previously, while Steve Tomassen made a welcome return to the side on the bench, after illness.
In the sky blue kit, against the all white of Avenue the home side kicked off and tried to exert early pressure, without forcing the ball into the danger area.
A mix up on the Lambs left back position allowed King to get a sight on goal on 9 but his shot was charged down for a right sided corner on 10 which Burns put behind to give Turner a second chance from the flag.Belshaw took it at height and the travelling fans were able to relax.
On 13 Durrell, who scored a you-tube sensation goal for Hednesford at the same ground, tried an effort from distance at the other end but shot wide of the left hand post.
Newton jumped and clashed with Ainge on 16 leaving the home captain on the floor and earned himself a yellow card.
Dyer was beaten the ball but forced a corner on the left on 17 and when the ball was headed back in, Taylor cushioned his header under the bar and despite of the best efforts of the home defence the linesman flagged for it going over the line before it was cleared. (1-0, 17 mins)
From the restart, Taylor sensed an opening and got himself into a good position on the edge of the area but his shot was wayward.
Green threaded the ball through for Strong on 22 and his low cross from the left of the box was taken by Stewart, before a Durrell freekick on 24 was nearly scrambled in by Green and Newton at the far post.
Taylor conceded a freekick in the right of defence on 26 allowing Avenue to strike for goal but it did not cause any problems for Belshaw.
A right wing cross from Taylor was met well by the head of Dyer on 33 but it went wide of the left hand upright and although the Lambs were leading, it was difficult to tell who really had control on the game.
Ainge was booked on 40 and Green escaped a booking on the right of the Lambs defence on 43 but Bradford’s freekick didn’t help them get back into the game as it went long and out for a goalkick.
One minute added time was shown at the end of the first half and a Durrell corner fell for Deeney, but his shot was deflected and keeper Stewart smothered it before the half time whistle blew.
Tamworth restarted proceedings but it was Avenue who started the brightest until a long ball allowed Belshaw to gather the ball. The Lambs keeper caught a header from King past his far post on 50.
At the other end on 52, Durrell’s attempted strike from the edge of the area was blocked and conceded a corner which he took himself but it was too long for Green to control past the far post. Avenue then forced a flag kick of their own on 53 which went far too long too.
On the hour, Belshaw denied Chiliaka from the penalty spot after Dyer had been penalised for an unintentional handball, and the keeper dived full length to his left to push the spot kick away from danger.
As the clock approached 70, Avenue forced a corner on the left which was cleared to Durrell and he nearly fed it through to Taylor from the left wing into the centre, but Stewart was just quickest to the edge of the area to clear it away.
Mottley-Henry was upended by Burns in the left back position on 74 and the deadball was struck by Thornton to the back of the box but headed high over the target by substitute Webb-Foster.
After Ainge escaped a second yellow for a missed elbow on Newton on 76, Taylor was replaced by Mohamed on 77 and The Lambs extended their lead on 78.
Strong crossed low from the left and Durrell struck it right footed into the top left corner, although the ball did strike the crossbar and rebounded down then up into the goal to confirm the strike. (2-0, 78).
Inside the final 5 minutes, Preston was caught with a high boot and the deep freekick kept the ball away from the opposite half of the field as Avenue refused to give up, but Belshaw refused to be troubled by anything that came his way.
Three minutes added time were shown at the end of the game, and results elsewhere saw the Lambs move into 6th, on joint points with Nuneaton but with an inferior goal difference, effectively one place off the final play off spot.
Belshaw, Burns, Dyer R, Deeney, Carter, Preston, Durrell, Green, Newton, Taylor (Mohamed 77), Strong
Subs: Smith L, Dyer J, Morrell, Tomassen
Yellow: Newton 16
Bradford Park Avenue Team:
Stewart, Turner, Thornton (Chippendale 79), Scott, Qualter, Ainge, Mottley-Henry, Dean, Chilaka (Webb-Foster 65), Schofield (Colley 60), King
Subs: Marshall, St. Juste
Yellow: Ainge 40
Referee: Mr A. Backhouse