Lambs fall to Gray hat-trick
08 March 2008
Lambs boss Gary Mills was forced to give youngster Elliot Jones a start between the posts against Southport after regular shot stopper Alex Cisak was ruled out with a hamstring problem. Mills had tried to sign a replacement and although it had looked like a previous Tamworth keeper may well have made a return to the Lamb it was not to be and Jones was given his chance.
Four other changes came to the eleven from the previous Saturday’s defeat at Solihull - with Des Lyttle coming back suspension, Jamie Reed replaced Colin Marrison up front, and Dave Bampton and Dominic Langdon returned from injury.
Good work from Gareth Sheldon down the left early on put the ball onto the head of Reed but he was unable to get direction on the chance and Chris Nurse threaded the ball to Nick Wright shortly after but his effort under pressure was collected by Steven Drench in the visiting goal.
A Lambs corner came on 8 but Southport broke and Jones was called into action for the first time. He collected the ball and threw it out looking for a Lambs defender but Tony Gray picked up the loose ball and shot high and wide from distance.
Then on 13 Michael Rae crossed low from the right, Jones failed to collect and despite Des Lyttle trying to clear the loose ball Gray put the ball in from inside the six yard box. (0-1)
Matthew Hocking denied Wright a shot at goal on 15 and a crunching tackle on Langdon shortly after gave Sheldon a freekick which Bampton met with his head but directed over the bar.
Gray tried to add to his tally with a driven effort on 21 but only succeeded in clearing the away end with his shot from distance.
Wright met a Sheldon freekick on the volley with his right foot on 24 but the shot whistled over the bar from the inside the area and on 30 Lyttle worked hard to get a cross to the far post, but Reed headed over from close range under pressure.
Wright made a good run into the area with the ball in front of him on 31 only to see Drench collect at his feet.
Jones saved well on 33 from a Rae turn and shot from 20 yards out, diving low to his right to push the ball wide as Southport exerted some sustained pressure for the first time in the game as Jones collected under his cross bar on 35 from Rae’s header.
Then on 41 Gray finished with a great strike from the edge of the area after a Craig McAughtrie put the ball into the danger area when perhaps it should have been cleared out allowing Southport to capitalise and extend their lead (0-2).
Southport’s third goal came on the 51st minute and was a goal that deserved Gray’s hat-trick. Although Tamworth will be annoyed that they gave a freekick away in such a dangerous area there was no doubting that the set piece had been worked on many times in training by the Sandgrounders and the rising shot past Jones from Gray, from just outside the area was well struck (0-3).
Chris Nurse pulled a goal back from very close range after Drench failed to come out and collect Marrison’s low flicked header into the area (1-3) on 62 and on 64 Marrison won a freekick 25 yards out which Sheldon lined up and struck well but Drench collected at the second attempt.
Another Lambs freekick was smashed into the Southport wall on 67 by McAughtrie as the rain fell and Mills completed his substitutions on 75 by putting Michael Briscoe up front along side Marrison, Wright and with Matt Williams slotting just behind.
The Lambs, now with three at the back pushed forward and Marrison almost headed home on 78 while Langdon chested the ball behind for a corner a minute later but Tamworth broke from the flag kick and Williams headed wide from Marrison’s left wing cross.
Williams was then brought down on the egde of the area on 81 setting up Briscoe with a powerful but ultimately off target effort which summed up the Lambs afternoon as Williams turned and shot in the area but missed the target in added time.
Jones, Lyttle (Briscoe 75), Langdon, Smith A., McAughtrie, Foster, Bampton (Marrison 54), Nurse, Reed (Williams 71), Wright, Sheldon
Subs: Sheridan, Richter
Drench, Holmes (Oliver HT), Barratt, Hocking, Lee, Holland, Prince, Blakeman, Rae (Houghton 42), Gray, Powell
Subs: Prout, Hine, Smith T.
Yellow Cards: Bampton 34
Referee: Mr.James Cox (Evesham)
Chicago MOM: chosen by match sponsors: Rowland Passey and the TFC Veterans: Adie Smth
Matchball Sponsors: Maureen and Ken Gant, Tamworth
50/50 winner: ticket no. 5002