Rollercoaster ride for visiting fans
24 April 2010
Tamworth welcomed Ebbsfleet to The Lamb for the final match of the season.
Having secured their league status with a win at Wimbledon on Tuesday night The Lambs could effectively relax in their last run out, but Ebbsfleet came into the game knowing that a win and Gateshead and Eastbourne slipping up and nothing else would be required to give them any chance of staying up.
Gary Mills made two changes to the midweek line up with Chris Smith coming back after illness and the gaffer himself making a rare appearance while Aaron Mitchell and Michael Briscoe took places on the bench.
And so for the last time until July Tamworth got the match underway kicking towards the Castle End but Ebbsfleet's Vieira got the first sight on goal, albeit from a short backpass which Alcock cleared before he could get to it.
A half header in the Lambs box was easily collected by Alcock on 6 and with the news that Gateshead had taken the lead it made Ebbsfleet task, as it stood, an impossible one.
Mills played a one two with Rodman down the right wing on 9, but was beaten to the return ball by the towering Charles and on 10 there was a loud shout for handball following a thumping drive into the box from Vieira but Mr Adcock waved it away.
Then, on 11 a superb ball over the top of the Ebbsfleet from Tait found Christie going one on one with the goalkeeper despite the best efforts of Crooks on his heels, and the Lambs front man rounded Cronin to bag the opening goal with a cool finish. (1-0, 11 mins).
However, less than a minute later Vieira headed his side level with a near post finish from a left sided corner. (1-1, 12 mins).
MacKenzie struck a right footed half volley at Cronin from 18 yards on 17 which the keeper was perfectly positioned for, and the same player lobbed the ball long looking for Christie forcing Cronin to leave his area and head the danger clear in the next move.
On 19, West found a gap in The Lambs back four feeding Vieira to shoot at goal but he didn't do enough to force Alcock into anything more than a standard stop low to his right.
Tamworth won their first corner on 23 but Tait's long range effort was way off target.
Alcock fumbled a low shot on 29 and Wylde was well placed to clear the danger from Vieira's return shot from the left of the box.
A miss-directed clearance by Crooks allowed Rodman a sight on goal on 33 but he skied his effort from the right.
A corner was conceded on 34 allowing Crooks to run in on West's flag kick, but Alcock was first to the high ball and collected easily.
Then, on 38 Ebbsfleet took the lead via Shakes who capitalised on a poor piece of defending by Chris Smith allowed the Uniteed player to nip in and plant the ball into the back of the net. (1-2, 38 mins).
But the game was back on level terms a couple of minutes later when Wylde headed home a corner from the left from close range, for his second in two games. (2-2, 40 mins).
Christie was unable to get a shot around two defenders as two minutes added time was shown at the end of the first half.
Ebbsfleet got the second half underway and on 47 West hit a low shot towards goal after The Lambs defence were unable to clear a high ball into the box.
A handball against Chris Smith was not given by Mr Adcock again despite loud shouts again by the travelling faithful. Then Jay Smith was booked for handball midway into the Lambs half and Homes lifted a freekick into the box but the danger was headed away.
Mills swapped himself for Lyttle on 55 and on 57 a superb right footed volley from 25 yards absolutely flew into the top corner and stunned the whole ground to give Tamworth the lead once again (3-2, 58 mins) - a definite contender for goal of the season!
Pritchard conceded a corner under pressure from Salmon but the dead ball came to nothing for the visitors .
The Lambs won one of their own on 70 but the ball ran behind Chris Smith as he ghosted in at the far post.
It was all square again on 77 when Shakes initial shot was only partially blocked and Ginty followed in to give the visitors added impetus in the final quarter of an hour (3-3, 77 mins).
Then, on 80 Christie appeared to have been felled by Pooley in the area as he tried to latch onto a bouncing ball but then Ebbsfleet took the lead again when Ginty ran into the box and lifted the ball over Alcock (3-4, 81 mins).
As the minutes ticked down, Eastbourne scored at Oxford to make Ebbsfleet's task a thankless one and also push Gateshead back into the bottom three.
A goal by already relegated Grays against Forest Green then looked like it had then saved Gateshead!
Three minutes added time was shown at the end of the match.
Alcock, Tait, Smith C, Wylde, MacKenzie, Wright (Mitchell 68), Rodman (Sheridan 63), Pritchard, Jay Smith, Mills (Lyttle 55), Mitchell, Christie
Subs: Shaw, Briscoe
Ebbsfleet United Team:
Cronin, Salmon, Pooley, West (Ginty 62), Vieira, Stavrinou, Shakes, Crooks, Bailey, Charles, Homes
Subs: Heeroo, Wills, Read, Hagan
Man of the Match: Bradley Pritchard
Referee: Mr. J. G. Adcock