24 March 2009At a very rainy and blustery Victoria Park, Gary Mills made no changes to the starting eleven that had come back to record a hard worked three points in a rollercoaster encounter at Hucknall at the weekend.
Alex Rodman was ruled out completely this time though, which brought Matt Birley onto the bench in his place.
After the now traditional group huddle, Tamworth got proceedings underway as fans gathered everywhere but in the open to try and escape the downpour.
With double the points tally of their hosts Tamworth looked the better team straight away settling quickly and forced an early corner, but Smith was beaten to the header and the ball skipped off the surface on the far side for a throw.
A ball back into the area by Sheldon was put out for a corner and Smith put his deep header back onto the roof of the net on 6 from the resultant corner and as quickly as it hard started four hours previously, the rain stopped pouring and turned into a very light shower.
A freekick was conceded 20 yards out just to the right of centre on 8 and Moogan struck the deadball off the wall and just wide for a corner to Burscough.
Foster cleared the danger and Sheridan burst to the other end of the field down the right touch line but couldn’t get a cross past the defender.
A high ball from Wright from the throw almost found the head of Sheldon but was cleared but not very well and Tamworth forced the ball back in to Sheldon who made no mistake from 8 yards for his 22nd of the season (1-0, 10 mins)
Wade was denied a shooting opportunity by a well timed McAughtrie challenge on the left of the area on 18 and the corner was headed well wide of the mark in a rare chance for the Linnets.
A couple of challenges which can best be described a niggly gave Burscough some time to push forward for freekicks, but Wright was having better ideas and stole the ball before striding forward and feeding Pritchard via Sheridan, however the ball was moving too fast to control and he conceded a goal kick.
Another forward ball this time from the head of Wright almost set up Sheldon on 20 but again the ball ran away off the surface to the keeper.
Burscough pushed forward again on 22 and won another corner, on the left of the field this time, which Wylde headed away.
A defensive header by the Burscough captain Moogan almost put the ball into the far corner from a Blackwood cross on 24 while at the other end a ball across the six yard box from Stanford was missed by everyone.
Tamworth were visibly enjoying the pitch with some neat passing moves and on 28 Pritchard almost scored for the second successive game when Burscough failed to clear, but Clancy saved his shot on the turn, with his feet, from close range and the ball was cleared.
Wright tried an audacious shot from 20 yards inside the Lambs half and caused Clancy to chest the ball safely down on 32 just inside his area to kill the bounce and another good ball from Wright saw Sheridan stopped by a foul on 33 as Tamworth countered another short spell of forward play by the home side. Blackwood took the set piece on the right and it almost came off but Sheldon missed his unmarked header at the back of the area by just a few inches.
Sheridan crossed from the right on 34 and although the ball was headed on by a Burscough defender Blackwood was waiting for it but blazed his shot at the back of the pack over the bar.
A mistake from the home defence allowed Sheridan to nip in an shoot from 35 yards on 36 but his effort went wide and on 40 Sheldon cut in from the left but away from goal before lining up and striking a shot that just cleared the bar from 30 yards.
Wright collected the ball from a woeful freekick from an offside and advanced on goal on 43 before firing in a shot from 20 yards which Clancy parried before stopping and as half time drew near, it was clear that Tamworth were on top, but needed another goal.
Wright beat Stanford to the ball and crossed low in added time but the chance was cleared and in a good piece of refereeing Evans picked up a booking for an incident after play had continued for some time.
By the time the players ran back out for the second period the distant glow of next Tuesday’s destination, Southport, could be seen in the distance, and the rain had returned and The Lambs had to play into the fine sheets drifting across the pitch.
A couple of minutes in an sustained Lambs pressure won a corner via Pritchard’s deflected shot. Blackwood and Sheldon played a neat ball between them and the former crossed to the head of Wylde but he couldn’t quite get his effort on target and the ball went out past the far post.
Loud shouts from the travelling fans were equalled by those of the home faithful as both sets of supporters gathered together under the same stand behind the goal.
Sheridan had to come off to receive treatment on 57 and a fairly good through ball was not seen by any of the home side allowing Alcock to gather easily.
With half an hour remaining Shaw came on to replace Sheridan as Burscough won a corner which Davies took on the left and Bayliss missed his header as the ball bounced away from him at the far post ably assisted by the wind which was still whipping the sheets of rain down the pitch toward Alcock making any sort of Tamworth forward passes above a few feet almost impossible.
Burscough were trying to use the situation to their advantage as cross field balls turned the corner in midair and went in the opposite direction.
Parry got his head to a high ball into the area on 67 but was unable to get any direction on it as it swirled above him.
A good move from the home side was cut out by Blackwood and he ran half the length of the pitch but Sheldon was unable to beat the defender from his pass and Burscough came forward again which saw The Lambs defence having to work very hard to clear the ball let alone win it back.
Evans put in a well timed tackle on Wright as be sprinted forward with the loose ball on 71 when anything else would probably have seen him booked and on 72 McAughtrie conceded a freekick for a foul on Stepien 35 yards out to the right. Moogan took the dead ball right footed and it ballooned off the wall for a home corner on the left which Moogan sprinted over to take but Smith headed clear and McAughtrie booted even further upfield into the gale before Birley came on for Wright.
And so to the last 15 minutes and the wind and rain subsided a little for a time allowing long balls to go where they were meant to but no sooner did it seem that things would even out the undecided weather picked up pace again and stopped Alcock’s kicks from reaching the half way line.
Hine evaded a couple of risky Lambs challenges but failed to get a shot in as he advanced into the area on 79, however Wade did try along range effort on 80 which Alcock did well to tip over his bar. And from the corner, another corner was won from a deflection on the opposite side but nothing came of the second flag kick as the home side pressed.
Goulding hit a wind assisted shot from distance which curled a few feet off target with Alcock in flight to try and save it on 85 and from a Smith freekick Sheldon fed Shaw but he pulled his shot from 18 yards wide of the left hand upright from the left of the area on 87.
Four minutes added time was shown and Tamworth had to work very hard to keep possession as the home side had no fear in hitting the ball long into the danger areas hoping to snatch something before Sheldon won a freekick on the halfway line on 93 which Smith chipped in to the area only for Clancy to collect, and then slice out of play for a throw in his own half.
Birley tried to take the ball into the corner but conceded a goal kick and Clancy took on Sheldon when the ball went long towards the Burscough goal again ultimately ending when Clancy launched the ball forwards and Lyttle put the ball behind for a corner.
As the ball swirled harmlessly onto the roof of the net from the flag kick the whistle finally blew on another three points to see the Lambs move into second place on goal difference.
Alcock, Lyttle, Wylde, Smith, McAughrie, Foster, Wright (Birley 74), Sheridan (Shaw 60), Sheldon, Blackwood, Pritchard
Subs: Nicholson, Burgess, Lea
Clancy, Holland, Stanford, Moogan, Bayliss, Evans, Parry, Goulding, Davies (Hine 75), Wade, Stepien
Subs (four only): Smith, Ennis, Dacey
Referee: Mr. N. Greenhalgh