Table-topping Daniels must improve for title bid

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NEW DANIELS boss Tommy Brookbanks is looking forward to a tough challenge against Leek Town after an eventful first week in charge.

Stamford were knocked out of the FA Trophy on Saturday by Matlock after having two sent off.

However, after putting the disappointing result behind them the Daniels returned to league action on Wednesday night and saw off Brookbanks’ former club Hucknall Town 2-0.

The win puts them joint-top on points with a game in hand.

Brookbanks said: “I fancy them to be in the top five at the end of the season and I played them with Hucknall Town and they’ve got one of the top marksmen in the league in Matt Haddrell.”

So far Brookbanks is pleased with his squad but knows he needs to strengthen at the front and back.

“You’ve got to have four top strikers to win any league and six top defenders if you’re going to keep clean sheets.”

Brookbanks admits giving the Daniels players the “hairdryer” treatment at half-time on Wednesday night which seemed to have worked.

The first half was just about all Hucknall with the home side putting together strong periods of possession and attacking throughout but a resolute defence with a man of the match performance from Miles Chamberlain held strong.

Hucknall had three shouts for penalties and two good chances.

Stamford flew out of the blocks in the second half and with only two minutes gone Nathan Watson got a debut goal.

Watson cut inside from the wing and unleashed a shot from 25 yards that should have been an easy save for James Lindley in the home goal but somehow the keeper let the ball squirm under him and into the net. This was Stamford’s first shot of the game.

The second came five minutes later when a great cross from Matt Cook was turned into his own net by Kieran Walker, a goal made by a number two and score by his opposite number two.

Hucknall tried to get back into the game. Grant Ryan had a shot from distance go narrowly wide and then Aiden Brady’s shot was well saved by Mario Ziccardi, the rebound fell to Phill Massingham his shot was blocked by Joe Pheasant the ball came out to Grant Ryan and he blazed over from 10 yards.

Stamford brought on big man Gregg Smith with fifteen minutes to go and he was soon flicking on a through ball to Gary King but his shot was well saved by the Keeper.

Massingham saw a late volley saved by Ziccardi and in the final minute Grant Ryan had a shot blocked on the line by Pheasant.

Brookbanks said: “The players responded after half-time and they’ve got to be looking to produce a performance for 90 minutes if they want to win the league, you can’t keep turning it on and off like a tap.”

Stamford against Hucknall: Ziccardi, Cook, Barrett, Staff, Chamberlain, Pheasant, Beeson, Deane, King, Mullarkey (Smith 75), Watson (Gibson 85) Subs: Toyne, Whitby. Att 171 MoM Chamberlain.