New Mills 2 Stamford 1
UNBEATABLE at home, Stamford are still looking for their first win away from home after Monday’s 2-1 defeat at league leaders New Mills.
The Daniels took an early lead through Sam Mullarkey but were soon pegged back and Mills tscored the decider with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Stamford were without Robbie Maddox who picked up a knee injury on Saturday so Matt Cook returned at right back and Jake Gibson was given a start on the left in place of Dan Cotton who was on the bench.
Stamford faced a tough task against newly promoted New Mills, one of only two unbeaten teams in the league but it was Stamford who were close to taking the lead straight from the kick off. The ball was immediately played wide to Lee Beeson who controlled the ball with his thigh before going round a defender but his shot was blocked for a corner.
Two minutes later New Mills had a great chance to take the lead after winning their own corner but Carlos Meakin headed wide.
Next Stamford had another chance with a great ball from Beeson to Mullarkey. His route to goal was blocked so he crossed to Jake Gibson whose shot had keeper Ben Proctor beaten, but the ball was blocked by a defender.
Both sides were playing good football on a good surface made even quicker by a light drizzle. New Mills played a short passing game with Stamford playing more direct.
The Millers were unlucky not to go ahead on 10 minutes when a shot from Meakin crashed onto the Stamford post and back out and two minutes later Stamford took the lead. It was a typical Mullarkey turn to make space for before firing a shot beyond the reach of the keeper into the corner.
The lead lasted only four minutes. A superb ball from Antony Field left the Stamford defence in two minds and while they dithered, Ashley Stott nipped in and steered the ball past Mario Ziccardi.
The goal lifted New Mills and for a while they played good possession football, giving Stamford little chance to get in the game.
As the game moved deep into stoppage time New Mills wasted a glorious chance to go in ahead. Christopher Young had acres of space on the left and his cross was inch perfect for Dean Crowe. With a free header, he managed to head across goal and past the far post.
New Mills started the second half strongly and a sliced clearance from Miles Chamberlain seemed to have set up Luke Horrocks but he made an even bigger slice of his shot.
Minutes later, a strong run from Mullarkey set up Gibson but he had another goal bound shot blocked. Danny Brooks had the next chance but with time to line up his shot the ball went wide and easily past the post.
Simon Clark made two substitutions on 54 minutes with Seth Burkett replacing injured Dan Barrett and Danny Steadman replacing Brooks, and straight away Stamford had another great chance when Mullarkey’s shot beat the keeper but drifted wide of the far post.
Stamford were having a lively period and Dean Oliver chased a long ball to cross from the bye line. Gray hit the ball first time but his shot was saved by Proctor.
New Mills kept up the pressure and just after the hour they came close to taking the lead when a shot from Stott looped over Ziccardi but came back off the bar. The ball went straight to Crowe but he took too long to shoot and Ziccardi was able to get back to save the shot when it finally came.
Minutes later, Proctor got finger tips to a 25 yard Beeson free kick to turn the ball onto the bar and out for a corner.
A goal had to come but, unfortunately it was against Stamford. Another good cross from Field was driven in to the Stamford goal. Ziccardi did well to stop the ball but with the loose ball on the goal line, Potts stretched to push the ball home.
Stamford had the last chance of the game deep into injury time with a good move finished by Steadman but his shot was blocked for another corner.
The Evo-Stik League First Division South has been won by a promoted team in each of the last two seasons. There will be few surprised if New Mills aren’t in the mix at the end of the season to maintain that run.
Stamford: Mario Ziccardi, Matt Cook, Dan Barrett (Seth Burkett 54), Chris Gray, Miles Chamberlain, Michael Jacklin, Lee Beeson, Danny Brooks (Danny Steadman 54), Dean Oliver (Gary King 70), Sam Mullarkey, Jake Gibson. Subs not used: Danny Cotton.
Stamford Man of the Match: Michael Jacklin.