Two sent off in Grecians clash
28 March 2006
In a bid to change things around a little, Tamworth boss Mark Cooper made three changes to the side that drew 0-0 with Southport on Saturday. Cooper picked himself for the visit of the Grecians who were having a torrid time of it in the league not picking up many points or scoring many goals in their last seven games.
The Lambs stats had a similar feel with no victory in the league in the last 8 games, but had everything to play for against the losing FA Trophy Semi Finalists.
Bob Taylor made his first start since October 07 away at Cambridge United, Dave Bampton came back into defence after a niggly hamstring kept him out on Saturday and it was Cooper’s first start since early February.
But it was a disastrous start for Cooper’s men as The Lambs fell after just 50 seconds when a long throw was met by Lee Phillips. He cut the ball back across the face of goal and Jon Challinor fired home from close range. 0-1
Alan Neilson picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on Challinor after 4 minutes as Tamworth searched for a way back into the tie and Challinor almost repeated his goal scoring exploits on 8 with a similar move to the opening goal , but the ball whistled past both posts unhindered.
Carl Heggs got into a shooting position and fired in a testing shot at Paul Jones on 12 after good work by Dominic Roma found him in space on the edge of the visitors area and boss Mark Cooper leveled the scores in the 18th minute after a well taken free kick found it’s way through to Cooper at the far post. After one touch he turned and slammed the chance home much to the delight of the home crowd. 1-1
Heggs tried his luck from 20 yards on 22 but curled his effort just wide of the near post with Jones seemingly beaten.
A fantastic goal line stop by Sean Bowles from Challinor’s far post header denied Exeter on 25 but Dominic Roma took the brunt of the stop and had to receive treatment on the field.
Tamworth wasted a golden chance on 35 when Heggs should have released Neilson as he ran through the Exeter defence but The Lambs no. 12 decided to have a go himself from the edge of the penalty area.
Woodards tried a speculative right footed strike on 38 but it didn’t trouble Bowles who watched as it flew over the bar and in a much improved display over Saturday’s Matt Redmile saw his shot blocked on the line on 41 but no one could follow in quick enough.
With the home side buzzing, Mark Cooper saw yellow for a second time in first half stoppage time after a foul on Challinor in Exeter’s half to leave the Lambs down to 10 men in the second half.
As the rain came down in sheets and with a numerical disadvantage Bob Taylor dropped back into midfield as Exeter showed they were out to win to boost their play off hopes with Craig Farrell powering a shot a Bowles which he took at full stretch.
Struggling with an injury, Dave Bampton was replaced by Peter Folkes in a straight swap and Exeter’s Paul Buckle tried a shot at Bowles from range but the Lambs keeper saved well on 50.
Exeter forced a succession of corners and Bowles produced a top drawer save from Billy Jones on 58 to deny.
The wet conditions didn’t help Redmile who mis-struck a clearance on 59 and the ball screwed onto the upright and out for another corner as the Grecians tried to turn the screw with Tamworth sitting deep and looking for a quick break. The width of the post denied the visitors when Billy Jones shook Bowles’ woodwork on 60 with a fierce freekick from 35 yards and Exeter continued to push forward.
But there was no rest for Tamworth either who worked hard to bring the ball out and create openings. On 70 minutes Heggs connected well with a Scott Stamps freekick from the corner flag but his bullet header powered over the bar from 6 yards.
Exeter substitute Steve Flack hit a deflected effort inches wide of the post on 74 and The Lambs eventually cleared a goal mouth scramble from yet another flag kick shortly after but still managed to come forward in the unusual guise of Adie Smith.
In the final 10 minutes both sides pushed for a winner, sub Danny Davidson , who had replaced Bob Taylor worked hard to supply deserved man of the match Heggs and Exeter had to show resilience at the back on a number of occasions. Tamworth likewise held strong with 9 men behind the ball but were almost caught out on 90 via a Billy Jones freekick that swung past Bowles post.
5 minutes of strength sapping and seemingly endless added time then had to be endured and The Lambs survived a penalty appeal after Storer brought down Buckle which the referee waved away under strong protests.
In a final twist to the game, Peter Folkes retaliated against an apparent push in the back by Flack on the edge of the Lambs area, for which Tamworth won the freekick, with less than a minute to go. And after consulting both of his assistants referee Mr Taylor sent Folkes from the field.
As if to put a stamp on a well earned draw, a huge sigh of relief could be heard amongst the otherwise vociferous Lambs supporters when Challinor tapped the ball into the net in the 99th minute only to see it (thankfully) ruled out for offside.
Heggs, Taylor B (Davidson 79)
Stamps, Neilson, Storer (Jackson 90), Cooper, Roma
Smith, Redmile, Bampton (Folkes 50)
Subs: Reid, Breedon
Challinor, Taylor A (Moxey 80), Gill, Carlisle (Buckle 14)
Jones B, Sawyer, Todd, Woodards (Flack 64)
Subs: Rice, Gaia
Goals: Challinor 1, Cooper 18, Todd 49, Storer 62
Yellow Cards: Neilson 4, Cooper 12, Cooper 45+2, Todd 49, Storer 62, Bowles 88
Red Cards: Cooper 45+2, Folkes 90+6
MOM: Voted by match sponsors - Briers: Carl Heggs