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Bradley's strike gains a prized point for Lambs.

Byline: Nick Pullen

TAMWORTH signalled their return to top-flight Conference football with a prized 1-1 draw at much-fancied Stevenage Borough.

Bradley Pritchard scored the all-important equaliser for the Lambs just before the half-hour mark after Lee Boylan had banged home a 12th-minute penalty for Borough.

Tamworth rode their luck at times against a Stevenage side who are third favourites behind Luton Town and Oxford United to lift the Conference title.

Michael Briscoe made a magnificent goal-line clearance to keep out Borough's Darren Murphy in the first half.

Then Lambs goalkeeper Danny Alcock produced a fingertip save to turn Michael Bostwick's header on to the crossbar as Borough pressed for a winner in the second half.

However, Gary Mills' men held out and proved full value for their first-ever point at Broadhall Way, especially as Stevenage had Joel Byram sent off in the closing moments for bringing Pritchard down.

Goal machine Matthew BarnesHomer started where he left off from last season with the only goal as Kidderminster Harriers kicked off the season with a win over Hayes and Yeading.

Barnes-Homer, who hit the net 21 times last season, struck after 38 minutes following some fine work by Chris McPhee down the left flank.

The goal forced Hayes to come out of their defensive shell in the second half and they came close to equalising when Harriers' central defender Gavin Caines was forced to clear from underneath his own crossbar to keep out Dale Binns' goalbound effort.

However, Harriers always looked the likely winners.

Redditch United made a wretched start to their Conference North campaign when crushed 4-1 at home by Stalybridge Celtic.

Sorry Reds looked all at sea as Dave Hankin headed Celtic in front after 21 minutes.

Seven minutes later Matty Barlow turned home Andy Smart's free-kick to make it 2-0 before Reds defender Lucan Spittle scored an own goal on the stroke of half-time to make it three.

It could have been worse for Reds had goalkeeper Danny Lewis not kept out a penalty on 52 minutes.

Jack Byrne pulled a goal back on 70 minutes but it was little more than a consolation effort as Barlow made it 4-1 after intercepting Spittle's intended backheader.

CAPTION(S):

On target: Bradley Pritchard.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Aug 10, 2009
Words:372
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