BOTH managers drew positive conclusions from Tuesday’s Stamford derby but it was Blackstones who took the honours for a second season running.
Stones won 3-1 at the Vic Couzens Stadium, fighting back after falling behind to a Miles Chamberlain header midway through the second half.
Seventeen-year-old Andy Buckle levelled, converting a Richard Thompson cross and Luke Avis curled Stones’ second into the top corner from the edge of the area with ten minutes remaining.
Thompson added the gloss with a cool finish, lifting the ball over the onrushing Gavin Saxby in the final minutes.
It was a result and a performance that delighted Stones joint-boss Darren Jarvis.
“I am very pleased with the lads and how they performed,” he said. “We scored very good goals and could have had more.
“To go and beat them at their place is very pleasing. They are putting together a very good squad; much stronger than last season.”
There were plenty of new faces on both sides as both managers tried new ideas.
Jarvis added: “We gave a number of squad members a run out and approached the game with a view to experimenting in one or two areas – but we got a result as well.
“I was really pleased to see Richard Thompson set one up and score another. He’s made really good progress after returning from injury. And Andy Buckle showed a lot of promise. He had been at Kettering’s academy and can play midfield or in a front three.”
Daniels boss Simon Clark admitted the scoreline was disappointing after two wins and a draw this summer but maintained it was the right game to try new patterns and players.
Saxby looked commanding in the Daniels goal and Danny Steadman and Michael Jacklin both got forward well for Stamford but chances were few and far between early on with Andy Toyne heading over for Stamford and Robbie Pearce heading wide for Stones. Shortly before half time Pearce forced Saxby to save at the strikers’ feet.
Gary King came on in the second half and failed to convert from a tight angle with the score at 1-1 and Chamberlain had a second header fizz just over the bar but it was Stones who were the most threatening in the dying minutes.
Clark said: “The result is disappointing because we wanted to keep the unbeaten run but we have to look at things we are not able to do on the training ground.
“We went with one striker and tried different things. I thought (Danny) Brooks and Toyne looked good but we have young players coming through and we have to look at look at all these lads.
“Last night showed where we still need to strengthen. They did not dominate but we were a little loose in certain areas. We went strong against Brigg Town and showed what we can do.”
On Saturday, Stamford began their defence of the Lincolnshire Senior Shield with a 4-2 victory at home against Brigg.
Sam Mullarkey, Jake Gibson and Gary King, with a brace, were the Daniels goalscorers but Clark was less impressed by the red card shown to King for a fracas with Brigg’s Tommy Wright, who also red-carded for the incident.
“When you are on the floor and a guy throws a punch it’s hard not to retaliate,” said Clark. “But we lost important players last year and we cannot afford to do that. We are a young side and are going to get provocation but needless red cards will not be tolerated.”
The Daniels’ pre-season matches continue tomorrow with the visit of Blue Square North side Corby Town, who defeated a Notts County side 2-0 on Monday.
Stamford then play Lincoln Midlands on Tuesday as they build up to their trip to Grantham Town in the second round of the Lincolnshire Senior Shield. Stamford’s league season begins a week later at home to Kidsgrove Athletic.
Stones, who have also beaten a Lincoln United XI 4-1 during pre- season, face Quorn at home tomorrow, travel to Wisbech on Thursday and face Bourne at home on August 9 before their United Counties League campaign kicks off at Daventry United on August 13.
l BLACKTONES FC are holding a family fun day at Lincoln Road on August 6.
There will be junior and senior football tournaments, a charity auction, live music and a funfair at the ground.
Admission is free and everybody is welcome.