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Boss Drury wants seven points from three games to maintain play-off push




Daniels boss Graham Drury feels his side's next two games will be crucial to their push for the play-offs after Stamford were held to a goalless home draw by Frickley Athletic on Saturday.

Drury had set his side a seven-point target ahead of the home tussle with Frickley which is followed by the visit of struggling Gresley to the Zeeco Stadium next weekend before a derby duel at Spalding United on February 23.

And, after a pocketing a point in a rapid return with Frickley in a game ruined by the strong wind blowing straight down the pitch, Drury wants his side to back it up with a victory double as they aim to close the seven-point gap on the teams currently in the play-off places.

Match action from the Daniels' clash with Frickley on Saturday. Photo: Lee Hellwing (7072872)
Match action from the Daniels' clash with Frickley on Saturday. Photo: Lee Hellwing (7072872)

He said: "It was a big improvement over 90 minutes than the last game against Frickley where I thought for the first 45 minutes we were very good and they were very good for the last 45.

"They've taken four points out of the six against us and we've only taken the one so I'm sure they'll be happy with that return.

"But they were desperate to beat us because we've got the game in hand on them. It was important we didn't lose and it keeps us in front of them in the table.

"We've said that we want seven points from these three games. We've took a point so that means the next two are really crucial now.

"If we've got any ambitions about getting into the play-offs then we've got to win those two games.

"They're games we've got to win. Hopefully the conditions will be a little bit better because it does level it out.

"It was important we kept amongst the pack and I think another seven points from nine will do that.

"That's just words though - we got to do it with actions so hopefully we'll be at it in the next two games."

Match action from the Daniels' clash with Frickley on Saturday. Photo: Lee Hellwing (7072882)
Match action from the Daniels' clash with Frickley on Saturday. Photo: Lee Hellwing (7072882)

Stamford welcomed back striker Joe Boachie to their starting line-up after a spell out with a hamstring injury as they looked to avenge a 4-1 defeat at Frickley a fortnight ago while there was first appearance on the substitutes' bench for Peterborough United youngster Jack Gurney.

The Daniels had the strong wind at their backs in the opening period and Boachie whipped in an early corner which sparked some desparate defence from the visitors before Ryan Seal fired a fierce shot over from a good opening.

Dan Haystead then had to be alert to race outside his box and tackle Anthony Wilson who had broken clear before the prolific Jacob Hazel saw an effort deflected wide by Kern Miller's crucial block after some careless play in the home ranks.

Hazel, who had scored twice in the defeat of the Daniels a fortnight ago, then missed the best opening of the first half when he blazed over from close range after Haystead had saved well to thwart Wilson following Tyler Walton's strong surge into the box.

Rob Morgan and John Sands both sent headers wide from Mike Armstrong's crosses as Stamford failed to make the most of having the elements in their favour in the opening period.

Match action from the Daniels' clash with Frickley on Saturday. Photo: Lee Hellwing (7072890)
Match action from the Daniels' clash with Frickley on Saturday. Photo: Lee Hellwing (7072890)

Frickley though found life equally difficult in the second period with the wind behind them as Stamford put together some decent passages of play.

Morgan brought an agile save out of Hugo Warhurst in the Frickley goal after his stinging shot was palmed away while Sands went over following a strong challenge in the box from Seal's cross, but referee Jack Forder waved away the home appeals for a penalty.

Frickley cranked up the pressure in the final 15 minutes with the introduction of Tom Burgin off the bench giving the visitors an extra asset of a huge long throw into the Stamford box.

Stamford stood firm though under an aerial attack with Haystead and Miller excelling among the rearguard ranks.

As the match entered injury-time, both sides created their best chance of the half with Joe Burgess rising highest only to head a Duffy corner over while Frickley thought they had snatched a last-gasp win when Greg Young powered a header towards the bottom corner only for Haystead to produce a stunning save and earn Stamford a hard-fought point.

Match action from the Daniels' clash with Frickley on Saturday. Photo: Lee Hellwing (7072892)
Match action from the Daniels' clash with Frickley on Saturday. Photo: Lee Hellwing (7072892)

Manager Drury added: "I think either side would have taken a point in those conditions because it was such a tough game.

"We had perhaps the best chances in the game until Dan has made an amazing save late on.

"We blazed two good chances over in the first half which we should have done better with, but perhaps you don't have to get so much on it when you've got those sort of wind conditions behind you.

"Joe Burgess has had a header before theirs, but it wouldn't have been justice if they had sneaked that one.

"Considering the conditions, I thought we played some really good stuff for 30 minutes in the second half.

"I asked the players to make sure they played between the lines, from full-backs to centre-halfs, and find the connection with Rob Morgan and Jake Duffy and then find the next connection with Ryan Seal and Joe Boachie.

"I thought we played through the lines really well and I was impressed with some of our football in the second half.

"The last 15 minutes got a bit frantic. They're pushing thinking they can get the win and they've gone a lot more direct."

Stamford: Haystead, Cooke, Egginton, Armstrong, Miller, Burgess, Morgan, Duffy, Seal (Brown-Hill), Sands (Gurney), Boachie. Not used: Peasgood, Challinor, Eneremadu.

Frickley: Warhurst, Liversidge, Algar, Ible, Watt, Young, Jordan, McGuire, Wilson, Walton (Burgin), Hazel. Not used: Burton, Carrick, Szanto, Stancliffe.

Attendance: 265.



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