Loughborough 2 Stamford 0
STAMFORD were knocked off top spot after just three days with a 2-0 defeat at Loughborough Dynamo yesterday evening.
The Daniels moved to the summit of the Evo-Stik First Division South with a 2-2 draw at Brigg Town on Saturday but, beaten 2-0 at Loughborough, were leap-frogged by a victorious Sheffield yesterday. In a thrilling title race Grantham Town or Carlton Town could both take over at the top with wins this evening.
“I think it’s the toughest I have seen this league,” said Stamford boss Tommy Brookbanks who has managed in the league for six years.
“Our run had to end at some time. What’s important now is that we bounce back quickly”
Stamford started slowly yesterday and shot themselves in the foot after only three minutes when Luke Garton let a crossfield pass slip under his boot. Jack Dale-Brown raced down the wing and crossed to the far post where Sam MacVicar headed the ball back across for Dan Henton for a simple tap in at the near post.
This should have been a wakeup call for the Daniels but moments later they were again at sixes and sevens when a deep cross found ex-Stamford striker Jamie Clarke unmarked. Thankfully for the Daniels, his volley was well wide. Soon after, Jacob Blackwell let fly from distance and rattled the crossbar.
Stamford’s first meaningful chance came after 30 minutes when a great cross from Harry Deane was met by Nick Ghislanzoni’s header which was fumbled by the keeper but cleared at the second attempt.
Stamford improved in the second half with Joe Pheasant’s header tipped over by the keeper, and Nick Ghislanzoni had a shout for a penalty after he looked to have been caught in the area but his appeals were waved away by referee Sian Massey.
Clarke had a free header for Loughborough after a cross from Henton went wide with only Ziccardi to beat and Stamford’s Jake Gibson shaved the post with the keeper rooted to the spot as both teams sought the crucial second goal.
Loughborough doubled the lead with 20 minutes to go a long punt up field by Jake Betts found MacVicar and he shot from the edge of the penalty area through Ziccardi’s legs and into the net.
Stamford: Ziccardi, Garton, Hewitt, Pheasant, Chamberlain, Toyne (Staff 65), Deane, Steadman (Brooks 75), Watson, Ghislanzoni, Gibson (Schiavone 86)
Subs not Used; Harvey Att: 110
* STAMFORD host former league leaders Ilkeston at the Premier Kitchens Arena on Saturday. Kick-off is at 3pm.