Lambs get deserved first points in the bag
26 August 2006
Mark Cooper made six changes to the side that fell 4-0 to Dagenham last Saturday and handed debuts to Taiwo Atieno, Bradley Thomas and Gavin McAllum while Simon Weaver made his first start at The Lamb.
Cooper opted for a 3-5-2 formation with three center backs being flanked by McAllum and Ward on the wings.
Tamworth looked a little hesitant with the new faces still finding their feet, but also showed strength at the back and made their presence felt, not allowing The Grecians to come forward to cause any threat to Sean Bowles.
Jon Stevenson’s persistence won the first corner of the game on 18 minutes but McGrath’s flag kick was eventually cleared and Adam Stansfield won a corner in a similar fashion for the visitors shortly after but that too came to nothing.
After good work and some sloppy defending by Exeter, Stevenson forced visiting ‘keeper Martin Rice into a save with his feet on 25 minutes from close range.
Jamie Mackie called Sean Bowles into action for the first time on 28 with a shot low to his right which the Lambs ‘keeper did well to parry and then collect.
Bowles then produced a top drawer save from Mackie on 35, touching the ball around the far post after the Exeter front man looked to put the ball in the corner with a well aimed strike.
McAllum showed some great touches don the left wing and a rejuvenated Lambs side started to threaten towards the end of the first half. And it was McAllum who was set up by Atieno on 44 but blasted the free ball over the bar from the edge of the area.
The second half started at a relative walking pace although The Lambs looked the more lively of the two sides, especially with the threat of McAllum on the left wing.
But it took a last ditch tackle from Simon Weaver on 54 to deny Stansfield after Mackie found a rare gap in the Tamworth defence to square across the face of goal.
This proved to wake both sides up somewhat and Kemp was excellently positioned to stop the ball twice on the line from Jon Challinor before Bowles produced a finger tip save at his right post as Exeter tried to force the ball home.
The Grecians continued to press from consecutive corners and a snap shot from Matt Gill went narrowly wide on the hour mark.
On 62 Bradley Thomas pulled off a superb tackle to stop substitute Lee Phillips from shooting and Bowles had to be quick to smother the ball at Phillips’ feet shortly after as Exeter continued to push for a goal.
But some quick thinking and skilful play from Adie Smith, McGrath and Stevenson almost brought an opening goal on 69 but Stevenson’s curling shot went wide of the far post.
Exeter appeared to be getting frustrated with the new style Lambs defence as the half wore on an resorted to long ball tactics, while Tamworth continued to play the waiting game and work hard and it paid off on 80 when Smith powered home a close range header from McGrath’s corner. (1-0)
But Exeter continued to press – Weaver deflected a header around his own post and the visitors won a ninth corner in the dying minutes but they could do nothing to threaten MOTM Bowles’ clean sheet despite 4 minutes of added time.
Stevenson (Williams 80), Atieno
McAllum, McGrath, Smith, Neilson (Law 61), Ward
Thomas, Kemp, Weaver
Subs: Cooper, Moore, Belford
Mackie (Phillips 60), Stansfield (Cozic 76)
Challinor (Moxey 76), Buckle, Gill, Taylor
Jones, Todd, Edwards, Woodards,
Subs: Richardson, Jones
Goals: Smith 80
Yellow Cards: Woodards 68, Ward 90
Red Cards: none
Man on the match: Sean Bowles