Ten Man Town take down Tamworth in epic victory
By Andy Chilton
The unstoppable Blue bandwagon keeps on rolling as the Lambs are silenced!
Match Report by KEVIN HAND, Match Stats by ROD ABRAHAMS, Photographs by GRANTY
Stratford Town v Tamworth Tuesday 11 December, 2018 7.45 pm
THE Arden Garages Stadium, EvoStik Premier Central Division.
Stratford 2 Tamworth 1 (HT 1-1)
Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
This was an evening to set hearts racing and pulses beating in a quite superb evening of football at the Arden Garages Stadium. Simply, one up after 25 minutes, reduced to 10 men nine minutes later and Stratford then producing their best performance of the season to earn a 2-1 victory and in doing so, propelled to 5th place in the EvoStik Premier Division Central. The mood after the game was euphoric.
It is no wonder that after the game Head of Football, Thomas Baillie, was so bullish not just about the evening’s performance but the season ahead and, in particular, the FA trophy and our visit to AFC Fylde on Saturday. This was no mere hubris but a growing confidence in a talented and hard working team with a strong sense of togetherness.
In truth the opening minutes were dull with both sides feeling the other out. Cox, Carvalho and Isaac were showing great pace stretching the strong Tamworth back line. On 21 minutes Oulton conceded a free kick some 25 yards out. Aman Verma’s shot was collected at 2nd attempt by Ross Etheridge.
Four minutes later and Town was ahead. The home side was beginning to press and the corner count was decidedly in their favour. The goal, however, came from open play on 25 minutes, Cox sped down the right, cut inside and his low cross was neatly converted by Shawn Richards. Town now took charge and might have been two up on 31 minutes. There was another rampaging run from Cox with his cross eluding everyone including the perfectly positioned Lewis Wilson.
The game turned topsy turvy on 34 minutes when Isaac was sent off following a flying challenge that referee, Richard Walker, deemed dangerous. From the resulting free kick Zak Lilly was first to the bouncing ball and fired home from close range to level matters.
Kieran Westwood replaced Shawn Richards and was to have an outstanding 60 minutes. On 40 minutes Town nearly went in front again. Cox fed Grocott. Grocott’s fierce shot was fumbled by Jas Singh and Wilson inexplicably fired over from a central position 6 yards out. At the other end Gregg Smith bullied his way through bit Etheridge was equal to the task saving bravely from close range.
Half time saw the rested Mike Taylor join the fray replacing Jamie McAteer, Lewis Wilson dropping into the back four. This change was to prove transformative as Town’s striker ran Tamworth’s back line ragged.
The main drama was immediate. Taylor chased a long ball and as he arrived at the edge of the area goalkeeper, Jas Singh seemed to take the striker out. The referee awarded a foul and a yellow card. The relieved Singh bounced back to his goal very much aware that he might have got away with one. This was to prove an evening of contentious decisions that both bemused and confused. Ten menTown then began to dominate, full of pacey running. On 54 minutes in broken play following a corner Taylor smashed in a shot that was beaten away by Singh. Taylor collected the rebound and seemed to be tripped in the act of shooting. Outraged home fans couldn’t believe it wasn’t a penalty.
As Town continued to dominate Town took the lead on 65 minutes. A Grocott free kick and the outstanding Chris Cox ghosted in at the far post before planting his header firmly home. Town now began to play a fine expansive style of football that stretched and pressed the eleven of Tamworth back. Among many noteworthy moments was Ross Oulton bursting through midfield before releasing Taylor to attack the stretched Tamworth back line. Taylor and Grocott had shots saved and Carvalho went close. Tamworth could muster little.
Man of the Match – Chris Cox
Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Macbeth Act 1 Scene 1
Match Stats by ROD ABRAHAMS
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Saturday 15 December 3.00pm AFC Fylde (A) Buildbase FA Trophy 1st Round Proper
Tuesday 18 December Coalville (H) EvoStik PDC