Alvechurch FC v Tamworth FC
Twenty seven seasons after The Lambs last visited Lye Meadow, The Lambs arrived in 15th position to take on the 7th placed home side and Tamworth boss Dennis Greene made three changes to the side that came back for a Boxing Day point at Rushall Olympic.
Gregg Smith partnered Michael Taylor up front while Aman Verma continued in midfield along with Rhys Sharpe at left back.
Tamworth got the game underway in the afternoon sunshine but the home side had the first chance with Singh tipping over Landell’s header from Chiltern’s clever ball into the box from the right channel on 4.
The Lambs defended well enough to ride the opening attacks from the home side and pushed forwards on the 10th minute mark, forcing a corner on the left which Lait fired into the area and the in-rushing Kettle couldn’t get a decisive touch on it. Landell struck a low shot wide of the left hand upright on 12 after Gough had been robbed of possession.
Tamworth forced a second flagkick of the game on the right on 21 and Lait took it but it went long to Landell and Alvechurch were not troubled.
In fact Alvechurch broke down the left and crossed for Landell to strike on target from the right which Singh blocked.
The ball then fell for Nabi to try his luck from distance and he cleared the crossbar with some ease. At the other end Lait spotted Crane off his line and went for an audacious lob from 25 yards which went high and wide. Sharpe picked up a booking on 28 for a trip on Chilton and the same player struck the wall from the freekick.
From a corner a minute later, Carter headed high over the target from the back of the box. Magunda had to leave the field on 30 after discussion with the physio and was replaced soon after by Waite but before he could take to the field Landell curled a shot from the left wide of the far post.
A low cross from the left from Chilton on 35 was almost finished by Landell sliding in to meet it but he couldn’t direct it past Singh from 8 yards and then Bellis struck a half volley into the ground and it bounced past the far post and out. Inside the final five minutes of the first half The Lambs forced a corner on the left which was powerfully headed away as was another on 44 but it came back in for Verma to take a shot and it took a deflection but Crane pushed it away.
Three minutes added time was shown at the end of the half and a foul on Smith midway into the Alvechurch half set up Gough with the deadball but it was cleared and made it’s way back to Singh.
HT: ALVECHURCH 0 0 TAMWORTH
Alvechurch got the game back underway and Tamworth had the first chance, with Lait running through into the left of the box on 49 but he lifted his shot over the keeper and the target too.
A foul by Landell on Green set up a freekick on the right wing on 51 and Verma’s 1-2 with Smith found Kettle at the near post but he was unable to turn his shot and found the side netting.
Maphosa was booked for a challenge on 52 and The Lambs pushed upfield and forced a corner which came back out to Waite but his shot rose over the crossbar.
On 60, Taylor ran onto a ball into over the last man and into the box and stabbed it past Crane but was unable to get it inside the far post with Smith rushing in.
A strong run from Ezewele out of the right of midfield set up March on the right of the box on 64 and he smashed his shot right footed a few inches wide of the right hand upright. The same player forced a corner off his low shot on the right on 67 and Lloyd struck the far post with a snap shot.
In the next move the Lambs took the lead when Smith headed home Lait’s left wing cross from 6 yards out (1-0, 68 mins)
From the restart Alvechurch struck the woodwork again this time Chilton’s shot took a deflection and went onto the bar before being cleared.
Turton brought down Lait as he tried to sprint past down the left wing on 73 and the leading striker added one more to his tally direct from the deadball into the far corner (2-0, 73 mins)
A poor throw by Crane allowed Taylor to rob the ball and play in Waite on 78 but he was too far out to lob it home and his shot was blocked for a corner on the right.
From the flagkick Green glanced a powerful header towards the far post and Taylor was on hand to rifle it home (3-0, 78 mins)
Former Lamb Dunkley came on for the final ten minutes and immediately took the front man role between Jemson and Kettle in defence.
Kettle was booked on 84 for a challenge on Dunkley but the freekick was booted away by Maphosa and after haw replaced Lait, Singh took the brunt of a challenge after Kettle and Dunkley went toe to toe into the area.
Smith took the goalkeeper shirt while a stretcher came on for Singh and he was lifted on before being wheeled off the field.
Play restarted with the clock on 96 with a hefty kick upfield from Smith and although down to ten men for the final 5 minutes Alvechurch failed to trouble the makeshift custodian.
A freekick conceded by Green on 101 was cleared and play continued.
Alvechurch won a corner on 106 which was met by Turnton at the far post and put behind before the final whistle blew after 107 minutes and the final three points of the year.
Singh, Green K, Sharpe (Jemson 59), Magunda (Waite 33), Kettle (c), Gough, Maphosa, Verma, Smith G, Taylor, Lait (Shaw 86)
Subs: Concannon, Potts
YC: Sharpe 28, Maphosa 52, Shaw 103
Crane, Ezewele, Foster, Nabi (Turton 63), Morrison, Carter (c.), Belis (Botfield 74), March, Lloyd (Dunkley 80), Landell, Chilton
Subs: Cook, Evans
YC: Turton 73
Referee: Mr. G. Rollason