FOOTBALL: Stamford AFC earn three points against Chasetown
Stamford AFC carried their recent cup form into the Evo-Stik NPL First Division South on Saturday with a 2-1 victory over Chasetown at the Zeeco Stadium.
The win pulls the Daniels up three places to 17th in the league as they attempt to pick up as many points as possible from their six games in hand over the sides competing at the top of the league, which includes Chasetown - who were in fifth position at the start of the day.
John King gave Stamford a great start when he scored on the counter-attack in just the seventh minute.
However the Daniels don’t like to do things the easy way and the sides went in level at half time after Joshua Ruff netted for the visitors in the 37th minute.
But recent signing Grant Ryan, who has missed the FA Cup adventures against Wrexham last because he is cup tied, scored his second goal in his second game for the club, to set-up the victory.
Stamford manager Graham Drury tweeted after the match: “Great result that today after the long easy trip on Tuesday night.”
On Tuesday Stamford beat Wrexham, who play three tiers higher, 3-2 away in Wales in an FA Cup replay to earn a spot in the First Round proper for the first time in the club’s 120-year history.
King has found himself on the bench in recent weeks, including in Wrexham, but he made his case for a spot in the starting side when Stamford travel to Hartlepool United in the next round of the cup competition, with his performance on Saturday.
King opened the scoring after running onto a great pass, beat the last defender and then fired past Curtis Pond.
Jordan Smith was back from his three-game suspension and made his presence felt when he almost set-up King with a low cross but the winger couldn’t quite get on the end of it.
Chasetown responded with a pair of efforts from Matt Wood but on both occasions he was off target, pushing a volley and then a header wide of goalkeeper Sam Donkin’s goal.
The visitors were creating chances but struggling to hit the target until Ruff dispatched the ball past Donkin with a clean strike.
Stamford started the second half the better of the two sides and got their reward eight minutes after the break when the tireless Ryan got his reward for a hard-working display. His finish for the goal was superb chip over Pond.
Chasetown did not take things lying down but man of the match Chris Salt and Tom Batchelor, both a centre back, were repelling and blocking the majority of the efforts coming their way. Ruff had a powerful shot blocked and when the defence weren’t in the way Donkin was there to save from James Dance late on to ensure the home side finished with all the points.
Donkin has caught the eye in recent weeks and a famous fan at the ground on Saturday was impressed with what he saw.
The Times chief football writer Henry Winter, who lives locally, was at the Zeeco and wrote on Twitter after the game: “Impressed with your keeper Donkin today. Short but with long arms and good leap.”
Stamford now turn their attention to the Lincolnshire County Senior Cup final against Lincoln United, at the Zeeco Stadium on Tuesday night. Kick-off 7.45pm.
Stamford: Sam Donkin, Delroy Gordon (c), John Challinor, Sam Hill, Chris Salt, Tom Batchelor, Lee Beeson, Jake Duffy, Grant Ryan, Jordan Smith, John King. Subs: Curtis Hartley, Elliott Sandy, Ollie Brown-HIll, Ryan Robbins, Keenan King.
Chasetown: Curtis Pond, Matthias Curley, Mathew Wood, Christopher Slater, Mason Rowley, James Dance (c), Peter Till, Jack Langston, Mitchell Piggon, Nathan Rooney, Joshua Ruff. Subs: Leon Miles, Sebastian Lake-Gaskin, Pierce Kiembi.
Referee: Kieron Salmons