Defeat at Bootham Crescent
17 August 2004
34 years ago, while Tamworth were still in the West Midlands Premier League an epic FA Cup took place. Although the Lambs had only two opponents, they beat Nuneaton Borough at St. Andrews at the third attempt and then entertained the Minstermen, then in the 4th division of the football league, at the Lamb before losing 5-0 at Bootham Cresent in the replay.
Those who remember the cup battle remember it fondly but how times change. Tamworth have since been promoted four times and are now at their highest ever level of football, while the reverse is true for York. The side went into free fall at Christmas last year and were only saved from extinction at the last minute by the generosity of it’s own supporters. York fans cannot believe what has happened to their club and now expect to make a quick return to the football league where they had spent the previous 68 years.
The Lambs lined up without the presence of Mart Redmile at the back, after picking up a knock in Saturday’s win and brought in Karl Johnson to right back while Adie Smith slid sideways into the centre of defence. And almost immediately it was obvious what the Lambs were lacking, but there did not seem to be any reason to panic as the unit was coping very well as Steve Davis’s shot flew into the 133 travelling Lambs.
Neil Ross fired high over the bar, running onto another Mark Cooper through ball and all looked even for the first 14 minutes but 60 seconds later a ball whipped across from the right wing was not dealt with allowing Paul Groves to strike home from the edge of the area. Tamworth kicked off but York stole possession and forced a corner which Groves headed over before the Lambs had realised what was going on.
Ross received his first yellow card in a Tamworth shirt on 17 minutes from a very picky referee as the Lambs sought an equaliser and despite some good attacking play could not unleash the killer strike on goal – Whitman, Cooper, Sheppard, Smith and Ebdon all going close but not close enough.
Immediately after the break Ryan Price tipped over a Groves header from yet another dangerous Darren Dunning corner as York pushed forward and on the hour mark it was left to former £1.5m Wimbledon / Newcastle striker Paul Robinson to seal the victory for the home side, picking his spot through a crowded area that gave Price no chance.
Cooper brought on Rory May and the three up front almost reaped the rewards required, but this just didn’t feel like it was going to be Tamworth’s night.
A Stamps corner was headed powerfully goalward by Ross and only cleared after a scramble while York continued to break quickly through player manager Chris Brass.
Mark Shaw entered the fray as the Lambs moved to 3-5-2 and this livened them even more, but Cooper’s curling shot and Scott Stamp’s header were easy for Paul Crichton in the home goal.
Jason Blunt forced a great save at the death, left foot volleying a right wing cross deep in the penalty area and Ross forced a corner from the loose ball. May’s header from the resulting dead ball kick was cleared off the line but shout’s for handball were in vain as the 2,500 Minstermen in the ground celebrated their first points in what they hope will be their last season in the Conference.
Johnson (Shaw 80), Brown, A. Smith, Stamps
Blunt, Ebdon, Cooper, Sheppard (May 67)
Unused: Bampton, N. Smith, Turner
MOM: Ebdon – the captain worked his socks and boots off all night.