Daniels win big to open up space at the bottom

Stamford AFC have daylight between them and the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League’s relegation as they not only continued their impressive run of results on Saturday but took the revival to the next level.

A wonderful. energetic and precise performance saw that Daniels beat Skelmersdale United 5-2 at the Zeeco Stadium to record their third win on the bounce at Bordervillle.

Stamford got off to the perfect start, scoring perhaps the fastest goal of the season in any league, when striker Jake Newman found the back of the net after just eight seconds. Blink and you missed it.

Jake Duffy played the ball back to full-back Taron Hare from the kick off and he sent a long pass down-field for Greg Smith to flick on for strike partner Newman, who made no mistake firing the ball over Skelmersdale goalkeeper Martin Fearon.

After being caught cold, Skelmersale grew into the game and some neat passing saw Max Hazledine played in to fire past Stamford keeper Paul Bastock in the 13th minute.

The visitors tested the Daniels’ stopper again before Jake Duffy retook the lead in the 23rd minute. Again a flick-on from a long ball caused the damage, this time Newman releasing Duffy, who beat the final defender to score.

Four minutes later Greg Smith scored the first of a brace, rippling the net from a half cleared Lee Beeson cross.

Despite the scoreline the real difference between the sides at the break was Stamford had been more clinical with their chances.

The Daniels came out the blocks quickly in the second half and after Newman and Greg Smith had shots saved they extended their lead from the penalty spot in the 54th minute.

Namesake Jordan earned it with a powerful run from the half way line which was brought to an end when he was fouled in the box. Valter Fernandez, the guilty man, was lucky not to be shown red. But Greg made them pay with a confident strike high into the net.

Skelmersdale did not give up and Chris Almond twice went close for the higher placed visitors, hitting the post with his closest effort.

With 24 minutes remaining Jordan Smith made it 5-1, reacting first to a rebound off the post following a Paul Malone header against the woodwork.

Unbelievably it could have been six moments later, and a hat-trick for Greg Smith, when the Skelmersdale keeper pushed the ball into his path from a another dangerous free kick from man of the match Duffy, but the big striker pushed his effort wide.

To their credit, despite the result being beyond question, the visitors kept pushing forward and got their reward four minutes from time when Shaun Tuck got a second consolation goal having hit the crossbar moments earlier.

With Whitby Town (21st, 29 points) losing 2-1 at Barwell and Colwyn Bay (23rd, 24 points) against Mickleover Sports (22nd, 29 points) being postponed, Stamford (20th, 33 points) moved four points clear of the drop zone, meaning only Mickleover can catch them if they win their two games in hand.

Stamford need to simply keep on winning to relieve the pressure. Next up is a trip to Derbyshire side Buxton on Saturday, followed by the visit of high fliers Darlington 1883 at the Zeeco on Saturday.

Stamford AFC: Paul Bastock (c), Taron Hare, Ollie Luto, Paul Malone (Tom Batchelor), Sam Hill, Curtis Hartley (Sam Downey), Lee Beeson (Jack Wightwick), Jake Duffy, Greg Smith, Jake Newman, Jordan Smith.

Substitutes unused: Jon Challinor and Chris Hamilton.

Skelmersdale United: Martin Fearon, Valter Fernandez, Louis Corrigan, Robert McIntoshm (c), Tony Rendell, Phil Mooney, Ronny McCarthy (Shaun Tuck), Paul Woolcott, Max Hazeldine, Kenny Strickland, Chris Almond.

Substitutes unused: Shaun Holden, Danny Murphy, Dylan Vassalla and Tony Donaldson.

Attendance: 345

Referee: Mr Nigel Smith

Man of the match: Jake Duffy