Daniels pleased to move out of drop zone and look ahead to 2014

Action from Grantham Town v Stamford
Action from Grantham Town v Stamford
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The Daniels are out of the relegation zone as 2014 begins having gone undefeated over the difficult Christmas period.

Stamford picked up seven out of a possible nine points over the congested winter schedule with a 1-1 draw away at derby rivals Grantham on New Year’s Day.

It concluded a good run of results with Stamford claiming back-to-back home wins over King’s Lynn on Boxing Day and Droylsden on Saturday.

Manager David Staff called Wednesday’s weather conditions some of the worst he had ever seen.

Stamford fought through the swirling wind and biting cold to come back from a goal down to claim a point thanks to a bullet header from Jordan Smith in the 70th minute.

It came after Grantham took the lead with a header from Greg Smith in the 15th minute.

The run of results sees Stamford move up to 18th in the league and six points clear of the relegation zone.

Staff said: “If you had told me before Christmas that we would get seven out of nine points, with two good home wins, then we would have accepted that.

“I am pleased with the position we are in but with a league where four go down it is always very tough.

“If you look at the results there are some good sides, like Witton Albion who we have got on Saturday, who are in the relegation zone.”

Staff said his side were now getting more accustomed to life in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League after being promoted.

He said: “The average age of the team we put out on Wednesday was under 23 so we are not that experienced at this level but the longer you play in this division the more prepared you get.

“I always said we will improve as a club as the season goes on and I think that is happening.

“Now we have to look after our form and go on.”

The Daniels finished 2013 on a high with a 4-0 win on Saturday over the league’s bottom side Droylsden.

Shawn Richards scored twice at home at the Vic Couzens Stadium. Skipper Richard Jones and Nabil Shariff also both netted.

The visitors defended stoutly for the opening quarter with Droylsden goalkeeper Alex Wimmer keeping the Daniels strike-force at bay .

However, on 25 minutes the game effectively ended as a contest when Carlos Edmunson was shown a straight red for bringing down Jon Challinor in a scoring position in the penalty box.

Wimmer saved Jordan Smith’s penalty and it took until the 57th minute until Richards notched the first of his double.

Stamford battered the Droylsden goal with 11 shots on target throughout the match and grazed the woodwork on numerous occasions. Jones added his named to the scoresheet in the 59th minute.

Shariff struck in the 74th minute before Richards finished the job with an 80th minute penalty after he was brought down by Aeon Lattie, who was also given his marching orders.

Daniels keeper Alex Lynch was forced to make his first save of the game in the 90th minute.

The victory saw Stamford carry on their momentum from a big 3-0 home win over Kings Lynn on Boxing Day.

Jon Challinor hit two first-half goals in a man of the match performance to help his side to the win.

The first came from a corner after just five minutes when he got on the end of a flick on header by Jordan Smith.

Kings Lynn then went down to 10 men when defender Ryan Fryatt was shown a straight red for bringing down Shawn Richards when he was through on goal.

Challinor finished a break on the stroke of half-time to complete a good half.

Daniels keeper Lynch had to be at his best to keep a clean sheet but repelled everything the visitors through at him.

Stamford completed the result with a tap-in for Dan Lawlor in the 74th minute after Shariff had done the damage with a weaving run.

Stamford are away to Witton Albion on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.