Tamworth returned to footballing action for the first time since 31 October with an FA Trophy trip to Garden Walk, some 38 days since the previous game – the previous round’s win over Banbury United - to take on fellow Southern League side Royston Town in a First Round tie.
With the home side in Tier 2 of the Covid 19 restrictions and Tamworth in Tier 3, only home fans could watch the match on the cold, and later very wet, wintry evening.
Given the ongoing global pandemic it was not surprising there were a number of changes to the ‘normal’ Lambs side, for a variety of reasons, and this included a full debut for Scholars Lucas Yeomans (16 years old) at right back, and debut appearance for defender Derrick Ikechukwu (18) as a second half substitute.
The Crows kicked off attacking the clubhouse end of the ground and The Lambs went a goal down after four minutes when the home side pushed forwards, Murray chipped the ball over the advancing keeper, and head it home into Jeynes’ empty net from a yard out (0-1, 4 mins)
However, Tamworth responded brightly and almost perfectly with a right sided cross and Ryan glanced his header in the right of the area, past Welch and it crept inside the far post with Creaney following in just in case (1-1, 6 mins)
Murray flicked on a long ball into the box towards the far post but it was too long for his team mate at the far post and the same player looped a header onto the roof of the net shortly afterwards as Royston did their best to pen The Lambs back.
On 22, Howkins fouled and set up a freekick on the left which was flicked on by Bridges inside the far post to restore the home side’s earlier advantage (1-2, 22 mins)
Galliford tried his luck on 24 but failed to trouble Jeynes, clearing the clubhouse with his effort in the process and Jeynes had to be on his mettle to deny Adam powerful strike from the right channel on 25.
At the other end on 26 Creaney picked up the ball int the area and shot low but Welch got a touch to slow it’s path and the home defence cleared.
A ball in from Galliford on 33 was nearly met by two teammates, but as with an earlier shot from Adams, Jeynes was happy to gather it before it could do any more damage,
Creaney mishit a low shot on 36 after good build up play through the middle of the park which started with Yeomans and a medium length ball looking for McDonald from Ryan nearly came off but McDonald was unable to keep his feet in the every decreasing temperatures.
A Tonks throw from the right was met by the head of Creaney on 40 but he couldn’t keep it down and the home side broke from the goal kick. Adams took advantage of a slip by Howkins and Jeynes saved his blushes with a good stop for corner which fell to Galliford and he shot wide of the mark.
Creaney chipped forward for McDonald on 45 and the latter appeared to have struck the equaliser with a low shot but Welch managed to keep it out with his feet and McDonald was unable to turn the rebound home, lifting it over the bar.
Two minutes added time was shown at the end of the first half and Soleman threaded it through to McDonald but his shot was blocked and cleared shortly before the whistle blew.
Tamworth got the game back underway with light rain now falling and the home side pressed and forced a corner on the right on 48 which was headed over the bar by for another and then defended away for another which was too long for anyone to react to.
Royston forced two more corners just past the 50 minute mark and cleared their lines but not far enough and when Adams struck the bar, it fell for Parr past the left hand post to fire home from a tight angle to extend The Crows lead (1-3, 53 mins)
From Scott-Morris’ across on 57, Adams chested the ball goalward and Jeynes pushed it up onto the bar to prevent his second of the game.
Yeomans quite literally went toe to toe with Adams and needed treatment off the field before returning to the field of play on 62.
Williams flashed a shot past the left hand upright on 70 and at the other end, after Ikechukwu had come on for his debut following a pair of Lambs changes, McDonald fired just wide of Welch’s left hand post from 18 yards out.
As the rain got heavier (and colder) Cox went down and was unable to continue, leaving the field for the final 5 minutes and as all subs had been used Tamworth had to finish off proceedings a man down.
Substitute Waite saw his run and shot blocked, and then five additional minutes added time were shown at the end of the game.
McDonald tried his luck from a freekick on the left but it was tipped over for a corner by Welch and the final whistle blew on proceedings, with the Crows progressing to the next round, in a week’s time.
Jeynes, Yeomans, Stabana (Tait 74), Tonks, Howkins, Cox, McDonald, Meikle, Creaney (Waite 82), Soleman, Ryan (Ikechukwu 73)
Subs: Somel, Shaw, Padmore
YC: Howkins 12
Welch, Scott-Morris, Braithwaite (Culley 81), Brighton, Murray, Green (Williams 66), Asafu-Adjaye, Parr, Bridges, Galliford (Rotimi HT), Adams
Subs: Towner, Newman, Newton, Yates
Referee: Mr. J. Gibson