Daniels hoping for a bit of FA Cup magic

Jordan Smith on the ball for Stamford against Worksop'Photo: Geoff Atton
Jordan Smith on the ball for Stamford against Worksop'Photo: Geoff Atton

The magic of the FA Cup comes to Stamford tomorrow and there should be plenty of spice as the opponents are local rivals Grantham.

The cup clash at Kettering Road offers temporary respite from the Evo-Stik Northern Premier for the Daniels who are finding life a bit tough after last year’s promotion.

They drew 2-2 on Saturday against Worksop and then lost to Barwell 1-0 on Tuesday night.

However Stamford looked a tighter defensive unit on both occasions which does offer some sign of promise after conceding too many goals in previous weeks.

Daniels boss David Staff is looking forward to the cup match.

He said: “If you ask the Grantham manager he would probably say the same as us, there’s local rivalry and it’s going to be a tough test.

“They are quite strong in the league and have got some experience. They overturned us at our place even though we did quite well in that game, but didn’t defend quite tightly enough.

“Every club and player wants to do well in the FA Cup.”

Grantham, who are three places above Stamford in the league, won 2-1 on Bank Holiday Monday, but the Daniels had a penalty saved and hit the bar three times.

There are no easy fixtures at this level for Stamford but a good run in the cup would help instil a bit of all-important confidence.

On Saturday, the Daniels were two-up against Worksop Town, thanks to Jordan Smith after four minutes and a Luke Blakely penalty on 34 minutes.

But James Cottingham reduced the deficit after 56 minutes.

Then as Stamford were heading for the win, the game was thrown into controversy as Stamford keeper Alex Lynch was adjudged to have brought down Leon Mettam in the box - a decision hotly contested by Stamford players and fans alike.

Lynch was given a straight red card and then Mettam added insult to injury by stepping up and slotting the spot-kick home.

On Tuesday, things were more straightforward as Barwell controlled a tight match and took the lead through Danny Newton who hit a shot from the edge of the box.

The Daniels struggled to get into the game although they did have the ball in the back of the net just as the full-time whistle was about to go but it was disallowed.

Staff said: “Things are still not quite going for us. Our game management has been much better in the last two matches and we look more solid defensively.

“We had a bit of bad luck at the weekend with the penalty but I’m sure things will turn around.

“We just need to eliminate the small mistakes and stop giving teams opportunities.

“The player who won the penalty had already been booked for diving - then he scores the penalty. If you talk to anyone there we deserved to win.”

Against Barwell, who are 10th in the league, Staff admits it was tough.

“They are a difficult side to beat,” he said, “particularly when they get ahead

“They’ve got a lot of experience and are difficult to break down.

“Having said that we weren’t good enough on the ball and we didn’t look confident when we had the ball.

Stamford face Grantham tomorrow (Saturday) at home, kick off 3pm and then play Buxton at home on Tuesday, kick-off 7.45pm.