Stoke City 0 Tamworth 0
The magic of the FA Cup is alive and well in Staffordshire, well in Tamworth at least. In Stoke they remain to be convinced of the merits of the game's most prestigious cup competition.
A pitiful crowd of under 10,000, nearly 2,500 of whom made the short trek from Tamworth, saw the nonLeaguers keep their Cup hopes alive with a battling display against their more illustrious opponents.
In truth a draw was no more than Tamworth deserved against a Stoke side devoid of ideas, enthusiasm, or effort. A 'black day for the club' was how Stoke City manager Johan Boskamp described the result.
It might have been the shock of the round had on-loan striker Jake Edwards done better when put clean through in the final minute. Edwards, though, like his team-mates, was running on empty and allowed Marlon Broomes to block the shot.
Until that point, most of the action, what there was of it, had been at the Tamworth end where central defenders Aide Smith and Matt Redmile kept Stoke at bay all afternoon.
On the odd occasion that Stoke did get through, keeper Scott Bevan was more than equal to the task, making several fine saves including one against Mamady Sidibie when the Stoke City striker benefited from a collision between Smith and left-back Jimmy Turner to find himself clean through with only the keeper to beat.
Having dumped League One opposition out of the competition in the previous two rounds, Tamworth have an idea of what it takes to succeed against 'superior' opposition.
It involves an uncomplicated system of packing as many men behind the ball as possible, and working until the point of exhaustion.
This is hard enough to accomplish with a fully professional side. For Tamworth, who train for two-and-a-half hours a week, it is a monumental achievement. But this is the FA Cup and it does funny things to players.
On any other day Stoke should have the talent and the know-how to quickly and easily progress past a side of builders, plumbers and teenage trainees.
But, for reasons best known to themselves, they persisted in sending high balls into the penalty area where the not inconsiderable bulk of Redmile coped comfortably with the 'threat' from Sidibe.
Stoke have Champions' League and FA Cup final experience in their ranks. Tamworth, meanwhile, had work experience in theirs in the form of 17-year old Birmingham City trainee Nick Wright who was on emergency loan to bolster the Lambs' attacking options.
Not that they had the chance to do much, mostly they ran, harried, tackled, and frustrated Stoke to such an extent that the applause at the end from both sets of supporters was for their endeavours alone.
"The players are absolutely out on their feet," Mark Cooper, the Tamworth manager, said. "We had a game plan that we stuck too. I don't care who you're playing against, you can put two banks of four in front of a team and it's very, very difficult to break down. Obviously there was no pressure on us to go and win the game but we knew that if there was one chink in the chain that broke, we'd get done.
"There was no way we could come here and play open attacking football, we'd get absolutely murdered. We knew that everybody would have to play well for us to stand any chance of getting any kind of result."
Boskamp said: "I was very disappointed with what my team did today. All the compliments go to Tamworth, I cannot say one good thing about my team. The best thing that happened to us was that we kept a clean sheet. Don't ask me to sum up my first experience of the FA Cup, it was a black day today."
So the Tamworth cup dream remains alive and, who knows, in front of 3,000 home fans it might have a little while to go yet.