Market Drayton 2 Stamford 2
A LATE Danny Brooks penalty salvaged a point for the Daniels at Market Drayton on Saturday.
Stuart Ellis and Andy Cooke had put the home side two ahead before half-time but Stamford came out stronger in the second half and finally earnt a point.
Nicholas Ghislanzoni reduced the arrears 10 minutes from time and Brooks’ nerve held to score from the spot in the 90th minute.
Before the late leveller, Stamford had to thank the woodwork and goalkeeper Ross Whalin during a disappointing opening 45 from Tommy Brookbanks’ side.
The Daniels boss said: “I wasn’t at all happy with what I saw in the first half and gave the lads a right good rollicking at the break.
“We have a team full of good footballers who aren’t always prepared to fight for the right to play.
“That’s not on and I let them know it in no uncertain terms. I can’t fault the lads for their reaction in the second half. ”
Danny Steadman, returning to the starting 11 in place of Andy Toyne, was the only change to the starting line-up for Stamford, who matched Drayton in the opening minutes with both teams playing open football.
The first chance went to Drayton’s Tom Rogers, forcing Whalin to save with his legs, and Rogers forced an even better save on ten minutes with a header from a Nicky Porter cross.
Whalin stretched to tip the ball onto the post but a minute later Porter drove a low cross into the Stamford box and Rogers dummied allowing the ball to go through his legs for Stuart Ellis to smash home from the edge of the box.
Market Drayton were forced to replace Andy Pryce in goal after only 26 minutes when he strained an ankle.
Stamford had a real let-off after 36 minutes when an under-hit back pass from Miles Chamberlain was picked up by Andy Cooke. He chipped the ball over Whalin but the ball came back off the bar. Two minutes later Whalin had to be sharp again to punch away a shot from Matt Johnson.
On 40 minutes, the bar came to rescue again for Stamford when Jason Francis headed on a free kick. Wayne Diuk cleared the return shot off the line but no-one could stop the follow up from Cooke which doubled the Drayton lead.
Stamford went in two down but it could have been much worse with the woodwork saving Stamford three times and with man-of-the-match Whalin making some good saves.
Stamford came out strongly after the break with a superb ball from Jake Gibson setting up Bruno Holden to run through the Drayton defence. He chipped the ball over Damien Stevens but this time the cross bar came to the aid of Drayton.
Stamford brought on Danny Brooks and Kieran Watson and the changes brought more urgency and guile to Stamford’s play.
They pushed forward but were vulnerable to the Drayton break and Rogers missed a glorious chance to kill the game, missing the target when when one on one with the Stamford keeper.
With 72 minutes gone, Stamford had their first shot on target but Kieran Watson’s strike was straight at Stevens.
Mathieu Isamene also came on and had an instant impact. His first touch was a cross to Nick Ghislanzoni whose first time shot was helped into the goal but Stamford had pulled one back. Isamene went past defenders with pace when he could but at other times using the ball well to bring other players into play.
Stamford were handed a late advantage by the referee, who reduced Drayton to 10 men, with Matt Cohen harshley shown a second yellow car. The ball had been driven in by Brooks and seemed to hit Cohen on the arm from only a couple of yards. Cohen had already been booked and, after exchanging words with the player, the referee showed the second yellow followed by the red.
With a couple of minutes to go, Ghislanzoni had the ball at his feet but with a melee of Drayton defenders trying to get it away, ended up on the floor.
The referee pointed to the spot and Brooks calmly placed it hard and wide of Stevens to bring Stamford level.
Deep into stoppage time Ghislanzoni was close to stealing all three points for Stamford with a quick turn and shot which flew just wide of the Drayton post.
Stamford: Ross Whalin, Joe Pheasant, Adam Hewitt, Wayne Diuk, Miles Chamberlain, David Staff, Nathan Watson (Mathieu Isamene 74), Danny Steadman (Danny Brooks 60), Bruno Holden (Kieran Watson 65), Nick Ghislanzoni, Jake Gibson, Subs not used: Luke Garton, Harry Deane.
MoM: Ross Whalin