AFTER conceding to Football League opposition in just the second minute of the game, Stamford put up a brave fight against Rotherham United yesterday evening.
Ultimately the Daniels lost 3-1 but it was much improved performance following a poor display against Blackstones on Saturday, when they also lost 3-1.
The Yorkshire outfit’s professional status showed. They were quick in attack and offered Stamford strikers Sam Mullarkey and Gary King little space but Stamford’s confidence grew after the worst of starts - Kieran Agard scored for the Millers with their first attack, bending the ball around new Daniels keeper Elliott Shilliam from the corner of the box.
After a few scary moments for the Daniels defence early on, which included a great save by Shilliam to push away Ben Pringle’s half volley, they repelled Rotherham’s attacks effectively and pushed forward themselves.
Rotherham still created the best openings but Andy Hall and Jordan Smith both looked threatening on the wings for Stamford, and wide play was Stamford’s best route forward.
Stamford fell two behind in the early minutes of the second half, conceding a spot kick for a clumsy challenge in the area. Alex Revell made no mistake buying his spot kick low to Shilliam’s right.
But the Daniels fought back. Among the series of second half changes, Jake Gibson was brought on and his electrifying pace, combined with Jordan Smith’s work on the wing, pulled a goal back.
Smith sped down the right and played a hard, low cross across the box where Gibson was powering in unmarked to fire into the back of the net.
With quarter of an hour left, Rotherham made it three. Richard Stainsby, who had replaced Shilliam in goal, only parried a fierce shot from distance and Reece Lucas capitalised at the second attempt.
Stamford were beaten but had worked tirelessly against opposition from several tiers higher. Performances like that will be rewarded once the league campaign begins.