WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS!!! Nick Wright wins it for Tamworth
21 April 2009Gary Mills Lambs took to the field against Hinckley United with the knowledge that a win would win them promotion and with the championship trophy at the ground waiting in the wings expectation from the fans was high and if all didn’t go ‘according to plan’ the trip to Telford would take on gigantic proportions for players and fans alike.
Mills made one change to the starting eleven that defeated Vauxhall Motors – Bradley Pritchard taking the number eleven shirt with Michael Blackwood taking his place on the bench
Mills took to the field for the pre-match huddle once again before Pritchard and Wright kicked off proceedings but quickly conceded a long throw in on the right which Cartwright almost stole in to prod home at the far post but it was too far away from him and Smith cleared long.
Taylor crossed into the box for Webster inside the second minute and Alcock collected at his feet.
At the other end, Smith’s long ball was gathered by MacKenzie ahead of an incoming Sheldon and Sheldon fed Wright, but MacKenzie was again quick to react and conceded a corner with his feet. Pritchard’s flag kick was flicked out for a throw on the opposite side by the clubhouse and Sheldon headed the ball towards but also past the far post.
Wylde blocked Webster with a telling challenge in the box and on 9 United captain Richard Lavery took out Pritchard by the half way line which left the Lambs player in pain but no booking resulted.
A freekick the other way was awarded on 10 which Hall fired into the box from the left wing and eventually received it back only for Lyttle to steam in and dispossess him.
A hand ball by Gooding 20 yards out on the right of the area set up Pritchard and Smith headed it towards goal only for Webster put it over the bar with a reaction header. The corner came to nothing as MacKenzie punched clear and Hinckley stayed in control until a foul on Wylde halted play.
Wylde sent a long throw from the left wing into the box and Smith’s header was taken over the line for a Lambs corner on 18 which Pritchard took low and was cleared but only as far as Foster before Pritchard deflected the ball out of play from his searching pass.
Wright was denied a headed goal on 19 by the punch of Mackenzie after the ball bounced over the last defender and no one could follow up from outside the area while at the other end Gooding flashed a shot well wide of the right hand post.
A header by Lyttle who stayed put in the area after the rest of his side worked hard down the right looped over the bar on 22.
Half a shout from Hinckley for handball by Wylde in the area was ignored by Mr. Stretton on 25.
On 28 Wright found space at the far post to get a header away from Pritchard’s left sided corner, but cleared the corner of bar and post with his effort and United worked their way to the Lambs final third on the half hour mark, but a foul stopped play again.
Tait flicked on Smith’s long freekick but MacKenzie collected on 33 and Hinckley threatened on the break, but failed to capitalise on a good ball into the area from Taylor.
Persistence from the visitors won them a throw in the top corner by the stewards hut on 37 and although Lyttle cleared the ball as it whipped in Hinckley kept on going and Alcock was forced to drop to smother a ball into the six yard box by Cartwright.
Lyttle conceded a corner on 38 which Hall took short on the left but wasted the chance when he received it back putting it out of play with a massive boot.
A tug won Hinckley a freekick but a foul when the ball entered the area gave Tamworth possession again and they surged forward ending with Sheldon’s right footed strike from the left of the area which curled agonisingly out past the far post with Rodman rushing in on 41.
A head injury to Hall in the centre circle following an innocuous tackle with Foster brought the trainer onto the field for the first time for either side as the first half minutes ticked towards completion and a long kick out of play by United restarted the game.
In the final minute of the half United won another corner on the left which was hit straight into the arms of Alcock and launched long.
No added time was shown at the end of the first half, as MacKenzie hit a long ball forward off the floor only for Smith and the Pritchard and then Lyttle to hook clear. But only as far as Roma before he won a throw by the right corner flag which evaded everyone and Rodman burst forward winning a throw at the opposite end and side of the field.
A foul on Lyttle by Gooding again went unpunished and Pritchard took the freekick on the right wing in what turned out to be the last kick of the half, as Hinckley booted it clear as the whistle blew.
