Rugby Town 0 Tamworth 1
Birmingham Senior Cup – Round Two
Rugby Town 0
A highly debatable penalty saw Valley slip out of the Birmingham FA knockout competition at Butlin Road on Tuesday evening.
Conference Premier Tamworth booked a third round trip to Banbury, after the ex-Aston Villa man Darren Byfield converted an 81st minute spot-kick, whilst most in the ground were still contemplating what offence had actually been committed in the first place.
Although it was far from a Lambs’ first choice eleven, ex-Rugby goalkeeper Dale Belford did however put out a strong squad for the fixture. Despite this, the hosts made a good fist of it on the night and were in fact unlucky not to end up with an unexpected victory.
Rugby held their own particularly well in the first half, creating the better chances – the first of which saw Tamworth keeper quick to deny Seb Lake-Gaskin, after a neat move which also included Lewis McBride and Jared Cunniff.
Kaiyne Woolery and Nottingham Forest loanee David Morgan then both had opportunities for the visitors, with Valley’s Niall Cooper doing well to keep out the latter’s strike with his outstretched hand.
McBride tested keeper James Wren ahead of the interval, with David Kolodynski also going close with a shot.
Tamworth’s second half performance was more in keeping with their status in the highest level of the non-league football pyramid though, although the first significant attacking highlight of the new period saw Kolodynski drag one wide of the target.
Shortly after, the impressive Cooper saved well again from Morgan, before the lively Seb Lake-Gaskin created concern in the Lambs’ box with a tricky run from deep.
The visitors then carved out a series of chances, as they looked to break the deadlock.
Cooper kept out Jake Jones’s downward header, Byfield scuffed a shot and Andy Haworth also went close, before the game’s defining moment came with just nine minutes of normal time remaining.
Valley’s defence appeared to have dealt effectively with a loose ball that had come back off the goal frame, but the referee somehow spotted an infringement – presumably by Cooper – despite a lack of any real contact or even an appeal from the Tamworth players.
Byfield stepped-up to beat Cooper from the spot, despite the Valley stopper correctly guessing the direction of his strike.
The remainder of the game was all Town, and they twice struck the woodwork in search of an equaliser.
Kolodynski’s goalbound free-kick was tipped on to the crossbar by Wren, before substitute Mitchell Piggon put one agonisingly wide at the far post.
It was then Kolodynski that once more was denied in the closing minutes, when his header came back off the bar again.