After the trip to Leiston the previous weekend had proved to be a non-starter due to storm Eustice, new boss Andy Peaks had to wait 7 more days to see his new side in competitive action, in a strange twist of fate it was against the last side his previous club, Rushden and Diamonds had played – Barwell.
To give the Lambs managerial appointment and perhaps predicament some context, Tamworth started the match in 18th place with 29 points from 27 games - three points above Lowestoft in the drop zone, while the Canaries started the afternoon in 13th position with 32 from 34 themselves 15 points behind new boss Peak’s former club, AFC Rushden and Diamonds who sat in the last play-off position.
Peaks made one signing in midweek - Gift Mussa arrived from Nuneaton Borough while Aaron Forde travelled in the opposite direction and for his first team selection, after midweek training sessions, Peaks, his assistant Neil Champelovier and coach Tom Chapman made three changes to eleven that started the game against Alvechurch a fortnight previously with Thomas and Walters coming in, with Mussa making his debut.
Barwell playing away from home for the first time in some time, got the action underway with former Lamb Stabana at right back but it was the midfield that worked hardest in the opening exchanges with the visitors being awarded freekicks for niggly fouls in the centre circle as both teams tried to exert themselves on the game early on.
A cross from Whittingham on the right on 8 minutes found the head of Creaney in front of the Meadow Street goal but it was easy for Bramley to catch at head height and a minute later Mussa and Walters linked into the box, with the latter striking at the keeper and the former unable to keep his shot down on the rebound.
Good interlinking play down the left on 12 eventually saw Creaney with the ball at his feet in the area but he was too wide of the post to get his first shot away and on the turn rifled it over the target much to his own personal annoyance.
A loaded ball in from the right on 14 was headed on by Hurst and met by Walters but Barwell survived the attacking intention of The Lambs which continued through Thomas who forced a right sided corner on 15 and Beswick’s deadball fell to Bailey at the back of the box but despite having two bites of the cherry he was unable to force the chance home with his head or boot.
Wilder went toe to toe with Rowland and was forced to concede a corner on 18 and it fell to visiting captain Hickey who struck on target but Singh flicked it over bar for another corner with a fine stop. The second flagkick caused problems too but The Lambs defended strongly amid shouts of handball against Wilder from the travelling faithful which referee Mr Smith was not swayed by.
A Beswick freekick in the right channel ended with Creaney firing home at the far post, but Cox, who put the header back across the box into his path, was adjudged to have strayed offside.
Walters was upended by Edwards on the half way line on 26 and there was no card for the Barwell man but a foul on Thomas by Hickey on 27 did not go unpunished and from Beswick’s freekick The Lambs took a deserved lead with Creaney heading the ball back into the box for Hurst to volley home from 12 yards (1-0, 28 mins)
A strong challenge on Beswick in the centre circle did not cause play to stop on the half hour and it took a last ditch tackle from Walters to put the ball out for a corner while Barwell played on before the Lambs captain could get treatment on the field. Beswick was OK to continue and Creaney cleared the low corner at the near post with ease.
Whittingham smashed a right sided shot against the right hand upright on 35 but within a minute the ball was in the back of the net when Hurst made a textbook run into the box and turned the ball past Bramley for his second of the afternoon and doubled The Lambs lead in the process (2-0, 36 mins)
Another foul in the centre of the pitch handed Beswick the deadball on 38 and Tamworth continued to press but were unable to test Bramley as Barwell defended in numbers and in a rare attack Tamworth loanee Brogan went through into Singh’s box but was denied by Cox.
In added time at the end of the first half Thomas threaded his way through and forced a left sided corner which was headed behind for another on the opposite side and fell to Cox and then Creaney but neither could get their efforts on target before the whistle blew on a fine first half performance.
The Lambs restarted proceedings after the visitors had made a change and immediately went on the offensive and it paid off in the 53rd minute when Thomas found himself in space on the left channel to pick up the ball from a centre from Whittingham and power home an angled finish past Bramley. (3-0, 51 mins)
And it was 4 on 57 when Whittingham and Thomas overlapped down the right and the latter whipped the ball into the path of Creaney, and Beswick took it on and fired home his 25th Lambs goal. (4-0, 57 mins)
Walters nearly added a fifth on the hour but his low strike from the left of the box whistled past the far post and out and he was involved again on 63 taking the ball almost the length of the pitch down the left past Stabana before finding in Hickey in his way in the box.
Not wating to be left out, Creaney notched his 29th of his Lambs career with a low close range header from Hurst’s flick on off a Walters corner on 66 to lift the roof on The Lamb for a fifth time! (5-0, 66 mins)
Whittingham went past his marker on 69 and chipped the ball into the area for Creaney to attack but a clash of heads saw the Lambs striker need treatment and while he recovered Clement replaced Beswick.
Clement got a shot away on 72 after Hurst cushioned the ball on the edge of the D, and after this Barwell started to enjoy some possession and almost pulled one back, but Edjenguele headed past the far post.
Walters made way for Concannon with 10 remaining and Barwell continued look for a goal, with Clement helping Singh to keep the ball at bay from a couple of efforts in quick succession from the visitors.
Thomas was booked for a foul on Brown-Hill 83 and from the freekick Cox picked up an injury which meant he couldn’t continue and so Brown came on for the final 5.
Concannon forced a corner on the left on 86 which Bramley punched away but a foul on Whittingham in the ensuing play saw Stephens booked.
Brown-Hill met a corner with a deft shot on 89 which went just over the bar, but it was left to Tamworth to round things off when Creaney burst through down the right and squared for Clement to make it six with a tidy finish from a couple of yards out (6-0, 90 mins)
Four minutes of added time were shown at the end of the game and Whittingham tried his luck with a low strike which turned out to be easy for Bramley to gather and the final whistle blew on a superb start for Peaks – perhaps too cheesy to call it a Peaky Blinder but it wasn’t far off!
Singh, Hurst, Wilder, Beswick (c.) (Clement 69) Cox (Brown 85), Bailey, Thomas, Mussa, Creaney, Whittingham, Walters (Concannon 79)
Subs: Yeomans, Tahra
YC: Thomas 83
Bramley, Stabana, Powell, Pepe-Ngoma, Edjenguele, Rowland (Brown-Hill 46), Edwards, Brogan, Stephens, Hickey (c.), Warren (Haddow 70)
Subs: Castle, Dunkley, Painter
YC: Hickey 27, Stephens 86
Referee: Mr W. Booth
MOM: Josh Green and Chloe Henwood chose Ben Bailey and James Hurst