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Lambs hitby opening day defeat

FT: Tamworth 1    3 Weymouth

12 March 2006

The opening game of the 2006-7 season welcomed Garry Hill’s newly promoted Weymouth to The Lamb.

The Terra’s were without 5 of their squad through injury, while five Lambs made their debuts as Mark Cooper looked for an opening day win and in the pre-match warm up Roy O’Brien twisted his ankle and had to be replaced by substitute Steve Tully.

But Ben Smith opened the scoring after just 10 seconds when a long ball was not dealt with and the former Shrewsbury Town midfielder took the relatively easy chance of lobbing Sean Bowles from the edge of the area. (0-1)
The Lambs defence looked decidedly shaky in the opening exchanges and Raphael Nade almost made it two on 10 minutes but failed to connect with Tully’s cross.
The chance of a quick come back was made all the more difficult when Ashley Vickers rose above the Lambs defence to head home an El Kholti corner kick on 14. (0-2)

Nade made a tricky run down the field on 20 but hoofed his final touch high over the goal.

On 26 McGrath tried a half volley at visiting ‘keeper Aaron Lee-Barrett but his effort lacked any real conviction and went wide.

Smith placed a well directed header at Bowles on 34 after some crisp passing while McGrath stuck a clean freekick straight into the arms of Lee-Barrett shortly after.

The Lambs luck was against them on 39 when the ball appeared to strike a hand in the Weymouth penalty area, but referee Mr Craig Evans of Lincoln was not to be swayed by the shouts of the Tamworth players and home crowd.

HT: 0-2

Simon Downer broke free and found space at the far post on 50 minutes and it took a last ditch save by Bowles to deny him, but when the ball was whipped in from a free kick two minutes later the same player found himself in a similar position and made no mistake from just few feet out. (0-3)

Cooper brought some fresh legs onto the field immediately after but it was too little too late to rescue anything from the game.

Terra’s substitute Wayne Purser went close with 10 minutes remaining but The Lambs finally got one back on 86 minutes when Matt Williams showed some determination to break through and eventually shoot home.

FT: 1-3

Tamworth:

Birch (Williams 62), Moore

McGrath, Bampton, Storer (Stevenson 53), Ward

Friars, Redmile, Kemp (Law 57), Smith

Bowles

Subs: Dormand, Neilson

Yellow Cards: Williams 65, Bampton 66

Weymouth:

Nade (Purser 73), Eribenne (Logan 76)

Elam, Weatherstone, Crittenden, Smith

El Khoti, Vickers, O’Brien, Downer

Lee-Barrett

Subs: Richardson, Matthews, Tully

Att: 1409

MOM: John McGrath

After a promising pre-season build up The Lambs failed to produce the goods when it mattered and newly promoted Weymouth, making their return to top of the non league pyramid after 17 years, made light work of defeating a poor Tamworth side.

The home team seemed stunned by the The Terras who passed crisply, moved the ball around well and played the game at an almost pedestrian pace.

Mark Cooper’s starting eleven featured five new summer signings including former Walsall striker Gary Birch but neither he or his new team mates got a touch of the ball before the first goal went in. With just 10 seconds on the clock Ben Smith lobbed home ‘keeper Sean Bowles after some disastrous defending failed to deal with a simple clearance and the former Shrewsbury Town player opened his tally for the season.

The second goal came 14 minutes later through an Ashley Vickers header from El Kholti’s corner and when a third came from Simon Downer five minutes after the break there appeared to be know way back. Downer had found space at the far post a few minutes earlier but Tamworth didn’t learn quick enough to stop him scoring from a similar move which he finished easily from close range. Substitute Matt Williams strike 4 minutes was just a consolation.

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