Stamford 5 - 1 Lincoln United
STAMFORD maintained their perfect start to the league season on Tuesday evening, beating Lincoln United 5-1 ahead of Saturday's FA Cup tie at home to Borrowash Victoria.
Andy Hall scored a hat-trick which included two spot kicks won by Jordan Smith, who in turn headed home Stamford's fourth. Skipper Richard Jones headed Stamford's second, which gave the Daniels a 2-0 lead deep in first half stoppage time.
Lincoln looked strongest early in each half and they pulled the score back to 2-1 five minutes after the break with a strike from Joe Butler but once Stamford had restored their two goal lead the visitors, who lost 6-2 at home to Sheffield on Saturday, looked increasingly demoralised.
Stamford finished strongly and by the end could have scored more. Man of the match Jordan Smith, Sam Mullarkey and substitute Jake Gibson could all have added to the tally.
As at Northwich on Saturday, The Daniels began with Jordan Smith and Mullarkey up front, Hall and Gary King on the wings, and Jack McGovern and Danny Brooks in the middle but it was the defence and goalkeeper Elliott Shilliam who were busiest early on. Shilliam tipped over Scott Coupland's fiercly struck free kick after just five minutes.
Early on Stamford were guilty of overhit passes but as they settled McGovern looked increasingly in charge of midfield and Stamford's pace up front soon became a threat.
Ten minutes into the game, Jordan Smith turned Dave Hone and burst into the Lincoln box. Smith was clipped as he headed for goal and Hall slammed the resulting penalty in off the right hand post.
Hall was instrumental in the build-up to the Stamford's second goal. It was his run that ended with a foul and Brooks' free kick was met at the far post by Jones. Mullarkey slammed the ball into the back of the net, possibly before the ball crossed the line, but it was the Stamford skipper who wheeled away to claim the goal.
Stamford's third goal, which restored their two goal lead on the hour, was a carbon copy of the opening goal with Smith bundled over in the box. Hall buried his second spot kick low to the keeper's right.
Smith's close range header made it 4-1 with quarter of an hour remaining and Hall slammed a low shot across the goalkeeper into the far corner for the fifth.
After two games Stamford are one of only three teams in the Evo-Stik League First Division South to have won both their opening matches.
It's hard to judge the Daniels' full potential against a Lincoln side who may well struggle this season, but McGovern looked comfortable in midfield and King showed a good touch out on the wing. Mullarkey and Jordan Smith posed a potent threat, especially with Smith's pace, and Andy Hall has maintained his impressive pre-season form.
Now Stamford must briefly turn their attention to the Cup. On Saturday, they host East Midlands Counties League side Borrowash Victoria in the FA Cup.
Borrowash have five points from three league matches this season, beating Lutterworth Athletic 2-1 last weekend. Saturday's preiminary round tie kicks off at 3pm.
The Daniels then return to league action with a trip to Kidsgrove Athletic on Bank Holiday Monday.
Stamford: Elliott Shilliam, Robbie Maddox, Joe Hopewell, Tom Batchelor, Richard Jones, Danny Brooks, Gary King, Jack McGovern, Jordan Smith, Sam Mullarkey, Andy Hall. Subs: Jack Cotton, David Staff, Jake Gibson, Greg Smith, RIchard Stainsby.
Match Sponsor: DISC
Results elsewhere on Tuesday: Brigg 2 - 2 Belper; Chasetown 2 - 0 Newcastle; Coalville Town 3 - 1 Romulus; Hucknall Town 1 - 3 King's Lynn Town; Leek Town 2 - 1 Kidsgrove Ath; Market Drayton Town 2 - 3 Halesowen Town; Mickleover Sports 1 - o Rainworth MW; Sheffield FC 1 - 2 Loughborough Dynamo; Sutton Coldfield Town 0 - 5 Northwich Victoria.