Promotion hopes are hit for six after hammering

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Sheffield 6 Stamford 0

STAMFORD’ battle to regain a place in the play-offs for promotion were dealt a massive blow at Sheffield on Tuesday night.

The Daniels lost 6-0 to the fourth-placed side with a hat-trick from Andrew Gascoigne and further goals from Matthew Roney, Ben Turner and Connor Higginson.

Stamford remain sixth but are now four points adrift of Leek who cemented their place in the final play-off place with a 3-0 victory at home to Brigg on Tuesday.

Stamford faced a Sheffield side confident of their play-off place but, needing a win to get their hopes back on track, the Daniels were missing skipper Wayne Diuk at the heart of defence.

Stamford had the first chance, after 10 minutes, when a deep ball forward reached Bruno Holden via a defender’s head but the Stamford striker pulled the trigger much too early and shot comfortably wide.

At the other end, Ross Whalin had to be sharp to change direction and push away a deflected shot from Callum Harrison. That was quickly followed by a shot from the same position by Matt Roney which Whalin saved with his legs.

Sheffield took the lead on the half hour after intense play around the Stamford area led to three consecutive corners.

The first came when Whalin superbly tipped a shot from Roney over the bar.

Whalin next shovelled another shot away before the cross back in was deflected for the second corner and another blocked shot deflected for the third.

That was one too many and when the ball fell to Roney on the edge of the box, his firmly hit shot took a deflection past Whalin to give Sheffield the lead.

That goal lifted Sheffield’s game and they were tormenting Stamford with pace down both flanks.

Steve Woolley turned Ryan Whitehouse, back defending, and when he was brought down the referee pointed to the spot. Whalin guessed the right way but Andy Gascoigne hit the ball too well for him to get close to it.

Sheffield stepped up the pace further after the break and a 25 yard screamer from Roney crashed back off the post in the first minute. That set the tone and Stamford barely got out of their half in the second 45.

On the hour, Joe Pheasant brought down Nathan Modest for a second penalty. This time Gascoigne waited for Whalin to commit himself before chipping the ball down the middle.

Whalin had done all he could to keep Stamford in the game but his error led to the fourth when he took far too long to clear the ball. Ben Turner blocked the clearance and the ball was deflected into the net.

Sheffield then brought Connor Higginson on and he soon made it five with a quick run down the left before stroking the ball past Whalin. Another very quick Higginson run down the left led to a pull back for Gascoigne to make it six and a hat-trick.

Stamford had the chance for a consolation when Harry Deane outjumped the Sheffield defence but his header went past the post.

Stamford matched Sheffield for the first 20 minutes or so but once Sheffield opened the scoring, their pace on and off the ball, ran Stamford ragged.

Stamford: Ross Whalin, Rob Maddox, Joe Pheasant, Luke Garton, Dean Whiley, Matt Baxter, Nathan Watson (Harry Deane 70), Nick Ghislanzoni (Jared Holmes 67), Bruno Holden, Ryan Whitehurst (Scott Mooney 67), Dan Brooks. Subs not used: Dan Barrett, Mark Harvey.