County made hard work of their home fixture to Tamworth FC on Saturday, coming from behind to win by two goals to one, securing a massive three points for The Hatters.
Jim Gannon opted to go with the same XI that started against AFC Fylde midweek, an unusual decision for him and only the second time this season that our manager has picked the same squad for consecutive games.
County started slowly, and after two mammoth efforts away from home against the top two sides in the division, it was no real surprise and Tamworth went ahead on the half hour mark. A mistake from Clarke allowed Callum Powell to put a beauty of a cross into the back post, with Ross Dyer waiting to head home past goalkeeper Ben Hinchliffe.
It could have been two as well, with Andy Burns having another golden opportunity to score for The Lambs but instead putting his chance wide of the post, in front of the watching Cheadle End. Soon after, the half-time whistle went and County must have been glad of the break.
HT: County 0-1 Tamworth
No changes from County at half time, but within seconds of the restart, it was evident that County were going to go all guns blazing to secure the points. The first attack of the half saw more intent than the whole of the first 45 altogether. In the 50th minute, County nearly drew level from an unlikely source, Lewis Montrose striking the post after sustained pressure before an offside allowed The Lambs to breath again.
Gannon made a gamble and brought on attacking duo Kayode Odejayi and Kaine Felix. Both of which immediately began causing problems for Tamworth. The Nigerian striker using his presence to cause confusion in their defence and in the 72nd minute, Mark Ross lifted the ball home after an almighty goalmouth scramble. There were claims that Odejayi got the last touch but regardless, County were level.
Just eight minutes later, County were in front. A diagonal ball from Harry Winter saw some tenacious work from York loanee Felix, who managed to put in a peach of a ball to Danny Lloyd 8 yards out. The former Tamworth man took a couple of touches before firing past James Belshaw in the Cheadle end goal to send the 3400 County fans into raptures.
County saw the rest of the game out, despite serious efforts from the referee to make the game interesting with some bizarre decisions, not limited to the six minutes of injury time added on at the end of the game or penalising Odejayi at every opportunity. It did not matter, however, and County took home three massive points to move them into the play-offs on goals scored (who’d have thought it!) ahead of Chorley.
FT: County 2-1 Tamworth
Team: Hinchliffe, Ross (Capt.), Hampson, Montrose, Clarke, Smalley (Felix, 66), Minihan, Winter, Gonzales (Odejayi, 61), Ball, Lloyd (Duxbury, 87).
Unused Subs: Ormson, Meppen-Walters.