Tamworth brushed aside Bradford Park Avenue with a convincing 5-1 victory at The Lamb Ground. The hosts maintained their 100% home record on their new 3G surface thanks to an impressive second half display. Tamworth went into the half-time break with a slender advantage with goals from Connor Taylor & Jack Lane coming either side of Michael Monaghan’s strike for Bradford. The Lambs ran away with the tie in the second period however as Jed Davies, Louis Briscoe & Ross Dyer, added their names to the scoresheet to secure an emphatic victory.
The first half was a highly competitive encounter which made for interesting viewing as both sides battled for superiority. Bradford Park Avenue’s Sanchez Payne produced the game’s first effort in the third minute, but his effort dribbled wide from outside the box. The two sides then exchanged blows as Danny Newton saw a driven shot deflected behind for the Lambs, and the experienced Nicky Wroe whistled an effort past over the crossbar from 25 yards for Bradford, as he aimed to tuck his effort inside the far post.
Tamworth were not content with sparring however as they found the breakthrough in the 19th minute. Newton sent a ball downfield into the path of Taylor, who in turn broke the Bradford offside trap. After bearing down on goal, his initial effort was saved by Bradford keeper, Ryan Jones, but he could not hold onto the ball which enabled Taylor to finish at the second time of asking.
The home side’s lead only lasted for ten minutes, as the visitors produced a well worked short corner routine which paid dividends. The ball found it’s way to Wroe on the edge of the area, and although he saw an effort blocked in a crowded box, he somehow managed to slide a superb pass through to Monaghan after collecting the rebound. The midfielder, who was making his debut for The Avenue, slotted home confidently past James Belshaw in the Tamworth goal to level proceedings.
The parity was only restored for one minute as Tamworth found the net through a short corner routine of their own. Greg Mills played a pass into the path of Davies and his left-wing delivery was perfectly flighted for Lane, who directed his header over the line via the far post. His towering presence combined with the precision of his header ensured that Jones stood no chance of saving the effort.
The rest of the first period was a scrappy affair with both sides battling for every inch, but Tamworth showed more endeavour as they fashioned a couple of chances before the interval. Davies saw an effort go wide, then Newton did well to cut inside after latching onto a ball down the right, but his effort could only fly past the far post.
HT: Tamworth 2-1 Bradford Park Avenue
Tamworth started the second half with plenty of intent, and they were soon rewarded with a third in spectacular fashion as Davies scored the goal of the tie. The Lambs produced some excellent interplay in the buildup to the goal, with Ellis Deeney the provider as he picked out Davies on the edge of the box. The central midfielder moved into the left channel to cut the ball back to Davies, who in turn showed fantastic technique to chip Jones with a delightful lob, which found the net off the underside of the bar to spark wild celebrations amongst the home supporters.
The body language of the Bradford Park Avenue players showed they were pretty much resigned to defeat after conceding the third, but they did offer a couple of decent opportunities on goal during the second period. Luke Dean curled a decent effort narrowly over bar, and Payne saw an effort go inches wide, but other than that it was Tamworth who comfortably saw the game out.
Newton was unlucky not to see his name on the scoresheet throughout the contest as he worked tirelessly for his side, with his best chance to score coming halfway through the second half. After a bout of head tennis, Taylor headed a ball down the centre for Newton to run onto, but Jones came out to smother his effort with his legs. Mills was then also to be denied by Jones, as he saw his effort from a tight angle blocked by the Bradford Park Avenue keeper.
The hosts kept knocking at the door, but Jones was doing a fine job of keeping the deficit down for his side, with his best save coming in the 81st minute. Tamworth were rewarded with a central free kick 20 yards out with Mills over the ball ready to strike. Jones was equal to the effort as he leapt superbly to his right to turn the ball over his crossbar with the shot destined for the top corner.
Tamworth were not to be denied though as their final two goals came courtesy of second half substitutes, Briscoe and Dyer. The host’s fourth goal came in the 86th minute when Briscoe provided another exceptional strike to add to an already absorbing second half display from Tamworth. Briscoe arrowed his effort into the bottom corner on the half-volley some 25 yards out which left Jones stranded on his goal line. With the fans still revelling in the team’s fourth, Tamworth soon added a fifth from the penalty spot with a minute left to play. Joe Kearns handled the ball inside the six yard box giving the referee no chance but to avoid a spot kick, and up stepped Dyer to emphatically convert the penalty.
Tamworth can be very pleased with their display today with a string of fine individual performances, especially from Man of the Match and goalscorer, Jed Davies. It’s now three wins from three for Tamworth at The Lamb Ground on their new surface, and they will certainly be looking to make their home ground a fortress this season. Bradford Park Avenue on the other hand are without a win from their opening six games, and will need to show more fight if they are to pick up their first three points in their next encounters.
Tamworth: Belshaw, Burns, Breslin, Deeney, Ezewele, Lane, Mills (Briscoe 81) Clarke, Newton (Morrell 82), Davies, Taylor (Dyer 73)
Bradford PA: Jones, Toulson, Davie, Dean, Kearns, Hill, McKenna, Rowe, Ryan (Dickinson 58), Payne (Boshell 69), Monaghan (Sharp 79)
Report by James Hunt