A TWO-MINUTE spell at the end of the first half proved costly for the Daniels, who were beaten 3-1 in the FA Cup by Buxton at Kettering Road on Saturday afternoon.
Stamford had gone ahead in the 14th minute when Jake Gibson drove the ball home after an excellent spell of play between Jordan Smith and Andy Hall on the right wing. But Gibson was injured by a bad challenge just before half-time and Stamford were caught on the break when play resumed, conceding a spot kick after Richard Jones caught Lee Morris inside the box.
The Derbyshire side then enjoyed more possession and became increasingly dominant after the break with two late goals to secure their passage into the next round of the Cup.
Stamford, starting with the same XI who beat Evesham a week earlier, had Jack McGovern and Greg Smith back on the bench and began the game brightly with Andy Hall having Stamford’s first chance.
His shot was blocked in the area after a clever back-heel from Gary King but it showed the Daniels’ potential.
After 14 minutes Hall and Jordan Smith combined on the right to create plenty of space for Hall to cross deep into the box. Buxton keeper Ian Deakin fumbled his catch and Gibson pounced to put Stamford ahead. The goal bore similarities to Stamford’s winner at Holbeach United in the previous round.
Buxton were expected to provide one of Stamford’s toughest tests this season and so it proved. They were well organised in all areas, allowing Smith and King very little space up front and crunching into tackles in midfield. Danny brooks was one early victim, leading to a yellow for Scott Maxfield, and Gibson was later caught by Grant Black, bringing an end to his game.
Evo-Stik Premier League side Buxton increased the pressure on Stamford but the Daniels defence looked solid for the best part of the first half with Jack Cotton and man-of-the-match Richard Jones limiting Buxton to longer range efforts and half chances.
But as Stamford adjusted to losing Gibson, they were caught.
Lee Morris got behind the Daniels defence and Jones was judged to have brought him down in the box. Morris converted the penalty, low and hard to Matt Finlay’s right and Jones, who had already received a caution, was fortunate as the last defender not to be shown a second yellow.
Drury brought on Josh Russell for Gibson but the momentum swung behind Buxton at a crucial time.
Buxton created more chances after the break with Kieran Lugsden side-footing wide of the Daniels goal and Finlay pulling off a great save when Buxton skipper Steve Istead found space in the penalty area. The Daniels keeper then kept out Sam Duncum’s effort as Buxton built up a spell of pressure.
At the other end, King fired wide on the break and Jordan Smith had a superb goalbound header turned over the bar before Buxton took the lead
A corner towards the far post was met powerfully by substitute Mark Reed and four minutes later Buxton doubled their lead.
Finlay, who just moments earlier had saved Morris’ second spot kick of the day, guessing the right way as Morris went to the same corner as in the first half, slammed his clearance against the Buxton striker and saw the ball loop back into the empty net.
There were bookings for both sides as the game became niggly towards the end and Drury threw on Sam mullarkey and Jack McGovern, replacing substitute Russell in final tactical throw of the dice, but Stamford found little joy against a solid Buxton back four.
Stamford face Gresley at home in the league on Tuesday evening and Kidsgrove Athletic, also at home, in the FA Trophy on Saturday.
Stamford: Matt Finlay, Robbie Maddox, Paul Mayo, Jack Cotton, Richard Jones, Danny Brooks, Andy Hall, David Staff (Sam Mullarkey), Jordan Smith, Gary King, Jake Gibson (Josh Russell (Hack McGovern)). Subs unused: Joe Hopewell, Greg Smith, Richard Stainsby.