Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Tamworth Show Some Pedigree at Marstons - Stafford Rangers 2 Tamworth 2 - FA Trophy 3rd Round - 02/02/08

I love away days! I haven't done many this season so I was looking forward to this one. Stafford is an easy one for me, tram to Brum, train straight to Staffford, picking Scott up on the way, no hassle. We found a couple of members of the Tamworth Train Taxi Crew (more on them later!)hanging around outside The Hogshead and arranged to meet them in The Bird In Hand after we had grabbed a pie. Nice pub The Bird In Hand, Holden's and Beowulf amongst the ales on tap and they didn't mind the few kids we had with us. There were vague plans to do a couple more pubs but in the end we settled for a fleet of taxis to The Tap & Spile near the ground which also had some decent beer on, it was a good start to the day I tells ya!

I thought we might have met a few Stafford fans in here but those that did venture in walked straight back out when they saw the by now rather numerous Tamuff fans. We don't bite you know! There was a bit of a sing song which was not appreciated by "The campest chav in Stafford" who was luckily (for him really) talked out of taking the whole pub on.

And so to the ground. I was unpleasantly surprised to see that Stafford charge £8 for concessions so it cost me a twenty spot to get myself and Cameron in to stand in the worst part of the ground. Marston road is quickly becoming a bizarre place to watch football, I've always liked the character of the main stand and that has been retained but they have done some strange things to the two ends of the ground whilst the large shed where they stick away fans is just horrible, especially the toilets, not many grounds at this level still make you piss up a brick wall these days and I didn't fancy the portaloo stood next to it!

The Stafford Chavs discuss their latest ASBO's

Last season Stafford decided to put seats into the stand opposite the clubhouse, they are a fetching shade lime green and they have erected some sort of large gazebo over the top of them, reminds one of a refugee camp in a way. On the clubhouse end they now have a rather rickety looking construction of scaffolding and planks which has surely not been inspected by any Health and Safety officer. It looks like it would fall down if you jumped on it, luckily there has been little in the way of excitement at Marston Road this season so it has managed to survive.

The game itself was as even as the scoreline suggests. In my biased view I reckon we were the better team and we certainly created a couple of early chances but there wasn't much between us to be fair. Stafford won't survive in The Conference but I expected them to have a bit more quality. I mentioned in last report against Hyde that I managed to miss both of Tamworth's goals, well the run continued. No sooner had I nipped to recycle some of the day's beer than up went the cheer. Nick Wright had scored. I don't see many Tamworth goals. I dared to go again a while later and yes, there was another cheer, this time it was the Stafford equaliser. In a way I was almost glad, if Tamworth had been the scorers I may have had to spend the rest of my supporting days stood in the toilet just so we would keep winning.

A moment of madness a shortly afterwards nearly cost us the game. Evans seemed to get caught by Jarrett and he retaliated. You just cannot raise your hands when the referee is only a yard away and although Jarrett definitely made the most of it (and being a Tamworth lad himself he got some very wrong but very funny stick from us for the rest of the half!) but Evans had to walk. That was in about the 36th minute and then on the stroke of half time Jarret, inevitably, put Stafford into the lead with a well placed shot from a floated cross.

That could have been game over, but the New Tamworth are made of sterner stuff. The heads did not drop and the ten men battled superbly. Nick Wright missed an absolute sitter from about two yards out after doing all the hard work in rounding the keeper and it was no surprise then that our new found wonder-striker Dave Bamtinho equalised with a well placed low shot. He just can't stop scoring at the moment! There were just a couple more chances for each side but no further scoring. A draw was about right and I really fancy us to complete the job tonight. I'm working but I'll live blog something if I get time.

A word on the Stafford stewarding. Pitiful. They allowed the idiots on both sides of the inadequate barrier to taunt each other throughout the game, if your going to segregate us then do it properly. In fact it would be better not to bother because none of the brave little souls would have the bottle to do anything if their weren't any barriers to stop them getting a slap or two. At one point a Stafford "fan" picked up a bin and made to throw it at the Tamworth fans, the fact that he hilariously then dropped it on his own head doesn't mean he shouldn't have been kicked out. We got locked in afterwards too - again! Why? It's not like there were hundreds of Stafford fans waiting to get us and we just wanted to get back to the pub, it was cold.

I had another pint in the Tap and then wandered back to the station, but the Tamworth Train Taxi Crew excelled themselves once again by missing the last train back to Brum and having to get a taxi back to tamworth. Workington is the next away game lads, that could be a bit expensive!

Attendance: 1025

Price: £12 adults £8 kids

Programme: £2.50

Food: I didn't bother but Cameron was impressed by the chips and curry sauce.

Beer: Slurp.

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