This was a game Altrincham would probably have won had they kept 11 men on the pitch. Altrincham took a 7th minute lead when Reeves scored, for the fifth successive game, with a header from Baynes's cross. Tamworth's game was riddled with unforced errors but they received a boost when Joseph was sent off for raising his hands to Perry as the ball went out of play - just 4 minutes into the second half. Alty defended well but a diving header from Perry, 11 minutes from time, gave the Lambs a point.
REFEREE: Mr K Johnson
Tamworth had signed striker Jason Bradley and Kamara on the eve of the match.
This was Altrincham's fifth successive away match in various competitions.
TAMWORTH (Red) 1. Ross Atkins, 2. Richard Tait, 3. Tom Marshall, 5. Michael Wylde, 8. Neil MacKenzie, 10. Alex Rodman, 11. Danny Thomas, 14. Jake Sheridan, 17 Dan Bradley, 19. Scott Barrow, 24. Adi Yussuf, Subs: 12. Sebastian Lake-Gaskin, 9. Kyle Perry, 16. Jason Bradley, 25. Malvin Kamara, 9. Kyle Perry, 6. Aaron Mitchell
ALTRINCHAM (White) 21. James COATES, 2. James SMITH, 4. Marc JOSEPH, 5. Robbie WILLIAMS, 19. Mark BEESLEY, 6. Shaun DENSMORE, 7. Robbie LAWTON, 8. Damian REEVES, 9. Michael TWISS, 17. Wes BAYNES, 20. Sam HEWSON, Subs: 11. Nicky CLEE, 1. Stuart COBURN, 15. Ryan BROWN, 16. Anthony DANYLYK, 10. Chris DENHAM
Referee Johnson had to break up the inordinately long pre-match bonding huddle by Tamworth before this game could start. But despite the host's apparent fondness for each other their game was to be riddled with passes to the opposition, as if the hosts were strangers to each other. Altrincham made the better start to the game, despite having been forced to make a change in goal when Stuart Coburn was unable to start with a hamstring strain.
Alty took the lead in the seventh minute when Baynes did well on the right and his cross deflected off a defender beyond the back post where Reeves did well to head it into the net; it was the fifth successive game in which he had scored. Tamworth, for their part,continued to labour though they won the game's first corner (12 mins).
Their first shot arrived in the 18th minute from Yussuf but it went wide. As the home side improved they also won a freekick which was in a threatening position but it went out for a goalkick. The Lambs were conceding regular freekicks themselves as Alty continued to be reasonably comfortable with their lead.
As the game went past the half hour Alty saw off a couple of corners and a freekick as a home supoorter yelled with some feeling, "This is rubbish, Tamworth" - and he had a point. The Lambs continued to give the ball away cheaply and up front, Rodman did not look like a player who had hit a hat-trick in his previous game, as Williams, Smith, Densmore and Joseph played well at the back for Altrincham. Indeed, Rodman had been the game's only booking to date, in the 15th minute.
Mr Johnson saw fit to deliver two lengthy talks to Tamworth players for fouls during the first half. As the home side pressed forward towards the interval, Beesley got in a shot for Alty but it cleared the bar from the right (45 mins). Two added minutes did not alter the score, leaving Alty deservedly ahead 1-0.
|Half-Time: TAMWORTH 0 ALTRINCHAM 1|
In contrast to their reluctance to start the first half, Tamworth were sent out several minutes early for the second half, with Jason Bradley and Kyle Perry brought on as subs for Yussuf and Sheridan. So, Tamworth now had two big lads deployed up front.
Then the game's turning point arrived out of nothing. The ball had gone out of play on the Alty left and Joseph and Perry seemed to get involved in a skirmish after the ex-Mansfield man had dug Joseph in the ribs. The Alty defender made the mistake of raising his arms in retaliation and, after consulting his linesman, Mr Johnson sent off the Altrincham man, in just the fifth minute of the second half.
There was then a couple of minutes of chaos as the referee held lengthy "talks" with a couple of Alty players, Densmore and Lawton before booking Densmore though the card seemed to be waved at Lawton. Further delay occurred as he oversaw0 the substitution of Twiss by Brown before play resumed (52 mins).
Tait then committed his third foul of the game before MacKenzie arm wrestled Lawton to the ground to concede another freekick. Tamworth were trying to tire Alty by playing the ball across the pitch but they did not seriously threaten a goal till Rodman's downward header was impressively pushed round the foot of his left post by Coates (62 mins).
Most of the play was in the Alty half as Tamworth tried to make their extra man tell. They had finished their previous game, against Newport, playing agianst nine men.
Midway through the half, Danylyk came on for Beesley (67 mins) before Tamworth replaced Rodman by debutant Kamara, who operated on the right flank (69 mins). Alty were working hard and defending well as Tamworth's best effort at this stage was a header which went wide. For Alty, Baynes got in a fierce 40 yard freekick which the keeper could only hold at the second attempt (71 mins).
Next, Clee came on for Alty's Reeves (74 mins). Tamworth continued to try and spread the play to extend Altrincham. They eventually got level when they took a short freekick on the right, for a trip by Brown, and the resulting cross was met at the near post by a diving header from Perry (79 mins).
Tamworth continued to enjoy the lion's share of possession but, four minutes from the end of normal time, Clee got up the middle but fired well wide (86 mins). The 90th minute was followed by five additional minutes, justified by the lengthy episode before and after Joseph's dismissal. Alty held on without too many alarms but it was a measure of their performanvce that they will have been disappointed not to take all of the points.
It was ironic that the outcome depended on a sending off in a game between the only two sides in the division who, before tonight, had not had a player dismissed all season.
|Full-Time: TAMWORTH 1 ALTRINCHAM 1|