Lambs handed a vital point
13 April 2009
With four games to go and everything to play for at the Valley Stadium, Redditch, Lambs boss Gary Mills made two changes to the starting eleven after Saturday’s defeat to Stafford handing Richard Tait his debut and Tom Shaw replaced Jake Sheridan both in midfield.
Redditch kicked off the game after a minutes silence forced an early throw on the right wing and from a long throw Byrne hit a hard, but off target volley from the edge of the area.
United keeper Lewis came out and almost made a hash of a ball back from ex-Lamb Briscoe but Blackwood was unable to capitalise when Tait fed him the ball.
On 4 Byrne made headway into the box and rolled the ball harmlessly to Alcock under pressure while at the other end a freekick was won for The Lambs on the left wing and Shaw fired it right footed looking for Sheldon but no one was able to get any power onto the header and a route one ball by the home side won them a corner on 6 which Alcock tipped out for a corner on the other side which came to nothing.
A good run and shot from Tait went a few feet wide of the left hand upright on 8 which Lewis watched out and another long kick out of the goalkeepers hands won a corner shortly after when The Lambs defence were forced to do anything to clear the danger.
The corner was hooked away but Redditch continued to cause some problems but a clash of heads between Wylde and Byrne halted play for a short period.
Brisco hit another long freekick into the danger area on 14 and again the Lambs defence looked hesitant which happened again on 16 through another long dead ball which Beswick whipped back into the area and Story tried to nip the ball home, but was unable to direct it goalward and it flew out of play from close range.
Then on 17, Blackwood lost the ball in the centre circle and Byrne hit a perfect 40 yard shot with his right foot which gave Alcock no chance and gave the home side the lead (0-1, 17 mins).
Tamworth restarted and pushed forward through Tait and won a corner but were unable to get a shot on target and Redditch move forward yet again.
As if almost a pendulous swing, Tamworth won a freekick on the half way line and Tait won the ball on the right before sending a cross to the far post which Smith tried to reach with his head, but just missed.
Lyttle put a crunching tackle on the edge of the box to deny Hay a shooting chance on 25 while at the other end Blackwood just failed to get his head onto a bouncing ball in the area and a deep cross from Dudley just short of the half hour mark was met with a pair off safe hands by Lewis.
A good move from the home side on the break from the half way line saw Hay hit a shot at goal but he found Wylde in the way.
On 36 Tamworth won a corner on the left which Shaw took right footed, short to Blackwood but his low ball was cut out and the Lambs won another corner from the throw.
Shaw took it again but Tait was unable to connect with a header, and when Wright tried to get a shot away he totally missed the bouncing ball.
Inside the final 5 minutes at the end of the first half, and Tamworth continued to look nervous and lacked the killer touch despite some encouraging forward moves.
Story beat two Lambs defenders and crossed low into the box from the right on 44 and a minute later Alcock was the saviour when Beswick squared for Byrne who shot for goal from eight yards only to find the Lambs keeper in the way.
Half time scores around the league kept Tamworth at the top of the pack, despite being a goal down, but there was still another 45 minutes to play, and the Lambs fans around the Valley Stadium were hoping for an improved performance as Tamworth kicked off proceedings.
The Lambs won a couple of early freekicks on the half way line for fouls on Wylde and on 50 Hands received the first booking of the game for his third foul on the Lambs defender.
Tamworth were showing more urgency now and Blackwood used his pace to try a left wing cross on 51 but the home side booted it clear.
Tait hacked the ball away from a Spittle header into the box on 53 and Beswick won a freekick following handball but Alcock collected the dead ball as Rodman warmed up on the touch line and replaced Shaw shortly after along with Nicholson who replaced Wright.
But it was Redditch who had the next chance with Story seeing his shots charged down three times in side the area before the ball was eventually cleared.
Wylde tried an audacious scissor kick on 57 from Blackwood’s left wing ball in and almost hit the target but it went agonizingly wide.
Alcock hit a long freekick into the area on 58 and Tait hit it with a left boot and it squeezed in off the keeper’s hand and post to level the tie (1-1, 58 mins) much to the delight of the travelling faithful behind the goal.
Blackwood won a freekick against Bryne on 62 on the left corner of the area which came to nothing and on 67 Rodman put a ball over the defence looking for Sheldon but it was out of reach for either head or foot.
Foster released Nicholson on 69 with a ball out of midfield which he ran onto but he was forced wide as he moved towards goal and put his right footed shot over the bar.
Hay was unable to make the most of his run past Wylde on 72 but pushed the ball into the path of Story who did get a shot away which Alcock was equal to at his near post.
An enforced break in play following injury to Oliver with 15 to go allowed both sides to get a much needed drink as the April sunshine shone down on all but those under cover in the main stand as Redditch played with 10 men for a short time before making the necessary substitution.
Some pressure from the Lambs caused Redditch to defend strongly on the edge of their area and Wylde sent a long throw-in in but Story broke away and ultimately shot off target from distance.
Hay looked for a penalty against Lyttle on 81 but the referee was having none of it and had a word with Reds boss Gary Whild, flanked by his assistant Carl Heggs, for his remonstrations as the clocked ticked down.
A foul on Rodman on the right of midfield 30 yards out gave Sheldon a chance to fire the ball in and it dipped just over the bar on 85 and Sheldon snapped a shot into the area from the left on 88 which Wylde almost, but didn’t quite get a touch onto and Sheldon won a strange freekick 25 yards out central to goal on 89 which he stepped up to strike but Lewis collected.
Added time came and with it Tamworth pushing forward looking for a late winner if possible and with it a moment that Lambs fans and inparticular Redditch player Hay will never forget. The ball went long, Alcock made an absolute mess of it near the corner flag and Hay ran unmarked at the goal but inexcplicably put the ball over the bar from a couple of feet out to ensure The Lambs got a point.
Alcock, Lyttle, Dudley, Smith, Wylde, Foster, Wright (Nicholson 55), Shaw (Rodman 55), Sheldon, Blackwood, Tait
Subs: Pritchard, Sheridan, McAughtrie
Redditch United Team:
Lewis, Spittle, Charlton, Briscoe, Rowe-Turner, Oliver (Ford 77), Byrne, Story, Hay, Hands (Dickinson 67), Beswick
Subs: Danials, Bullimore, Heggs
Referee: M Perry