Tamworth started the new Southern League Central season with a defeat to fellow promotion hopefuls Royston Town.
The Lambs suffered a three-goal loss at Garden Walk in a game that saw defender Tom Ward dismissed for a second yellow. Ryan Beswick also missed a penalty in the second half.
After being level at the break a second half collapse saw them concede three goals as the Crows took control of the game.
Tamworth were under the cosh almost straight away. Jas Singh had to be alert in the third minute to deny header from Harry Draper.
Down the other end, a cross in from Jordan Clement found Shaq McDonald who volleyed high over the bar on the turn.
McDonald had a penalty shout on eight minutes, seemingly brought down by Royston keeper Joe Welch as he raced in on goal, but the Lambs’ appeals were ignored and a corner was given.
An improvised free kick from Ryan Beswick almost gave Tamworth the lead. McDonald’s run across the back line wasn’t picked up by any defenders and the winger had a first-time shot on goal that was blocked.
On the half hour mark, McDonald picked up a pass from Jordan Clement and cut inside. But his shot was deflected up and over the bar for a Tamworth corner.
Five minutes into the second half, Royston were a fingertip away from taking the lead. Tom Ward’s foul on the edge of the box gave Adam Bridges a chance to hit one from the resulting set piece, only for Singh to flick over his bar.
Tamworth fell behind on 55 minutes when a short corner caught the Lambs’ defence out. Matt Bateman found himself in acres of space but scuffed his shot. It fell into the path of Spyros Mentis who stabbed home to give the home side the lead.
Tom Ward, who had been booked earlier for an accumulation of fouls, was sent off just after the hour mark for fouling Isaac Galliford as he jinked towards goal – and the foul would have disastrous consequences.
Bridges hit the post from the resulting free kick and the rebound was diverted in by Brandon Adams for the hosts.
Tamworth had a goal ruled out for a foul on the Royston goalkeeper. Mikey Taylor was adjudged to have impeded Welch.
Things got worse for the Lambs with 80 minutes on the clock. Royston substitute Freddie Brown picked the ball up 25 yards out and rifled his shot beyond Singh.
Three minutes later Ryan Beswick was brought down in the box and dusted himself off to take the spot kick. But his shot was saved well by Welch to his left in a moment that summed up a bad day at the office for the Lambs.
Tamworth: Singh, Cox, Wilder (Brown 68’), Ward, Pendley, Beswick, Thomas, McDonald (Walters 53’), Concannon, Clement (Taylor 60’), Creaney Subs not used: Soleman, Brogan