We head to the Wellington - we're a bit early but the door is open so we wander in and find we're not the first customers. However the staff are still sorting out the tills so we still have to wait until 10am for the first pint.
(left) Graeme ' Spike' Lee is first to the ball
As we were getting stuck into our first pint, Lance joined us - he was originally going to join us at Tamworth but had decided to meet us here instead - a wise move as it turned out.
Needless to say he was soon telling us all about his recent trip to Los Angeles to see his Hollywood sweetheart, Rhonda Fleming. The trip of a lifetime apparently and it seems she didn't get bored of hearing about his other great love, Darlo!
As we were tucking into our third pint, the bar staff asked us to leave the premises - a problem in the cellar rather than a dislike of football fans it seems and the fire brigade were on their way! We finished our beers outside and then it was time for us to head on to Tamworth, leaving Steve and Neil to head off to Villa Park.
At Tamworth station the taxi drivers seemed loath to take us to the Robert Peel and encouraged us to walk instead. I didn't mind but Tony and John were desperate for the gents and it wasn't a pleasant walk for them.
A relatively decent selection of beers - the pick of these were Oakham Inferno and Dark Star Sunburst.
Last year we had a mass game of pool - mainly as a quick and easy way to raise funds for the Youth Development - but this year we didn't have Brian to organise it for us.
Instead we were were content to play some golden oldies from the 70s on the pub jukebox - the likes of Jethro Tull, Budgie, (early) Yes, King Crimson, ELP, etc - with a little bit of punk to show we're not totally out of touch. The barman must have liked it too as he cranked up the volume.
We all leave in good time for the walk to the ground - I sign in and get pitchside and find irregular DAFTS Pete Stockill has joined the gang, complete with a new flag. Very posh!
Also in attendance today and in the seated away section, is Wrexham manager Dean Saunders, who has come to check out Tamworth, their opponents next Tuesday.
Confidence was high amongst the 193 away fans after the midweek draw at Fleetwood - supposedly one of the favourites this season -but the first half was very uninspiring.The home team worked hard, keeping lots of possession and giving the Darlo defence a torrid time with Russell pulling off one excellent save but not having to do much else.
Darlo had one good chance themselves but the home keeper was alert enough to push the ball away. And er, that was about it in the first forty-five.
Very disappointing and as a result Bowman made away for MB-W before the break in an attempt to get things moving.
Darlington came out early for the second half and looked to have more about them in the early stages of the half but it wasn't long before Tamworth started to dominate possession once more and created some half-decent chances.
It looked like being a goalless draw until Ben Purkiss lost control of the ball in his own box - in trying to regain possession he knocked over a Tamworth forward. The ref blew - penalty!
A tad harsh perhaps but after the penalty was converted it was difficult to argue that Tamworth didn't deserve to be ahead.Darlington had nothing to offer in the last few minutes of the game and as the ref blows, the Darlo fans voice their displeasure at this lack lustre performance.
We trudged back to the station and wait for our train back to New Street. Originally John and I intended to have a few more beers in Brum before catching the train back to Euston but quite frankly we couldn't be arsed. Bugger!