Stamford AFC hope to harness FA Cup magic

Stamford's Richard Wesley
Stamford's Richard Wesley
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The Daniels wanted a bit of FA Cup magic and that’s what they got - eventually - and now they are hoping to take that luck back into the league fixtures.

The Daniels drew 0-0 with Grantham on Saturday at home in the first FA Cup qualifying round which set up a replay on Tuesday night.

And the sparkle of the world’s most famous football competition was in full effect as the Daniels came back from 2-0 down to steal the win in the dying seconds of the replay.

It comes after the Daniels had themselves been the victim of late goals in a couple of Evo-Stik Premier league games.

Manager David Staff said: “I felt it was a bit harsh when we lost to Worksop and Rushall to last-minute goals so it is good that we’ve perhaps had a bit of luck.

“We threw everything at them in the last 15 minutes, we pushed Richard Jones up front and it’s a terrific feeling, especially to come back from 2-0 down and then win the game in the last seconds. It was a bit of a crazy night.”

The Daniels are back in action in the Evo-Stike Premier Division on Saturday against Ashton United and then Matlock on Tuesday. Both are away.

Stamford are hovering just above the relegation zone, fifth from bottom, after winning two, drawing one and losing five. Ashton are sixth and Matlock are 11th.

As difficult as the fixtures will be, the Daniels can at least take some confidence into the games on the back of the FA Cup result.

Staff said: “It’s going to be tough, they are both two form teams and Matlock beat King’s Lynn quite convincingly on Tuesday and Ashton play free-flowing football.

“But it’s nice to be going into them with the confidence and belief after coming from behind to win a game.”

Ryan Walker and Jon Challinor are both 50-50 doubts for tomorrow’s match and keeper Alex Lynch is serving a one-match ban after being sent off against Worksop.

On Tuesday night, Grantham’s Massiah McDonald scored from a penalty in the 35th minute. Then just after half-time Michael Towey made it 2-0.

Stamford kept going and in the last 15 minutes captain Jones was pushed up front and Stamford risked the counter-attack as they sought out goals.

Jordan Smith launched the fightback, scoring with Stamford’s first effort on target in the 75th minute.

Wide man Richard Wesley, who had impressed on Saturday and earned his starting place, then found the equaliser on the 90th minute.

And as the seconds ticked away and Staff was planning an extra time team talk, Wesley struck again. He broke down the right, cut infield and then curled the ball into the far corner with 10 seconds on the clock. Two kicks of the ball later and the Stamford outfit were celebrating.

Staff praised the team for their effort and spirit and said: “Maybe it was a bit of luck that we deserved.”

The win puts £3,000 into the Stamford coffers with the next round offering £4,500.

The Daniels will play AFC Wulfrunians at home in the second qualifying round on September 28.

The Wolverhampton-based side are a couple of leagues lower than Stamford but Staff says they can’t be underestimated as they have some ex-professionals and they will see the game as one of their biggest fixtures of the season.