It was a point apiece in a topsy turvy game at Church Road that saw United lose a half-time lead before coming back to earn a point against high flying Tamworth courtesy of a first Sean Canham goal.
The game seemed to take an age to get going, in fact a third of it had gone with very little effort needed from either custodian. The only real goalscoring chance in this time fell to United after just four minutes when Esmond James beat Michael Blackwood on the right before crossing to Ram Marwa, his flick on came back off Chris Smith, who had made 7 appearances for Hayes FC ten years ago while on loan from Reading, and Marwa fired wide of the target from 8 yards out.
On the half hour mark Dale Binns crossed to the far post where James was able to head back towards Marwa, his shot on the turn was well blocked by Richard Tait and the ball was easily cleared. Just a minute later James was again on the charge, being dragged down as he moved through the middle towards the box. The centrally placed free-kick some 25 yards from goal was hit around the wall by Adam Green, beating keeper Danny Alcock before nestling perfectly in the bottom corner of the Tamworth net.
The Lambs came back at United and two minutes later Nick Wright swapped passes with Seb Lake-Gaskin but the strikers attempt to chip Simon Overland saw the ball easily clear the crossbar. Wright was soon in scoring position again as Jake Sheridan played the ball across from the right but his shot this time was deflected into Overland's welcoming arms.
The final five minutes of the half saw as many chances as we had in the previous forty. James and Sean Canham combined to set up James Mulley who advanced into the Tamworth area before hitting a crisp drive that Alcock did well to push out. Within seconds Binns was attacking again down the left before cutting inside and trying his luck with his right foot, Alcock gathered comfortably.
It was then up the other end as the pacey Wright was freed on the left, and swept into the area only to be denied by Overland who came out to block his shot before chasing down and diving on the loose ball.
The Lambs threw on highly experienced front man Trevor Benjamin at the break and it took the much travelled striker just 12 minutes to get his side level. Wright outpaced Sami El-Abd on the right before crossing low to where Matt Ruby should have cleared only for the ball to run through him to Benjamin who fired past Overland from six yards.
Two minutes later had it not been for some excellent keeping by Overland the Lambs would have been in front. Michael Briscoe driving a 19 yard free-kick past the defensive wall only for Overland to get such a firm hand to the ball that it went back to the edge of the area before being played clear.
By now the Lambs were having a real purple patch, Wright this time outpacing Ruby but as Overland stood firm the striker screwed his effort weakly wide of the target. United were then almost gifted the lead when a long El-Abd punt upfield was headed backwards by Smith to Alcock who had unbeknown to his skipper had come to the edge of the area and needed a diving catch to stop an own goal.
Minutes later it was advantage Tamworth, Briscoe stepped up to another free-kick that was flicked to the far post where full-back Blackwood was on hand to hook the ball past Overland from close range.
This time it was United's turn to bounce straight back onto the attack. Sean Canham knocked the ball to Marwa who saw his volley held by Alcock before Ruby fed the ball down the right flank to James who advanced towards the bye-line before crossing low to Sean Canham who fired home at the near post giving Alcock no chance.
Minutes later Canham almost found the net again and maybe should have. Marc Canham played the ball to James down the right flank once again, his cross again falling to striker Canham who appeared to miss-hit the ball forcing Alcock to push his effort around the post. In stoppage time Sean Canham could again have bagged a second and snatched victory for United, having outmuscled Smith he shot from an angle but Alcock gathered easily.
Report by Kevin Watts. Photos by Andy Corbett.
Highlights courtesy of FC Video
United Man of the Match: Esmond James.