Daniels maintain momentum with triumph in the FA Trophy
Stamford booked their place in the next round of the FA Trophy after a 3-0 home victory over Loughborough Dynamo on Saturday stretched their unbeaten run to six games and maintained their undefeated record at the Zeeco Stadium this season.
Recent recruit Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson set Stamford on their way with his first goal for the Daniels after 28 minutes before Rob Morgan doubled their advantage on the stroke of half-time.
Despite Loughborough having the strong wind in their favour in the second period, a disciplined Daniels display kept Dynamo at bay before substitute Elliott Sandy sealed Stamford’s success with 17 minutes remaining.
Stamford boss Graham Drury was delighted with the victory and praised the performance of his players.
He said: “We dominated the first half and then after the break we were professional in our game management.
“We’ve kept a clean sheet and scored three goals so I’m chuffed.
“It keeps the momentum going. We’re unbeaten in six games and still unbeaten at home which is so important for us.
“We need to keep the back garden good and I was very pleased with the lads. They worked hard and everyone put a shift in.
“I thought Dan Haystead was outstanding in goal. He made a good save near the end. He really wanted a clean sheet and I was pleased for him to get it.”
With loanee Liam Adams being recalled by parent club Boston United, Stamford handed a first start to summer signing Pearson Mwanyongo.
A bright opening saw Fortnam-Tomlinson fire over early on before the Daniels’ endeavours were rewarded with a 28th minute lead.
Jon Challinor picked out Fortnam-Tomlinson with a carefully-crafted free-kick and the frontman made no mistake with a deft header past Loughborough’s on-loan custodian Will Jaaskelainen.
Rob Morgan then saw his shot safely gathered by Jaaskelainen after a surging run while Henry Eze curled a free-kick just wide.
The second goal that Stamford needed, and deserved, came on the stroke of half-time as Smith and Mwanyongo combined to tee up Morgan who swept the ball home into the bottom corner.
The visitors became more of a force with the elements in their favour after the break, but Stamford still looked in control of the contest.
Sandy tested Jaaskelainen with one of his first touches after replacing Mwanyongo before Louis Keenan flashed a free kick wide for Dynamo.
Eze was well placed to head off the line from Dynamo substitute Daniel Quinn before Stamford rubber-stamped their victory after 73 minutes.
The impressive Eliot Putman burst forward and picked out Sandy with his cross and the Daniels striker did the rest as he finished off with a low shot under Jaaskelainen.
Mike Armstrong fizzed in a couple of efforts as Stamford looked to extend their lead even further before Haystead had to be at his best to palm away a fiercely-struck effort from Quinn to preserve his clean sheet as the Daniels marched into the first round proper of the competition.
They will now entertain Evo-Stik Northern Premier Division side Sutton Coldfield in the next round on Saturday, October 28.
Coldfield could have ex-Stamford striker Jack Jeys in their ranks by then following his release from the Zeeco Stadium this week.
Jeys has struggled with injury since his summer signing and looks poised for a move closer to his Midlands home.
Drury commented: “It hasn’t really worked out for Jack here with his injuries so the club felt it was the right thing to do.
“We know another club is going to benefit from it and we wish him all the best for the future.”
Stamford: Haystead, George, Putman, Armstrong, Gordon, Eze, Morgan, Challinor, Smith (King), Mwanyongo (Sandy), Fortnam-Tomlinson (Hollis).
Loughborough: Jaaskelainen, Thorogood, Keenan (Thorpe), Sibson, Andrews, Piliero, Holmes, Smith (Smithson), Hodgkinson, Demidh, Antonio (Quinn). Not used: Rigby, Riley.