Lambs have to settle for a point
17 August 2010
After Saturday's 4-2 victory over Eastbourne, The Lambs headed to South Wales to face Newport County AFC for the first time in seven years (the last time was under Darron Gee) to face the Welsh side's in their first home game in their new division after winning promotion last season.
Gary Mills made no changes to the side from Saturday, in fact given the limitations of the number in the Lambs squad there was no surprise the bench was the same either, with Seb Lake-Gaskin still out injured.
After a ‘heroes' welcome from the home fans as the two sides made it out onto the field, Tamworth started the game by kicking off towards one of the open ends of the running track enclosed pitch that thankfully allowed fans behind the goal. The Lambs fans themselves - approx. 40 (counted from the other side of the pitch!) complete with four massive flags - found themselves ensconced in one end of the main stand opposite the grandstand.
The lambs had started the game but soon had to be on their mettle to prevent some incisive thinking, if not passing, from the home side.
Tait though, made a run down the right inside the second minute saw his shot blocked from the edge of the box and Rodman won a corner from the rebound which was headed away and when Thomas floated the ball back in Michael Wylde headed home with the slightest of touches to give Tamworth the lead (1-0, 3 mins)
And for obvious reasons, for the next few minutes, despite being massively outnumbered by the home fans, the Lambs travelling faithful were more than a match for their Welsh counterparts on the terraces.
Newport won a freekick on the right on 7 which Rose floated in and was eventually cleared by a powerful Tait header.
A long throw and good strike by Sole on 9 saw the ball deflect over the bar from 8 yards for a left sided corner which the same player hit far too long to be of any worth.
A foul on Rodman in the centre of the County half on 12 gave MacKenzie and Smith a chance to line up a freekick 35 yards out which the former struck low into the area but also well wide of the mark.
After a prolonged period of Lambs pressure, Rodman won another deadball in a similar position and despite going down in the box when the ball came low to his feet there was no question from the referee that he would even think about pointing to the spot.
A move forward from the home side resulted in a sliced shot well over the bar from distance by Odhiambo on 17 and a break away involving Foley and Sole came to nothing after a poor final ball from the left but Newport regained possession and won a freekick on the right on 18 which Wylde headed away from danger.
A long freekick from Tait was knocked behind for a Lambs corner on the left on 20 which was initially cleared but Thomas worked it back into the area and Perry's header from 6 yards was taken at head height by Thompson.
After a long range effort which flashed well enough wide not to worry too much about from Newport, Rodman received a talking to at the other end for play acting.
The half hour mark passed without any further real incident as both sides battled it out to try and retain possession although it could be argued that The Lambs kept the ball for longer periods and on 33 Barrow found some space to get a low cross in from the left but there was no one on hand to get on the end as it flashed across goal.
A first time shot from Foley from the edge of the area in a central position on 35 rolled back to Atkins and a minute later, after having been warned following a climbing challenge a few minutes earlier, Smith escaped a card again for a foul on the half way line.
Newport did try and take advantage from the freekick though and Todd's shot took a touch as it rose over the bar for a home corner on 37 which saw Todd pick up a booking before it had been taken for a push on MacKenzie. Perry was on hand at the near post to head the danger away but the second flag kick was hit long and out for a goal kick.
A Newport sub was then booked warming up by the corner flag after a call from the assistant referee on the far side (no idea who at time of writing!) and although the ball had gone out from a corner, the game was restarted by Newport by kicking the ball out of play for a goal kick....
Foley made a darting run in to the area from the left wing on 42 and forced Atkins to protect his near post and concede a corner which came to nothing as the referee spotted some pushing in the box.
Rodman then made space for a run into the area from the left but hit a right footed effort past the far post.
Atkins came out to spot a shot as one minute added time was shown but was unable to catch the ball cleanly and when it bobbled free Foley unleashed a drive for goal which Marshall threw himself at and duly prevented what would surely have been an equalising strike just before half time.
Dean Holdsworth made a sub at half time replacing Sole with Matthews as the home side got the game underway again, now under floodlights after a sun drenched first 45 minutes.
the home side pushed on from the whistle but were lacking a cutting edge in the last yards of the pitch.
The Lambs slowly but surely put paid to the early bursts of enthusiasm by the home team although neither managed to get a hold of the game fully and the TFC fans took the opportunity of a break in play to remind the 2150 odd home fans of the score as Smith tried his luck, unsuccessfully, from 35 yards.
And Henry sent a wake-up call to Tamworth on 56 with a powerful low drive which curled wide of the mark from 20 yards.
Newport found their way into the area blocked by a hooked clearance from MacKenzie on 58 and when The Lambs broke Rodman tried a right footed shot from 25 yards which went just wide of the diving Thompson and out of play past his near post.
Marshall only half cleared a loose ball on the hour and Henry tried to curl it to the far post from the right wing but struck it too hard and the chance was gone.
Bradley then hit a dipping effort from 30 yards which dropped the wrong side of the bar and as play swung the other way, Henry sent another searching right wing cross into the area, but again it was just too long for the front men to reach and Atkins was untroubled.
Rodman made his way into eth area on the right and chipped it to the far post only for Bradley to see it headed behind, and Smith's corner from the left was headed behind for another flag kick which this time Odhiambo headed away from goal.
Thomas, jinking on the left, squared for MacKenzie on 64 but there was no one coming in on his square ball into the six yard box and County cleared the danger easily.
Tait required some relief from cramp on 68 meaning an enforced break in play, and a foul by the same player in the area on 71 against Foley gave the home side a penalty which Reid (Craig, who featured briefly for Tamworth under Mark Cooper) slotted into the opposite corner to level the tie. (1-1, 71 mins)
Thomas picked up a yellow card for a tackle on Bignot shortly after and then a run by Rodman was halted by Odhiambo on the edge of the D. Rodman struck the ball into the wall and was then penalised for handling as the rebound came his way, putting a halt on The Lambs charge upfield.
Some great play out of defence involving five players ended on 77 when Barrow put the ball across the box looking for Perry but it was too far in front of him.
Both Tamworth and Newport made a change with about 10 to go, Oakes coming on for MacKenzie as Tait headed away Todd's header from a corner, off the line.
Rose then brought a good punched cleared from Atkins from a teasing left wing cross and as Newport pushed forward a close range shot went behind for a corner from a diving Lambs defensive challenge in the crowded area and the shouts of handball from all around the ground were waved away by the referee who awarded a corner. Nothing came of the first flag kick, but another was won shortly after as the home side kept up the pressure only for a foul in the box to give Tamworth possession.
Rodman hit a hopeful but tame effort at Thompson inside the final five minutes, but despite him going down with cramp there was no time for respite and Thompson came to the rescue to get him back on his feet!
As the final minutes came into view, Barrow tried to make a run past a defender who totally inadvertently caught him in the face and forced Mitchell into play for the final four minutes of added time alongside planned sub Sheridan (for Rodman).
Newport took the game to Tamworth but Atkins caught at height from a punted effort and Todd was off side from a through ball which he was never going to catch anyway.
And so time ran out on proceedings and an away point which could well have been all three.
Atkins, Tait, Marshall, Wylde, Smith (capt), MacKenzie (Oakes 81), Perry, Rodman (Sheridan 90), Thomas, Bradley, Barrow (Mitchell 90)
Subs: Lyttle, Farrell
Newport County Team:
Thompson, Bignot, Collins, Warren, Todd, Rose, Reid, Foley, Henry (Rogers 81), Sole (Matthews HT), Odhiambo
Subs: Thorne, Knights, Garner
Man of the Match: Chosen by the supporters coach: Michael Wylde
Referee: J. Busby (Oxford)