Tamworth 1 Norwich City 4: Dublin too experienced to fall for Tamworth's old-time fervour

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The Independent Online

It rained, the pitch cut up easily, the old jalopy of a ground rocked with old-fashioned Cup fervour and fun, but the veteran centre-forward Dion Dublin, born in nearby Leicester, struck twice to send the romantics home dreaming of another day.

Norwich City may be struggling for consistency in the Championship, but they demonstrated the chasm between well-paid professionals and their distant cousins at the wrong end of the Conference.

The Lamb Ground, Tamworth's modest home, was a refreshing treat for eyes too used to billiard-table pitches, television replays and cosy lounges with ample hospitality. This was no place for the prawn-sandwich brigade and the Norwich City manager, Peter Grant, made certain his players were ready. Excellent preparation prevented a roaring of the Lambs.

The media climbed a wooden ladder to reach their vertigo-challenging temporary platform behind a corner flag and, in the first half, one Jason Shackell clearance flew out of the ground, bounced in the car park and then reached a nearby roundabout. A car stopped, a door opened and a motorist made off with that rare prize - an FA Cup match ball in play. Another ball was tossed on to the pitch but it did little improve Tamworth's fortunes.

"We were lucky not to go one or two goals down in the first 15 minutes," said Dublin. "But we weathered it and, in the end, we got a foothold and we took control. We had to really dig in and that is what helped us most."

Grant was relieved to see his team through to today's fourth-round draw for the first time in four seasons. "I'm absolutely delighted," he said. "Great credit to the players. They showed to a man they were ready for the game. We showed them [Tamworth] respect to come and check out the facilities last night and the players have prepared all week and got their just rewards."

The goals, two each for Dublin and Darren Huckerby, brought Norwich only their second win in eight games. Tamworth had chances in the opening 15 minutes, when Paul Gallacher saved from John McGrath and both Simon Heslop and Steve Burton shot wide, but gained consolation when Kyle Storer struck with a perfectly placed drive.

The Tamworth manager, Mark Cooper, son of the former Leeds United and England left-back Terry, said: "We said in the dressing-room before we came out that the first 20 minutes or so would be important and it proved to be the case. During that time, we were arguably on top and were creating chances, but we didn't put any away."

Goals: Dublin (40) 0-1; Huckerby (42) 0-2; Huckerby (51) 0-3; Dublin (62) 0-4; Storer (68) 1-4.

Tamworth (4-4-2): Veiga; Smith, Weaver, Kemp, Heslop (Law, 89); Taylor, McGrath, Storer, Laight; Williams (Price, 63), Burton (Atieno, 56). Substitutes not used: Cooper, D Belford.

Norwich City (4-4-2): Gallacher; Colin, Doherty, Shackell, Drury; Croft (Robinson, 64), Safri (Hughes, 69), Etuhu, Huckerby; Earnshaw, Dublin (Thorne, 66). Substitutes not used: Lewis (gk), McVeigh.

Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire).

Booked: Tamworth Weaver, McGrath.

Man of the match: Dublin.

Attendance: 3,165.

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