Lambs take bragging rights in local derby
23 August 2008
Gary Mill’s Lambs made the short journey across the county to face rivals Stafford Rangers under the guidance of Steve Bull.
Although the league is still at an early stage, both sides had recorded one win in their opening three games, but Rangers sat slightly ahead in the table with one more point.
Mills made one change to the side that romped home against Burscough last Saturday with Chris Smith coming in for Lee Hildreth.
Smith was immediately involved in the middle of the park and almost notched an early strike from the edge of the area when the ball came down to him after Wright’s ball into the box was headed high, rather than away.
After calls for McNiven being offside were waved away at one end, Tamworth broke through Wright, but he found Danny Alcock in fine form as he tried to place the ball into the far corner on 7.
Pritchard tried an effort from 15 yards on 8 after Smith had been unable to get a shot away and pushed the ball out, but it was not all Tamworth and the home side won a freekick shortly after which Puddy did very well to catch high, under pressure, at his far post.
With 15 gone the balance of play stood at about 65/35 in favour of The Lambs but their hosts were working tremendously hard to keep them at bay in the final third of the field.
Langdon and Rodman combined well on the left but the final ball was cut out by the home defence and shortly after McAughtrie’s back header was almost too short for Puddy but Wylde was on hand to help out.
Nick Wellecomme almost captialised on a bouncing ball past the Lambs defence on 20 but found Puddy had anticipated the half chance and collected as he rose for the header.
Good interchange saw Wright just in front of Lyttle’s return right wing cross on 23 but it was the Lambs final ball that was letting them down despite some good passing moves out of midfield.
On 25 Wright beat the defender but took the ball out before looking for Pritchard with his cross and a couple of minutes later an uncharacteristic lapse in midfield allowed Rangers to come forward and build a move which ended with Dave MacPherson poking his shot from close range a few inches wide of the near post.
The first Lambs corner of the game came on 29 but the short corner to Foster which resulted in Smith trying a header in the area came to nothing as Alcock collected easily.
Although the Lambs were definitely on top, they were being frustrated by the hard working home side no end and Stafford won a corner on 36 when Wellecomme’s shot ballooned off Wylde.
From the flag kick Carl Palmer saw his initial shot blocked by both Rodman and McAughtrie, but received the ball back ahead of the pair only to screw well wide of the mark from the left of the penalty area.
Wylde and McNiven both went to ground in the area on 38 and brought loud shouts for a penalty from the home faithful, but there wasn’t a flinch from the referee, and shortly after Ishmael Reid crossed deep to the far post, finding Tom Thorley but he found Puddy’s feet in the way of what could have been the opening goal.
The half drew to a close with The Lambs pushing forward but ultimately with no goals to show.
After a fairly slow start to the second period, Wright had the first shot at goal on 52 but was off target from 20 yards as neither side took control of the game but both continued to work hard.
Tamworth slowly stamped their mark on the midfield but found Stafford defending deep and in numbers, clearing most things that came their way.
A Lyttle right wing cross was cut out on 56 and then a similar ball immediately after from Lyttle took an deflection off a defenders MacPherson’s head and looped over Alcock into the far top corner. (57 mins, 1-0)
Stafford came back strongly and won a corner after good work from McNiven but the home side wasted the dead ball which lead Bull to make a double change on 64.
Thorley cleared the seating stand behind the goal on 68 with a 25 yard effort after good work from Palmer on the edge of the area.
Nick Amos headed goalward on 75 from a Rangers corner only to find Smith in the way and on 75 Sheridan came into the action, replacing Sheldon.
Wright forced a corner on the right on 76 but Alcock was equal to the ball into the danger area.
Persistence from Wellecomme won his side a freekick on the left of the angle of the penalty area and when the ball fell into the box amongst a huddle of players, it eventually found its way over the bar from Stuart Peirpoint.
Then on 81 Lyttle headed behind a dangerous cross into the 6 yard box from the right and the home side kept up the pressure from the corner but Tamworth we’re doing their very best to prevent any sniff of an equaliser.
Lea replaced the tired legs of Rodman with 7 to go and took his place on the left wing but it was the other sub Sheridan that beat his man to win a corner on 85. Lyttle and Smith took it short but the ball ricocheted out for a goal kick.
Wright tried to force his way through three defenders on 86 to no avail and at the other end Lyttle blasted the ball off the toes of McNiven who couldn’t believe he wasn’t quickest to the chance and held his head in his hands as the home side tried to make late in roads to rescue a point.
Rangers forced a corner which Amos rose highest to meet but headed over on 88 and Wayne Daniels run then chip was flicked on by McMahon only for McNiven to somehow miss what looked like a certain headed goal which beat Puddy but also the post.
Peirpoint flashed a header over the bar from a right wing ball in added time.
2 minutes past the 90 and the added time was still unknown so it was a case of play to the final whistle whenever it arrived and it duly did on 93 and a half minutes to give the Lambs a well earned three points and bragging rights for the forseeable future.
Puddy, Lyttle, Langdon, McAughtrie, Wylde, Foster, Wright, Smith, Sheldon (Sheridan 75), Rodman (Lea 83), Pritchard
Subs: Warburton, Law, Burgess
+ 239 Lambs fans
Stafford Rangers Team:
Alcock, Thorley, Reid (Loukes 64), Piepoint, Daniel, Amos, Palmer, MacPherson (McMahan 80), McNiven, Wellecomme, Wilson (Morris 64)
Subs: Ingram, Allen
Referee: Mr. PJ Keane (Coseley)