A half time score from Southport of 0-0 was encouraging news, but the final result of the evening was still entirely in the hands of The Lambs in the second half.
Hinckley kicked off the second period towards the Castle End with Tamworth moving ‘uphill’ towards a now packed Meadow St terrace.
A long throw by Roma on the bottom right by the turnstiles came to nothing and Pritchard chased down Cartwright then conceded a throw on the other side and Tamworth were forced to defend for a while as the ball refused to move out of the final third of the pitch.
On 48 a half volley from Wright went a few feet wide of the far post from the right of the area in the next move of the game and brought The Lamb quickly to it’s feet but also qu
ickly back down again as the United keeper would have been well beaten had it gone in.
And on 51 Sheldon won a freekick on the right about 25 yards out which Pritchard floated onto the head of Rodman but he couldn’t get enough power behind it to trouble MacKenzie.
Pritchard got booked for an earlier incident on 55 and three minutes later Ricketts took to the field for the Lambs midfielder switching the formation to put Rodman and Sheldon on the right and left sides of the field respectively with Wright and Ricketts as target men.
Rodman unleashed a shot on the bounce outside the area on 61 but it was always going wide of the mark and Foster won a battling corner on 63 which Rodman took but Sheldon was beaten to it and Lyttle’s cross was cut out for another flag kick.
This time it went long and evaded everyone but Ricketts caused enough mayhem to keep the pressure on with a Sheldon throw which fell to Wylde who hit the corner of bar and post with his shot on the right from 12 yards.
Then, on 65, Wright opened the scoring by robbing the ball off MacKenzie who came out to try and hook a long ball out of the Tamworth defence by Sheldon set him on a mad sprint forward. He touched the ball past the keeper and calmly rolled the ball from a tight angle into the net under a lot of pressure from the Hinckley defence to explode the crowded Lambs terraces like a bottle of fizzy pop! (1-0, 65 mins)
Wright was denied another shot by Lavery on 70 as he tried to burst down the middle of the park and Hinckley won a corner with a Lambs clearance on 71 but it came to nothing.
Lavery won another corner on 74 forcing Alcock to flick the ball behind as it flashed into the box but the Lambs keeper caught the flag kick comfortably as the visitors continued to push forward the best they could.
With the clock now ticking time left into the final ten minutes and Ricketts missed a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 when MacKenzie failed to catch the ball one handed and dropped it at his feet. Unfortunately Ricketts cut back the wrong way and the Hinckley defence cleared the ball quickly.
Six minutes to go and Sheldon looked like he was going to unleash a shot from distance but opted to push the ball past the last defender and was unable to regain possession, but he did force a throw which kept Tamworth at the top of the field and when Ricketts fed Wright and the latter put the ball into the net from close range the Lamb erupted again only to be denied by the offside flag on 86.
Rodman hit a long range angled drive at MacKenzie on 87 and Smith conceded a corner from Gooding as United pushed forward but the tenacity of Wylde stopped Hinckley from getting a foot on the ball and forced both sides to work hard to regain possession.
Wright received the applause he deserved when he was replaced by Sheridan with a minute to go and both sides played on as the board went up to indicate three minutes added time – possibly the longest 180 seconds in the life of Tamworth supporter!
Sheridan shaped to shoot but when his options were cut out he ran the ball to the corner and Sheldon did the same as play entered the final 60 seconds which ran out with no further incident and as the whistle blew the Lambs erupted to celebrate the Championship victory.
Alcock, Lyttle, Dudley, Smith, Wylde, Foster, Wright (Sheridan 89), Tait, Sheldon, Rodman, Pritchard (Ricketts 58)
Subs: Blackwood, McAughtrie, Nicholson
Hinckley United Team:
MacKenzie, Roma, Franklin, Lavery, McIlwain, Giddings, Hall, Gooding, Webster, Taylor, Cartwright
Subs (four only): Lloyd, Hamilton, Warrington, Storer
Match Sponsors: San Giovanni, Ristorante Italiano
Man of the Match: Gary Mills and Darron Gee
Referee: Mr. G. Stretton (Staffs)