Wright-stuff from the Lambs nets the victory
31 March 2009In what fans of both sides were calling ‘The Big One’ Tamworth, in second place only by virtue of an inferior goal difference to Gateshead and with two games in hand, travelled to Southport – six points behind, but with two games in hand over The Lambs.
Gary Mills’ side knew that a victory at Haig Av. would give them a tremendous advantage going into the final six games of the season and Mills selected the same eleven plus five that had beaten Fleetwood on Saturday.
After the pre-match huddle, Tamworth got the game underway, kicking away from the massed Lambs fans in the away end of the ground and immediately took the game to their hosts but there was little to separate the two early on.
It took four minutes for play to move away from the right to reach the left wing, and when Southport cleared long, Wylde pushed the ball back to Alcock and his kick fell kindly for Daly, but he was too far out and with too few options to do anything.
Alcock collected a header into the box with Wylde covering under pressure on 6
A Sandgrounders freekick from inside their own half on 8 was headed away by Smith on 8
Pritchard stole the ball on the left wing on 9 and sprinted towards goal but his shot from an ever decreasing angle was deflected out for a corner and from it McMillan rose highest to halt proceedings.
Blackwood jinked on the edge of the area but saw his shot blocked by the home defence on 13 and Dudley’s low through ball from the half way line was missed by absolutely everyone, on both sides, on 14 before McMillan gathered easily
Smith’s searching long ball into the area saw Blackwood caught just offside as he bore down on it on 16 and at the other end Kilheeney blazed over the bar, when a shot on target looked the likely outcome from his first time right footed volley just outside the area.
Southport ventured forward on 21 and won a throw by the left hand corner which Wylde headed then booted clear and Alcock caught the return ball in with ease.
A foul throw for encroachment into the opposition half by Southport gave The Lambs the advantage on 23 but it was wasted and Port tried again but lost possession on the half way line.
A neat passing move came to nothing on 25 when Sheldon’s final ball failed to reach Pritchard after a string of one touches and headers looked to be having the desired effect but were cut out on the edge of the area.
Sheldon’s long throw and subsequent ball back into the box on 28 was taken by McMillan and Alcock had to be sure of his take of the ball, challenging and flooring Booth in the process of going for the 50/50 ball from a right wing cross.
Wylde got his head to the ball before Kilheeney from a long ball out of the home midfield and Dudley cleared upfield but Southport pushed on again and McGinn launched long into the box on 31only for Daly to head behind for a goal kick well in front of the near post.
Then The Lambs took the lead when Wright headed home. The ball was played forward and the bounce fooled the last defenders so Wright stole in behind the last one and nodded it over the advancing McMillan and into the net (1-0, 34 mins)
Wright let Sheldon go with a long ball over the top of the defence on 38 and he got a shot away but it went wide of the far post and didn’t trouble McMillan but Southport came forward again with a couple of long throws, the second of which won a corner on the right on 39 but Wright cleared and forced Southport to regroup.
The came forward again, but Pritchard’s launched pass to Sheldon was cut out by Davis who could only put the ball out for a throw and a foul on Pritchard won a freekick on the left corner of the area on 41. Blackwood sent it long but Southport cleared for a throw on the other side when Flynn got to it first at the back post ahead of Sheldon.
Two minutes of added time were shown as the home side won a corner on the right which Davis hooked towards goal and Kilheeney, which his back facing the far post, missed completely
And Wylde was forced to concede another corner before the whistle blew, again on the right, which whizzed across the face of goal untouched and out past the far post.
The Sandgrounders got the second half underway, with both sides playing towards their fans, and hit the ball out for a Lambs goalkick straight from the whistle.Booth put the ball into the area from the right on 78 but Kilheeney’s attempted shot with his back to goal didn’t come off and Tamworth cleared.
The pace of the game showed no signs of letting up as the half got underway and on 50 Tamworth won a freekick in the centre circle. It was poorly taken and Southport pushed down field by virtue of two throw ins.Sherdian headed the ball clear and Alock was forced to punch the return ball away from danger, but Southport tried again and this time Davis headed goalward and Alcock caught the ball calmly but firmly.
Gary Mills paced up and down his area as Southport’s McGinn put another long throw into the area but then fluffed the return ball and Blackwood received the ball at his feet in the area but saw it nipped off his toes by Davis for a corner on 54. The flag kick was headed clear and Foster looked for Sheldon with his chip over the defence but it was too strong.
Lee denied Pritchard a close range header with a brave clearance on 56 from Wright’s right wing centre and some Lambs pressure saw Pritchard then Sheldon think about but not manage a shot at goal as the home defence quickly blocked their paths.
Wylde denied Kilheeney a shooting chance at the other end on 59 with a header, bending backwards and Southport had the ball in the net on the hour, but play had already been halted for an earlier offside
Southport made a double substitution on 61 as Tamworth continued to moved the ball around well and started to look a little dangerous on the break but with half an hour to go there was plenty of football still to come.
Wylde nodded a very high long ball away from Daly on 65, cleared the long throw with another powerful header but then hit the deck under a challenge when the ball came back in yet again and play stopped as he received treatment and a change of shirt (to no. 22) before the freekick could take place.
Wylde was then penalised for a push in the back of Daly on 68 giving Southport a freekick 35 yards out slightly to the right of centre which Prince took left footed straight at Alcock and the danger passed.
Tamworth were forced to play with 10 men which Wylde received further treatment for his bloody nose which had to receive approval from the referee before play could continue.
Sheldon was unable to put the loose ball across the box into the net on 71 which got the slightest touch from the Southport defence to divert it away from his quick run into the back of the area.
The Lambs made their first sub with 15 to go as Blackwood made way for Ricketts.
Wright was forced to hoof the ball out of danger for a Southport corner on the left with 10 to go and when Prince went round one defender and fell after the second challenge the referee waved play on to the dismay of the home faithful.
Alcock punched a dangerous high ball clear as Southport continued to press and Prince received a booking as Tamworth tried to slow the game down a little without ‘wasting time’.
Inside the last five and Dudley worked hard to get rid of the ball when the ball fell to sub Mitchley inside the area and a tame shot on target was taken easily by Alcock on 89.
Five minutes added time was shown and Kilheeney was denied a penalty as the ball got stuck between players legs in the area and a ball to the near post was dog out of danger as Southport pressed even harder.
Wright missed a glorious chance to wrap things up in the 93rd minute when Lyttle sent the ball down the right for Ricketts to chase and he played it across the path of Wright coming into the box but his shot was high and the seconds ticked down..
Southport launched long inside the final minute only for Sheldon to nip in a run it the opposite way but Southport pushed forward again. Lyttle who had been booked for wasting time taking a throw in headed clear and the referee looked at his watch and blew his whistle on three excellent points.
Alcock, Lyttle, Dudley, Smith, Wylde, Foster, Wright, Sheridan, Sheldon, Blackwood (Ricketts 75), Pritchard
Subs: Shaw, Birley, Tait, Nicholson
McMillan, Lee, Lever (Prince 61), Flynn, Davis (Gray 61), Moogan, Booth, Winn, Daly (Mitchley 84), Kilheeney, McGinn
Subs: Powell, Atkins
Man of the Match: the whole team!!!
Referee: Mr. Peter Davies