STAMFORD have slumped to 17th in the league and are in desperate need of a goal as they enter the crucial final weeks of the season.
Simon Clark’s side drew another blank at Leek Town last Saturday and tomorrow they begin a busy period of games against promotion-challengers Sutton Coldfield at the Vic Couzens Stadium.
The Daniels have two games a week until the end of the season and Clark’s side has struggled to find the net in recent games; a miserable run of five defeats in five matches.
An early Leek goal settled matters on Saturday and Clark said: “You are always going to make life hard for yourselves when going behind early on and we are not helped by the fact that we are struggling to score.
“We didn’t play well but we could easily have won the game, but that’s been the story of our recent run.”
Teenage attacker Harry Deane made his Daniels debut on Saturday after joining from Boston United but veteran striker Tony Battersby has moved on to Conference South side St Albans.
After a good showing against leaders Barwell five days earlier, Stamford continued their Jekyl and Hyde season with a below par performance against Leek Town, who were four places below them at the start of the day.
It took a man-of-the-match performance from keeper Chris Wright to keep the score at only 1-0.
Stamford appealed for offside as Anthony Malbon played to the whistle and coolly lobbed the ball over Chris Wright after nine minutes for the only goal of the game.
Stamford came close to equalising when Jamie Clarke played the ball square to Lee Beeson but Danny Roberts palmed away his fierce shot.
Stamford fought to get back into the game but Leek refused to let them settle, harrying and chasing, until they got the ball back, and when Stamford tried the long ball it was either cut out too easily by the centre backs or over hit.
Stamford were lucky not to go further behind in stoppage time when a free kick flashed through the Stamford defence to a surprised Mark Ruddock and, a yard off the line, he somehow scooped the ball over the crossbar.
Leek continued their game plan in the second half – don’t let Stamford settle with the ball and then get the ball forward quickly when Stamford lose it.
With almost an hour gone, Stamford were left wondering how they weren’t level when Lee Beeson saw his shot blocked on the line, a follow up from Clarke blocked and finally another follow up from Dan Cotton blocked. The ball was straight down the other end and Wright made a tremendous save to deny Rutter from three yards. Five minutes later he did it again, this time denying Jamie Haynes.
Stamford rode their luck again when Matty Evans cleared a header from Rutter off the line.
Chris Wright came to the rescue again when a poor back pass from Paul Malone set Dan Cope free but Wright made himself big and blocked the shot on the edge of the box. And almost on full time, Wright was quickly off his line to deny Cope again.
Stamford could look back at the “ping-pong” session in the Leek goalmouth which had denied them an equaliser but, over 90 minutes, only Wright saved Stamford from a heavier defeat.
Stamford: Chris Wright, Matt Evans, Seth Burkett, Andy Toyne, Miles Chamberlain, Paul Malone, Lee Beeson, Adam Millson, Simon Mowbray (Ryan Oliver 64), Jamie Clarke (Harry Deane 74), Dan Cotton. Subs not used: Ben Sedgemore, Jake Walton, Richard King.
l STAMFORD are at home to Sutton Coldfield Town tomorrow (kick off 3pm) and away to Sheffield FC on Tuesday (7.45pm).