Norwich advanced to the FA Cup fourth round for only the second time in the
last decade as the Coca-Cola Championship side eased past non-league Tamworth at
the Lamb Ground.
City, whose only previous round three victory in the last 10 years came in
2003 against Brighton, were set on their way by goals from Dion Dublin and
Darren Huckerby late in the first half.
The same two players struck again after the break before Kyle Storer netted a
memorable consolation for the hosts.
Veteran Dublin, who played in Aston Villa's defeat to Chelsea in the last
final to be held at Wembley, set Peter Grant's side on the road to the new
stadium when he opened the scoring in the 40th minute.
Huckerby collected the ball on the wing and swung in a cross which Dublin
stooped to head home at the near post.
Two minutes later the duo combined again. Dublin flicked a header towards the
edge of the area and Huckerby arrived to send a low shot into the bottom
The second period was just five minutes old when Huckerby's second goal of the
match put the game beyond the Nationwide Conference strugglers.
A long throw-in was again flicked into the box by Dublin. The ball was
controlled by Lee Croft and he set up Huckerby, who stroked a low shot
underneath Jose Veiga from 10 yards.
Dublin deservedly completed his brace in the 62nd minute when Tom Kemp missed
his clearance and he stole in behind the defence to lift the bouncing ball over
the advancing Veiga.
Storer's superb strike finally gave the Tamworth faithful something to cheer
after 67 minutes.
The ball broke to the midfielder on the right side of the area and he
unleashed a shot which curled away from Paul Gallacher and into the net off the
In the end it was plain sailing for Norwich but it did not always look like
the two sides were separated by 78 places in the Football League.
The Lambs started brightest and twice went close to taking a shock lead inside
the opening eight minutes.
John McGrath's half-volley from the edge of the area had to be clawed away
from the top corner by Gallacher.
Then, after a Norwich corner was cleared, Steve Burton's defence-splitting
pass played in Darryl Taylor.
Taylor ran between two Norwich defenders and, with Gallacher racing off his
line, stretched to angle a low shot goal wards which rolled agonisingly wide of
the far post.
Soon after Simon Heslop shot wide from the right side of the box as Tamworth,
cheered on by a limited but vociferous support, tried to make their early
But it was Norwich who came close to scoring against the run of play in the
Huckerby's cross found Robert Earnshaw's near post run but the Wales
international failed to add to his 17 goals this season and side-footed the ball
over the crossbar from six yards.
That chance spurred Norwich into life and they created another good
opportunity midway through the first half, but Youssef Safri fired over the
crossbar from eight yards out after Dublin's header was cleared off the line by
Norwich began to assert some authority on the game and succeeded where
Tamworth failed by scoring twice when they were on top through Dublin and
The former Coventry duo struck again after the break as Norwich closed out the
game and limited their hosts to long range efforts.
But it was one of those efforts which brought Tamworth something to savour as
Storer scored midway through the second half.
Dublin was denied the chance of a hat-trick when he was substituted moments
before Storer's goal - Peter Thorne his replacement.
Huckerby might have completed his treble 10 minutes from time but he scuffed
his shot from the edge of the area and Veiga made a comfortable save.
Norwich manager Peter Grant praised the 'professional attitude' of his
players as City overcame a potential FA Cup banana skin by comfortably beating
Tamworth in the third round at the Lamb Ground.
The Conference strugglers hit the headlines this time last season when they
held Stoke to a goalless draw at the Britannia Stadium before bravely bowing out
of the competition on penalties in the replay.
It looked like Tamworth were capable of repeating the upset against the
Canaries as Grant's side were out-played and out-fought in the opening stages
and made to withstand an early onslaught.
Paul Gallacher had to claw John McGrath's half-volley away from the top corner
before Darryl Taylor beat two City defenders to the ball in stretching to roll a
low shot agonisingly wide of the far post.
But after the first 15 minutes Grant believes Norwich settled into the game
and never looked back.
He said: 'A lot was made of the conditions and all the rain and the
pitch before we kicked off but I told the lads in the dressing room that it was
a perfect day to play football.
'It is true that Tamworth settled better but we were still getting used to
the conditions and after we did settle, we thoroughly deserved the win.
'We were very professional and we performed. I am absolutely delighted and it
is a credit to the players that after a tough start they showed they were ready
for the game. We came here to win a game of football and we have done that.'
Grant warned suitors of leading scorer Robert Earnshaw that the Wales
international would not be allowed to leave Carrow Road on the cheap.
The 17-goal striker, who has reportedly attracted the attentions of several
Premiership clubs, played despite spending most of the week struggling with a
jarred knee sustained in the New Year's Day defeat to Crystal Palace.
The Coca-Cola Championship's leading goal-getter even underwent a scan to
ensure there were no serious problems following the injury at Selhurst Park.
His inclusion from the start raised some eyebrows but Grant dismissed
suggestions that Earnshaw played to show interested parties the player is fit
and is for sale.
He said: 'He had a scan this week and that was a concern for us because he is
worth a few bob to us in the transfer market. But it isn't the case that we have
hurried him back so he can be sold.
'Had I have left him out you (the media) would only be saying it was because
we were protecting him from becoming cup-tied and you would be writing stories
that we already had a deal to sell him lined up.
'I would like to reiterate that he will only be sold if the money is right.
Whether that is this month, in the summer or in the next year or two.
'We know the value of the player and he will not be leaving, if he leaves at
all, on the cheap.
'Hopefully, as long as I am manager of this football club, he will be
Tamworth boss Mark Cooper felt his side paid the price for failing to make
their early chances count.
'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,' said Cooper.
'During that time we were arguably on top and were creating chances but we
didn't put any away.
'Against a good team like Norwich you will eventually be made to pay for that
- as we saw.
'There was a lot of excitement around the town and the club before the game
and at least Kyle Storer's goal gave them something to remember the day by.
'We were hoping our experience against Stoke last year would stand us in good
stead but it wasn't to be this time around.'