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Lambs pay the penalty in defeat

FT: Tamworth 1    2 Alfreton Town

26 December 2015

Following the defeat at Ferriby and the Christmas, Andy Morrell made three changes to the starting eleven for visit of Alfreton to The Lamb on Boxing Day.
Lee Smith, Josh Heaton and Leon Mettam came into the starting line up with Lee Fowler, Ross Dyer and Connor Taylor taking the respective places on the bench.
The Lambs came into the game in need of a win to get their promotion play off hopes back on track after the blip in Humberside, against Nicky Law’s Alfreton side that had only won one league game in the last dozen or so since mid September.

Alfreton got the game underway attacking the Castle End of the ground, and The Lambs went on the offensive ‘up the hill’ towards a virtually empty, unsegregated ‘away end’.
But Heaton conceded a free kick in front of the clubhouse on 2 which Miekle headed over the bar, then on 4 poor defending from The Lambs allowed Sam Jones to pass the ball into the area from the left for Sam Smith to side foot home (0-1 , 4 mins)
On 15, Allan hit an unmarked snap shot from the edge of the area and it sneaked just wide of the right hand upright with Belshaw at full stretch, as The Lambs continued to struggle to get a grip on the game.
And Jones made a strong run past four Tamworth players to get a tame shot away at Belshaw on 18. There was a stop in play on 23 when Jones took a blow to the chest and needed time to recover from being winded.
Green clipped Leesley 25 yards out and the referee awarded a freekick which ultimately came to nothing. A freekick from Durrell on the left of the box was nearly squeezed through by Mettam and on 31 a deeper deadball was headed over the bar by Preston.
The first real positive passing move by The Lambs saw them enter the final third of the field with 5 to play and although the visiting defence cleared the danger, it proved to the fans that there was some intention on the field.
On 40, five minutes added time was shown which confused everyone in the ground, but was perhaps a message from the bench from Morrell and Fowler as a countdown to a half time hairdryer?

HT: Tamworth 0    1 Alfreton Town

Morrell made a change at half time with Dyer coming on for Tomassen as Tamworth restarted proceedings.
The home side emerged with a more positive attitude, and on 51 Mettam went very close with an unorthodox right footed shot which Duke did well to flick over the crossbar.
At the other end, Meikle was denied by the feet of Belshaw following Smith’s low ball into the box from the left.
Jones picked up the first booking of the game for a foul in the centre circle on 57.
Duke punched the ball clear on 59 and it fell for Green who tried his luck but skied the chance high.
Alfreton countered and Smith struck the bar with a snap shot but it was all square on 62 when a superb strike from Curtis Strong, driven long range from the left wing, flew into the top right corner to make it 1-1.
Jones’ low powerful drive brought a fine blocking stop from Belshaw on 68 but there was no stopping Meikle’s right footed curler from the left of the box into the far right corner to make it 1-2.
A Tamworth corner on 71 found Preston and his thump at goal was well stopped by Duke. A foul by Meikle on Burns set up Durrell but the freekick was cleared, and Morrell made a double substitution on 73.
Mettam reacted quickly to spin a shot on goal on 79 but Duke was equal to it with a low stop to his right and a foul on Hubbins gave Mettam a dead ball to strike but it came to nothing.
Burns crossed on 82 and Allan was adjudged to have handled to give Mettam a penalty which he hit strongly, but it was well saved by Duke.
Duke then saved well from a low Burns drive and play switched ends, with Heaton picking up a booking for a pull back on the byline.
Five minutes added time was shown at the end of the game and despite a number of pushes forward and a half call for a foul on Hubbins in the box and Belshaw did very well to deny Jackson in the final throws of the game to keep it at 1-2 before the final whistle blew.

Tamworth Team:

Belshaw, Burns, Tomassen (Dyer HT), Smith (Taylor 73), Heaton, Preston, Durrell (Hubbins 73), Clarke, Mettam, Green (c.), Strong
Subs: Fowler, Davies

Yellow: Heaton 86
Red: none

Alfreton Town Team:

Duke, Moyo, Heaton, Allan, McGowan, Thanoj, Leesley, Meikle (Jackson 87), Jones (Robertson 88), Smith, Bradley
Subs: Johnston, Spiess, Jordan

Yellow: Jones 57
Red: none

Attendance: 875

Man of the Match: Footsteps Day Nursery chose Curtis Strong

Referee: Mr. I. Rathbone

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