FOOTBALL: Daniels come from behind twice in entertaining draw

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THE Daniels came from behind twice to draw an entertaining game with Gresley on Tuesday evening but they will rue several missed chances that could have secured all three points.

Jordan Smith had perhaps the best chance to seal a victory, breaking from the half-way line late in the game but losing out when one-on-one with the visitors goalkeeper Gary Hateley in the final minutes.

If anything he was possibly in a too central position and didn’t have a natural angle to shoot at, and, aiming to the keeper’s right, his shot lacked the power to beat Hateley.

Andy Hall also had a good chance late on but his shot through a crowded box fizzed over the bar, and Richard Jones couldn’t find the space at a corner to get the killer touch as he turned on a loose ball.

Both teams played attractive passing football on a wet surface at Kettering Road, although shots on goal were at a premium in a first half of technical football.

New signing Louis Hamilton looked quick and dangerous for the Daniels, while his opposite number, Rob Spencer, looked equally threatened on the wing for Gresley.

Gresley, who have been touted as one of the pre-season favourites, took the lead just before half time and again midway through the second half but Stamford showed good spirit with first Andy Hall and with 15 minutes remaining substitute Sam Mullarkey levelling.

The deadlock was broken when Richard Hanslow found space in the Stamford box to turn and drive the ball low to Matt Finlay’s left in the 40th minute. A couple of minutes later Spencer found similar room between Jack Cotton and Richard Jones at the heart of Stamford’s defence but was flagged offside.

Stamford’s best chances of the half fell to Smith, once when Hateley slid out to block Smith who beat the offside to chase Gary King’s astute pass behind the Gresley defence, and again late in the half when the Stamford striker, who put in another impressive performance, fired his shot too close to the visitors’ keeper.

Seven minutes after the break Stamford levelled. Hall held off the attentions of two chasing defenders as he broke into the box and angled the ball across Hateley into the bottom left corner.

Stamford had a scare when a cross from Matt Roome bounced off the top of the bar but as more space opened up in the second half, both sides carved out chances with King forcing Hateley to push a low rive wide of the post.

Royce Turville then forced Finlay to tip a long range effort over the Daniels’ bar but Gresley retook the lead from the resulting corner; the ball going in off Hall into his own net in a crowded six yard box on 70 minutes.

Five minutes later Stamford were level when Hall’s cross eluded everybody except substitute Sam Mullarkey at the far post, who bundled home Stamford’s second equaliser.

The Daniels had the best of the late chances but when Smith’s shot was turned away for a corner a draw between two evenly matched sides seemed inevitable.

Stamford play the last of four back-to-back home matches at Kettering Road on Saturday when Kidsgrove Athletic visit for First Qualifying Round of the FA Trophy. Kick off is 3pm.

Stamford: Matt Finlay, Robbie Maddox, Paul Mayo, Jack Cotton, Richard Jones, Danny Brooks, Louis Hamilton, Jack McGovern, Jordan Smith, Gary King, Andy Hall. Subs: Sam Mullarkey, David Staff.

Attendance: 120