Tamworth FC v Stratford Town
Following the 2-1 reversal to Needham Market in midweek, The Lambs welcomed Stratford Town to the CR MOT Centre Community Stadium looking to avenge the 2-1 reversal suffered at Knight’s Lane in early December.
Dennis Greene had acquired the services of Stratford’s Michael Taylor in mid December and moved swiftly to bring in former teammate Claudio Dias into the squad in midweek, but still had difficultly filling the teamsheet, as Tyrell Waite and Charlie Jemson’s suspensions didn’t aid with consistent team selection. But with the help of the U21 squad it was not an insurmountable task as Kyle Hayden came into the starting eleven late, when Lait was ruled out.
For the visitors, former Lambs Nabil Shariff and Dan Preston featured on the team sheet.
The visitors got the game underway with Tamworth attacking the Meadow Street End in the first half. With Smith at centre back for the second Saturday on the spin, The Lambs had an old head and youthful talent up front in Taylor and Hayden looking for openings in the early exchanges.
Clement had the first real opening on 8 and got a shot away from the edge of the D, but it whistled past the right hand post by a few inches.
A foul by Fisher on Magunda earned the Stratford man a talking to on 13 when the shed clearly thought it deserved a booking.
On 23 Smith got up for a deep freekick into the area and looped his header just wide of the mark as chances came at a premium.
Fisher clattered Hayden on 32 as he prodded the ball through and did pick up a booking this time around.
A strong run down the left by Gough on 35 ultimately came to nothing when his cut back was cut out and the visitors broke a forced Smith to head behind for a corner.
While Simpson received treatment for a knock on 40, both sets of players took a drinks and tactics break before restarting play.
A foul on Taylor in the left channel in added time set up the Lambs with a chance to put pressure on before the break and Concannon sent the deadball into the box but Verma’s header skipped well wide of the mark shortly before the half time whistle blew.
HT: TAMWORTH 0 0 STRATFORD TOWN
After Stratford had made a half time change with Preston taking the field, tamworth restarted proceedings but the visitors took the lead on 49 when Carvalho picked up the ball in the left of the area turned Smith and fired low into the far corner past Simpson (0-1, 49 mins)
Stratford captain Fry upended Taylor on 53 and the freekick fell to Green who turned on it under pressure but rifled his shot a few feet high and wide of the target.
On 63 Shariff was played through and pulled the ball across the box for K. Williams but he screwed his shot past the far post from the right of the area.
Dias came on for his debut replacing Hayden on 68 and tried a shot from 25 yards on 74 but it failed to trouble Sarkic, who had been a spectator for most of the game.
Shariff got the better of Smith in the box on 75 but Simpson did well to parry his shot and smother the loose ball. Stratford forced a corner on the right on 78 and Tamworth broke forwards.
First Taylor forced Sarkic to head the ball clear and then Dias got a header on target from the resulting cross from the left but it was never going to beat the keeper who welcomed it into his grasp.
Fry was booked for a challenge midway into the Stratford half on 89 and Concannon’s chipped ball was headed behind for a corner on the right which was cleared.
Smith picked up a yellow for a late challenge in added time and Isaac was booked for diving shortly afterwards.
Taylor got onto the end of a Verma ball from the right of the box on 93 but couldn’t get it on target and the final whistle blew on third consecutive defeat.
Simpson, Shaw (Mpofu 82), Gough, Clement, Magunda, Green K., Concannon, Verma (c.), Smith, Taylor, Hayden (Dias 68)
Subs: James, Jeynes, Walton
YC: Smith 90
Stratford Town Team:
Sarkic, Wilson, Fisher (Preston HT), Fry (c.), McAteer, Williams J, Williams K (Summerfield 70), Isaac, Shariff, Grocott, Carvalho (Ellis 86)
Subs: Etheridge, Oulton
YC: Fisher 32, Fry 89, Isaac 90
Man of the Match: SPIN chose Gregg Smith
Referee: Mr. S. Kane