BetVictor Southern Premier Central
Tamworth 4 (Waite 24, Obeng 47, Beswick 60, Carta 90)
Stratford Town 1 (Perry 49)
Report by Bryan Hale
A SHOCK result never looked likely on the 3G pitch at The Lamb Ground, as league leaders Tamworth powered to a deserved success.
Town battled hard, but Tamworth’s overall quality was decisive, and the only consolation for Paul Davis’s side was that the four teams below them in the table also failed to pick up a point.
The Blues starting line-up showed three changes from the defeat to Lowestoft Town a fortnight ago.
Karnell Chambers, who has joined from Chippenham Town, replaced Rob Thompson-Brown while another new face in Henry Cowans, who has switched from Telford United, took over from Leam Howards while the returning Kyle McFarlane came in for Kyle Perry.
Chasing a sixth successive win to consolidate their grip on top spot, Tamworth almost went ahead inside the opening minute when Bilal Yafai slid in to connect with Tyrell Waite’s low cross from the right only for Town keeper Rhys Davies to react instinctively and push it behind from point blank range.
Soon after the dangerous Waite wasn‘t far away with a fiercely-struck effort which fizzed narrowly wide and with Tamworth bossing the possession, he followed that up a minute later with another shot which was blocked by Cowans.
In a rare Town foray forward, Chambers sprinted down the right to reach the byline and drive in as low cross which was only parried by Tamworth keeper Jas Singh, with Lathaniel Rowe-Turner in the right place to complete the clearance.
A Kynan Isaac free-kick in the 23rd minute resulted in a Town corner which the Lambs needed a couple of attempts to deal with, but when they did get it away the speedy Ahmed Obeng broke away down the right to whip in a low cross which was met with an emphatic finish by Waite to give the table-toppers a deserved lead.
Another full length Davies save from an Aaron Forde thunderbolt prevented Town from going 2-0 down, with Dan Vann twice doing well to halt dangerous runs down the left by Waite and then Davies making a routine save from Forde as the Lambs continued to pile forward.
Jordan Gough went close with a header from a Ryan Beswick corner five minutes before the break and right on half-time only the woodwork stopped the Lambs doubling their lead when Yafai’s crisp right-footer ricocheted behind off the outside of Davies’s left-hand post.
The reprieve, though, was only to be short-lived as two minutes into the second half the Town defence failed to deal with a bouncing ball in the penalty area which allowed Obeng to fire past Davies from eight yards out.
But Town stunned the home crowd by pulling one back two minutes later when Perry, who had been a 33rd-minute replacement for the injured Cody Fisher, headed in from a Chambers free-kick.
The Lambs were soon back on the attack and regained their two-goal advantage on the hour mark when Yafai was pulled down by Courtney Richards as he worked his way into the penalty area and Ryan Beswick slammed the spot-kick past Davies with the minimum of fuss.
Obeng was now causing the Town backline plenty of problems with his pace and persistence, firing narrowly wide after cutting in from the right followed by drilling in a cross which was inches away from the stretching Joel Carta at the far post.
But Town squandered a great chance of a second goal with 20 minutes to go when Chambers found himself one-on-one with Singh and skipped round the keeper only to then delay his shot and be robbed by a perfectly timed tackle from Rowe-Turner.
With 15 minutes to go Tamworth sent on the former Town favourite Jimmy Fry and he was joined by another ex-Townite in Chris Lait as they concentrated on seeing the game out and they added a fourth in the final minute with an assured finish from Carta.
TAMWORTH: Jas Singh, Ben Hart, Jordan Gough, Ryan Beswick (Jimmy Fry 75), Joe Magunda, Lathaniel Rowe-Turner, Tyrell Waite, Aaron Forde, Gerry Mcdonagh (Joel Carta 63), Bilal Yafai, Ahmed Obeng (Chris Lait 81). Unused subs: Henri Wilder, Rhys Hoenes.
TOWN: Rhys Davies, Dan Vann (George Heaven 67), Cody Fisher (Kyle Perry 33), Courtney Richards, Michael Townsend, Kyle Rowley, Karnell Chambers, Declan Benjamin, Kyle McFarlane (Leam Howards 75), Henry Cowans, Kynan Isaac. Unused subs: Reece Flanagan, Rob Thompson-Brown.