Stamford stumble on the road to play-offs

Action from Stamford's 2-1 defeat at home to Rainworth'Photo:Geoff Atton
Action from Stamford's 2-1 defeat at home to Rainworth'Photo:Geoff Atton

Stamford are making hard work of securing their place in the promotion play-offs, dropping three points at home to lowly Rainworth Miners Welfare on Saturday.

The Daniels lost 2-1 to the Nottinghamshire side after taking an early lead through Ricky Miller. A missed penalty from Andy Hall didn’t help Stamford’s cause and although they still sit in fourth place the gap between the chasing teams is further reduced.

It began so well in front of a crowd of 310 at Kettering Road. After just seven minutes, a long throw from Jordan Hempenstall missed Ben Saunders but reached Ricky Miller who scored his third header in two games, nodding in at the far post.

Saunders had a good chance to double the Daniels’ lead when he raced clear. His shot beat the visitors’ keeper Neil West but flashed across the goalline and out for a goal kick.

At the other end es-Stamford man Kieran Watson’s shot was well saved by Matt Finlay in the Daniels goal.

Stamford started the second half strongly with Ricky Miller worming his way into the box and pulled down for a penalty. There was a dispute over between Miller and Andy Hall, captain for the day, over who would take it and Hall, who has converted from the spot earlier in the season, pulled rank, took the kick but managed to pull his shot two yards wide of the post.

This proved to be a turning point in the game as Rainworth took heart and seemed to be first to everything from that point onwards.

Another Hempenstall long throw found Ben Saunders whose nod down found Tom Byrne who blasted at goal but saw his shot superbly saved by West.

Rainworth levelled in the 75th minute when a cross was headed goalwards by Kieran Wells but kept out outstandingly by Finlay only for the loose ball to reach Jordan Claxton whose shot fell kindly for Watson who fire low in at the near post.

Rainworth’s winner came in the six minutes later. A needless free kick was given away on the edge of the area and Goward’s whipped-in ball was headed in from close range by Wells.

Stamford mustered one last effort in the last minute when Miller’s turn and shot from the corner of the area was only bettered by West’s save to tip the ball over for a corner.

Stamford must aim to take four points from their final three games to the points to ensure a play-off place. The Daniels take on seventh-placed Halesowen Town away from home on Tuesday evening. On Saturday Stamford host Loughborough Dynamo at Kettering Road.

Stamford: Matt Finlay, Sean Wright, Sam Saunders , James Ozmen (Dan Marshall), Robbie Maddox, Andy Hall (David Staff), Tom Byrne, Jordan Hempenstall, Ricky Miller, Ben Saunders, Shawn Richards.

Subs:Atkins, Swales