Solitary strike condemns Lambs to defeat
07 April 2007
Earlier in the season former boss Mark Cooper’s squad recorded a 1-0 victory over the Grecians at The Lamb via an Adie Smith goal, and while Cooper has moved onto pastures new Adie Smith is still at the Lamb but was suspended (the second of two games) for the tie at St. James Park.
Both sides approached the game with diametrically opposed reasons for winning – Tamworth’s to move out of the bottom four and give themselves a good chance of staying in the Conference next season, and Exeter to move into the playoff’s to leave the league if good fortune allowed, via the knockout lottery.
Mill’s made two changes to the side from Tuesday’s defeat to Northwich Victoria and was looking to reverse the trend that had seen his side pick up 7 out of the last 21 points and drop them by just a point, back into the danger zone. Taiwo Atieno came back from injury for Matt Williams who dropped to substitute, while Curtis Ujah came in for a resting-on-the-bench Darryl Taylor.
Exeter won a free kick less than a minute into the game 30 yards from goal but Billy Jones’ shot curled high over the bar.
Kyle Storer received a talking to from Mr East on 2 minutes for following with an elbow but The Lambs smothered the free kick and Jose Veiga cleared his lines 30 yards in field a minute later.
Exeter had a large proportion of the possession but didn’t manage to get a shot on target in the opening 10 minutes and then won a corner on 12. Matthew Gill took it and Lee Elam tried a flying volley but Veiga parried and Tamworth cleared.
John McGrath hit a hopeful shot toward Martin Rice’s goal on 13 and Atieno struck a shot wide on 15 after finding some space on the left of the area.
Ryan Lynch did enough to deny the run of Adam Stansfield on 21 after a good ball out of the Exeter midfield by Andy Taylor and Viega was able to collect the loose ball as the home striker tried to cut into the area.
The Grecians won another corner on 23 which Veiga caught at the far post with ease and set Simon Heslop free through midfield. He was brought down by Gill but Briscoe’s free kick was blocked by the Exeter wall.
The game was all but devoid of clear chances for either side which suited The Lambs more than the home side and perhaps the hot sun beating down on St James’ Park had something to do with it, but Tamworth won a corner on 39 when Edwards was beaten the ball. McGrath struck the dead ball left footed, as usual, and Atieno met it with a header but failed to get it anywhere near the target and a goal kick resulted.
Stansfield missed a great chance on 41 when he left the Lambs defence flat footed and tried to place the ball into the near corner but missed by a good yard.
Rikki Bains conceded a free kick against Richard Logan on the left of the Lambs defence on 43 which Jones floated into the area but no one could touch the ball goalward and Veiga let it go out for a goalkick.
Veiga then blocked a shot on goal from Elam on 45 six yards from goal after a flicked header set the Exeter midfielder free on the left of the area and two minutes added time was shown at the end of the half.
And in the final seconds Edwards screwed a left foot shot unbelievably wide after Atieno was beaten to a header and the ball fell nicely for the Lambs front man.
There was a great deal more urgency at the start of the second half from both sides but the cutting edge was still lacking in the opening exchanges.
Exeter won a corner on 51 which Kyle Storer headed clear and a minute later Rice leapt high to deny McGrath connecting with a Graeme Law cross from the right wing.
The play switched ends with the home side winning a freekick on the right wing- taken by Jones, but Veiga collected with a simple catch once again.
Veiga made a ‘match winning’ fantastic save on 55 when Richard Logan found space and struck a great shot from 20 yards only to see the Lambs keeper deny and deflect the ball over the bar for a corner which he collected once again.
Darryl Taylor came into the fray just before the hour mark but Exeter’s Lee Elam and Adam Stansfield both went close and the latter saw his close range shot deflected over the bar.
The home fans were getting audibly frustrated by their sides performance and Tamworth were content to clear as and when required.
However on 75 Adam Stansfield shot low from the right and Veiga blocked but as the ball ran free Wayne Carlisle finished from close range despite the despairing dives of both Veiga and Michael Briscoe. (0-1)
Tamworth pushed hard in the closing stages and their afternoon was summed up when everyone missed a McGrath free kick that begged to be smashed into the back of the net as it whipped across the face of goal.
Four minutes added time came to give The Lambs hope of a last ditch equalizer. Veiga upended Stansfield out of his area as he sprinted towards the area and the same player headed inches wide from the resultant freekick as Tamworth looked to Monday’s visit of St Albans to The Lamb for a much needed win…..
McGrath, Storer, Heslop, Law
Lynch (Quistin 80), Bains, Ujah (Taylor D 57), Briscoe
Subs: Bampton, Weaver
Stansfield, Logan (Phillips 81)
Elam, Gill, Taylor A, Carlisle
Jones, Seabourne, Todd, Tully
Subs: Mackie, Challinor, Richardson, Moxey
Yellow Cards: Ujah 55, Veiga 90
Goals: Carlisle 75
Referee: Mr. R. East