Lambs succumb to Stags sharpness
13 February 2010
Tamworth welcomed The Stags of Mansfield for the first ever meeting between to the two sides at The Lamb with Gary Mills' squad looking to extend their unbeaten run to eleven games against the side they defeated at Field Mill in the FA Trophy in December.
Mills made no changes to the starting eleven that brought a point back from Wrexham on Tuesday night while Richard Tait and Neil MacKenzie made a welcome return to the bench after a time out with illness.
After a minute's silence in honour of Gary Mills' father, Roland who passed away last week, The Lambs got the match underway kicking towards the Castle End and an early challenge by Shaw on Mills earned the Tamworth player a telling off and as the ball worked it's way forward, Nix hit a tame shot at Alcock from the left of the box.
The Lambs won a left sided corner on 4 which bobbled in the area before being hoofed clear and some tenacious midfield play from Chris Smith ended with Lake-Gaskin whipping the ball into the box but it was too strong for Christie to deal with.
Chris Smith cleared the ball off the feet of Challinor on 7 as he ran in down the right but was penalised for climbing 25 yards out on the left of centre on 9 setting up Mills to fire a freekick into the box which Briscoe headed away.
Nix was adjudged to have been brought down on the edge of the box on 11 by Jay Smith. Duffy and Nix lined up the deadball and Nix hit the wall with his effort which was then cleared away from danger and The Lambs pushed on.
As the ball ran down the left wing Briscoe and Mills went for the same ball and the Lambs defender picked up the first yellow card of the game giving the Mills the freekick by the touchline which was headed harmlessly back to Alcock.
Mansfield won a corner on the left on 16 when a low shot on the by-line was blocked and tried a short corner, but were penalised for a moving ball but when the ball came in and was worked back from the right Duffy hit a low shot into the near corner from the left of the area to give the visitors the lead (0-1, 17 mins), ending Alcock's clean sheet record at 723 minutes.
Tamworth immediately went on the offensive and Pritchard won a corner on the right which was played short to Shaw who crossed for Wylde to head in at the far post (1-1, 19 mins)
Christie was penalised for handling the ball as it was half cleared into his chest 30 yards from goal but play switched to the other end and when The Lambs defence were unable to deal with the danger Shaw popped up to slot home from close range and give the Stags the lead again (1-2, 21 mins).
From a throw on the right wing, Shaw tried a half volley under pressure but could only find Marriott's hands on 23 and from a corner on 24 Jay Smith fired wide of the near post from the edge of the box.
A deep free kick found the head of Chris Smith on 25 but his effort at the back post failed to trouble Marriott while Blackwood found come space on the left wing to get a cross away but with everyone expecting the offside flag the ball was easily cleared.
Duffy was booked for a two footed challenge on the edge of the Lambs area and back pass from Chris Smith forced Alcock to make a quick run to clear the danger as Duffy bore down.
On 32 Shaw saw his freekick from by the home dugout headed away as Chris Smith ghosted in at the back of the area and on 34 Wylde almost scored at the wrong end with a backpass from outside the box on the right that left Alcock scampering back before clearing a yard off the line.
Chris Smith was penalised for a push in Duffy's back on the halfway line 36 but the Stags were offside from the freekick.
Christie pushed the ball through to Pritchard down the left channel on 37 and he took a touch but was denied by Marriott's presence as he went to turn the ball goalward while at the other end, Alcock left his area by some 15 yards to head away the danger from a long ball forward looking for Duffy.
A corner for Mansfield perhaps could have been denied by Blackwood on 39 which Foster rose to head highest, but also high over the bar and another was won on 40 but it came to nothing.
Then on 42 Nicholas found time on the left of the box to fire home a left footed shot into the bottom corner and extend Mansfield's lead (1-3, 42 mins).
Pritchard then hit a shot at goal from the right wing which forced Marriott to parry the ball out for a corner which the Stags keeper jumped to collect and Shaw was penalised for a foul on Perry 25 yards out in a central position which drew Shaw and captain Chris Smith together for a chat with the referee.
Nix lined up the dead ball as one minute added time was shown and although the freekick came to nothing Mansfield won a right sided corner from open play.
Murdock replaced Jay Smith at halftime for The Lambs and Mansfield kicked off proceedings and after a period of Tamworth pressure a quick freekick from Shaw saw Christie turn a shot from the left towards goal but Marriott was equal to it, dropping low in front of his post to collect.
And the substitution paid off on 50 when Christie flicked the ball to Murdock who jinked in the area to beat his man and fire low past Marriott (2-3, 50 mins)
Shaw almost equalised on 51 with a low shot from 20 yards which Marriott pushed around the post for a corner but it came to nothing.
Smith tried an audacious lob from the halfway line on 55 shortly before Dean Holdsworth made his first change of the game. Smith then performed more acrobatics chesting a dangerous left wing cross from Silk into Alcock's hands from a yard out.
A trip by Shaw on Mills on the halfway line earned the Lambs midfielder a card on the hour andn after a period of midfield battling Christie tired his luck with a chip shot from 20 yards but cleared the bar with ease.
Sheridan was replaced by Tait on 69 pushing Blackwood onto the left midfield but it was Mansfield who almost snatched another when Mills fed Challinor with a ball out of the centre and when Briscoe slipped he rolled the shot just wide of the right hand upright.
Pritchard was booked for a foul on the halfway line on Foster on 72 and a minute later Tait was on hand to clear from Sturrock. Alcock denied Jon Shaw with a close range shot on 75 and MacKenzie came on for Tom Shaw shortly after.
As the game entered the final 10 minutes Mansfield booted away some bpressure from Tamworth and the flag denied Wylde a shot from 8 yards and Christie turned his man to put a shot into Marriot on 82 and a freekick on the left for a foul on Murdock was taken by MacKenzie on 84 which Wylde met with a fine header and Marriott pushed away equally as well to deny him.
Murdock won a corner with a blocked shot from the right of the box on 85 and Wylde hit the bar with a header which was then scrambled away but for all their pressure Mansfield countered with a goal 3 minutes from time when Sturrock picked up the ball 18 yards out and fired low past Alcock to inflict the biggest opposition goal tally against The Lambs this season. (2-4, 87 mins)
Five minutes added time was indicated at the end of the game and Tamworth won a freekick 25 yards out on the left of centre allowing MacKenzie to line up and when the ball fell to Pritchard he went for goal but found Marriott in the way.
As did MacKenzie on 94 and a half minutes with a half volley from outside of the right of the area in the final action of the game.
Alcock, Blackwood, Smith C, Wylde, Pritchard, Sheridan (Tait 69), Shaw T (MacKenzie 77), Briscoe M, Smith J (Murdock HT), Lake-Gaskin, Christie
Subs: Hurren, Fankem
Mansfield Town Team:
Marriott, Silk, Garner, Foster, Nicholas, Mills, Challinor (Briscoe L 90), Nix (Brough 61), Shaw J, Perry (Sturrock 55), Duffy
Subs: Collett, Williams
Man of the Match: Chosen by match sponsors Tamworth Herald: Christie
Referee: J. Collin