Clean sheet boosts Daniels’ play-off hopes

Action from Stamford v Brigg Town'Photo: Geoff Atton
Action from Stamford v Brigg Town'Photo: Geoff Atton
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Stamford shut out Brigg Town on Saturday to record back-to-back clean sheets for the first time this season with a 3-0 victory.

The Daniels brushed aside the visitors in convincing style at Kettering Road in a game with nine yellow cards and a dismissal for each side.

Stamford started brightly but were grateful to Matt Finlay for superbly tipping over Scott Helewell’s header from a Ryan Paczykowski free kck.

Stamford’s first opening came from a quick throw by Jack McGovern to James Ozmen who turned and hit a shot first time that just flew wide of the post.

The Daniels broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute with a great flowing move on the left. Adam Hewitt played the ball up to Hempenstall who played a great give and go with Ozmen.

Hempenstall cut into the box and crossed to an unmarked Ben Saunders who was in acres of space to pick his spot and side foot the ball home.

Ozmen could soon have doubled the Daniels’ lead following a mistake by Brigg’s rearguard. The Stamford midfielder had a free run at goal but he took his shot too early and with the keeper rushing out the ball went wide of the empty net.

Finlay was again brought into action, clawing away a Liam Davis free kick.

Mitchell Rose was shown a yellow card for a shoulder charge with just a few seconds of the half left and it was a booking that proved costly later in the game.

Stamford started the second half just as strong and their game was made easier with Paczykowski heading for an early bath just ten minutes after the interval. He had picked up a yellow for a hefty challenge on Jordan Hempenstall in the first half and received his marching orders for a needless lunge on Andy Hall which led to an inevitable red.

Stamford took advantage of having an extra man with Brigg rarely threatening. When the visitors did have a sniff of goal, Stamford’s back four frustrated a strong-looking strike force that featured former Daniels frontman Bruno Holden.

The Kettering Road side’s chances began to mount with Hall’s header well saved by Miles Fenty in the Brigg goal and Stamford came even closer to a second when Tom Batchelor’s header was cleared off the line.

The second eventually came from the penalty spot. Hempenstall played the ball down the wing to Hall who raced into the penalty area and was cut down crudely by Oliver Fisher on 70 minutes. Hall picked himself up to fire the ball home.

Brigg had a rare chance on goal when a cross found Danny Buttle with only Finlay to beat but Finlay stayed strong and saved well with his feet and the ball was cleared.

Mitchell rose then picked up his second yellow for a sliding challenge on the touchline and a long walk back to the changing room before Hempenstall rounded off a fine display with a great goal.

Alec Denton held the ball up well on the wing and turned the ball back to find Sam Saunders who switched it to Hempenstall and curled the ball past a helpless Fenty from 25 yards.

There were some great performances from the Daniels and a second clean sheet as Stamford’s chances of a playoff place became another step closer.

Stamford: Matt Finlay, Mitchell Rose, Adam Hewitt, Tom Batchelor, Richard Jones, Danny Brooks, (Sam Saunders), Jordan Hempenstall, Jack McGovern, Ben Saunders, James Ozmen (Alec Denton), Andy Hall. Subs unused: Dan Marshall, David Staff, John Swales.

Att: 181

M-o-M: Ben Saunders.