Lambs pay the price for not being ruthless
28 November 2009
Tamworth travelled to Essex looking to get back to winning ways against a Grays side, in a similar state to that of last week's opponents Ebbsfleet, without a win for 9 games (2 won in 21) and positioned in the bottom four.Grays kicked off the game towards the away stand, peppered with Lambs fans, and after a stop start start to the game Tamworth quickly won possession until a push on Pritchard by Cissoco gave Tamworth a free kick just inside the Grays half.
Gary Mills was forced to one change, to the side that lost to Altrincham, with Michael Blackwood out after picking up an injury in training while Michael Briscoe was still out through illness. So Dominic Langdon made a welcome return to the first team after almost a year out with a foot injury.
Langdon hoofed the ball out over the flats adjoining the ground but Rnkovic won a corner from the throw, on the right on 3, which was headed behind by Cissoco.
Coming out of midfield and with space and time Tait hit a hopeful effort from 40 yards which rose high over the bar on 6 and a neat one two between Pritchard and Wright shortly after saw the latter run into the box but he was pushed wide and unable to get a shot away.
Wright hit a deflected shot out for a corner on 8 but the flag kick came to nothing and The Lambs were forced to build from the back with little immediate success as a long punt forward out of the home defence reached Alcock.
Tait put the ball into the box for Brown to turn and shoot and it took a good stop from Robinson to push the ball behind with Pritchard closing in at the far post.
Again, Tamworth were forced to work hard for no reward from the corner and Robinson cleared his lines. Tamworth worked it forward again though and Wright pulled it back for Russell, but he was facing the wrong way and his attempted back heel was too weak to trouble Robinson who collected easily.
A foul by Mawer on Langdon on the left wing gave MacKenzie a shot at goal, which he took and brought a ‘camera' save from Robinson.
Hand ball on the halfway line by Langdon saw Mawes put the ball to James and the resulting high cross was taken by Alcock.
Good movement by the home side was stopped by Russell's clearance on 15 after Bunce and Hoyte combined while at the other end, Wright whipped a left wing cross well past the far post.
Flowing passing football was not really the order of the day as the game reached 20 minutes in and Wright won a corner from a right footed shot which appeared to go straight out past the right hand post on 21. The corner was cleared and Langdon moved forward down the left but was hampered by the tackles of Mawes who then conceded another flag kick, this time on the other side, which Brown took short to Russell but once again Grays cleared.
Agombar caught Russell with a stray boot on 24 as both tried to get the same ball on the half way line and as Tamworth pushed forward Brown found Sheridan who turned his Hoyte and struck a shot off the underside of the bar from 18 yards. The ball rebounded out high and quickly with the shot count now standing at 9-1 in The Lambs favour.
A foul on Pritchard on the left allowed a quick freekick to be taken and although Sheridan saw the goal at his mercy on the left of the area he flashed his shot across the face of the box and out past the far post.
Handball by MacKenzie put paid to a Lambs move just past the half hour mark after good movement from Wright and Pritchard and then against the run of play James found time and space down the left to put in a pinpoint cross for RnKovic to head home from the centre of the box (0-1, 32 mins)
The Lambs came back from a goal down at home to Grays to record a win earlier in the season, and they continued to work hard to give themselves the same chance at The New Rec.
A freekick following a foul on Wright on the left wing on 36 set up MacKenzie with the dead ball but he curled it past the far post and the chance was gone.
Another cross from James on the left was met by the head of Agombar on 37 but he could only glance his effort wide of the mark.
Rnkovic hit a low shot from 30 yards straight at Alcock on 40 and although Smith got a header at goal a minute later play from Tait's ball in, was stopped for a push in the build up.
Wright then tried to be clever with a header with his back to goal from tight angle but couldn't get the direction on it as a minute's added time was shown and the half ended with Grays on top.
Tamworth got things underway in the second half towards the Lambs faithful and worked the ball to Brown but his cross was collected at height by Robinson.
Wright jinked and saw his shot deflected over the bar for a corner on 49 and from the corner Smith headed onto the roof of the net after the ball was pushed out wide.
Sheridan struck a hopeful effort from distance in the next move but it curled harmlessly wide and high and Wright was called offside as he sprinted on a through ball from Brown shortly after.
Mawer picked up a booking on 51 for a tackle on Langdon and there was a short stoppage for treatment to Rnkovic a minute later after a clash of heads with Smith.
Grays exerted some pressure and saw James flash a shot across the face of goal and out past the far post on 54 and the same player missed the target by a good distance with a centrally placed shot from 30 yards on 56.
Rnkovic forced Alcock to collect the ball at the third attempt after a long freekick bobbled around the box and MacKenzie saw his attempted shot blocked on 57.
Rnkovic found the run of James on 58 but Wylde was there to tackle the ball out for a corner which was headed behind for another and Agombar put it into the danger area but play was halted by the whistle.
He was replaced shortly after in the first change of the game, and an enforced stop came a minute later when Crowther needed treatment on the field and then off it.
Tamworth won a corner on 65 but Brown put the ball onto the roof of the net straight from the flag allowing Robinson and his side to regroup. Smith took an unintentional stray arm to his throat and play continued around him before receiving the attention of Chris Leary when a poor pass by Grays put the ball out.
He couldn't continue though and Christie came on to replace him shortly after partnering Wright up front in a slightly rejigged formation and goalscorer Rnkovic was replaced on 72 by Odoi.
And it was Odoi who got the better of Wylde on 74 to put a shot in on goal which took a deflection and ballooned up for Alcock to make a high catch under pressure.
Tait fed Brown who in turn fed Wright down the right on 79 and he beat his man to get a shot away which Robinson parried behind for a corner on the right. The flag kick was flicked away from danger by the home defence and when Sheridan put the ball back into the area Wylde was denied by a point blank save from Robinson.
Brown jinked and turned his man by the right corner flag and found Christie but he mistimed his shot and it was taken by Robinson on 81.
On 84 Wright prodded the ball into the path of Brown who got to it just before Robinson but it rolled just wide of the mark.
Graham picked up a booking on 88 and from the freekick Alcock's long ball bounced out of play as Tamworth looked for something in the final throws of the match.
A push by Smith on Odoi on the left wing allowed the home side to put the ball into the box and Langdon headed clear as four minutes added time was shown.
Onibuje put a header on target in the second minute of added time and Sheridan hit a shot at the home defence in the next move as the seconds ticked away and Grays celebrated the win while both Pritchard and Dean were booked for an off the ball incident after the whistle had blown.
Alcock, Tait, Smith, Wylde, MacKenzie (Christie 70), Wright, Pritchard, Sheridan, Langdon, Russell, Brown
Subs: Shaw, Lyttle, Lake-Gaskin, Ulker
Grays Athletic Team:
Robinson, Mawer, Dean, Crowther, Bunce, Cissoco, Bingham, Hoyte, Agombar (Graham 60), Rnkovic (Odoi 72), James (Onibuje 81)
Subs: Edwards (GK), Lagombe
Referee: W. Atkins