MOORS fell to only their third defeat of the season in the Vanarama National League North after losing 2-1 at home to play-off chasing Tamworth at the Automated Technology Group Stadium on Saturday.
Steven Leslie came in for the injured Jimmy Anderson in what was the only change for Marcus Bignot’s side but any thoughts that Moors would breeze to another easy win for quickly dispelled by Tamworth with six minutes gone.
Ross Dyer was allowed to run unchallenged through the middle of the park before launching a 20-yard strike that rattled the near post but the rebound fell nicely for Dyer who drilled the reabound home.
Andy Brown hit a spectacular overhead volley wide of goal from Byrne’s cross as Moors looked for an immediate reaction and some good play between Liam Daly and Brown saw Michael Nottingham clear the bar.
But on 24 minutes the visitors doubled their lead when Curtis Strong ran out of defence, cut inside and curled an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the net.
Moors had a great chance to pull one goal back when Darryl Kinights put Byrne clean through on goal on the half-hour mark but the Tamworth goalkeeper made a smart save and Byrne’s shot went inches wide of the upright.
Daly headed over from a Darryl Knights corner before Elliott Durrell could have wrapped up the match for Tamworth when he got on the end of a partially cleared corner which Danny Lewis parried before it was cleared.
Lewis saved well from Dyer’s low drive from outside the box but just before the interval Gaz Dean was yellow carded for obstructing Durrell on a run down the right wing – an incident that would have repercussions later in the match.
Manager Bignot quickly replaced Leslie for Akwasi Asante and within a minute he had the ball in the net to reduce Moors’ deficit.
Nottingham battled down the right side of the box and the last of his three attempts to shoot towards goal saw the ball squirm over to the Belshaw who could only manage a partial clearance and Akwasi hooked the ball into the net from five yards out.
Both teams went for another goal with Lewis being denied by Strong’s long range effort while at the other end Tamworth might have put the game to bed on 64 minutes when Moors were caught on the break and Newton carefully shot around Lewis only to see the ball hit the inside of the post.
Disaster struck 20 minutes from time when Durrell went to ground as Dean raced in to defend and although there seemed to be no contact, the Tamworth players rounded on the referee who issued a second yellow card to end Dean’s afternoon.
With Darren Byfield on for Knights, the ten men of Moors pressed for an equaliser but Asante could only hit the side netting after getting on the end of a knock down by Andy Brown and Byrne’s header on 80 minutes dropped agonisingly wide.
Durrell blasted over from close range and Lewis saved bravely from the incoming Smith before Moors had the last chance of the match when Brown’s chip from a Franklin throw found Byfield off-side.
With AFC Fylde and North Ferriby both losing and both Boston and Harrogate drawing their respective matches, this disappointing result does not radically change Moors’ lead at the top of the National North.