FOOTBALL: Impressive Stamford AFC beat Grimsby Town in Lincs Senior Cup
Stamford AFC left their fans in a happy mood, and visitors from League Two Grimsby Town impressed on Wednesday night as they got the better of the higher league club 2-1.
The Daniels put on in a brilliant performance in this Lincolnshire Senior Cup quarter-final, one of their best in recent memory in fact.
They took the lead in the second half through a Jordan Smith header but with five minutes left to play Harry Clifton levelled for the visitors and the game looked to be heading for a penalty shoot-out.
However Stamford have been working on their corners in training this week and it paid off. Towering centre back Tom Batchelor rose highest in the box to nod home the winner with just injury time to play.
It was the result Stamford’s good play and effort deserved.
They made a bright start, they were getting behind the Grimsby defence and winning the ball back high up the pitch. Jordan Smith ran onto a lovely through ball and pulled the pass back into the box but there was no one to get on the end of it.
However the Daniels were almost caught out after their bright start when they were indecisive at the back. First Paul Malone chested the ball down into the path of a couple of Grimsby players when a clearing header would have been better and then Kern Miller lost the ball in his own box but the visitors failed to punish Stamford.
It was a rare blip from Miller who had a great game at centre back, showing impressive pace and a commanding voice at the back, he could do with the rest of the defence listening to him a little more.
Bastock then had the sizeable crowd laughing when he raced off his line to clear a dangerous back pass only to smash it into the face of poor Sam Hill, who took some time to get up.
When Grimsby moved forward they looked dangerous, with Reece Brown looking sharp, the striker went close with a curling shot from the edge of the box which just went over the cross bar.
But Stamford were posing threats, Elliot Sany was inches away from getting on the end of a whipped in corner and then Stamford had a second headed effort blocked, leading to a goalmouth scramble which was only ended by the referee’s whistle with some red players appealing for a goal.
Ryan Robbins then latched onto a pass behind the back line and smashed the ball into the side netting from a tight angle.
Robbins then had the ball in the back of the net after he was played in by Jake Duffy, who drove at the defence, but the goal was flagged up for offside.
Somehow both Leroy Gordon and Miller were shrugged off the ball and the Grimsby striker went through one-on-one with Bastock but the veteran keeper threw out a strong arm to keep the game scoreless.
Late in the half Robbins had a penalty shout waved away.
Grimsby had a couple of decent chances early in the second half but failed to take them and Stamford continued to threaten. A brilliant flicked on header from Smith played the ball into the path of Robbins who turned but just had the ball taken off him as he turned to shoot. He was furious the chance had passed without registering a shot. But from the resulting corner Malone flashed a header across the face of goal.
Moments later Robbins was at it again, this time attacking down the left, turning a defender and smashing a shot just over the cross bar with the angle against him.
Robbins was getting some rough treatment up front as he began to get the better of the defence.
In fact he wasn’t alone - Grimsby were creaking with Drury’s substitutions making a difference, Brad Wells winning a free kick in a dangerous spot.
But with Stamford pushing the visitors were looking dangerous on the break.
Jev Brown made a good impression when he came on after the break, driving at the higher-league defence.
Despite being the under-dogs Stamford looked the team more likely an indeed they were.
Smith put the reds ahead and then Niall Mather had a snap shot deflected just wide.
Brad Wells had two chances to wrap it up but just took too long on the ball.
Grimsby scored with a brilliant break down their left wing, outpacing the defence to cut in and run along the byline before cutting back to Clifton to score.
But the home side’s heads did not drop and the continued to press and in the end got their reward with Batchelor heading home off the cross bar.
Stamford will meet either Boston United or Spalding United in the next round.
Stamford AFC: Paul Bastock, Delroy Gordon, Ollie Luto, Paul Malone (c), Kern Miller, Sam Hill, Jordan Smith, Jake Duffy, Ryan Robbins, Elliot Sandy, Andy Hall.
Substitutes: Curtis Hartley, Tom Batchelor, Niall Mather, John King, Jev Brown, Tom Cooney, Bradley Wells.
Grimsby Town: Andy Warrington, Shaun Pearson, Craig Disley (c), Reece Brown, Zak Mills, Harry Clifton, Josh Venny, Tom Bolarinwa, Dan Jones, Max Wright, Cameron Hough.
Substitutes: Joey Finnegan, Adam Lawis, Oakley Heath-Drury, Tom Sawyer, Charlie Loft, Jack Keeble.
Referee: Mr D Drysdale