With the midweek game away at Rushden and Diamonds postponed due to concerns over Coronavirus infection in the R&D camp, The Lambs next fixture saw league counterparts Banbury United from the Southern League Premier Central Division visit the CR MOT Community Stadium at The Lamb for an FA Trophy 3rd Qualifying Round fixture.
Tamworth made just one change to the starting XI from the win over Biggleswade with Tonks replacing Beswick, while on the Puritans side former Lambs Gordon, recently signed, and Langmead, who made 2 appearances for Tamworth in 2003-04 on loan from Preston North End, started.
United kicked off proceedings and Tamworth took the game to the visitors from the first whistle.
In the 5th minute a long Tonks throw caused problems in the six yard box and a melee ensued but no one could rifle the ball home and a corner resulted. When the dead ball came in keeper Harding and Cox clashed heads resulting in a break in play while they received treatment.
Skillful play from Soleman earned a corner on the left on 12 but it was a little too long for Cox, who ended up using the full force of the barrier to stop his chasing run before walking away seemingly unscathed!
McDonald slammed a shot from distance just wide of the left hand upright on 13 and he nearly latched onto a ball left by the Banbury defence on 15 but Harding was quick to it and denied him a simple finish.
A Banbury corner on 18 was defended by Magunda and Soleman at the far post and Rasulo forced Singh into a blocking save at his near post as the visitors enjoyed sight of The Lambs goal.
On 22 a superb save by @Singh denied Landre who broke through the back line to rifle a shot towards the right upright and from the corner Gordon headed over the bar with a diving effort (0-0).
On 27, a smart shot from Forde struck the covering Banbury defender and despite shouts for a penalty, referee the referee indicated it struck his torso / shoulder and that there was no deliberate handball.
On 33 a right footed strike by Soleman forced Harding into a low save to his right to force a corner on the left, which was cleared by the Puritans defence.
The Lambs took the lead on 36 though, when a Tonks throw from the right was headed against the visitors bar and despite the best efforts of the defender to head it away McDonald headed home from 6 yards out (1-0, 36 mins)
And four minutes later it was 2-0 when McDonald slotted home after running onto a through ball through the Banbury defence and beating Harding with relative ease. (2-0, 40 mins)
Cullinane-Liburd was unable to continue as the half ticked into added time so Rowe-Turner replaced him as The Lambs sent another attack wave up the field.
As the first half drew to a close, there were two bookings for Tamworth, Ryan and Tonks plus Self for Banbury after an off the ball incident.
Tamworth restarted proceedings and immediately went on the offensive, but Wilders cross from the left landed on the top of Harding’s net in the 46th minute.
McDonald looked to add to his brace on 47 with a shot after a good set up by Forde, but Harding was equal to his shot from 18 yards.
Tonks went down under a challenge on the halfway line on and Banbury attacked with Gordon striking the post before play was halted.
Gough replaced Cox on 52 and Banbury sent a deep freekick towards the far post but neither Gordon nor Langmead could get their heads on the cross box ball.
Gordon and Haysham got in each other’s way on the hour and prevented each other from netting from a yard out, sending the ball over the bar to each other’s disbelief!
McDonald got into space on the right of the box on 66 and chipped towards the far post, but it drifted wide of the mark and he was replaced on 69 by Walters to give the side fresh legs for the last 20 minutes or so.
Gordon reduced the arrears on 76 with a close range diving header from a pinpoint cross from the right (2-1, 76 mins)
Banbury continued to mount a strong attack as the final ten minutes came into view looking for an equaliser which would force penalties, and cramp set in in the Lambs camp causing a delay in proceedings.
Soleman forced a right sided corner on 89 which Forde planted onto the head of Gough, but it was easy for Harding to catch at head height.
Gough upended Morrison by the left corner on 90 but was on hand to powerfully head the danger away from the freekick and Walters set up Ryan with a good ball to feet in the box. His scuffed shot nearly beat Harding but the keeper was able to push it out for a corner and in the next move Magunda forced the keeper into a telling stop from a dangerous effort from distance.
Five minutes added time were shown and Rasulo looked to level the tie with a right footed shot on 94 but cleared Singh’s goal by a yard or two and as the clock ran down Morrison struck low from the left of the box and Singh parried.
Banbury forced a right sided corner in the 97th minute but play was halted when Gordon brought O’Connor down and the final whistle blew as the freekick travelled downfield.
And as the second half ended fans prepared themselves for PM Boris Johnson’s address to the nation about the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and what changes it may bring.
Singh, Cox (Gough 52), Wilder, Tonks, Magunda, Cullinane-Liburd (Rowe-Turner 45), McDonald (Walters 69), Forde, Ryan, O’Connor, Soleman
Subs: Bewsick, Meikle
YC: Tonks 45, Ryan 45
Harding, Self, Roberts, Landers, Westbrook (c.), Rasulo, Langmead, Henshall (Morrison 66), Hawtin, Haysham (Adwah 61), Gordon
Subs: Johnson, Heap, Marshall
YC: Self 45
MOM: Chosen by Footsteps Treatment Clinic: McDonald
Referee: Mr Luis Martin