Daniels go top of table

Brigg Town 2 Stamford 2

STAMFORD moved to the top of the table with a 2-2 draw at Brigg on Saturday lifting them above Ilkeston who visit the Premier Kitchens Arena this weekend.

Jake Gibson levelled in the 45th minute after Brigg had taken an early lead through Liam Davis. The Daniels went ahead late in the second half when Nick Ghislanzoni tucked away a 75th minute penalty but an Adam Hewitt own goal, two minutes from time pegged Stamford back.

Brigg played the final 15 minutes with ten men after Matt Palnt was red-carded for handling on the line, leading to Ghislanzoni’s spot kick, and Stamford lost striker Bruno holden to injury.

The former Brigg man went off with a facial injury and will miss tomorrow’s tie at Loughborough.

Stamford boss Tommy Brookbanks said: “We let a couple of points slip through our grasp, but the good news about Bruno made it a better day.

“Luckily there is nothing broken and we won’t have to worry about trying to find a new striker to replace him for any great length of time.”

He added: “We’re obviously pleased to be back on top of the table and that’s the place where we want to stay.

“The strange thing is we have gone back there at the end of the first game in which we didn’t really perform.

“Life will get harder now that we are top again because every other side will see us as a scalp.”

Both sides started slowly with Brigg having early possession but without creating any threat. The first chance went to Stamford after 10 minutes when Holden’s shot was blocked.

Brigg took the lead four minutes later when a seemingly harmless ball into the box went through to Davis and he fired across Ziccardi.

Another 10 minutes had gone before Stamford had another shot with Hewitt finishing a good move but shooting straight at Brigg keeper Tom Woodhead.

Holden then collected an accidental elbow in the face as he tried to push past a defender. He tried to carry on after a long period of treatment but collapsed soon after and was replaced by Kieren Watson.

With only four minutes left in the half, Rob Northern had just Daniels keeper Mario Ziccardi to beat but pulled his shot well wide. Two minutes later that became an expensive miss when Stamford equalised.

The wind had increased and a ball played high into the Brigg box held up before dropping straight to Ghislanzoni. He held off a couple of challenges before laying the ball off to Gibson who raced past two defenders before smashing the ball home.

There was still time for Ziccardi to turn away a fierce free kick from Connor Marshall which twisted and turned and Northern headed over from a couple of yards.

In the first minute of the second half, Stamford finally showed some good football with a good move down the left which ended with Andy Toyne blazing over from the edge of the box.

The game settled back into the pattern of the first half with Brigg having most possession and just after the hour, Ziccardi had to tip over a 30 yard shot which was dipping under the bar.

When Stamford did begin to put Brigg under pressure they were rewarded. After one sliced Brigg clearance also went in, Plant handled a Stamford shot on the line and the referee pointed straight to the spot. Plant was dismissed and Ghislanzoni smashed the ball past Woodhead.

With six minutes left it looked like Stamford would increase their lead as a fierce shot from Harry Deane looked to have beaten Woodhead but he finger-tipped it past the post.

With two minutes left, and Stamford thinking they were going home with three barely deserved points, a good cross from the left was turned into his own net by the unlucky Hewitt.

Stamford: Mario Ziccardi, Luke Garton, Adam Hewitt, Joe Pheasant, Miles Chamberlain, David Staff, Nathan Watson (Harry Deane 66), Andy Toyne (Danny Steadman 60), Bruno Holden (Kieren Watson 36), Nicholas Ghislanzoni, Jake Gibson. Subs not used: Danny Brooks, Mark Harvey.

MOM: Ziccardi.

* STAMFORD travel to Loughborough Dynamo tomorrow (kick off 7.45pm) and host Ilkeston on Saturday (3pm).