Disappointing Daniels slip further towards relegation zone
Stamford AFC boss David Staff asked for a reaction from his team on Saturday - what he got was a whimper.
The Daniels were beaten 1-0 by Evo-Stik NPL league strugglers Marine to drop them down closer to the relegation scarp.
The loss, which drops Stamford to 18th in the 24 team league and leaves them just three points above the drop-zone, also means they extend their unwanted record of not having won in the league at the Zeeco Stadium since moving in back in December. That’s eight games and counting.
Stamford started brightly but failed to take their chances. In the opening stages Stamford’s Ryan Robbins went on a driving run down the left flank, he beat one to power into the box and teed up Jordan Smith. He took a touch to steady himself but his effort was saved.
Smith then set up a golden opportunity for the enterprising Dan Clements to strike for goal but his shot went just over the cross bar.
Jon Challior added to the shot count with a strike from distance but his effort was wide.
In the first half at least there was no doubting the desire of the Stamford side. There was no one resting when it came to their defensive duties and when Marine broke from a Stamford corner winger Clements won the foot race back to close down the treat.
The Daniels were playing with a fierce wind behind them in before the break and far too often the final ball was over-hit. In contrast Marine were using it to hold the ball up. Neil O’Sullivan, making his debut in the Daniels’ net, was struggling to judge the wind and completely missed the ball when he came for a punch giving Stamford a heart in mouth moment. Fortunately for him on that occasion no one got on the end of it.
As the half came to a close Robbins went for the spectacular with a shot from distance but his effort was so far wide and high that it lodged in one of the trees surrounding the ground. It summed up the inaccurate shooting in the first half really.
After the break Robbins had a good chance to at least trouble the quiet Marine keeper Matthew Cooper but his first touch was heavy pushing him out to a wide position.
The Marine goal came in the 51st minute. Karl Clair hit a low skidding shot from the edge of the box and it beat O’Sullivan at his far post.
Before then Marine had created half chances but few guilt edge threats and even fewer shots.
After the goal Stamford never managed to regain control of the game, struggling to maintain enough possession to string together any dangerous moves.
However there were the odd moment when they could have got back into the game,
Daniels centre back Tom Batchelor saw a header saved after he flicked on a throw in and Lewis Carr shot wide.
However the best chance of the half fell to substitute Courtney Meade. Smith drove to the byline and cut the ball back for the new signing but he completely missed the ball with the goal at his mercy.
In the final moments O’Sullivan pulled off a good save to keep the score down to one and Smith had a final effort blocked.
Stamford travel to second from bottom Trafford on Saturday in another must win encounter.
Stamford: Neil O’Sullivan, Ryan Clarke (Nathan Fox), Gareth Jellyman, Tom McGowan, Lewis Carr, Tom Batchelor, Dan Lawlor, Jon Challinor, Dan Clements (Courtney Meade), Jordan Smith (c), Ryan Robbins.
Substitutes: Kieran Fitzgerald, Dalton Bettles, David Staff.
Marine: Matthew Cooper, Stephen Wainwright, James Short, Liam Willis, Andy Nicholas (c), Lloyd Ellams, Karl Clair, Thomas Peers, Jamie Menagh, Lewis Codling.
Substitutes: Carl Peers, Joel Bembo-Leta, Christian Langos, Chad Whyte, James Mitchison.