Stamford manager David Staff was delighted with his sides three points on Saturday after Nabil Shariff struck a 90th-minute goal to seal an important 2-1 home win over Ashton United.
yan Robbins gave Stamford the lead in just the fourth minute on Saturday when he picked himself up to score a penalty after he had been fouled in the area by Ashton keeper Paul Phillips.
The Daniels led until the 83rd minute when United substitute Lee Rick looked to have snatched a point for his in-form side when he drive a 25-yard free kick past Stamford keeper Will Jones.
However, Stamford showed how far they have progressed this season and rallied to score a late winner through dangerman Shariff.
Stamford manager David Staff said: “Every manager loves a last minute victory and in some ways it was just reward for us.
“We worked really hard all game and I thought we deserved the win.
“We wanted to get to the stage where we were comfortable and confident playing the top sides and in getting something from those games and I feel we are getting there.
“We are an ever-improving side and psychologically it makes such a difference to have won going into the Nantwich game, which will be another hard match.”
Jones, who started ahead of the injured Alex Lynch, had to be at his best to defend Stamford’s lead for so long.
In the first half both teams were reduced to ten men. Ashton lost Matt Kosylo to a second yellow but the Daniels’ Jordan Smith was soon to follow after an altercation in midfield.
Stamford responded well to Ashton’s goal and pushed forward in search of a winner.
Shariff went close before getting the winner, hitting the post with a strike which just bounced out of reach of Charlie Binns.
But on 90 minutes, Shariff was on the spot to put the ball in off the post and send the crowd at the Vic Couzens stadium into raptures.
Staff said he was pleased how his players didn’t let their heads drop when they conceded the late goal.
He said it was a victory built on strong defence, with Jones leading the way in the Daniels’ goal.
Staff described his side’s defensive effort as ‘resolute’.
New signing Emeka Ndadike had an assured debut in midfield, providing cover to the back four.
The win ended Ashton’s impressive eight-match unbeaten run and moved the Daniels up to 18th in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League with rivals Witton Albion losing 4-2 at Blyth Spartans and Frickley Athletic going down 3-1 at home to Matlock Town.
Stamford were due to take on derby rivals Grantham Town in the Lincolnshire Senior Shield semi-final on Tuesday night at the South Kesteven Sports Centre.
However, the match was another victim of the wet weather, being postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.
Weather permitting, Stamford travel to Nantwich Town tomorrow in the league.
Staff said: “Away from home, we are a strong counter-attacking side but they have two good attackers and we will have to be good defensively.
“If we can get off to a strong start then I think we can get something from the game.”
Stamford: Will Jones, Jon Challinor, Jason Field, Jack Ashton (Lewis Carr), Richard Jones, Emeka Ndadike, Dan Lawlor, Jordan Smith, Nabil Shariff (Ashley Robinson) Shawn Richards, Ryan Robbins (Charlie Binns). Sub not used: David Staff.