BetVictor Southern Premier Central
Stratford Town 1 (Wilson 6 pen)
Tamworth 3 (Beswick 42 pen 67 pen, Waite 72)
Report by Craig Gibbons
A DRAMATIC evening at the Arden Garages Stadium where three penalties were given and two red cards shown saw Tamworth enjoy a 3-1 victory over Stratford Town, who ended the Southern Premier Central clash with NINE men.
There was plenty of excitement ahead of kick-off as the fixture marked the return of Thomas Baillie, who guided Town to their best ever season last term before resigning in May and taking up the option of becoming Tamworth’s head of senior football soon after.
But it looked as though his return to the Arden Garages Stadium was going to end in disappointment when Lewis Wilson opened the scoring from the penalty spot after seven minutes.
However, Baillie and everyone else in the ground would not have predicted what was going to happen just moments before the half-time interval.
The Lambs were awarded a penalty in the 41st minute when Rhys Hoenes broke clean through on goal before being brought down by Kyle Ambris, who was shown a straight red card by referee Liam Corbett.
Many were confused to see Ambris sent off because it was a case of double jeopardy, but Law 12 of the IFAB Laws of the Game states “where a player commits an offence against an opponent within their own penalty area which denies an opponent an obvious goal-scoring opportunity and the referee awards a penalty kick, the offending player is cautioned if the offence was an attempt to play the ball; in all other circumstances (e.g. holding, pulling, pushing, no possibility to play the ball etc.) the offending player must be sent off”.
Ryan Beswick calmly slotted the ball home to level the scores, but in the melee of retrieving the ball from the net, he was pushed to the ground by goalkeeper Harvey White, with Corbett wasting little time to brandish another red card, leaving Town with just nine men for the remainder of the game.
The Lambs were awarded their second penalty after 67 minutes, with Beswick dispatching from 12 yards once again to put the visitors ahead.
Five minutes later Tyrell Waite sealed the points for the Lambs with a deft finish into the far corner from Dan Creaney’s low cross.
A brave and spirited Town continued to battle away, but ultimately their effort was in vain, with the second red card killing off any chances they had of coming away with a positive result.
One new face amongst the Town squad was substitute Matthew Campbell-Mhlope, who has joined from Kings Langley and had scored for them against the Blues at the Arden Garages Stadium earlier in the campaign.
As for the Lambs, former Town captain and midfielder Jimmy Fry was in the starting line-up as well as defender Aaron Forde, who played during the Carl Adams era.
Creaney, who was on loan at Town from Coalville Town last term, was also among the Tamworth substitutes.
But it was Town who got off to a flying start in front of the 272-strong crowd and had two shots inside the opening minute, with Ravi Shamsi trying to catch Jasbir Singh off his line straight from kick-off before Courtney Richards curled wide moments later.
And then with five minutes on the clock they were given a penalty after Matthew Bower was hauled down in the area during Shamsi’s corner.
The ever-reliable Wilson stepped up to take the spot-kick and duly obliged, sending Lambs keeper Singh the wrong way and passing the ball into the bottom corner with aplomb.
A stunned Lambs eventually settled into their rhythm and registered their first shot on target in the 18th minute, but Gregory Kaziboni’s tame effort from 20 yards out was comfortably saved by White.
And four minutes later it needed a well-timed last-ditch tackle from Dan Vann to prevent Hoenes from levelling the scores.
Town continued to defend resolutely, with Vann yet again keeping the visitors at bay with two crucial tackles on the edge of the area to deny Yafai and Hoenes respectively from restoring parity.
By this point the Lambs were seeing even more of the ball as Town were pegged back deeper and deeper into their own half and just past the half-hour mark a large contingent of the travelling Lambs fans thought their team had drew level.
The lively Waite surged into the box before squaring the ball to Bilal Yafai, whose deflected shot deceivingly hit the side-netting.
However, Town’s resistance was eventually broken in the 41st minute when Hoenes used his electric pace to break through on goal before being brought down by Ambris, with the former Lambs youngster receiving a straight red card for his troubles.
Beswick then coolly dispatched the penalty to level the scores, but the drama did not end there.
As the Tamworth No.4 went to pick the ball out of the net, he was pushed to the ground by White, who was then giving his marching orders to leave Town with just nine men and a mountain to climb to come away with something from the clash.
Bower was left with the duty of donning the gloves and he pulled off a stunning save in the third minute of first-half stoppage time to stop Waite’s thunderous 30-yard strike from flying into the top corner.
The Blues knew that it would be a backs against the walls job for the second half and in a bid to sure-up at the back, Thomas Fishwick was brought in the place of Foday Nabay.
And the Lambs signalled their intent to go for the jugular from the off, with Kaziboni seeing his tame shot in the 52nd minute spilled by Bower, who reacted quick enough to block the follow up from Hoenes.
Given Town’s situation, they knew they would have to take any chances that came, with only a deflection preventing Ross Oulton from restoring parity just before the hour mark, with Nabil Shariff guiding an effort wide from the ensuing corner.
And moments later a stunning piece of improvisation from Shamsi nearly gave Town what would have been a surprise lead.
Picking up the ball on the left-hand touchline, before taking one look up at goal and launching a huge effort from all of 40 yards which landed on the roof of the net, much to the relief of Lambs keeper Singh.
The Lambs kept pushing for the all-important second goal and they were given the prime opportunity to do so with 23 minutes later when Waite was hacked down in the area, with Corbett pointing to the spot once again with little hesitation.
Beswick once again had the responsibility from 12 yards out and just like in the first half, he found the bottom corner with aplomb, despite the best efforts of Bower who had dived the right way.
The Lambs then put the game to bed five minutes, with former Town man Creaney coming off the bench and supplying Waite, who glanced the ball into the far corner to bag his sixth goal of the season.
TOWN: Harvey White, Kyle Ambris, Daniel Vann, Courtney Richards, Matthew Bower, Ross Oulton (Chris Wreh 76), Lewis Wilson, Foday Nabay (Thomas Fishwick 46), Nabil Shariff, Ravi Shamsi, Kairo Edwards-John (Joe Curtis 63). Unused subs: Matthew Campbell-Mhlope, Charley O’Keefe.
LAMBS: Jasbir Singh, Aaron Forde, Henri Wilder, Ryan Beswick (Rashaan France 76), Joseph Magunda, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Gregory Kaziboni (Jordan Clement 76), James Fry (Dan Creaney 68), Tyrell Waite, Bilal Yafai, Rhys Hoenes. Unused subs: Dilano Reid, Ahmed Obeng.