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Will Tamworth keep their hold on the Southern Central title

Thursday Feb 20, 2020

 So far, the 2019-20 season has been a vast improvement on last season’s disappointing campaign, and as the leading contenders in the Southern Premier Central head into the final third of the season, the Lambs find themselves in an ideal situation. 

 At the time of writing, Smith and Danylyszyn’s side are two points clear at the top of the table, with two games in hand on their closest rivals Bromsgrove, and 10 points above sixth-placed AFC Rushden and Diamonds. A play-off spot seems to be all but assured for the Lambs, but they have their sights set much higher as the business end of the campaign gets underway.

 It hasn’t all been plain sailing so far this season, and Tamworth fans have endured a rollercoaster ride at times. Tamworth only won two of their first five, before embarking on a seven-game winning streak in all competitions, including four league victories, that took them right into contention.

 They finally hit top spot at the start of November with a victory over Rushall, and by the time they picked up an impressive 1-0 away win against Banbury a month later, they had established a healthy six-point lead over their rivals, with games in hand.

 But hitting the top of the table can bring its own problems, and three consecutive league defeats in the middle of January raised questions about whether the pressure of being the frontrunners had got to the players. In what could serve as a reminder for the rest of the season, that six-point lead evaporated quickly and Tamworth slipped out of the top spot.

 Fortunately, they turned things around, putting together a four-game winning streak in the League that saw them beat promotion rivals Royston, along with Hitchen, Alvechurch and Redditch, to regain their place at the summit. But can they stay there?

 It has been a long time since Tamworth were involved in a serious promotion battle. In fact, when they topped the table in November, that marked the first time they had led in any league since the 2009/10 season. This is not a team that has been used to success and as the pressure mounts over the closing weeks of the season, they will be tested as they have never been tested before. If you’re planning a wager on the Premier Central title, and once you find the best sports betting site on SuperLenny, their inexperience might just cause you to bet against the Lambs.

 But it would be a mistake to underestimate the resilience of this team. As well as producing an organised and effective football unit, Smith and Danylyszyn have instilled belief in the players, and they have displayed considerable tenacity. They have shown repeatedly that they have the ability to bounce back from a bad run, and that ability will be incredibly valuable in the closing weeks.

 Tamworth’s title chances will also be boosted by their recruitment drive. Not content to rest on their laurels, the club have strengthened their ranks. In particular, the signing of the versatile Ben Hart, who can play at full back or centre half, will add depth and solidity to their back line.

 The way in which fringe players and newcomers have stepped up when given their chance to impress has been particularly encouraging. This was perfectly illustrated by the 2-0 victory against Redditch, which saw four key players missing and a much-reshuffled Lambs lineup, but those who came in took little time to adjust and the win was secured thanks to goals from Luke Little and Liam Hearn, who each scored for the first time in a Tamworth shirt.

 Another factor that may be in Tamworth’s favour is the fixture list. The run-in to the season will see them play two away games in their last three, but they are not scheduled to meet any of the current top five in the closing weeks of the campaign. Crucially, they won’t have to play any of their three closest rivals, Bromsgrove, Peterborough or Royston, having already played them all twice.

 The fans, too, will play their part. The Lambs’ faithful have shown unwavering support to the players and the management team, and the sense of excitement that has been generated by this season’s successes has been palpable. With Tamworth fans cheering them on, there is every chance that the Lambs can hold on to top spot and gain the promotion they deserve.  

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