Stratford Town v Tamworth FC
After Saturday’s 1-0 win over Halesowen, The Lambs travelled to Knight’s Lane to take on Stratford Town on their own turf for the first time since The Lambs recorded a 3-2 Birmingham Senior Cup victory back in November 2008.
Town, ahead of the Lambs in the table and with games in hand came into the match with one eye on their FA Trophy tie against Flyde on Saturday.
Tamworth kicked off proceedings and Johnson hit a low shot from range inside the first minute which Etheridge smothered.
The Lambs kept the pressure on and forced a corner on the right in the third minute.
Both sides worked hard to get he ball down and forward quickly, but it wasn’t until the tenth minute that Smith met a ball from the right from Waite and directed his shot wide of the near post.
Town forced a corner on 19 which Green headed away from the Singh’s near post and Grocutt’s shot from the right wing on 20 was launched into orbit after Jemson had been unable to clear the danger.
Oulton upended Jonson on 21 on the edge of the D, setting up Verma but his strike went straight back to the keeper.
The home side took the lead on 25 though, when a low shot from the right wing into a crowded box was deflected towards and inside the far post by Richards (0-1, 25 mins)
A corner from Verma caused problems for the Town defence on 28 but play was halted when Lilly hooked into back towards the keeper and Smith was adjudged to have infringed on Etheridge’s efforts to gather it.
A ball across the Lambs back line from Cox on the right wing caused problems on the half hour.
Isaac put a poor challenge from behind on Waite on the Lambs right wing and was show a straight red card for his efforts on 34 leaving his side a man down for the remainder of the game.
From the freekick Clement work his way along the touch line from the right and cut it into the box. Smith missed his shot but Lilly made no mistake with a rasping finish into the back of the net from 8 yards out (1-1, 36 mins)
On 40, Grocutt’s shot from the right forced Singh to parry the ball and it looked like Wilson was going to mop it up but under pressure from Green he lifted his shot over the target when it seemed easier to score.
Johnson pounced on the loose ball on the edge of the area on 44 and forced Etheridge to parry then smother the chance as play continued.
Gough needed treatment in added time but walked from the field and then Gregg picked up a booking for a late challenge on Fry, shortly before the whistle blew.
HT: STRATFORD TOWN 1 1 TAMWORTH
Stratford replaced a defender with their leading striker Taylor at HT and when the ball went through to the edge of the area Singh came rushing out to try and prevent Taylor from latching onto it, the ball went yards wide of the box, the keeper clashed with the player and Singh received a yellow card.
Green lost out to Westwood on 49 but his shot was wayward and the same payer forced a corner from a similar position on 54, shortly after Sharpe had replaced Gough at left back.
Taylor forced his way through into the box and forced Singh to parry the ball, and Maphosa all but crawled on his hands and knees to clear the danger to the protests of the home faithful who expected a penalty for obstruction.
Oulton received a retrospective booking for his protestations and then Lilly deflected the ball behind for a corner on the left again. Lait replaced Smith with 30 to play and Stratford forced another flag kick, this time on the right and after a burst of speed on the wing the ball into the far post.
But then, on 65 the home side regained the lead. A freekick on the left wing was played high into the box and Cox glanced his header past the dive of Singh and inside the far post (1-2, 65 mins)
A long throw from Sharpe forced Etheridge to leap and try and catch it at height but he could only get his fingertips to it and luckily had a defender on hand to clear the danger.
Taylor threw himself at a cross whipped in from the right by Carvalho on 75 but missed it by inches and Johnson’s run¬ onto a through ball just failed to beat the offside by a similar margin on 76.
The Lambs were awarded a couple of dangerously positioned freekick as the game entered the final ten minutes but nothing came of them, much to the delight of the home crowd.
Lilly put a well timed tackle in to deny the run of Taylor in the box on 73 but it did nothing to diminish Town’s push for a third goal and it was only when a shot from the right went high and wide did it allow The Lambs defence some respite.
Taylor threaded the ball through to Carvalho on 85 and Singh blocked his shot from the left of the six yard box with his legs. At the other end a cross from the right was headed diagonally and powerfully over the target on 86.
Three minutes added time were shown at the end of the game and the final whistle on three points for the home side and jubilation from the home fans.
Singh, Green K. Gough (Sharpe 52), Maphosa (Parkhouse 79), Lilly, Jemson, Waite, Verma, Smith (Lait 59), Johnson, Clement
Subs: Kettle, Potts
YC: Gregg 45, Singh 48
Stratford Town Team:
Etheridge, Cox, Isaac, Fry (c.), McAteer (Taylor HT), Williams, Richards (Westwood 37), Oulton, Wilson, Grocutt, Carvalho
Subs: Dias, Fishwick, Olukanmi
YC: Oulton 56
RC: Isaac 34
Referee: Mr. R. Walker