Staff reaches his double Daniels century

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David Staff made his 200th appearance for Stamford on Saturday, coming on as substitute during the Daniels 3-2 victory.

Stamford were two goals down with 20 minutes to go and it looked as if their 100 percent away record would come to an end. But three goals in four minutes turned the game around to give Stamford the win their performance deserved.

With Jordan Smith moving on, Gary King partnered Sam Mullarkey up front with Louis Hamilton on the right wing. Greg Smith was fit again and on the bench.

Ten minutes had gone before either side created a chance and that was wasted with a Brigg shot well wide. Up until then it had been pretty even with both sides moving the ball well but failing with the final ball.

Hamilton set up Stamford’s first chance with a cross which was cleared only as far as Andy Hall whose shot was well saved by Miles Fenty - the first of many he was to make during the afternoon.

Matt Finlay had largely been a spectator in the Stamford goal but he had to stretch to hold a shot from distance by Liam Davis. While at the other end Hall threatened the Brigg goal, again turning sharply, but his shot was rising and cleared the bar with inches to spare.

Stamford had dominated but Brigg took the lead after 34 minutes. A cross from Alex Flett, briefly at Stamford last season, was blocked but Stamford couldn’t get the ball away. It fell to Adam Lee who drove the ball home.

Minutes later Stamford had a real let off when Liam Dickens was allowed to carry the ball from inside his own half past several Stamford players before shooting from just outside the box. Finlay looked to have it covered but the ball hit the shoulder of Richard Jones looping high before dropping onto the cross bar and behind for a Brigg corner.

Brigg wouldn’t let Stamford settle, harrying and chasing whenever Stamford had the ball, and Stamford missed a chance to equalise just before the break when a long throw from Paul Mayo bounced deep into the 18 yard area to Mullarkey but, with just Fenty to beat, he shot straight at the keeper.

Stamford had more first half chances but hadn’t converted them. Brigg had done enough, and taken their best chance, to lead at the break.

Brigg continued to keep up the pressure in the opening minutes of the second half and there was no surprise when Brigg increased their lead after 54 minutes, although the shot from Liam Davis on the volley took a deflection on it’s way in.

Daniels boss Graham Drury reacted by bringing on Smith and within 30 seconds he had been in the action twice, first with a shot blocked on the line and then a three way conversation between him, a Brigg defender and the referee when the Brigg player took exception to Smith’s strong style of play.

Fenty pulled off another superb save stretching to claw away a Richard Jones header from just inside the post.

David Staff then replaced Danny Brooks and the Stamford goalrush soon followed.

First Smith nodded on a Mayo long throw for King to fiercely drive home. A minute later a cross from Hall was played back to Smith who turned and smashed the ball past Fenty.

Almost immediately a strong Mayo run past two defenders and into the Brigg box ended when he went over the outstretched leg of Scott Hellewell and, after a moments hesitation, the referee pointed to the spot. The penalty was delayed as Brigg players argued with the referee but eventually Hall stepped up and it was 3-2 to the joy of the travelling fans.

It was now all Stamford and a cross from Mullarkey was tapped straight into the path of Hall by Smith but again he was denied by Fenty with another good save.

Mullarkey then set up Hall but again Fenty pulled another superb save. The last move of the game saw King test Fenty but once more he stopped what looked a certain goal.

Stamford looked beaten before Drury made two substitutions which changed the game. Gregg Smith was a real handful for the Brigg defence and because they paid him so much attention King and Mullarkey found more space.

Staff was always looking for the ball to set up either Hall or Mayo on the left and they combined well to pile the pressure on the Brigg defence. At the end, Stamford deserved the three points with Brigg keeper Miles Fenty named as man of the match. Without his saves, it would have been a much bigger win for Stamford.

Stamford: Matt Finlay, Robbie Maddox, Paul Mayo, Jack Cotton, Richard Jones, Danny Brooks (David Staff 65), Louis Hamilton (Greg Smith 56), Jack McGovern, Gary King, Sam Mullarkey, Andrew Hall. Subs not used: Joe Hopewell, Tom Batchelor, Dean West.

Stamford M-o-M: Andy Hall