“It’s a lovely cup and I’d love to bring that back to Tamworth,” then Under-21s boss Gareth Zimmerman said with a grin as the lifelong Lambs fan pondered his side’s upcoming Birmingham FA Saturday Amateur Cup final appearance against Highgate United.
Tamworth had made light work of their opponents in the competition, dispatching Halesowen Town, Knowle Reserves and Bedworth Rangers in the previous rounds.
The two had already met earlier in the season, both sides taking wins in their opponents backyard – but this one was on neutral ground.
In a strange twist, while Tamworth were not in the running for any other silverware from the season, they had a chance to bag the only cup that had alluded them the previous year under Lee Fryers.
Dilano Reid got things started before James Medford added a second, but it was a sublime 25-yard free-kick (below) by defender Lewis Kelly that put a fine gloss on what ended up being a routine win for the young Lambs.
After a bright start, Reid fired the Lambs in front with 14 minutes on the clock after an inch-perfect pass from Stefan Mason. Two minutes later, Reid almost doubled his tally but a deflection came to the rescue of Highgate United.
Reid and Medford continued to ask question of the Gate and the latter almost claimed an assist after a cross the the back post was nodded into the keeper’s arms by Kyle Hayden.
Ten minutes into the second-half, Reid then turned provider for Medford. After shaking off his man, Reid played a cross to an unmarked Medford whose low, drilled shot gave the keeper no chance.
A Highgate United penalty was the only blot on an otherwise perfect afternoon for Tamworth who controlled the game from start to finish.
One man who didn’t get chance to take to the field was Junior Mpofu. The young winger has since moved on but he paid homage to his teammates after the game – while also wishing Gareth Zimmerman well as he departed the Lambs less than a week after the final.
“It was a great feeling to win the cup,” Mpofu said. “I think we needed the win as it’s been a frustrating season.
“We wanted to challenge for more titles but to win playing like we did was a real achievement for us and hopefully the start of more success going into next season.
“He [Gareth Zimmerman] is a good manager and he’s done really well with Gary Smith obviously going up to the first team and I think winning the cup is a great send off for him – I wish him well.”
The Lambs went on to finish the season strongly following their cup win too. Under Jamie Relph, the Academy wrapped up their season with a convincing 10-2 win over Allexton & New Parks before the curtain came down with a 5-0 win at the Lamb against AFC Rushden & Diamonds.