Andy Morrell was faced with selection problems ahead of kick off against Oxford City as Daniels, Vidal and Jackson found themselves caught up in traffic holdups following an incident on the way to The Lamb and so had to be named on the bench and arrived 15 minutes before kick off. Sean Wilkins slotted into right back, while Leon Mettam – returning after a spell at Kings Lynn where he netted four times in five appearances. The visitors, making their debut appearance at The Lamb, arrived with former Lambs striker Adi Yussuf starting having netted the only goal in the return fixture a few weeks previously.
Oxford got the game underway and were in the lead after just 30 seconds when Yussuf buried the ball from just short of 18 yards after Belshaw had punched a right sided cross out, but it set up invitingly for him. (0-1, 30 secs) But The Lambs were level after 220 seconds when Clarke headed home a left sided ball following a corner from Taylor. (1-1, 4 mins) On 11, Henderson put the visitors back in the lead with a looping header from the right of the box that dropped into the far corner under the corner of bar and post almost in slow motion. (1-2, 11 mins) City kept the pressure on when coming forward and it was obvious to see how some of their games had ended massively in their favour, with others the reverse – almost all or nothing. Tamworth, in the meantime, tried not to get frustrated and following a good run from Thornton down the right wing a trip by Santiago set up the Lambs midfielder from the right of the box but it was Santiago who headed it away from danger. As the rain came down in sheets, Hibbert forced a corner on the right on 24 but it was cleared with a heft y boot. Play was disjointed on both sides of the field as the clock showed 10 to go in the first half but if either side could get a decent ball into the box then the crowd were sensing more goals would come. Clarke tried to cut a low ball back on 37 but it was blocked and when it came back in, the same player had two bites of the cherry with a couple of headers but he could get neither on target. Thornton sent a teasing ball into the box from the right hand side on 38 then, from a delicious through ball on 42 Jackson somehow missed the target and left everyone in the ground scratching their heads. A ball from Adams to Taylor on 44 resulted in the latter sending in a cute ball for Mettam at the far post which was cleared off the line. From the corner Sampson got the header away and into the back of the net to level the tie (2-2, 44 mins) but in the play following the restart, after 2 minutes added time was shown, Winters followed up a shot that was not cleared by the Lambs defence and knocked it home under the dive of Belshaw from a few yards out to give his side the lead at the break. (2-3, 45 mins)
HT: Tamworth 23 Oxford City
Vidal replaced James before Tamworth got the second half underway and a long ball nearly fell kindly for Taylor inside the first minute but non first choice Oxford keeper Aksoy came out to gather the bouncing ball. A foul on Vidal by Fofana earned the player a yellow card on 47 and set up Thornton with a freekick in a central position which he lifted left footed to the right of the area and Sampson headed it back into the box for Hibbert or Clarke but it was nicked away before anyone could get to it. Then on 50 the Oxford keeper was sent off for a foul outside the area on Hibbert following a super through ball from Mettam. Benjamin went in goal for the remainder of the game and after a game of rock paper scissors, Mettam struck the freekick, from inside the D, but even Thornton’s follow up strike didn’t make it through past the makeshift striker. Hibbert netted his sixth of the season with a close range strike past Benjamin after a pounced on the loose ball in the right of the area (3-3, 57 mins) A Thornton freekick on the left fell to Adams but his shot was blocked, however the same player floated a cross in from the next move and Mettam headed the chance over the target. Another Thornton deadball from the left was cleared and when play next stopped Taylor made way for Daniels. Sampson headed a cross from Coulson away from danger on 69 and the at the other end on 71 Mettam was bundled off the ball for a corner on the left but neither Sampson or Hibbert could get the ball goalward. Despite appearing to take the ball off his toe, Vidal was penalised for a foul on Fofanu on 76 which set up City’s Coulson with a deadball from just outside the D on 77 which sneaked under the wall to Belshaw. Tamworth broke from this though and Mettam sent the Lamb terracing celebrating by making it 4-3 on 78, latching onto the ball in the right of the area to push it past Banjamin and into the far corner (4-3, 78 mins) City sub Obot forced a save at his near post from Belshaw on 83 and despite his bet effort Santiago’s overhead kick from the play after the corner was well off target. Thornton made way for Trainer for the final few minutes of play which initially saw Obot threaten again and Belshaw react quickly at his near post. Four minutes added time were shown at the end of the game and City pushed forwards but to no avail, and Mettam forced a corner on the right on 93 which was taken short and another one was the result.
Belshaw, Wilkins, Sampson, James (Vidal HT), Smith, Adams, Taylor (Daniels 67), Clarke, HIbbert, Mettam, Thornton (Trainer 86)