Clark aims to toughen up lightweight squad

Stamford's Adam Millson tussles for the ball during Stamford's defeat at Grantham
Stamford's Adam Millson tussles for the ball during Stamford's defeat at Grantham
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DANIELS boss Simon Clark is on the lookout for a player who can add much needed muscle to his squad’s speed and finesse.

Stamford drew 1-1 with Goole on Tuesday with a much better showing than during Saturday’s 4-1 defeat a Grantham but Clark says it is clear where the weakness in his side lies.

“It’s no coincidence that all the games we have lost were against physical, route one sides,” he said.

“You have to be physical in this league. They have their hands on you and go right through you in tackles, while we are trying to play the right way. We are not experienced enough to tackle that way and get away with it.”

He complained that Tuesday’s red card for Nathan Adams was down, in a large part, to the lack of protection his players get from referees.

Already on a yellow card that Clark described as “ridiculous”, Adams was involved in an exchange with Goole’s Terry Barwick that resulted in both players getting yellows and Adams his marching orders.

“He got booked for simply flicking the ball away, which was ridiculous,” insisted Clark. “Then he was tackled and kicked out at by their player. He held their guy’s arms and all he has said is: ‘what have you done that for?’.

“It was right in front of us. The referee had his back to it and didn’t even ask his linesman.

“We are up against 6’2”, 16 stone guys, we need a little bit of protection from referees.”

But at the same time as he is calling for protection, Clark is on the lookout for a tough ballplayer who can add experience and steel to the side.

“Maybe I will have to get a few more physical players - players in the mould of Roy Keane or Michael Essien. My players are all 18, 19, 20 year-olds and we need a little bit more experience so we can find the balance between playing attractive football and wining matches against these sides.”

After dismal performances at home to Market Drayton and at Grantham Tuesday’s fixture drew the lowest crowd of the season to the Vic Couzens Stadium, but the stayaways missed a spirited Stamford performance against a useful Vikings side.

Stamford pushed forward from the off and an early Nathan Adams shot was diverted over by Adam Millson. Paul Malone was off target with a header and Adams turned provider for Andy Toyne who failed to convert as he broke through on goal.

“We were excellent in the first half. We were inches away from scoring on a number of ocassions,” said Clark.

Adams was in fine form and weaved past three players before his final shot flashed wide.

Goole missed a great chance to take the lead at the end of the first half when Simon Spencer headed a deep cross back across goal for Gavin Allott to control and blast his shot against the top of the bar from close range.

Goole started the second half as they had ended the first with Spencer and Gavin Allott setting up Vill Powell who was thwarted by Nick Jackson’s saving challenge.

On 58 minutes Adams was handed his second yellow card but despite going a man down, Stamford took a 65th minute lead. Tony Battersby was fouled by Barwick just outside the box and Dan Cotton curled a superb free kick beyond keeper Leigh Walker.

But the lead lasted just two minutes with Powell squeezing the ball into the far corner despite Miles Chamberlain’s challenge.

Stamford almost regained the lead within a minute as great skill from Battersby set up Millson who was inches away from a decisive touch.

The Daniels were pushed back in the closing stages as Goole sought to make their man advantage count. Wright came into his own with a series of fine saves including an 89th minute tip over from Simon Harrison.

Stamford: Wright, Sedgemore, Jackson, Toyne, Chamberlain, Malone, Cotton, Millson, Battersby (Burkett 77), Clarke (Mowbray 81), Adams. Subs not used: Walton, Hill, R. King.

Attendance: 109. Match sponsor: CS Ellis Group Ltd. Ball sponsor: Manor Roofing. Man of the Match: Wright.

n STAMFORD are at home to second-placed Carlton Town tomorrow. Kick off at the Vic Couzens Stadium is at 3pm.Turn to page 118 for a full report from the Grantham match.