Lambs lead early on but come home with nothing
09 October 2010
After Alex Rodman's double, including a last minute penalty versus Barrow in midweek won them a point, The Lambs travelled to the International Stadium, Gateshead for their next league fixture.
Both sides were promoted back in 2008-09 and have only met each other in four times in almost 30 years. In 2009-10 Tamworth edged with a win and a draw, while in The Lambs championship season a delayed game away from home lead to possibly the most surprising and perhaps worst scoreline on their way to the title when the home side ran out 5-1 victors after a frozen Saturday put the game back 23 hours.
And so with both sides now finding a steady footing in the Blue Square Bet Premier they went into the match just a point apart and both with differing form. Gary Mills' side had won just once in the last six outings, while Ian Bogie's team were struggling to find form after a disappointing start but were now picking up points.
On a damp and slightly chilly afternoon at the exposed stadium, Mills made two changes to the side that faced Barrow with Perry and Lyttle watching from the bench and Wilkinson and Bradley taking their places in the starting eleven.
Coming out from temporary changing rooms at one end of the stadium, caused by extensive building work both sides took to the field and The Lambs got the match underway.
With Tait back at right back, and Bradley on the right in front of him, Rodman and Lake-Gaskin were enjoying more traditional roles in the centre at the front of the Lambs pack.
However, both sides struggled to get the ball into the opposing final third well into the opening exchanges and any balls that did venture to either end skipped out or went back to the respective keepers.
The first real shot of the game came via very hopeful long range grass cutter from Ferrell on 10 minutes which was not on target and only troubled the ball boys behind the goal.
As The Lambs tried to push forward the home side played deep, sometimes with ten men behind the ball and when Gateshead moved into the Lambs half of the pitch passes were wayward and balls too long.
However on 14, Gate made a move past Barrow and pushed the ball across the face of goal. Atkins dived but didn't get to it, and from the goal kick Atkins ball out was collected by Gate who broke through but a combination of three Lambs defenders put the ball out for a corner which came to nothing.
Barrow found space to run diagonally in towards the area on 17 and but lifted his left footed drive over the bar then on in the next move Thomas found space and time to crossed from the left for Rodman to glance a header into the far post (1-0, 17 mins), the first time in a while that The Lambs had taken the lead in a match.
Tamworth's confidence on the ball now showed with some very neat and sharp passing especially in midfield.
A foul by Nelthrope on Wylde 25 yards out on 27 gave Smith the deadball but it was headed away and a fine ball to Thomas inside the box was called just offside.
Gateshead won a corner with a blocked shot on the half hour and home captain Clark jumped too early for the ball and it hit is back three yards from goal. Then Nelthorpe crossed deep from the left for Britton to volley on the right of goal, and Curtis and Shaw all scuffed shots as it eventually went out past the far post.
On 34 Ferrell's long freekick found the head of Kay in the area forcing Atkins to parry the effort which was then cleared. In the next move, Nelthorpe saw his cross headed over the bar defensively by Marshall for another Gateshead corner but Marshall was on hand to clear again.
Brittain forced Marshall to put the ball behind for another flagkick on 38 which he played short for Turnbull and when the curling cross fell onto the head of Shaw there was only one outcome - a powerful header into the back of the net (1-1, 38 mins)
Less than a minute later Gateshead took the ball off The Lambs from the restart and took the lead as Kay played Gate in, inside the box, who lifted the ball over Atkins (1-2, 39 mins)
Wilkinson ran onto a high cross into the area on 44 and clashed with keeper Deasy as both players kept their eye on the ball rather than the incoming danger and both needed treatment to replace the wind knocked out of them.
Two minutes added time was indicated at the end of the half and the whistle blew leaving Tamworth needing something from the second half.
The home side started the second half, and on 47 Nelthorpe put a difficult ball into the area from the left forcing Atkins to dive and knock it behind for a corner which Curtis headed wide of the opposite post.
Turnbull lifted the ball through to Gate on 50 but the latter lifted his half volley over the bar with Atkins coming out to meet him.
With just over ten minutes gone since the break, Mills made a double substitution brining Perry and MacKenzie into the fray.
Bradley saw a cross put out for a corner just short of the hour, which was easily headed away by Ferrell and when Rodman got the ball back his shot was wild and unsurprisingly off target.
MacKenzie forced Deasy to fumble a low drive on 60 and although Lake-Gaskin followed in to knock home the rebound, the flag was already up and it didn't count.
Wylde felt the full force of Gate on the halfway line after booting the ball away from danger on 62 but the freekick failed to reach it's desired target and Tamworth had to make do with a throw by the corner flag but play was halted after a push by Perry on Clark.
Shortly after Tait's cross flashed over the head of Perry, Nelthorpe failed to control his shot past the far post on 70 after a good cross from the right wing by Brittain and almost put it into the water trap on the running track well behind the goal.
An arm from Clark caught Rodman in the face on 73 but there was no whistle from the referee, however play had to be stopped as the Lambs man required attention to a bloody nose.
The ball made its way through from Rodman to Perry on 74 and the home defence bundled it off his feet for a corner, but the deep flagkick went out unhindered and Deasy restarted play with a goal kick.
As Oakes warmed up to come on Gateshead kept the ball in the Lambs half and Tait cut out another long cross to the far post and Wylde made sure the ball was cleared with a hefty boot from Nelthorpe's cross on 80.
On 81, Gate crossed right footed from the by line for Shaw to head at goal, and if he had been able to guide it the other side of the post it would have been a certain goal as Atkins was left flat footed but as it was his effort went a yard wide of the mark.
Mackenzie could only get a shot blocked by Heckingbottom on 85 and time was running out for Tamworth to get something from the game.
As Brittain shaped to shoot from 20 yards, Bradley came in from behind to bundle him to the floor and give the same player a shot which struck the wall which allowed Tamworth to break, but Tait's cross was taken by Deasy.
Atkins attempted clearance struck Gate as it somehow found it's way out of the box as three minutes added time was shown and Wylde escaped a booking for a foul as Gateshead tried to take the ball into the corner as the clock ran down.
Brittain got the first card of the game on 92 for time wasting a freekick and then a substitution after the 93rd minute had passed but the last word was left to Ferrell who lifted a shot into the net, over Atkins from fully 30 yards to seal the win. (1-3, 94 mins)
Atkins, Tait, Marshall, Wylde, Smith (Oakes 78), Rodman, Thomas (MacKenzie 56), Lake-Gaskin, Bradley, Barrow, Wilkinson (Perry 56)
Subs: Mitchell, Lyttle
Deasy, Heckingbottom, Gate, Curtis, Clark, Brittain, Turnbull, Shaw, Nelthorpe (Marwood 90), Ferrell, Kay
Subs: Baxter, Wake, Cook, Gillies
Referee: T. Harrington (Hartlepool)