Tamworth claims cup in fiery clash

FOOTBALL

TAMWORTH have won the Acropolis Cup for the first time since 1982 after going through the competition undefeated over the weekend in Tamworth.

The Cup had been lost since Armidale won back-to-back titles in 1985-86.

Five teams contested the rediscovered cup at the Gipps St fields, but it was the home team that ruled the pitch.

Armidale, Gunnedah, Kamilaroi, and Tablelands were the other sides, with Kamilaroi also going through undefeated, but only racking up one win.

Going into the final game between Tamworth and Armidale, Kamilaroi were in front.

Tamworth only needed to either draw or win to take the cup.

There was no love lost between the two sides.

Despite the fact that Armidale couldn’t win the cup it was played with all the passion and fervour of a grand final.

Ten minutes in and the game locked at 0-0 frustrations started to boil over and the cards began to come out.

A bit of pushing and shoving on and off the ball resulted in two yellows for Tamworth and one for Armidale.

The match was goal-less at half time, but the fire was still there.

Straight after the break Tamworth looked to be on top and had a shot on goal that went wide.

Armidale responded with some attack of their own with goalkeeper Sam Coates making some good saves.

There was a lot of niggle going on and plenty of whistle blowing as both sides looked for chances.

Eventually the game exploded when Tamworth’s Luke Purcell was brought down hard in the box.

Purcell retaliated and both teams and some of the bench jumped into the melee.

When the referees regained control the cards came out. 

Purcell was given a red and discussed the issue with some Armidale supporters on his way to the change rooms.

The Armidale coach also copped a red and was sent from the field for running onto the pitch.

A penalty was given and duly slotted by Chris Fenton to give Tamworth the lead and the cup.

The game finished 1-0 and Tamworth celebrated winning the first year of the new era of the Acropolis Cup.

Tamworth coach Tim Coates has now won the cup as a player and a coach after playing in the 70s.

“Everybody played really well today and it is great to blend the three Tamworth clubs together,” Coates said.

“We have made a bit of history.”

Coates also coached the U19s who thrashed Armidale 17-1 earlier in the day.

Armidale did get one back in the women’s game beating a young Tamworth side 5-nil.

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