Ten men Lambs come back twice but its not enough
14 December 2010
They say a week is a long time in football, well 17 days since the last match and 15 days since Des Lyttle's permanent appointment as manager, The Lambs made the long journey north for their rescheduled FA Trophy, sponsored by Carlsberg, game against Mark Cooper's Quakers.
With large piles of snow evident around the ground but not a hint of it inside the massive stadium, at the time of writing this (7pm), around a dozen home fans were taking their seats (but more slowly coming in) and about the same number of hardy TFC fans were keeping warm in the club bar!
The Gaffer made three changes to the side that suffered defeat at Carlisle, with Mitchell, MacKenzie and Wilkinson coming into the eleven which saw Wylde and Smith missing due to illness and Bradley ruled out through suspension. Marshall wore the captain's armband.
Tamworth began the game kicking towards the Lambs fans ensconced in their own private corner section of the ground although the home side actually kicked off their first ever FA Trophy game and within 10 seconds Bridge-Wilkinson curled a shot at Atkins which he took comfortably.
30 seconds later Louis hit a deflected effort which ballooned into the keeper's arms and a free kick was won on the left inside 2 signalling the home side's intentions from the off. Bridge-Wilkinson fired the freekick in, but it went behind for a goal kick, keeping Atkins warm as he scampered to retrieve it if nothing else.
The Lambs then won a freekick in a similar position and Oakes struck left footed into the area but it was too long and gave Russell his first touch of the match on 4.
The game then ‘settled' into a long ball over the top affair for a few minutes and when Main beat the offside trap on the right wing his tame effort was gratefully received by Atkins.
Tait conceded a corner from a right wing cross with Louis on his back and Rodman hoofed the dead ball away from inside the area on 10 and the same Lambs player won a corner a minute later with a shot which cannoned off a defender's legs. Oakes took it but received it back from a defensive header and his cross took a glance off a defender allowing Russell to collect.
Tamworth enjoyed a good spell of forward play and Rodman then Tait saw crosses looking for the last man, cut out around 12.
A foul by Brough on Wilkinson almost saw Perry meet Oakes' freekick on the edge of the area but Russell was first to the ball, then Darlo countered and Bridge-Wilkinson chipped for goal but was off target.
Louis got the better of Tait on the right and squared a pass to Main on 17 but his shot from the edge of the area was easy for Atkins.
At the other end, Tamworth won a freekick and Oakes almost found Perry at the far post but the home defence coped and Lyttle's Lambs were forced to start again, ending with a Barrow shot from the left of the area which was high and wide of the mark.
Thomas fed Perry down the left on 22 and he cut the ball back to Rodman to shoot from the edge of the box, but it struck a boot on the way through and Russell was able to catch the effort under his bar as the game continued to be an even affair, and surprisingly, not as cold as last time...
Main was bundled over for a home freekick on 24 which Marshall rose highest to deal with and feed Thomas who was fouled and Atkins took the freekick, 15 yards from the half way line, but Perry was adjudged to have infringed and play was halted as quick as it restarted.
Brown crossed from the left on 26 and Main tried an unconventional Park / Hernandez style header at goal, missing the target by a few feet at the far post.
Perry was brought down by Brown as a Lambs throw came into play on 28 and after discussion with his assistant the freekick was awarded Tamworth's way, with Oakes planting the ball into the area but Russell coming out to catch.
Bridge-Wilkinson hit a rasping volley from 35 yards on 31 but found Marshall in the way and couple of minutes later Barrow his a lacklustre shot from 20 yards which curled well wide to the left of the target.
A good ball from Barrow on the left found the head of Perry on 38 and on another day he would undoubtedly have directed it into the left hand bottom corner, but his header went the wrong side of the post by a yard or two in the best chance of the match for Tamworth so far.
Perry received a straight red card on 43 for a foul on Hone midway into the Quakers half leaving The Lambs a man short for the remainder of the game and on 45 Moore crossed for Gillespie but his shot past the far post on the volley from a tight angle was off target.
