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Match Reports

Tamworth v. Cheltenham, 9.11.13

9 November 2013

Full-time: Tamworth 1, Robins 0

The FA Cup has provided Cheltenham supporters with some great memories in recent times, but this was an afternoon to forget as Mark Yates' side exited the FA Cup at the first hurdle for the first time as a Football League club at Tamworth's Lamb Ground.
The Lambs maybe languishing in 20th position at the wrong end of the Conference, but their side boasted plenty of Football League experience and boy did they make it count here. 
All the damage was done in the first half and the Staffordshire side more than merited their 19th minute lead after the Robins' served up a disjointed, error-strewn display before the interval.
Cheltenham though produced a vastly improved performance after the break and with a little more composure they could have forced a better outcome, but the non-leaguers defended manfully to preserve their narrow advantage to progress into the second round of the world-famous competition.
Yates shuffled his pack, restoring Terry Gornell and Craig Braham-Barrett to the starting line-up at the expense of Sido Jombati and David Noble, suspended for this one.
Sam Deering dropped to the deeper role in midfield in Noble's absence while Gornell played a support role to Jamie Cureton and Bryon Harrison at the top of the diamond.
Braham-Barrett started at right back, with Matt Richards continuing on the left.
Winger Ashley Vincent was named on the bench after missing the last three matches.
The home side carved out the first real chance of the game with ten minutes on the clock, Andy Todd hitting the bar after Tony Capaldi delivered an inswinging free-kick from the touchline.
It handed the Lambs the early initiative, winger Mark Wright thumping one over a moment later.
Cheltenham's first opportunity of note arrived in the 18th minute, Gornell smashing a long ranger a foot over the target.
But the home side enjoyed some early success down the left, targeting Braham-Barrett who conceded possession in the build up to the opening goal just a minute later.
The ball broke to Justin Richards, who teed up Nick Chadwick to measure a shot from 12 yards inside the right post.
It was no more than the non-leaguers deserved after a positive start to the contest.
Cheltenham struggled to get a foothold in the match and gave the ball away far too cheaply to carry any threat.
Cureton swapped passes with Harrison on the stroke of half-time to create a fantastic opening but the striker's shot summed up his side's first half poor showing, dragging it across the face of goal and wide.
Russ Penn was withdrawn at the break and Steve Elliott was parachuted into central defence and to provide a much needed spark.
Braham-Barrett was returned to his preferred right back role, with Keith Lowe moving out to the right while Matt Richards was pushed into the deeper midfield berth.
They immediately produced their best football of the contest, Elliott heading narrowly wide while at the other end, a brave interception by Troy Brown prevented Tamworth doubling their lead.
Gornell drew a comfortable save after meeting Harrison's cross, and Harrison almost embarrassed goalkeeper Cameron Belford with a cheeky effort from close range.
Then Elliott forced Belford into a flying save with an acrobatic effort from the edge of the box.
Tamworth went close to extending their lead with 24 minutes to play when Tony Capaldi slung in a long throw from the right.
Ben Richards-Everton flicked it on, Richards mistimed his header and Todd shanked the loose ball over.
Next Cureton raced onto a long ball forward but with only the Tamworth number one to beat, the normally deadly striker dinked it wide. He skewed a volley off target a moment later.
The game really opened up with ten minutes to play, Cheltenham forcing a frantic goalmouth scramble without really forcing a save.
Next David Morgan had a chance to seal the tie, but Brown dropped to save wide. Nick Chadwick wasted the follow-up.
And former Robins striker Richards had the best chance of the second half to confirm the victory with five minutes to go, running 40 yards on goal before dragging his shot well wide of the target.
Brown pulled off a terrific save to deny Todd from point blank range as the game approached injury time.
There was a moment of controversy deep into the five minutes of added-on time when Elliott appeared to be tripped inside the box, but the referee waved away the appeals, and Jason Taylor lifted his shot over the stand to complete the misery.

TAMWORTH: C Belford; Thomas, Courtney (c), Richards-Everton, Capaldi; Todd, Hildreth, Morgan, Wright; J Richards, Chadwick. Subs not used: Kerry, Baker, Byfield, Higgins, Elford-Alliyu, D Belford, Keane.

CHELTENHAM TOWN: S Brown; Braham-Barrett, Lowe, T Brown, M Richards; Penn (c) (Elliott 46), Gornell, Deering (Kotwica 81), Taylor; Cureton, Harrison. Subs not used: Roberts (Gk), Hanks, Jombati, Vincent, Williams.



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