Tigers first half strikes sink Lambs
31 January 2017
After the 1-0 home victory over Boston United at The Lamb three days previously, The Lambs travelled to the temporary home of the Tigers of Gloucester hoping to get some momentum going.
Cheltenham’s Whaddon Road pitch was looking wet but definitely playable although the sheets of light rain drifting across the pitch that greeted the 36th meeting of the two clubs was not pleasant for those caught up in it.
Andy Morrell made one changes to the side that defeated the Pilgrims with Luke Jones coming in to Louis Briscoe.
The home side got the game underway and as both sides struggled a little to cope with the wet surface the ball skipped away from the intended recipients of a few early passes.
A low ball into the box saw Hopper go down under pressure but referee Smith was having none of it, although Gloucester kept up the pressure.
A long ball out of the Lambs midfield was superbly controlled by Styche on 7 and his strike brought and equally good stop from keeper Singh to deny the opening goal.
A corner on the right saw Kotwica headed over from 8 yards on 9 and Lane prevented Thomas’s run with a telling tackle to concede another on 11.
Knowles headed it over the bar from the flag kick as the Tigers enjoyed most of the early play.
A third Gloucester corner was played short and Finnie fired it in for Knowles but he headed wide of the mark.
Morley struck from distance on 15 but the ball went wide, at the other end on 18 though a low long range low strike from Thomas was fumbled by Belshaw and Finnie reacted quickly to mop up the rebound at the left hand post (0-1, 18 mins)
While The Lambs continued to struggle to get the ball into the final third of the pitch, the home side continued to threaten and a corner on the right came in, was headed down by Knowles, but Belshaw was unable to hold onto the ball and Avery finished from a yard or two out with a thump into the roof of the net (0-2, 25 mins)
Thomas made a jinking run into the right of the box on 29 but Belshaw was not going to be beaten by his low strike towards the near post.
A foul on Clarke on the edge of the D on 33 set up Fox with the deadball at his feet but it struck the wall and went out for a throw on the left wing.
Jones was booked for a clumsy challenge on the half way line on 34, and a good move through the right channel by Styche and Dyer ended when the latter had the ball nipped off his toes on 37.
The first half ended with the rain still coming down on the Whaddon Road pitch and The Lambs would need to do better in the second half to get the game back.
Tamworth restarted the game with Belshaw in front of the travelling faithful in the Hazelwoods Stand but the first action was at the other end when Green struck low into the arms of Singh.
It looked like the referee took the name of Thomas on 47 but no card was shown, although the awarded freekick allowed Tamworth to exert a little pressure which ultimately came to nothing.
Newton replaced Fox on 54. Newton’s inclusion gave Tamworth more bite coming out of midfield and they forced a corner on the right on 58, The Lambs first of the evening.
Briscoe replaced Clarke when the ball went out of play from the flag kick, and in the next move Newton was caught by the offside trap but not before he had nipped in to the finish the ball into the net from the left of the box.
Newton's presence then caused Singh to only half clear a high punt and Styche saw his goalbound shot from the loose ball headed away from danger.
A fine cross from the left from Deeney on 67 was headed on target by Newton forcing Singh to catch it at head height.
On 74 the ball was worked down the Gloucester right and into the area causing a tangle at the near post, but when the ball was played across the six yard box for Thomas he somehow dragged it wide of the far post when it looked easier to score.
Opoku replaced Dyer on 75 and the sub made his presence felt straight away.
Lane was booked for a poor challenge on Thomas on 82 and the same player curled a low shot around the right of the wall which struck the outside of the near post before Belshaw could get to it.
Deeney’s ball in from the left was headed goalward by Newton on 87 and although it stuck in the mud, Singh smothered it before it could creep over the line.
Deaman was booked for time wasting a freekick on the halfway line on 88 and Gloucester did their best to take the ball into the corners.
Foul minutes added time were shown and The Lambs advanced on goal with Newton forcing a corner, but it was cleared and although Tamworth worked it back into the box Opoku’s presence saw him conceded a freekick inside the box, which Singh took.
Tamworth continued to work the ball forward but there was no time for a late comeback and the home side took the win.
Belshaw, Burns, Morley, Deeney, Jones, Lane, Fox (Newton 54), Clarke (Briscoe 59), Green (c.), Dyer (Opoku 75), Styche
Subs: Davies, Davis
YC: Jones 34, Lane 82
Gloucester City Team:
Singh, Thomas, Hall, Deaman, Avery, Knowles, Hanks, Finnie (Parker 71), Hopper (Webb 65), Kotwica, Thomas
Subs: Richards, Dinsley, Williams
YC: Deaman 88
Referee: Mr. J. Smith