Playoff Hopes Hanging By A Thread
25 March 2017
Following late midweek heartbreak at home to Kidderminster Harriers, Andy Morrell chose to add some fresh legs to the team. Callum Powell was selected to make his full debut, while Ellis Deeney, Paul Green, and Ross Dyer were all recalled. Ben Fox, Jed Davies, Reece Styche, and Joe Clarke had to make do with places on the bench.
Games between Stockport County and The Lambs have traditionally been tight affairs, with the previous three meeting all ending level. The opening excahanges of this game followed the same pattern, with both sides cancelling eachother out.
Tamworth lined up in an attacking 442, with Ross Dyer operating just behind Danny Newton. Callum Powell and Connor Taylor provided the width either side of Ellis Deeney and Paul Green, while the back 4 and GK were unchanged (Belshaw, Burns, Morley, Jones, Lane).
Tamworth shaded the early part of the first half, with a number of corners being won, and Danny Newton stinging the hands of Stockport 'Kepper Hinchcliffe on 15 minutes with a right footed strike. There was little further of note to report with the first 25 minutes. The Lambs out of possession tactics, with Ross Dyer cutting off supply to the impressive Lewis Montrose in The Hatters midfield, were working well, and quietened the large home crowd.
It was then Dyer who opened the scoring on the half hour mark, following good work from Callum Powell. Powell cut inside from the left hand side, and floated a right footed cross deep towards the back post. Dyer's movement meant that he found himself unmarked, and he emphatically headed home.
The goal opened the game up somewhat, as Hampson fired wide with Stockport's first chance of the game, and Newton latched on to a Deeney clearance, but volleyed over. There was then an almighty scramble in our penalty area, with only brave blocking from a number of the Lambs backline preventing a Stockport equaliser.
The final chance of the first half saw Callum Powell and Connor Taylor to set Andy Burns free in the 18 yard box. Burns did well to check back on to his left foot, but his shot brushed the side netting. That was the final meaningful action of the first 45, with Tamworth going in with a one goal advantage.
There were no changes during the break, although Stockport came out with a much more attacking attitude as would have been expected. Minihan sliced wide early on, before Montrose hit the outside of the post when a corner was not cleared properly.
Both number 9's (Danny Newton and Sefton Gonzales) were booked in quick succession, befor the latter was replaced by Odejayi on the hour mark. The former then did well wide on the left, muscling himself into the box before firing a low cross into the 6 yard box that Ross Dyer was close to connecting to.
Ben Fox, who may have felt unfortunate to have been left out after a strong showing in midweek, replaced Connor Taylor, while Kaine Felix came on for the hosts shortly afterwards. Approching the 70 minute mark, The Lambs were still comfortable, with James Belshaw having had little to do.
However, on 74 minutes, a cheap corner was given away as both Powell and Morely scuffed attempted clearances. The ball was delivered from the left, and a long goalmouth scramble was ended was right back Ross stabbed home to level the scoreline. CXlarke and Styche were immediately introduced for Green and Powell.
5 minutes later and things went from bad to worse. Danny Lloyd was allowed time to set himself in the box following a right wing cross, and made no mistake, rifling a bobbling shot over James Belshaw's outstretched arm from 12 yards.
Despite 6 minutes of added time being signaled, Stockport managed the final period of the game well, and Tamworth struggled to get good possession in the search for a late leveller. The Hatters back four were untested in injury time, and it was to be another away defeat, albeit a very unfortunate one.
Belshaw, Burns, Morley, Deeney, Jones, Lane, Powell (Styche 74), Green (Clarke 74), Newton, Dyer, Taylor (Fox 61)
Subs: Jezeph, Davies
YC - Newton
Stockport County Team:
Hinchcliffe, Ross, Hampson, Montrose, Clarke, Smalley (Felix 65), Minihan, Winter, Gonzales (Odejayi 61), Ball, Lloyd (Duxbury 91)
Subs: Ormson, Meppen-Walters
YC - Gonzales
Referee: Martin Woods