Two minutes added time were shown at the end of the first half and MacKenzie forced Russell to stretch to his left to save a left footed drive as Rodman played out the half as the lone striker.
Tamworth got the second half underway, obviously having to play without Perry, who would be starting a three match ban with the next game, and on 47 the home side took the lead. Louis saw his low shot from the right of the area parried by Atkins and Main followed up with an easy tap in from 2 yards (0-1, 47 mins).
On 51 Moore crossed from the left and Main got his head on the ball but couldn't keep it down as The Lambs made a double change of personnel.
Brown struck a powerful effort at goal on 56 which Atkins pushed behind for a corner and Brough followed up his punch out from 18 yards with a low drive only to find Marshall well placed to clear.
Thomas then won a corner on the left and when Rodman got the ball back he spotted Russell well out of position and exposed the space by firing in the near corner (1-1, 58 mins).
Thomas almost put The Lambs in the lead on the hour following up a blocked shot from Wilkinson but his low strike from 15yards was parried away by Russell.
And then on 61 Lake-Gaskin turned his man and shot for goal but it took a deflection off a defender and went over the bar from 8 yards winning a corner which Marshall lifted towards the goal with his head but Russell collected easily.
Darlington won a flag-kick of their own a minute later when Brown's shot came off Thomas and it flew across the six yard box and out for a corner on the opposite after taking a touch on the way through. Hone got his head to the ball at the far post but, under pressure, could only direct it past the woodwork.
Barrow cleared his own stop as Louis came rushing into the box on 65 and a dipping effort from Bridge-Wilkinson cleared the bar before Cooper made his first change of the match.
But Main was on target again on 67 with a header from Moore's delicate chip into the box from the right of the area to put the home side back in front (1-2, 67 mins)
However, on 70, after tenacious work down the left wing, The Lambs were level again when the ball came out for Sheridan to strike from 25 yards and his shot flew along the floor and into the back of the net leaving Russell rooted to the floor (2-2, 70 mins)
Rodman cut inside the right of the box on 77 to fire at goal and Russell had to push it around the post for a corner which Thomas saw Russell punch out off the head of Lake-Gaskin and despite a counter attack by the home team, Tamworth regained possession but the move broke down and the keeper regained possession.
From Russell's ball out of his area Darlo moved down the field and Verma got the best of the Lambs defence to fire past Atkins from the edge of the box and give his side the lead for the third time (2-3, 78 mins)
Lyttle brought his final set of fresh legs on inside the final 10 minutes of the game as Bojang came on before the home side took a corner which was halted for offside.
Then on 85, substitute Smith found Main but his shot from 10 yards straight at goal was very tame and Atkins was untroubled.
A foul by Wright on Barrow set up the Lambs defender with a freekick on the left on 86 which was headed away over the half way line and although Tamworth tried to come straight back Darlo countered but squandered their possession.
The Lambs pushed on again and Wilkinson saw his high deep cross headed behind for a corner by Miller. Lake-Gaskin saw Russell punch it far out of danger and a long ball forward allowed Atkins to come out and punt it back up field again.
Wilkinson was unable to find a team mate with a freekick on 90 and Russell came out to gather a long cross in as the minutes ticked down.
Darlington won a corner in the 95th minute with the referee looking at his watch and Tamworth's life in the 2010-11 competition came to an end when the ball came into play.
Atkins, Tait, Marshall, Oakes (Sheridan 51), Mitchell (Bojang 83), MacKenzie (Lake-Gaskin 51), Perry, Rodman, Thomas, Barrow, Wilkinson
Subs: Lyttle, Connor
Red Cards: Perry 43
Darlington 1883 Team:
Russell, Brough, Miller, Main (Gray 90+), Gillespie (Wright 66), Verma, Moore, Hone, Louis (Smith 84), Brown, Bridge-Wilkinson
Subs: Chandler, Austin
Referee: Mr. A. J. Madley