Lambs leave Hertfordshire empty handed
28 August 2006
Tamworth made their first ever trip to Clarence Park on Bank Holiday Monday on the back of their first Conference victory of the season and while there were no assumptions being made that the excellent performance would continue at St Albans, the mood in the camp was good and Mark Cooper was looking for more of the same.
He made only one change from the side that beat the Grecians on Saturday, with Graeme Law coming in for Alan Neilson.
Watched by England Non League manager Paul Fairclough, both sides were out to impress and Law headed home a left wing cross from Gavin McAllum with just seven minutes gone, but the referee had already blown for an infringement.
Both sides then struggled to create any clear cut chances before Jon Stevenson went down holding his hamstring on 17 and had to be replaced by Matt Williams.
The Lambs' first corner came just short of the half hour mark and although the first ball in was penetrating, it was headed away by the home defence and the return ball in was wasted by McGrath.
On 32 the home side took the lead when Paul Hakim broke clear of the Lambs' defence thanks to a Lee Clarke through ball and slotted under Sean Bowles. (0-1)
Tamworth’s only real chance of the rest of the first half came from Williams’ low shot at Paul Bastock which did little to trouble the home keeper.
Hakim had two chances to extend his side's lead at the start of the second half, but he was deinied by a thumping defensive header from Law and then Bradley Thomas slid in to deny a shooting chance from the edge of the box when a corner wasn’t cleared sufficiently.
McGrath launched a long free kick into the St Albans area on 57 and it evaded everyone in the box and almost sneaked in at the far post, but just went wide of Bastock’s goal.
And McGrath’s corner kick on the hour mark should perhaps have brought about the equalising goal, but the home defenders threw everything at the ball as Kemp looked to strike from close range.
Bowles then denied St Albans a second goal three times within the space of a minute – first palming away an inswinging corner and then twice blocking low shots at his near post from Tom Davis’s low efforts.
The home side continued to look to extend their lead, but Tamworth almost snatched an equaliser on 78. Matt Williams ran through and shot from the edge of the area and although Bastock spilled his effort, neither Williams nor Taiwo Atieno were quick enough to capitalise on the loose ball.
And five minutes before the end of normal time Gary Elphick almost snatched a second but the chance was beaten away by the Lambs' defence as the home crowd got ready to celebrate.
Five minutes added time, caused by stoppages from injuries on both sides, gave Tamworth an extended chance to get something from the game but they could not muster a goal to rescue a point.
Stevenson (Williams 17), Atieno
McAllum, McGrath (Neilson 75), Smith, Ward (Moore 72)
Law, Thomas, Kemp, Weaver
Subs: Storer, Belford
Hakim, Sozzo (Martin 69)
Wilde, Davis, Clarke, Hann
Seeby, Theobold, Elphick, Flynn
Subs: Lewis, Cracknell, Harper, Norris
Goals: Hakim 32
Yellow Cards: Clarke 34, Smith 39, Thomas 48, Davis 90
Red Cards: none
Att: 1184 (170 TFC)