IT may be the most predictable and easiest excuse in football, but rarely does it ring so true.

While Ian McDonald tried desperately not to mutter the words "Now we can concentrate on the league" in his post-match interviews, you always knew it would come — and it did!

Not that Macca can be blamed, however, for falling into the cliché trap which claims the victims of so many managers after a shock cup defeat — in fact, never a truer word could be said.

Macca's Farnborough have saved their best performances for the Trophy thus far — until Saturday that was, when they were out-played and out-fought for long periods against the gallant Doc Martens League leaders.

And with nine crucial Conference games to go, Macca's men must concentrate their minds first on not producing a repeat performance.

The boss said: "It was a big game for us but too many players just did not play. You have to give Tamworth credit, they are a good side who will be a good acquisition to the Conference next season, but I'm very disappointed with our performance.

"It was just one of those days where it just didn't seem right from the very first whistle. I think our luck was summed up in the very last minute when Chris Piper's free-kick hit the post and rebounded straight into the arms of the goalkeeper.

"As much as I hate to say 'Now we can concentrate on the league' it is very true in our situation. We have nine crucial games left and the priority must, and has always been, to stay in the Conference."

With the likes of Jim Rodwell and Ken Charlery named on the teamsheet and five subs listed for the first time in several games, the signs looked good for Macca, who must have been eyeing up guiding the club to their first ever Trophy semi-final.

But the feel-good factor didn't last too long as Tamworth, playing in front of their vocal 500-strong support, took control early on.

Darron Gee's men had won 12 and drawn two of their last 14 matches, and it showed, as they fearlessly used their strong, aerial approach to full effect.

The main danger, giant striker Mark Sale, produced the first quality save from Tony Pennock with a goalbound volley, before partner Scott Rickards tried his luck, only to find Pennock in equally good form.

Macca's woes then continued when influential loan signing Geoff Pitcher limped off with what looked like a hamstring pull mid-way through the half, and that proved to be a big loss.

His replacement, however, young Danny Potter, forced Boro's only real chance of the half with a near post header from Dean Green's cross which flew wide of target.

Somehow Boro managed to remain on level terms going into the break but it took Tamworth just six minutes into the re-start to reassert themselves and get their just rewards.

Shoddy Boro defending allowed Tamworth to play in Steve Evans down the right flank and he centred for Nick Colley to slot home from close range.

Only after conceding did Boro actually start to play and with Potter pushed up to form a three-pronged attack with Rocky Baptiste and Charlery, Boro looked more threatening.

Indeed just minutes after Macca made the tactical switch, Tony Taggart burst down the left and slotted in field to Lenny Piper, who for once, found himself in a bit of space on the edge of the box.

Instinctively, Piper turned a rifled a shot through a crowd of players and past keeper Darren Acton at the far post to ruin Tamworth's eight-game run without conceding a goal.

Piper's finish seemed to inject new life into Boro, who should really have gone on and won the game from there.

But credit to Tamworth, they raised their game once again, and with the clock showing just six minutes left, they got the winner you have to say their deserved.

The lively Rickards rounded Rodwell on the left-hand by-line and somehow cut the ball back for defender Paul Hatton to volley home a rare goal into the roof of the net from 12 yards.

Boro came within a whisker, however, of forcing a replay when Chris Piper's free-kick in the dying minutes hit the woodwork and ricocheted to the grateful arms of Acton, prompting the start of mass celebration from the Staffordshire-based clan.

Macca and his men can have no complaints, but with Yeovil and Forest Green also going down to surprise home defeats, it will be seen as a good chance lost.

With Burton away on Saturday and Telford at home the following Tuesday, however, the famous cliché will no doubt be a prominent phrase used in the training camp this week.

BORO: Pennock; C Piper, Taggart, Annon, Rodwell, Butterworth, Pitcher (sub Potter 25mins), L Piper, Baptiste, Charlery, Green (Vansittart 87). Not used: Ayres, Osborn, Patterson. Att: 1,312.

l Rocky Baptiste has told fans he is "Farnborough through and through" after the opportunity of trialling out for Nationwide League Scunthorpe fell through last week.

Baptiste was due to travel up to Scunthorpe in a bid to impress manager Russell Wilcox in a game against Darlington last Wednesday, but got his dates muddled up, thinking the game was this week, and now the deal is virtually dead.

The striker said: "The Scunthorpe thing was just rumour, there was no truth at all. I am Farnborough through and through and my only focus now is to stay up in the Conference."

l The Farnborough Town Supporter's Club are running a coach to Burton on Saturday, leaving Farnborough Main Station at 10.30am and not 10am as previously advertised.

Cost is £15 non-members, £10 members, for more information call Nick on 07734 472437.

l The re-formed Supporters Ground Development Association, will be holding another work party this Sunday (23) when they will be finishing the painting of the toilet blocks in the ground and, if enough helpers arrive, making a start on the Clubhouse toilets.

Paint and materials will be provided from the funds received from the collection at the ground on Saturday, which brought in a very healthy £309.65.

The Supporters Club would like to thank all those that contributed.