After the Boxing Day defeat away to Nuneaton Borough heralded off the field changes for The Lambs, the postponed New Years Day game would have seen The Pitmen at The CR MOT Community Stadium, but the largely partisan home crowd were now looking for a response to the run of poor form and a positive start to 2022 with the visit of Royston Town.
So, the management duo of Gary Smith and Thomas Baillie’s first game was against the 7th placed Crows, who had defeated the 14th placed Lambs on the opening day, 3-0 at Garden Walk.
Eleven points separated the two sides before kick off with Tamworth on 25 from 20 games, having five games in hand over the visitors, although there was now a massive gap to the top of the table as Banbury sat 27 points ahead of Royston in top spot, with The Lambs next two opponents Coalville 16 points behind The Puritans on 50 and Peterborough Sports just behind The Ravens as postponements ravaged the league calendar once again.
There were three changes to the side that ran out at Liberty Way on Boxing Day with Ben Hart and, Jordan Clement and Nyal Bell coming into the side as The Lambs got the game underway attacking the Meadow Street End in the first half.
Bell was brought down by Murray on the left of the area on 4 so Walters lined up the deadball and struck the outside of the near post with his freekick.
Walters hit a long range angled effort from the left on 9 and forced Kyriatzis into a low stop and Concannon’s right footed strike from the other side on 11 curled high and wide of the right hand post.
More good movement through the side from back to front ended on 12 with a low Concannon cross which tested the keeper’s positioning at his near post.
A 50/50 challenge on the edge Newman and Hart on 17 left the Tamworth man needing treatment on the field and help from both team’s physios to leave the field, bringing Thomas in after 19 and it was later learned Hart had a double break in his ankle.
The resulting freekick went Roystons way and Brighton struck it into the wall but The Lambs were forced to defend strongly to clear the danger in a couple of waves of attacking football.
A handball by Thomas on the left set up Brighton with the freekick and Murray headed wide of the far post with a downward effort in the middle of a crowded box.
Newman was also unable to continue and so was replaced on 27 as impending winter darkness required the floodlights to light up The Lamb.
Walters, with the ball at his feet and with a half opportunity to get a shot away, was caught just off side on 32 and when Yafai caught Titchmarsh on 35 Royston were handed a deadball which Brighton lined up once again.
The ball floated into the area and Bateman got his head onto it but looped it over the bar as well as Singh.
Some last ditch tackles
Concannon slotted the ball home under Kyriatzis on 41 after some great passing out of midfield but the linesman’s flag denied him in what was a tight call against the Lambs number 7.
And he turned provider on 44 lifting the ball into the box from the left after beating his man, for Yafai to glance home a header inside the far post and lift the roof on The Lamb (1-0, 44 mins)
Brighton was booked for his challenge on Clement on the right wing on 45 but the resulting freekick was cleared and Tamworth were forced to defend a corner until the end of the two minutes added time and the half time whistle blew.
Royston got the game back underway and were quickly awarded a freekick on the left against Thomas which Forde cleared with a hefty boot and a hefty finish at the other end gave the visiting keeper no chance on 52 when Kidderminster loanee Bell received the ball a few yards out and smashed home a right footed finish on his Lambs debut to double the advantage (2-0, 52 mins)
Yafai was then set up by Bell and his right footed low strike seemed to be sneaking in the base of the left hand post but Kyriatzis got down to it to prevent a Lambs third and Singh pulled off a fine save at the other end to push the goalbound effort of Adams away from danger on the hour.
Some magic spray was required to assist Forde on 62, and when Bell was tripped Concannon lined up the deadball from the left wing but Bateman cleared and Royston advanced in the Lambs penalty area until Titchmarsh upended Wilder and earned himself a booking.
Adams unleashed a shot from distance on the turn on 70 and although it was probably going out, Singh tipped it further around the post with a flying dive and the corner was dealt with by Wilder but a deflection off Forde gave the visitors another which Cox roe highest to head away.
Tamworth raced to the other end and Concannon’s ball from the right went through to Yafai who wrong footed his marker but found the covering defender in the way and the resulting corner from Walters was struck by Clement at the Crows keeper.
More good work from Walters and Concannon on 73 resulted in another corner on the left by the clubhouse which the former took and Pendley nearly notched a rare goal but his header was cleared off the line.
Bell made way for Creaney on 74 but it was Concannon who nearly bagged a third goal after he was released with the ball down the right channel and struck right footed but found the keeper in no mood to be beaten
Mensha was booked for a foul on Creaney in the build up and then Yafai was booked for a foul on the halfway line
Singh prevented a close range header from Murray with a reflex save and Creaney helped clear the danger from the corner, then nearly headed home at the other end from a Concannon freekick on the left but his effort went wide and the flag went up anyway.
Thomas forged to the by-line on 84 and chipped towards the far post forcing the Royston defence to concede the flagkick and Walters nearly found Creaney but it was headed away before he could get to it.
Clement made way for Lissimore for the final few minutes and a deep freekick from the left wing nearly found Creaney, but skipped out for a goalkick as The Lambs continued to push forwards.
Concannon made space down the right on 89 and rifled a shot diagonally past Kyriatzis and the far post and Yafai let fly from 30 yards but couldn’t test the keeper.
Four minutes added time was shown and Walters was brought down in front of the shed by Newton who was booked for his efforts before the final whistle blew on the Lambs first league win since away at Barwell on 6th November.
Singh, Hart (Thomas 19), Wilder, Forde, Pendley, Cox, Concannon, Clement (Lissimore 86), Bell (Creaney 74), Yafai, Walters5
Subs: Kinina, Shaw
YC: Yafai 78
Kyriatzis, Garrett-Douglas (Henry 59), Brighton, Newton, Mensah, Murray (c.), Tichmarsh (Brathwaite 74), Galliford, Adams, Bateman, Newman (Gouldbourne 27)
Subs: Welch, Tigwell
YC: Brighton 45, Titchmarsh 64, Mensah 77, Newton 90
Referee: Mr. N. Pratt
MOM: Chosen by Josh Green – Dexter Walters