FT: Imps 2 Tamworth 1

Match report...

With Andrew Boyce out through suspension, Tom Miller reverted back to centre-half with Nicky Nicolau returning at left-back for this final home Blue Square Bet Premier game of the season with Tamworth providing the opposition. Paul Turnbull and Vadaine Oliver also returned to the starting line-up with Mo Fofana and Craig Hobson dropping to the bench.

Tamworth kicked off attacking the Stacey West Stand and the opening couple of minutes were a cagey affair as both sides took their time to settle into proceedings.

The first attack of note came on the third minute but Jamie Taylor was beaten to the ball by Lambs' keeper Tony Breedon and when Dan Gray hurled the resultant throw-in into the mix the ball just evaded the head of Oliver six yards out.

City were starting to impose themselves with another long Gray throw-in causing problems but when Tamworth responded with a swift break, the back-tracking Gray could only look on as his attempted headed clearance from a Peter Till cross looped over Farman and into own net to give the visitors a seventh minute lead.

The goal seemed to knock the Imps, who began to misplace a few passes causing frustration to eminate from the stands. Tamworth taking their time over throw-ins did nothing to help the mood either.

A late challenge on Turnbull earned Max Harrop an 18th minute caution whilst 60 seconds later the visitors won the first corner of the game. This was cleared and as City pressed from their next attack, Lee Hendrie left a foot in on former Tamworth man Jake Sheridan for a free-kick in a dangerous position. Power's delivery again caused panic in the Lambs' defence but the ball wouldn't run for a red and white shirted player.

Breedon then went down as if he'd been snipered after he cleared a ball under pressure from Oliver. He made a remarkable recovery following a quick introduction of the magic sponge. A couple of minutes later Breedon flapped at a Gray throw-in with Nat Brown seeing his overhead kick cleared off the line and out for a corner which the Tamworth stopper claimed.

A scrappy half continued with chances at a premium, a long throw leading to a 39th minute Tamworth corner which was headed well wide by Michael Wylde at the back post. At the other end Oliver, at full stretch, headed a Gray cross a foot over the bar.

A couple of minutes before the break Adam Cunnington was cautioned for kicking the ball away after it had gone out for a City throw-in whilst a City corner just before the Fourth Official indicated that a minimum of two minutes were to be added on ended when referee Anthony Backhouse spotted a push from Oliver.

HT: Imps 0 Tamworth 1

Both sides emerged unchanged for the start of the second half with Farman the early recipient of a foul as he went up to punch away a Marcus Kelly free-kick 

A Power shot which was deflected a foot wide was the first effort at goal following the restart but nothing came from the resultant corner. Oliver then had a header from a Nicolau cross claimed by Breedon.

Power then drilled over following a swift attack, which came after Darren Byfield saw his appeals for a penalty after going down under a Brown challenge fall on deaf ears. Oliver and Taylor were then both denied at the back post as a Gray throw-in caused panic in the Tamworth defence. Three corners quickly follow as the Imps pushed for a leveller.

Jake Jones replaced Todd Jordan in the 65th minute as Gray prepared to take another throw-in. This throw ended up with Breedon superbly keeping out a downward Oliver header.

The pressure eventually paid off as, when Gray whipped in a peach of a cross from the right, up rose top scorer Jamie Taylor to flick home an excellent header which nestled in the bottom corner of the net with Breedon rooted to the spot.

A tug on Kelly's shirt earned Sheridan a booking a couple of minutes after the restart and with the City crowd in full voice, Oliver was inches away from connecting with a Nicolau ball as Breedon sprinted off his line.

Jones was quickly in the action, twisting past numerous challenges before setting up Taylor who saw his effort charged down and from another Power corner, appeals for handball as Gray played a ball into the mix were waved away by the officials.

Lloyd Kerry for Max Harrop was the Lambs first change with 15 minutes remaining and the visitors ate up another 60 seconds when goalkeeper Breedon decided to change his boots. Tommy Wright then replaced Darren Byfield up front for the Lambs.

Ex-Imp Danny Lloyd was given a 10 minute run-out for the visitors with Craig Hobson coming on for Nicky Nicolau for City at the same time but neither player had chance to touch the ball before the Imps pushed forward and when Jones got in front of Sam Oji who bundled him to the deck.

Referee Backhouse was quick to point to the spot and once things calmed down, skipper Alan Power neatly sent Breedon the wrong way from 12 yards. The game restarted after Jones was booked for over celebrating.

With Tamworth now rushing things, it was City's turn to take their time when Turnbull was sent tumbling for a free-kick a couple of minutes from time. This led to a corner which saw the ball kept in the corner before Oliver was pushed over.

Three added minutes was indicated with Mo Fofana coming on for Jamie Taylor, who received a standing ovation as he left the field of play.

Tempers then frayed as Oji sent Power flying with a late challenge and once things calmed down the Tamworth man was booked. The free-kick was taken to Jones and although he was penalised for a push close to the corner flag, once the ball was pumped forward, referee Backhouse brought an enthralling encounter to a close.

FT: Imps 2 Tamworth 1

City: Paul Farman, Dan Gray, Tom Miller, Nat Brown, Nicky Nicolau, Todd Jordan, Paul Turnbull, Alan Power, Jake Sheridan, Jamie Taylor, Vadaine Oliver.

subs: Scott Garner, Jake Jones (for Jordan 65), Craig Hobson (for Nicolau 81), Mamadou Fofana (for Taylor 90+3), David Preece.

goals: Taylor (67), Power (83 pen)

bookings: Sheridan (69), Jones (83)

Tamworth: Tony Breedon, Richard Tait, Marcus Kelly, Michael Wylde, Adam Cunnington, Lee Hendrie, Darren Byfield, Connor Gudger, Peter Till, Max Harrop, Sam Oji.

subs: Tommy Wright (for Byfield 78), Lloyd Kerry (for Harrop 75), Danny Lloyd (for Till 81), Kyle Perry, Liam Mitchell.

goals: Gray (7 og)

bookings: Harrop (18), Cunnington (43), Oji (90+4)

Referee: Anthony Backhouse
Assistants: Chris Isherwood & Gareth Mellor
Fourth Official: Matt Walsh

Attendance: 3,174 (132 visiting supporters)