Stamford AFC failed to take their chances at home against Evo-Stik Northern Premier League leaders Skelmersdale United and the quality opposition made them pay for it, winning 3-1.
The Daniels started well at the Vic Couzens Stadium whipping in some dangerous balls early on but it was the high-flying visitors who struck the first blow. Aidan Kirkbride got his head to the ball to score in just the seventh minute.
But going behind to an early goal only seemed to spur Stamford on. Nabil Shariff beat his marker with a neat turn to engineer a shooting opportunity but he pushed his effort wide of the goal.
Then midfielder Jon Challinor found room out wide and cut in field before bending a shot goalwards but his effort also missed the target.
The Daniels top goal scorer, with nine league goals, Ryan Robbins then went close to adding to his tally, but his first effort was stopped by Skelmersdale keeper Martin Fearon and a second effort cleared the cross bar.
Stamford were made to pay for their inaccuracy in front of goal in the 32nd minute when Connor McCarthy scored the first of his double.
Again it was a headed goal which beat the weakened Stamford defence, which was missing captain and organiser Richard Jones.
However the good news is the central defender is expected back in one to two weeks after receiving specialist treatment from a osteopath on his injured backs thanks to donations from the Daniels’ fans.
But he was not back to stop the Skelmersdale striker getting on the end of a beautiful cross from Tom Ince, who had beaten two men out wide to deliver the ball.
Chances were harder to come by in the second half with Skelmersdale showing why they are sitting top of the table. The visitors got on top of the battle in midfield and limited the Daniels’ chances in front of goal.
In the 81st minute McCarthy ended any hope of salvaging something from the game when he went through on goal, used his skill and balance to round Stamford keeper Andy Stevens and fired in.
Stamford’s top performer Dan Lawlor snatched a goal back five minutes from time with a touch of class from the dead ball. Lawlor beat Fearon from a curling 25-yards classy free-kick.
But it was too little too late. Robbins had a great chance in the closing minutes to reduce the deficit but Feardon pulled off the stop of the game when he saved the strikers drive with a reflex one-handed block.
Stamford are now 15th in the league table but are back in action tonight at Ilkeston.
Stamford: Andrew Stevens, Shawn Richards (Nathan Fox), Jon Challinor, Lewis Carr, Dalton Bettles, Ryan Clarke, Dan Lawlor, Tom McGowan (Emeka Nwadike), Nabil Shariff, Jordan Smith, Ryan Robbins. Subs: David Staff.
Skelmersdale: Martin Fearon, Valtar Fernandes, Daniel Wisdom, Robert McIntosh, Robert Bodie, Aidan Kirkbride, Mark Byrne (Matthew Harris), Curtis Thompson, Kenny Strickland, Connor McCarthy, Tom Ince (Jack Golding). Subs: Josh Summer, Phil Mooney, Michael Simpson.