Robbins slays the Gladiators

Stamford AFC v Workington. Photo: Geoff Atton EMN-140818-134500001
Stamford AFC v Workington. Photo: Geoff Atton EMN-140818-134500001
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Stamford AFC have started their season in perfect fashion, winning both of their games by the same score, 2-1.

On Tuesday night the Daniels travelled to Matlock, a side which beat them 2-0 away from home last year, and came back with all three points, in their second win of the fledging season.

In fact Matlock’s Causeway Lane ground was something of a fortress last season, losing just three games all year.

But from 20 minutes in Stamford outfought and distinctly outplayed the hosts.

Early on it was looking like it was going to be a repeat of last year, when the home side were awarded a penalty in just the third minute for a dubious handball call against skipper Richard Jones. Daniel Holland stepped up to score.

But Ryan Robbins, who scored twice off the bench in Stamford’s opening day victory, came to the rescue .

Again Robbins started amongst the replacements after missing the last few weeks of pre-season on holiday. But when he came on in the 61st minute he made his presence well and truly felt with a pair of goals and he was close to a hat-trick.

Within moments of being on the pitch the striker beat the defence at the near post to direct a header into the goal from a Jon Challinor throw-in which was allowed to bounce into the 18 yard box.

Ten minutes later he earned and scored the game winning penalty goal. After being hauled down by a clumsy challenge by Micky Harcourt’s, he dusted himself off to convert.

Stamford had also gone close through Nabil Sharriff, Challinor and Lewis Carr before the breakthrough.

Robbins’ almost secured his hat-trick late in the day but Gladiators’ keeper Jon Kennedy just tipped his rocket of a free-kick over the bar.

After just two games Stamford are third in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division by way of goal difference behind Stourbridge and King’s Lynn, who they play at home on Bank Holiday Monday this week.

Manager David Staff said: “Ryan will naturally get all the plaudits, and rightfully so because he is the one getting his name on the scoresheet. He has been coming on in games and making a real impact.

“One person might be scoring all the goals but the team contribution has been good. The players we have brought in have added something to us. We will need a better squad than we had last year, particularly with all these early games, and I think we have got that.

“It is never about just your starting 11, you have to think about who can affect the game off the bench.

“Long term Ryan Robbins is not going to be on the bench but it is working for us now.

“Its only two games but every manager worries about where the first points are going to come from so it is very pleasing to win both home and away.”