Matlock grind out 1-0 win at Tamworth
It was a classic away performance from Paul Phillips’ men, to stay compact and resolute, restrict the Tamworth forward line and when their chance came, to take it.
Byrne did just that, eleven minutes into the second half as an error by a home trialist left him free to slip his shot past goalkeeper Jaz Singh.
Tamworth enjoyed most of the early possession with Matlock content to let the hosts spray the ball around in their own half but be quick to deny them space in attacking areas.
The first chance came the Lambs’ way on six minutes but Bilal Yafal’s header from an Aaron Forde cross dropped wide.
Matlock received another injury blow when Callum Chippendale limped off with a knee injury in the 14th minute, the early analysis being that he may be out for four to six weeks, Byrne taking his place.
Clear cut chances were few and far between, indeed the next moment of concern at either end was from a well struck free kick by home skipper Ryan Beswick which nestled on top of the net in the 26th minute.
Byrne though could have put Matlock in front four minutes after the interval, doing well to rob Nathaniel Rowe-Turner but his shot lacked pace and Singh was down swiftly to save.
But he made no mistake seven minutes later to leave the hosts chasing the game.
Tamworth’s Forde had the ball in the net shortly afterwards but his foot was high as he challenged Ryan Qualter.
The Gladiators’ custodian kept out efforts from former Matlock loanee Tyrell Waite and Beswick before another chance saw Byrne shoot across the face of goal.
Tamworth tried to make the most of that escape but Beswick cleared the bar from 20 yards.
The hosts came closest near the end when a clearance from the excellent Qualter ricocheted into the path of Jordan Gough but he was denied by the goalkeeper’s quick reactions for a fine block.
It was a good test for Matlock and one they passed. However the Chippendale injury spoiled the afternoon somewhat and they still need reinforcements in attack to support workhorse Liam Hughes.