Lambs go out on pens, but hold their heads high
17 January 2006
Mark Cooper’s Tamworth FC took a historic step onto the Lamb turf to take on the might of Championship side Stoke City with a crowd of almost 4000 packed into the Kettlebrook ground.
Stoke came out with seemingly no fear and forced and corner in the 1st minute but the danger was cleared and Tamworth broke to the other end with Nathan Jackson and Carl Heggs causing trouble at the Meadow Street end.
Dave Brammer tried a pot shot at Scott Bevan on 5 but the Lambs ‘keeper smothered the effort.
Dave Bampton took a blow on 7 from Karl Henry as both went up for the ball and had to be treated on the pitch for a knock to the lower back but played on despite the obvious discomfort.
Kevin Harper found some space on the right of the Lambs penalty box to fire in a low ball across the face of goal on 19 but thankfully for the home side there was too much pace on his strike and no one close enough to follow it in.
Stoke ‘keeper Steve Simonsen made a glaring error on 24 miskicking the ball as he tried to clear but Heggs’ ball into the box wasn’t quick enough and Jackson’s hopeful effort went wide.
Kevin Harper crossed to Paul Gallagher on the far post in a quick Stoke counter attack but, with the goal gaping Gallagher put his header high over the bar.
And after some half clearances and messing around by the Lambs defence the same Stoke striker shot low straight into Bevan’s hands.
With Stoke constantly looking for the quick break a telling tackle by Adie Smith on 31 denied Luck Chadwick a shooting chance.
Adie Smith then got his name in the ref’s note book on 33 with a late challenge on Harper.
A half chance by Heggs forced Simonsen into an easy save with a shot from the right of the area on 35 and Steve Melton unleashed a 30 yard dipping effort towards Simonsens left hand upright on 36 which was taken at full stretch by the Stoke keeper.
Brammer put the ball into the danger area on 38 but thankfully for the Tamworth defence Gallagher skied his chance from 8 yards.
Chadwick hit a dipping effort on 41 from 25 yards and it took a fantastic tip by Bevan which took it onto the top of the crossbar and out for a corner which was cleared.
But then the Lamb erupted when an attempted clearance by the Stoke defence was charged down and picked up by Heggs and he squared for youngster Jackson to side foot home from 2 yards out. (1-0)
Half time: an unbelievable 1-0 to The Lambs!!
Potters manager Johan Boskamp made two substitutions at half time in a bid to get his side back into the tie, replacing Chadwick and Brammer and putting at least two players on the troublesome Nick Wright and Carl Heggs.
Gallagher unleashed a right footed curler at Bevan but the effort flew over the top of the bar on 56.
Stoke came forward and it took Adie Smith to block Gallagher’s close range strike on 63 and Henry’s follow up from 15 yards was tipped wide by Bevan for a corner which the Lambs keeper fisted clear for another flag kick but the danger was eventually cleared.
There was another heart stopping moment on 65 when Bevan looked to be beaten but Mamady Sidibe’s strike hit the post and from the follow up Henry saw his shot saved on the line.
Substitute Jimmy Turner found a Stoke defender in the way of Tamworth’s potential second goal on 71 from Jackson’s center as Simonsen collected the ball at his far post.
After leading the Championship side for 39 minutes Stoke equalised through Gallagher who found the back of the net with a close range over head kick after the ball wasn’t cleared sufficiently bouncing invitingly free from a corner by the visitors in front of his own supporters. (1-1)
Three minutes added time at the end of the second half saw two Lambs corners but the best chance of a last gasp winner in normal time saw Matt Redmile’s header go wide.
Extra time First Half
Tamworth won a free kick 6 yards from the edge of the area on 95 but Ward put his kick well over the bar after a handball.
Kopteff then wasted a great chance after good work by Adam Rooney and Sidibe found the Finnish international but he pushed the ball past the far post from inside the area.
The Lambs, despite the gulf between the two sides in league placings, continued to push at Stoke with the whole side working tremendously hard.
ET 1st Half 1-1
Extra time Second Half
Chances were few and far between for both sides in the last 15 minutes, Gallagher had two efforts but both failed to trouble Bevan and the Lambs custodian did very well to cut out the threat of an advancing Peter Kopteff but ultimately the roulette of penalties decided the tie and they were too much for boss Mark Cooper to take as he left for the dressing room happy in the knowledge his players had given their all no matter what the final result.
Final Score 1-1
Penalties (at the Clubhouse end)
1: Storer – to Simenson’s right 1-0
1: Gallagher – down the middle 1-1
2: Stamps – as Storer’s strike 2-1
2: Kopteff – low into the right hand corner, Bevan went the right way but had no
3: Smith – Simenson got his hands to it but couldn’t stop the strike 3-2
3: Henry – Bevan guessed correctly but went under his body 3-3
4: Anaclet – saved by Simenson 3-3
4: Harper – saved by Bevan with his feet! 3-3
5: Heggs – bobbled into the left hand corner 4-3
5: Buxton – beat Bevan well 4-4
SD1: Touhy – saved by Simensons legs 4-4
SD1: Hoefkens – fired past Bevan to send Stoke through 4-5
Stoke go through 4-5 on kicks from the penalty mark.
Anaclet, Melton (Storer 83), Ward, Wright (Turner66)
Touhy, Smith, Redmile, Bampton
Subs: Stamps, Cooper, Gayle
Buxton, Harper, Brammer (Junior HT), Chadwick (Kopteff HT)
Broomes (Rooney 80), Duberry, Hoefkens, Henry
Subs: Sweeney, Duggan, Rooney
Yellow Cards: Smith 33, Heggs 42, Harper 97, Junior 101
Red Cards: none
MOM: Eddie Anaclet