Stoppage time equaliser denies Lambs three points
01 September 2007
After two defeats, Lambs boss Gary Mills’ took his squad to the North East coast in a bid to get back on the winning track where a win would probably see Tamworth move up into the top half of the table.
Mills was without Anthony Robinson (suspended) while Adie Smith, Carl Heggs and Dave Bampton all sat out with various ailments and so brought Jake Sheridan and Gerry Taggart into the starting eleven and paired Matt Williams and Tony Thorpe in attack.
Blyth, who had recorded four points from their opening five games would be doing their best to halt The Lambs and hopefully Mills would not have to take his inspiration for his post match team talk from one of the home sides major sponsors – Viz magazine!
An early attempt came from Gareth Sheldon which was comfortable for Adam Bartlett in the home goal, but showed The Lambs intentions.
Williams then stole the ball off the Spartans midfield on 4 and after a neat one two took a shot at goal from the edge of the area but Bartlett was equal to his strike.
Blyth won the first corner of the game on 12 when new signing Afeobi Shekoni battled on the bi-line and forced the flag kick, but the home side wasted the chance.
Williams found space on 14 but took an extra touch and his window of opportunity closed while at the other end on 15 Thompson struck from distance with a driven effort, but Jose Veiga was confident to watch the ball go a few feet wide of his post.
Des Lyttle cross from the right on 16 but Briscoe’s header under pressure was off target and The Lambs started to turn the screw, but still lacked that ‘something’ to opening the scoring.
On 35 minutes Blyth’s 6 foot 5 striker Robert Dale had to be stretchered off with his leg in a splint following an innocuous tackle with Kyle Storer in the Lambs half meaning an early substitution by the home side.
Bylth’s Chris McCabe tried to loop the ball over Veiga on 40 after the Lambs defence failed to clear, but shot wide and on 41 Tamworth’s first corner came but once again the home defence cleared any danger.
As first half stoppage time came into view, Sheldon fired a free kick into the area which was booted clear by the Spartans back line once again .
The final action of the first period saw McCabe fire over the bar from close range when a corner fell invitingly for him, but he was leaning back and squandered the home side’s best chance.
As the glorious sunshine continued to beat down on Croft Park, the second half started with the wind whipping around both teams and the home side pushed forward from the kick off.
Shekoni had a good chance on 53 when a right wing cross fell to his feet in the area, but Lyttle was on hand to boot the ball clear and shortly after Ben Christiensen spotted Veiga off his line, but floated his shot well wide of the mark.
Sensing the home side were going to be no push over , the large contingent of traveling Lambs made their presence known and Tamworth responded by penning the home side back into their own half.
There was a brief break in play on 62 when the linesman replaced a broken flag to the amusement of the crowd then on 64 Lyttle won a flag kick for The Lambs but nothing came on of it.
Mills added a bit of spice to the Lambs midfield by bringing on Mario Pedro on 68 and on 69 Sheldon struck a freekick well but it was lacking power, allowing Bartlett to dive to his right and make the save.
The game was a little stop start at times when niggly tackles were punished by referee Mr Sharp and any momentum that had started to build was stopped short and both sides had to start again.
Sheldon put in a fantastic left wing cross on 76 for Williams but the Lambs striker’s header, which he took mid-flight, skimmed the outside of the far post and rebounded out to safety.
And that chance seemed to lift the Lambs as Mario Pedro then lifted the ball over the top of the home defence on 78 and Sheldon headed the ball on before getting an outstretched boot to it and diverted it past the keeper into the goal to make it 1-0 to Tamworth.
Thorpe went one on one with the home defence on 84 but was foiled as he tried to push toward goal and Williams forced Bartlett to push the ball over his bar with a chipped effort on 86
But just as it looked like the three points would be heading back down the A1(M) to Staffordshire Andrew Thompson struck a sweet right footed volley from 30 yards, a minute into added time, past the outstretched arms of Veiga to give both sides a share of the spoils.
Veiga, Lyttle, Langdon, Bains, Taggart, Briscoe, Sheridan (Pedro 68), Storer, Williams M (Edwards 89), Thorpe, Sheldon
Subs: Tuohy, Donaghey, Keen
Bartlett, Williams G, Christiensen, Snowdon, Soulthard, Leeson, Thompson, McCabe, Dale (Fenton 35), Shekoni (Hedley 82), Maidens
Subs: Graham, Hodgson, Boyle
Yellow Cards: Bains 16
Referee: Mr N Sharp