Hatters within touching distance after routine home win
McGeehan 49, Cullen 65
The Hatters took a massive step towards a return to the Football League after two second half goals gave them a comfortable victory over Tamworth.
After a goalless first half, that saw leading goalscorer Andre Gray limp off with injury, Cameron McGeehan broke the deadlock four minutes after half-time – his second goal in as many games – before the points were made safe when substitute Mark Cullen thundered home a second goal on 65 minutes to put the Town in touching distance of the title.
The Hatters could secure the championship without kicking a ball on Thursday should Cambridge lose at Woking. If that doesn’t happen, three points against Braintree will be enough for the Town to start celebrating.
As has become the norm in recent weeks, the Town found life difficult against a side battling for points at the other end of the table and Tamworth, all but relegated following this defeat, made the Hatters work hard to keep the goalless at the break.
Clear-cut chances were at a real premium. Luke Rooney volleyed over the bar on 14 minutes and it wasn’t until the 32nd minute for visiting goalkeeper Dale Belford to be tested properly when Gray nutmegged his man down the left, raced into the box and saw his low shot blocked by the keeper’s legs.
Opportunities were still thin on the ground as half-time approached but the Town were hit by an injury to Gray five minutes before the break when he raced onto a sublime touch by Paul Benson and went to ground in the penalty area, and moments later he was replaced by Cullen.
After 45 minutes of stalemate the Town began the second half brightly and Cullen saw a left-foot shot kept out by the outstretched arms of Belford 50 seconds after the restart, with Rooney’s follow-up also blocked.
But Tamworth weren’t so lucky three minutes later when the Town took the lead. A fine flowing move involving Steve McNulty and Cullen saw Jake Howells cross from the left and his low ball into the box was met by McGeehan and he tucked home underneath the body of Belford for his second goal in as many games.
McGeehan came close to doubling his and the Hatters’ tally on 64 minutes when his header destined for the top corner was caught by Belford, but the Town faithful didn’t have long to wait for a second goal when Cullen made it 2-0 a minute later. Substitute Alex Lawless raced through the middle of the park and, after waiting for the run of Cullen, he slipped the striker in on goal and he did the rest, thrashing an emphatic left-foot strike beyond Belford for his eighth goal of the season.
As the Hatters pursued a third goal, Howells thought he should have had a penalty on 72 minutes having fallen under a challenge after haring into the box but saw the referee wave away the appeals. Cullen then had a volley from a Howells corner held by Belford six minutes later.
The Town couldn’t find a third in four minutes of stoppage time but it mattered little: the Hatters had the points in the bag knowing that one more win will seal a return to the Football League.
It’s Braintree on Saturday…BE THERE!
TOWN: Tyler; Henry, Griffiths, McNulty, Franks; McGeehan, Robinson, Rooney (sub Lawless 63); Howells, Gray (sub Cullen 41), Benson (sub Shaw 82). Subs not used: Ruddock, Justham.
Attendance: 8,554, including 13 from Tamworth.