Wayne Hatswell’s reign at the Daniels got off to the perfect start yesterday with a victory away from home against one of Stamford’s main promotion rivals.
Stamford recovered from an early setback at Gresley to win 3-1 with Jake Gibson equalising after 36 minutes and Ricky Miller adding two more to his impressive tally with a goal late in each half.
With just one out-and-out striker available, Hatswell was forced to field an unfamiliar 4-5-1 formation and the omens didn’t look good early on. Stamford looked nervous and Richard Hanslow capitalised to give the hosts the lead after just five minutes, following up after Matt Finlay had blocked Marc Strzyzewski’s header.
Gresley had the lion’s share of the early possession with Jordan Nadat’s speed a danger on the wing, and Hanslow’s movement a constant threat. The Gresley striker had the ball in the Stamford net a second time only for a marginal offside call to come to Stamford’s rescue.
Danny Holmes had Stamford keeper Matt Finlay scurrying anxiously to his right as the midifielder’s 35 yard drive fizzed past his right hand post just shy of the half hour and still Stamford hadn’t created a clear-cut chance.
But with seven minutes of the half remaining, the Daniels broke quickly with Miller playing the ball to Andy Hall in an advanced central position and he slipped the ball left to an on-rushing Jake Gibson who slipped the ball low to the right of former Stamford man Gary Hateley in the Gresley goal.
Stamford completed the turnaround just five minutes later when Miller capitalised on half a yard of space inside the Gresley box to drive the ball low into the net for a half-time lead.
After the break Stamford defended in numbers and although Gresley enjoyed territorial advantage they rarely looked like breaking down Stamford’s resolute defence.
Stamford looked the more threatening of the two sides when they did go forward and they could easily have added to their tally sooner than they did.
Jack McGovern’s cross on the break eluded Gibson, Hall and Miller when the slightest touch from any of the trio would have done, and not long afterwards Gibson fired wide when he should have at least forced a save. Miller finally sealed the results, cutting in from the left before rifling past Hately from close range for his second and Stamford’s third.
The result lifted The Daniels above Sutton Coldfield into second spot in the Evo-Stik First Division South. Gresley drop to sixth.
Stamford’s next match is against Leek Town at Kettering Road on Saturday.
Stamford: Matt Finlay, Michael Jacklin, Adam Hewitt, Tom Batchelor, Richard Jones, Jack McGovern, Jake Gibson (Louis Hamilton), Danny Brooks (Jack Cotton)), Andy Hall (Dan Marshall), Ricky Miller, James Ozmen. Subs: David Staff, John Swales.