Tamworth took a break from league action with a Tuesday night trip to National League North side Leamington in the Quarter Final of the Birmingham Senior Cup.
There were a number of changes to the side with Keenan Fallows coming in, in goal, new signing James Hurst made his debut, Ahmed Obeng made his return debut, while another new signing, Taylor Morrison took a spot on the bench.
The third announced signing of the day, Dan Bradley, trained with the side before kick off but did not feature at the New Windmill in a game that would go straight to penalties rather than extra time, and also permitted five substitutions per side, during the 90 minutes.
Almost now in superstition, Thomas wore the number 20 rather than the number 2 and Tamworth got the game underway, attacking the clubhouse end of the ground in the fist half and after a flurry of attacking football from The Brakes The Lambs tried a counter through Bell and Obeng down the right, but the final ball to Creaney was too long.
The first shot on target came on 7 from Cook, a right footed half volley which forced Fallows into a superb flying save to deny a top corner finish and a minute later Wilder had to head defensively on the line twice to prevent Barkers goal-bound headers opening the scoring.
Leamington exerted some strong pressure on Fallows’ goal around the 10 minute mark with a couple of dangerous corners which required strong defensive play from The Lambs and some safe hands form the keeper too.
A couple of free headers came the way of the home forwards shortly afterwards but they were directed over the target, and a low shot deflected into the arms of the grateful keeper on 14.
The pressure finally told, and in the 16th minute Wilding powered home a shot from the right of the D into the top left corner which gave The Lambs defence, and Fallows no chance (1-0, 16 mins)
A long range shot from Cockerill-Mollett didn’t really trouble Weaver on 17 and then on 21 former Lamb Morley lined up a deadball from 30 yards which took a deflection and forced Fallows to tip it over the bar for a corner on the right.
Cook was booked for a hefty ankle tap on Lissimore as he tried to cross the halfway line on 28 but The Lambs were struggling to get into the final third, and Fallows was then called upon to push the ball around his post from a long ranger on 34.
A foul then set up Morley again, and Fallows spilled the ball under pressure rather than catch it cleanly but there was no whistle from the referee and play continued in the Lambs back third, with Cook trying his luck but Fallows denied his low grass cutter at the second attempt.
The Lambs were back on level terms though, courtesy of a fine finish from Bell on the turn from the edge of the area into the bottom left corner past the dive of Weaver (1-1, 39 mins)
Another Morley freekick gave The Brakes the lead on 42, hitting the deck in front of the keeper and taking a wicked deflection off a bobble up and over the expectant Fallows (2-1, 42 mins)
Creaney got his head onto an Obeng cross from the right on 43 but he couldn’t get it on target and Creaney nearly set up Bell with a header from a chipped ball into the area in the next move but the covering defender got there first.
One minute added time was shown, before the referee blew the half to a close.
Leamington got the second half underway with Tamworth attacking the North Bank and after five minutes of a lot of huffing and puffing by both sides a foul on Lissimore set up Beswick 25 yards from goal but his deadball struck the wall and the return floated punt into the area was header down by Wilder, but then cleared.
Weaver was called upon on 55 for Beswick to smash a drive goalward which he pushed away for a corner on the right, and Bell glanced his header wide of the far post.
There was an extended break in place when Gittings needed treatment on the pitch from former Tamworth physio Pete Denham, on the hour and when play resumed The Lambs forced a left sided corner which went short to Cockerill-Mollett and Weaver punched it off the head of Creaney, and then the former got it back and forced Weaver to tip his angled drive around the post but the corner came to nothing.
Clement replaced Bell as The Lambs reshaped a little and both sides continued to try and move the ball around quickly as the minutes ticked by.
Beswick’s freekick from the right on 71 was headed away acrobatically by English and Cockerill-Mollett picked up the loose ball but fired just wide of the far post before Morrison and Kinina came on.
A Wilder cross into the danger area caused problems for the home defence, and once they had cleared their lines both sides made their fourth changes of the evening.
Thomas’ lofted through ball was nodded away from the run of Creaney on 85 and Weaver was able to gather the ball before the striker could get a toe to it, and good interplay between Morrison, Lissemore and Wilder ended with a teasing cross which Weaver took at height on 86.
The ball fell invitingly for Creaney to strike from 18 yards on 88, after a lofted ball through from Pendley, but the striker’s shot went just wide of the left hand post with Weaver otherwise beaten.
Shaw was booked on 90 for a foul in the middle of the park, and from the ensuing play Edwards was blocked by Morrison in the area and the referee pointed to the spot as three minutes added time was shown.
Turner despatched the penalty to Fallows left but it was planted into the top corner and gave him no chance of preventing the extension of the scoreline (3-1, 90 mins) shortly before the final whistle blew.
Fallows, Thomas, Wilder, Beswick (c.) (Shaw 79), Pendley Hurst, Obeng (Morrison 73), Lissimore, Bell (Clement 65), Creaney, Cockerill-Mollett (Kinina 73)
YC: Shaw 90
Weaver, Meredith, Morley (Kelly-Evans 54), Wilding, Morrison (c.), Mace, Parker (Turner 80), Gittings, Mooney, Barkers (English 68), Cook (Edwards 79)
YC: Cook 28
Referee: Mr. S. Chalkley