Daniels’ title hopes are hit

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A 90th minute strike from Leek’s Tim Sanders put a dent in the Daniels’ title hopes at Kettering Road on Saturday afternoon.

Sanders beat Stamford’s defence right at the death to score the only goal of the game, leaving the Daniels 11 points adrift of leaders Coalville who have played one game less.

Stamford midfielder James Ozmen's attack is cut out against Leek Town'Photo: Geoff Atton

Stamford midfielder James Ozmen's attack is cut out against Leek Town'Photo: Geoff Atton

The defeat was harsh on Stamford, who until that point, had come closest to scoring with Andy Hall’s right footed strike beating Daniel Lloyd-Weston but thumping back off the top of the post.

Daniels boss Wayne Hatswell said: “It’s disappointing that we lost but I cannot fault the lads.

“We had four great chances before they scored and then we were caught.

“I wanted to keep a clean sheet and you always hope to take points at home.”

Stamford started strongly with Rotherham loanee Alec Denton and Ricky Miller combining well early on. Denton forced Lloyd-weston to race out his area for a sliding clearance after a couple of minutes but when the ball fell to Miller his first time effort was screwed wide.

Left back Adam Hewitt then did well to cut into the area and cross for Denton whose overhead effort was blocked.

But Leek’s mid-table position is deceptive. They have plenty of games in hand of the sides above them and after the Daniels early threats they began to create chances of their own.

Steve Brannan drove over and Stamford goalkeeper Matt Finlay had a lucky escape when his clearance came back off Leek striker Tim Grice.

Leek began to enjoy the greater share of possession and Dan Shelly forced Finlay into a low save at full stretch after the visitors’ midfielder drove at the Stamford defence.

Shelley forced another goalmouth as Stamford lived dangerously towards the end of the first half.

But Stamford came out strongly after the break with Hall denied by the woodwork on 56 minutes.

Denton went close shortly after, bending the ball with the outside of his foot just the wrong side of Lloyd-Weston’s right hand post.

Rotherham’s second loaneed Mitchell Rose should have tested the goalkeeper as the game entered the final stages. But the midfielder’s shot was still rising as it flew over the bar from the edge of the area.

Then - as the game looked to be heading towards a goalless draw - Sanders struck leaving the Daniels nothing to show for their efforts.

Meanwhile the leaders, Coalville, showed how to grind out winning results, scoring twice in the final nine minutes to beat third-placed Sutton Coldfield 2-0.

Belper Town moved into fourth, ahead of King’s Lynn on goal difference, with a 5-0 victory at home to Market Drayton Town. Lynn, who occupy fifth place, are seven points behind Stamford but have three games in hand. They were beaten by Southport in the FA Trophy on Saturday.

Stamford play eighth-placed Halesowen Town away on Saturday.

Stamford: Matt Finlay, Michael Jackson, Adam Hewitt, Tom Batchelor, Richard Jones, James Ozmen, Jack McGovern, Mitchell Rose, Alec Denton, Ricky Miller, Andy Hall. Subs: Jack Cotton, Danny brooks, Jake Gibson, Daniel Marshall, Louis Hamilton.

Attendance: 234.