Last gasp of the Mohicans

Tamworth v Fleetwood Town 'By Derick Thomas'Jamie Vardy scores
Tamworth v Fleetwood Town 'By Derick Thomas'Jamie Vardy scores

Tamworth 0, Fleetwood Town 3. An Andy Mangan double helped Town stretch their unbeaten league run to 20 and maintain their five-point advantage at the Conference summit.

Micky Mellon’s men left it late to seal victory, Jamie Vardy netting his 26th goal of the season in the 88th minute, before Mangan doubled his tally in the 90th.

Fleetwood Town a 3-0 win away at Tamworth as the Cod Army continue their push for promotion.

After two games out injured, Shaun Beeley replaced Danny Rose in the only change to the side which beat Alfreton 4-0 the previous weekend.

Peter Cavanagh reverted to midfield, while striker Richard Brodie was forced to miss the match, due to conjunctivitis.

Tamworth had earned a 2-2 draw at Highbury last month – the only side to deny Town victory in their 10 Blue Square Bet Premier games of 2012 – and their boss Marcus Law made two changes to his side, as Scott Barrow and Iyseden Christie were replaced by Sam Habergham and Connor Taylor.

Lee Fowler should have given Town an early lead, after being presented with an opportunity by a poor backpass from Richard Tate.

Intercepting the ball in front of keeper Jonathan Hedge, Fowler faced an empty net, but stroked the ball just wide of the left post.

Cavanagh’s 25-yard strike five minutes into the game was saved well by Hedge, and gave the travelling Cod Army hope of another inspired attacking performance. The Lambs were determined not to make it easy for Town, however. Tait’s cross-cum-shot flew just over the crossbar after seven minutes, while Scott Davies was forced into a fine challenge on a swift Kyle Patterson 10 minutes later.

Town went ahead from the penalty spot after 25 minutes, when the dangerous Vardy cut in from the right and was tripped by Tait.

Referee Amy Fearn pointed to the spot and Mangan fired home a confident penalty into the bottom right corner.

There were few chances for either side for the rest of the half, and although Tamworth had more of the attacking play but any threat was promptly dealt with by the Town defence.

Nathan Pond cleared well from a corner as an unmarked Taylor lurked at the near post, while Patterson picked up a through ball from Chez Isaac, but could not keep the ball in play. Fleetwood looked the more dangerous side on attack, particularly with Vardy, whose volley across goal was missed by both Gareth Seddon and Mangan.

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The feeling among the Cod Army going into the interval was that one more goal should kill the game off.

However, Fleetwood struggled to breach the Tamworth defence in the second half as Mangan had two good chances.

The first was provided by Vardy. Mangan controlled the ball in the area but failed to get enough strength into his shot, while his strike from the edge of the area three minutes later lacked placement rather than power.

Seddon scuffed a shot on the hour mark, and it proved to be his last effort on goal, as he was replaced by Peter Till a minute later.

Fleetwood continued to threaten, mainly through Vardy, but a well-timed challenge by Paul Green in the area halted a surge by the striker, who was later unable to hit the target after shrugging off Duane Courtney.

With 20 minutes to go, the home side stepped up the pressure, desperately searching for an equaliser.

Davies saved a close-range effort from Taylor, who almost deflected in a low shot from Tait.

As the game entered its final stages, Mangan should have scored when Vardy fed him in the area.

It was Vardy himself who gave his side the two-goal cushion they yearned for out of nothing.

What looked like a routine task for Green, either to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick or bundle it to safety, turned into a calamity for the Tamworth captain and he lost possession to the hassling Vardy, who fired home.

Mangan made it 3-0 in stoppage time in controversial circumstances.

Taylor lay injured just outside the Fleetwood area after a challenge by Jamie McGuire, but the referee signalled for play to continue, much to the displeasure of the home fans.

Vardy was successfully challenged by keeper Hedge but, with Taylor still down, Town continued to progress and Till crossed from the right for Mangan to find the net from close range.

Town would stretch their lead to eight points with a home win over Grimsby tomorrow.

Wrexham play Luton in the second v third match on Wednesday.


Tamworth: Hedge, Tait, Habergham, Courtney (Francis 86), Green, McDonald, Patterson (St Aimie 77), Isaac (Nix 63), McKoy, Marna, Taylor; not used: Reece, Thomas.

Fleetwood: Davies, Beeley, McNulty, Goodall, Cavanagh, Pond, McGuire, Fowler, Mangan, Seddon (Till 64), Vardy; not used: Stephenson, Brown, Atkinson, Vieira.

Ref: A Fearn, Att: 958