BOOM! Do you want me to elaborate? Go on then. What a wonderful day Saturday was in the autumnal sunshine in Staffordshire.

I don’t think it would be stretching things too far to suggest that was the best 90 minutes supporting Darlo since that amazing night at Whitby in 2016. Like that night, the result and to a certain extent the performance turned out to be far more comfortable than my pre-match nerves would have suggested. Although those two games were in different competitions, the prize was the same – progression.

Since becoming a fan-owned club in 2012 there has been a phenomenal amount of success, especially for a club that had previously been starved of it. And yet, there has always been something missing.

For most Premier League clubs, what happens in the league is all that matters these days. Whether it is winning it, qualifying for Europe or just surviving, the league is the be all and end all. That might be fine for those in the rarefied air of television football land, but for the rest of us there really is nothing quite like a good old fashioned run in the cup.

We might have a couple of trophies for winning a league or two; hell, even those trophies for finishing second in the NPL division one north just don’t cut it when comparing it to the exhilaration, the drama, the passion of a run in the FA Cup. Never mind it putting a skip in your step, it leaves you feeling like you’re on cloud nine.

For the casual reader or fans of other clubs wondering what on earth I’m talking about and thinking I’m going a bit overboard because we’ve strung together three wins in the cup, two of which were against teams in leagues below us, well just look at our recent record in the cup. It has been atrocious.

First, we had a manager who wasn’t too keen on it. Then we had a manager who couldn’t win in it even if he really wanted too. Now, we have a guy who seems to have embraced the unique challenges of managing Darlo and he is beginning to thrive.

These wins in the FA Cup are the reward for his hard work over the past few months. He knows every last pound in our budget is a hostage that must be protected like it was his own money and it appears he has risen to that challenge. It makes this cup run every bit more important as the extra income is a chance for Alun Armstrong to tweak and strengthen what he already has. Based on the last month or so, those tweaks and improvements have made a significant difference.

You might be thinking I’m over-egging the manager’s role in all of this. After all, he wasn’t on the pitch on Saturday. He didn’t personally deal with Tamworth’s very tangible attacking threat. He certainly didn’t save their penalty. It wasn’t him who ruthlessly cut the home side apart when attacking. But what he did do was bring those players to the club.

No Alun Armstrong, then no Will Hatfield, no Michael Liddle, no Adam Campbell etc. The way the players celebrated at the end of the game and their connection with the fans in that celebration was reminiscent of that night in Whitby.

Yes, there wasn’t 2,000 Darlo fans there and we certainly weren’t on the pitch, but nonetheless there was a shared bond; an understanding of what the result meant for the club. That is down to the leadership of the manager. It is something we had three years ago but sadly it eroded under the previous two managers. That Armstrong has been able to recreate it in such a short space of time especially following a patchy start to the season is a credit to him.

Let’s hope all that hard work is rewarded with a favourable first round draw. After all our trials and tribulations over the last few years, I think we’re about due a good draw.