Victory tomorrow can seal Stamford’s place in play-offs

Action from Stamford's 2-1 defeat at home to Rainworth'Photo:Geoff Atton
Action from Stamford's 2-1 defeat at home to Rainworth'Photo:Geoff Atton

The Daniels can secure their place in the promotion play-offs with a victory at home to Loughborough Town tomorrow afternoon.

Stamford’s closest rivals - Sutton Coldfield and Chasetown - trail by three points with two games remaining; but Stamford boast a far better goal difference and manager Wayne Hatswell wants three points tomorrow to take the pressure of his players on the final day.

“I do not want to go into the last game needing to win it,” said Hatswell, whose side followed up a disappointing 2-1 loss to Rainworth on Saturday with a point at Halesowen Town on Tuesday.

“It’s in our hands and we know the importance of the game. Hopefully we can sort it out on Saturday.”

The Stamford boss has been forced to shuffle his pack in recent games due to injuries, suspension, illness and players recalled from loan by other clubs. Yet his somewhat makeshift side played well at Halesowen where they drew 1-1 with one of the sides hoping to sneak into the play-offs themselves.

Hatswell drafted in former Droylsden midfielder Lewis Chalmers as emergency cover in midfield on Tuesday, and moved Danny Brooks to left back - although he switched to centre back when Sam Saunders limped off after quarter of an hour.

Skipper Richard Jones should be available for tomorrow’s match after serving a suspension but fellow centre back Tom Batchelor is unlikely to play again this season. Sam Saunders is doubtful due to injury and loan players Chalmers and Liam Richardson will be back with their parent clubs.

One player Hatswell won’t want to lose is Jordan Hempenstall, who has been free-scoring since his arrival from Lincoln.

On Tuesday, he scored his 16th of the season, levelling a minute after Halesowen had taken the lead in an entertaining 1-1 draw on Tuesday.

With 17 minutes gone, a tussle between Maddox and Tom Warner ended with a Halesowen free kick just outside the Stamford box. The free kick came back off the bar and it was forced home by Jean Gueyes.

Stamford responded immediately, levelling straight from the kick off. The ball was moved forward quickly and finished by Hempenstall with the help of a deflection.

As the first half moved into stoppage time, Ricky Miller was fouled in the perfect position for a Brooks free kick. He hammered the ball which Halesowen keeper Paul Evans could only parry but Halesowen scrambled the loose ball away.

Halesowen wasted a good chance to retake the lead seven minutes into the second half when a long throw caused problems in the Stamford box but Mitchell Botfield, unmarked on the six yard line, smashed the ball wide.

Halesowen put Stamford under tremendous pressure in the last 15 minutes but Stamford might have snatched all three points at the end.

Tomorrow’s game at Kettering Road kicks off at 3pm.

Stamford: Matt Finlay, Sean Wright, Danny Brooks, Robbie Maddox, Sam Saunders (Dan Marshall), Lewis Chalmers, Andy Hall, James Ozmen, Ricky Miller (Ben Saunders), Jordan Hempenstall, Tom Byrne. Subs not used: Shawn Richards, Sam Watkins, John Swales.