Lambs into Round Three..
02 December 2006
The prize on offer for the winners of the FA Cup tie was a potential money spinning game against Premiership opposition. Boss Mark Cooper made just one side to the previous two week’s starting elevens with Graeme Law coming in for Joe Kendrick at left back.
The Lambs kicked off the first half towards their vociferous and plentiful supporters in the Airwair Stand and more importantly with the sun in the eyes of home keeper Scott Tynan.
The game moved quickly in the opening exchanges but both sides were reduced to long rage off target efforts – Taiwo Atieno at the on end and Glenn Wilson at the other.
Steve Burton fed Darryl Taylor on 10 and the home defence had to be on their mettle to force a corner and the same players linked well to create another chance a few minutes later ending with Atieno chesting the ball harmlessly back at Tynan as The Lambs tried to take the game to their hosts.
Marcus Kelly then unleashed a snapshot from the left of the area on 17 after Wilson had crossed past the far post, but Kelly’s effort whistled past the far upright unhindered.
Chances were at a premium until the 27th minute when Kelly and Chris Hope tried top power drive their way through the Lambs defence, eventually winning a corner and Tomlin almost nicked in at the near post but had Veiga to get past first and Tamworth rode the wave of danger.
Tomlin fed Dave Savage with a good through ball on the half hour mark, but Savage’s first touch was poor and the ball carried on into Veiga’s arms.
With a rare strike on goal Kelly shot just wide of the right hand upright on 36 but The Lambs took the lead on 42 through Steve Burton.
McGrath fired in a free kick which was forced back across goal via Simon Helsop and Jon Stevenson and Burton put the chance away from four yards out with his second touch.
Rushden came back strongly and Rankine fired wide from a good shooting position in the Lambs box.
Both sides had something to prove in the second half – Tamworth needed to show that their lead was deserved and they could defend it if required while Rushden who had been reported as suffering large financial losses really needed to get a goal back to have a chance of going through.
But the vociferous Lambs support was unrelenting in it’s ‘war-cry’ as the traveling faithful urged their heroes on to a date in the Third Round Proper.
On 66 Paul Watson fed a long ball forward which Savage volleyed acrobatically at Veiga but the former Benfica ‘keeper was more than equal to the effort.
On 73 McGrath tried his luck with a left footed curling freekick after Wayne Hatswell had brought down Atieno but the former Villa man fired the deadball well wide of the mark.
Then McGrath, as if to make up for his earlier freekick miss, set the Tamworth fans alight on 76 with a fantastic curling 25 yard shot which flew past Tynan to make it 2-0.
Rushden set up a tense finish when sub Dan Chillingworth and Curtis Woodhouse combined to put the ball in the danger area. When it wasn’t cleared by The Lambs defence sub Tom Shaw fired through a crowded area to give his side a lifeline (2-1)
Chillingworth was denied by a great save from Veiga in added time as the Lambs held on to the final whistle and celebrated their place in the next round..(To be drawn on Sunday afternoon live on BBC)
Stevenson, McGrath (Storer 89), Heslop, Taylor
Law, Weaver, Smith, Laight
Subs: Belford, Williams, Cooper, Moore
Rushden And Diamonds:
Berry, Savage, Woodhouse, Kelly (Shaw 68)
Wilson (Chillingworth 84), Hope, Hatswell, Watson
Subs: Eyre, Jackson, Sedgemore
Yellow Cards: Weaver 55
Att: 2815 (731 TFC))