Villains steal it with late winner
04 August 2011
With just 180 match minutes to go until the season kicked off (in 9 days time) Marcus Law fielded what could be described as a possible first XI against a youthful Villa side.
But The Lambs bench and those player that were not sat on it stand such as Tait, Barrow, Christie and Cain were all as equally capable of appearing in the starting eleven and in his programme notes, Law expressed how excited he was about his squad which numbered nearly 30 all told.
No doubt he would no doubt have a number of selection headaches in the next week or so.
Villa kicked off the match towards the away end but a second minute header from St. Aimee off Gudger's cross was the first action and went wide of the far post.
Francino Francis powered a header on goal from a corner on 4 and Marshall was equal to it.
Villains boss for the evening Kevin MacDonald looked on as Lichaj won a corner for the visitors, but the ball quickly went to the other end and keeper Marshall left his area but was saved by his defender.
Then, captain for the night and ex-Villa player Bradley unleashed a powerful low right footed drive into the bottom left hand corner to give Tamworth the lead. (1-0, 10 mins)
Scores were level on 16 when the ball made it's way through the area from the right and Johnson rifled home at the far post with Collister unable to do anything to protect his goal. (1-1, 16 mins)
A good ball from the left by Lichaj was met by the head of Gardner around the 20 minute mark but Collister was more than equal to it.
On the half hour, Lichaj found space on the left against Reynolds, and set up Carruthers with a shot he curled over the bar from 8 yards and on 34 Gardner for a chance from a dead ball 15 yards out clearing the bar by just a couple of feet with his curling freekick.
Carruthers lifted a shot over the bar from a quick ball in from the right from Taylor on 36 and in the next move Shariff saw his long range effort lift over the bar.
A good spell of pressure from The Lambs ended on 39 with a low shot from St Aimee and on 44 Shariff picked up a stray pass outside the area but was unable to curl his shot the right side of the left hand post in the last action of the half.
The Lambs started the protecting the Castle End and Law made one change at right back.
Gardner drifted a right footed shot wide of the left hand post on 50 from a central position and five minutes later the same player drove a fine shot against the top of the woodwork and out of play from fully 25 yards.
Both managers made changes around the hour mark, and on 66 sub De La Cruz flashed a shot wide of the post via a deflection to win a corner and some neat play brought Carruthers into the game on 68 but he shot wide tamely from 18 yards.
Johnson, the goalscorer, almost doubled his tally on 70 but found the woodwork in the way of The Villains again as his powerful shot from the left of the box came back out to Gardner who put the rebound chance over.
Some good floor play from the home side produced a half chance for Shariff on 73 but he was unable to get purchase on his shot and Marshall collected easily.
Then with 10 to go Bradley tried his luck with a similar right footed strike from distance, but it rose over the target and Shariff burst through the Villa defence riding tackles on the way, but the ref spotted an infringement and gave The Lambs a freekick for his efforts and Thomas curled the ball just over the bar.
Two minutes added time was shown at the end of the match, and Bradley tried an audacious lob from 35 yards with Marshall off his line and it floated agonisingly wide of the mark but it was left to Burke to score at the other end after getting the better of lone defender Francino Francis to cut past and rifle home from close range. (1-2, 90+)
A chance did fall The Lambs way as the seconds ticked into the fourth added minute but there was no late equaliser forthcoming.
Collister, Reynolds (Bottimer HT), Habergham (Patterson 58), Bradley, Francis F, Francis L, Shariff, McDonald, Mills, St. Aimee (Thomas 58), Gudger
Subs: Hedge, Kanyuka
Aston Villa Team:
Marshall, Lichaj (Darkin 59), Nelson-Addy (Webb 87), Hogg (Cameron 59), Bryan (Bonacienne 82), Williams, Carruthers (Caira 84), Gardner (Barton 71), Taylor (De La Cruz 59), Burke, Johnson
Man of the Match: Chosen by Computer Friendly: Connor Gudger
Referee: Mr. S. J. Bratt