Ten men Lambs fall to Iron blow
28 December 2013Following the Boxing Day point at home to Nuneaton, Lambs boss Dale Belford brought his squad to Cressing Road and the Amlin Stadium, home of Braintree Town a venue that The Lambs had not won at on the two attempts in previous seasons, but it would take nothing less than a win and other results in The Lambs favour against Alan Devonshire's 11th placed side for Tamworth to be in with a chance of not finishing the year inside the bottom four.
With Kerry, Evans and Capaldi suspended and Ben Richards-Everton ruled out by injury once again boss Belford made five changes to the side that ran out on Boxing Day 48 hours previously and was forced to include both himself and Scott Lindsey on the bench.
Tamworth got the game underway, attacking the clubhouse end of the ground, and with the winter sun slowly dropping behind the main stand the first action came when Sparkes fed Marks down the left and Mulley headed at Belford's goal, but the keeper was well positioned and caught the bouncing downward effort.
In the move, Courtney pulled up in the penalty area and after receiving treatment it was felt he couldn't continue, forcing an early change for the home side.
With Courtney off the field Cox found space in the left of the box but missed the target and then on 13 Marks also fired wide of the mark, although by this time Todd had taken up a defensive position allowing substitute Woolery to take his place in midfield.
The home side won a trio of corners around the 18th minute mark, and from the third Belford clawed out Wells follow up shot.
And on 23 Belford pushed a goalbound header from Cox away from the target after another home corner caused Tamworth problems at the back.
Mulley made a great run into the box and slid his shot towards the left post on 29 but he was prevented the opening goal by Keane's intervention and from the corner, Belford punched another goal bound header clear of danger.
Hildreth picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on the halfway line on 31 and on 33 The Lambs were awarded a corner but Hammann cleared and when play broke away through Mulley, Hildreth was adjudged to have brought him down from behind and received his second yellow card meaning an early shower.
Braintree pushed forwards quickly and fired wide twice in the next two moves including more threat from a corner and a rare chance at the other end saw Chadwick get his head onto the end of a long ball but Hammann threw himself full length to grasp the ball and stop it going in.
Another long ball came off Peniket and nearly crept in and in the four minutes of added time Sparkes boot to a high ball nearly crept in but Belford denied him with a finger tip over the bar shortly before the whistle blew.
The Iron restarted proceedings as Tamworth looked to attacked the open terrace where around 40 Lambs fans huddled in the increasing cold early evening.
After a brief foray into Belford's area, a foul in the centre of the park allowed Baker to look for Chadwick in the area, but he was unable to get his head onto the deep ball.
Then, on 52, The Lambs succumbed to the run of Cox who made it through the visiting defence andin to the right of the box before squaring for Peters to finish from a yard out. (0-1, 52 mins)
Braintree kept the ball for long periods from then on and tried their luck mainly from distance, winning a handful of corners in the process, while Cox headed wide on 63.
Peniket was booked for an elbow on 72.
More purposeful play from the home side ended with a driven left footed shot from Sparkes on 67 which took a deflection for a corner.
A second goal came on 76 when Mulley fired across the box and the ball went in at the far post despite the best efforts of the Lambs defence (0-2, 76 mins)
Belford picked up a yellow on 80m leaving his area and failing to take the ball cleanly, and from the freekick Paine glanced his header over the bar.
Former Lamb Sam Habergham tried his luck from distance on 86 while another ex-Tammy Isaac came on for the home side shortly before the final whistle blew on proceedings.
Belford, Gudger, Baker, Courtney (Woolery 8), Peniket, Todd, Thomas, Wright (Byfield 72), Chadwick, Hildreth, Keane
Subs: Lindsey, Belford, Morgan
Braintree Town Team:
Hammann, Peters, Habergham, Massey, Wells, Paine, Davis, Sparkes (Isaac 88), Mulley (Daley 82), Marks (Geohaghon 78), Cox
Subs: McDonald, Carney
Referee: Mr. C. Lymer