Lyttle makes a point
10 April 2010
Returning to the Lamb after a 7 goal haul over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, a packed out ground welcomed promotion hopefuls Luton Town to The Lamb, although with the segregated visiting fans occupying The Shed due to their sheer numbers Tamworth fans on the terraces were restricted to a ‘one way' view from the Castle End of the ground.
Gary Mills made two changes to the side that had run out 4-3 winners at Forest Green on Bank Holiday Monday, with Chris Smith and Michael Blackwood coming back into the starting eleven in place of Aaron Mitchell and Seb Lake-Gaskin while Nick Wright made a welcome return to the bench.
Tamworth got the game underway kicking towards the Castle End and kept the ball in the Luton half for quite some time ending on 2 minutes when Lyttle hit a right footed shot from 30 yards which unfortunately failed to hit the target by some distance.
Gary Mills had asked his players to go out on the front foot and they were definitely doing that, with Luton restricted and frustrated, unable to get any sort of grip on the game.
A long throw on the right from Tait aiming for Wylde was headed behind for a Lambs corner on the right on 6 and Chris Smith got his boot onto the ball in the box but sent it up and under onto the terraces.
A challenge by Chris Smith on Hathch mid way into the Lambs half on 8 set up Keane with a floated freekick which Tait headed away and the Lambs moved the ball to the opposite end. Tait's throw was flicked on by Christie and it took a defensive block to prevent Blackwood getting a shot away.
Another good move out of midfield by The Lambs saw Tait cross onto the head of Pritchard on 10 but Tyler was untroubled as it curled into his grasp.
A double strike from Christie on the left of the area and including one from Sheridan on the rebound 13 caused Tyler to parry the former's shot before his defence cleared the danger.
At the other end, Lyttle conceded a corner with a misplaced header on 14 which was swung in by Keane from the left, but only after the referee had sorted out some shirt pulling in the box and Pilkington headed home the far post to give the visitors the lead. (0-1, 15 mins)
Craddock found space to fire in a shot from the edge of the area on 17 which Alcock was equal to which Tyler was also equal to Sheridan's left sided drive at goal a minute later.
Hatch received a talking to for a challenge on Lyttle by the halfway line on 20 and although the freekick was cleared Tait received the ball back and tried a low cross into the area from the right which went out for a corner and Christie was unable to get the ball under control from the flag kick.
Once again The Lambs pushed forward but Tait couldn't get onto the end of Sheridan's ball over the Luton back four on 23 and on 25 Hatch received another talking to following a deliberate hand ball on the edge of the Lambs box.
Blackwood and Gnapka both raced for the same ball down the touchline on 27 and the Luton player pulled up holding his hamstring forcing Hatter boss Richard Money into an early change.
Pritchard hit a deflected effort at goal on 29 and made a good run to the byline to win a corner on 30 which was headed behind for a flag kick on the other side and Christie flicked it on but it floated just too high over Chris Smith, coming in at the far post.
Christie needed some treatment on the pitch on 34 but came back on shortly after and hit a shot for goal, left footed from the edge of the area which curled over the corner of bar and post but didn't threaten Tyler.
After a scare for Alcock on 37 which saw the go out over his bar Luton won a corner on 40 which Wylde headed out and Helsop fired a bullet into the Meadow Street end with a miscued effort.
Shaw then tried his luck from 25 yards but the ball was not set up right for him and he too made his own fans duck out of the way with his miss-hit curling effort.
Two minutes added time were shown at the end of the first half but not before Prictahrd picked up a booking for a foul inside the Luton area on Blackett.
The visitors won a corner on the right in added time and Alcock punched it clear as the whistle blew.
Luton got the second half underway with both sides now facing their opposing fans and The Lambs quickly gained possession winning a corner on the left which Shaw placed onto Christie's head but there was no one quick enough to finish the chance.
Craddock robbed Blackwood on the right wing on 48 feeding Helsop who forced Alcock to tip his shot around the far post for a corner which was put out for another by Sheridan shortly after a period of Luton possession on the left. Keane found Helsop with a floated flag kick and the latter hit the ball on the volley missing the target by just a few feet.
Shaw sent in a searching ball for Christie on 53 which Asafu-Adaye got to in the nick of time to deny him a touch.
Luton made their second change on 56 and Hatch finally picked up a booking for persistent fouling on 57 after a tussle with Chris Smith by the clubhouse.
And on 58 the Tamworth sides of the ground erupted when Lyttle prodded home a right footed shot which crept in via the right hand post from the left of the box after the visiting defence had failed to deal with a number of half chances from Pritchard and Wylde. (1-1, 58 mins) (Just as the Grand National got underway!)
Wylde dragged a shot wide of the right hand post on 61 after a long freekick from Alcock found it's way into the box and Luton, through Heslop, won a corner on the right which was cleared by a big boot from Pritchard.
Hatch made way for Gallen on 65 in the final change for Richard Money as The Lambs own a freekick on the left of the midfield inside the Luton half but Jay Smith's ball was headed away.
Tait fired a low ball in from the right wing which whistle past the post and Christie on 70 but Luton pushed forward and kept possession for a few minutes until a wayward pass flew out for a Lambs goalkick.
Luton continued to press into the final fifteen minutes of the match causing Tamworth to fall back and defend in numbers, leaving Christie alone on the edge of the centre circle and on 78 Sheridan came off for MacKenzie.
And on 80 he nodded the ball down for Pritchard to hit a half volley at goal from the edge of the area, but he lifted his shot over the bar.
At the other end Wylde denied Pilkington's cross but conceded a corner which was eventually cleared.
Jay Smith blocked a close range shot from Craddock on 87 and although the visitors continued in their seemingly unrelenting pressure Tamworth were not to be broken.
Luton won a corner as five minutes added time was shown and Briscoe replaced Pritchard. Alcock didn't manage to catch the dead ball cleanly allowing Pilkington time to pick his spot at the far post but a combination of three Lambs defenders and a Luton boot prevented it from going anywhere near the goalmouth.
As the seconds ticked away, Lake-Gaskin replaced Shaw and MacKenzie prevented a Luton corner with a hefty clearance but they regained possession from the throw only to lose it then regain it in the middle of the park.
A foul in the box by Barnes-Homer put paid to any thoughts of the Hatter hitting the back of the net with the loose ball on 94 and Craddock hit a weak effort at Alcock shortly before the final whistle blew on a fine point for Tamworth.
Alcock, Tait, Blackwood, Smith Chris, Wylde, Pritchard (Briscoe 90), Sheridan (MacKenzie 78), Shaw (Lake-Gaskin 90), Lyttle, Smith Jay, Christie
Subs: Wright, Mitchell
Luton Town Team:
Tyler, Asafu-Adaye, Blackett, Pilkington, Murra, Gnapka (Barnes-Homer 29), Keane, Heslop, Howells (Jarvis 56), Hatch (Gallen 65), Craddock
Subs: Newton, Kovacs
Man of the Match: Chris Smith and Richard Tait
Referee: R. J. Madley