Stamford AFC failed to take their chances away at Barwell in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier last night (Tuesday) and ultimately it cost them the match, losing 1-0 in a hard fought contest.
A goal from the Canaries’ Nigel Julien in the 59th minute was the difference between the sides on a wet and windy night at Kirkby Road.
Stamford manager David Staff travelled to Barwell with a weakened squad, missing skipper Richard Jones who picked up a back injury in the Daniels’ 1-1 away draw at Halesowen Town on Saturday and star striker Ryan Robbins to a one match suspension.
Despite Stamford missing two of their key players the game was finely balanced for much of the match with both sides creating plenty of chances but failed to put them away.
The hosts were first to threaten when James Towers almost flicked a through ball into the Stamford net but it just went wide.
The Daniels responded through Shawn Richards who created space for himself but shot over the bar.
Stamford midfielder Jon Challinor then missed the target after receiving the ball in plenty of space.
With half time approaching Barwell’s Jamie Towers rose high in the box to direct a cross goalwards but Nathan Fox was in position to head the danger clear.
The Daniels were unlucky not to go into the half time break with a lead. In stoppage time Dan Lawlor and then Michael Built both had shots saved in quick succession by Barwell goal keeper Liam Castle.
It took something a bit special to finally break the deadlock. Julien picked up the ball on the edge of the box and powerfully side-footed it past Andy Stevens in the Stamford net into the bottom corner of the goal.
Richards almost brought the scores level when he was set free by Jordan Smith but Castle saved bravely at the striker’s feet.
Barwell then went up the other end and went close twice, on the second occasion Stevens saved well.
With the game opening up Challinor let a left footed shot loose but Castle took it with relative ease after some of the sting of it had been taken away by a deflection.
Staff introduced Nabil Shariff and the striker came close to salvaging something for Stamford.
In the 80th minute he shot from the edge of the box but Castle was equal to it.
Shariff then turned provider - laying the ball off to Built who blazed over,
With five minutes left to play Sharrif finally beat Castle with a header but the Barwell goal scorer Julien was on the spot to head it off the line in an action just as valuable as his strike half an hour earlier. In doing so he secured all three points for his side.
Stamford have now dropped down to 13th in the league but have a couple of games in hand over most of the sides around them in the tight mid-table.
Stamford are at home to Skelmersdale United on Saturday, kick off 3pm.