Stamford 1 Market Drayton 3
DANIELS boss Simon Clark has apologised to fans after one of the worst performances by Stamford during his six-month reign.
Stamford lost 3-1 at home to relegation-threatened Market Drayton to undermine the Daniels’ rapidly evaporating play off prospects – 10 matches at the Vic Couzens Stadium have seen Stamford win just twice and collect only 10 points,
Clark said: “I feel sorry for our fans. We are not playing well at home. We should be beating Market Drayton at home. I am disappointed with the lads and told them that. We let ourselves down and our supporters.
“We lose some games and there are reasons for that. Maybe it’s a technical reason or we are not at full strength but on Saturday we were at full strength with a strong bench. We were poor.
“We won a couple of games and sometimes younger players start to forget what wins matches - getting tight, focusing on basics, energy.
“Market Drayton are not technically better but they came with a game plan and got behind us. We had no spark. Apart from Andy Toyne, nobody played at their best.”
Clark made just one change from the side which started at Rainworth four days earlier, opting for youth over experience with Ryan Oliver replacing Tony Battersby in attack.
It wasn’t a move that worked as Oliver struggled to make an impact and was comfortably contained by the visiting defence.
Drayton exploited the windy conditions better than Stamford and with just minutes on the clock, Nick Porter got in behind the left side of Stamford’s defence and drilled a low shot beyond Chris Wright for a shock lead.
Stamford suffered another blow on the half hour when Dan Cotton was forced off after being flattened in a heavy challenge. He was replaced by old favourite Jamie Clarke, who scored 25 goals for the Daniels two season ago and re-signed on Friday after missing the entire season so far through injury.
It took Stamford 34 minutes to muster a serious threat to the visiting goal, Paul Malone heading wide from a Nathan Adams header back across goal.
A mis-kick by visiting full back Will Richards gave Lee Beeson an opening but the wide man missed the target while appeals for a penalty fell on deaf ears as Oliver went down in the box.
Stamford looked more dangerous with the wind at their backs after the break but another weak finish from Beeson wasted a good opening.
Just past the hour Nathan Adams fired over when well placed and gradually the momentum slipped away from Stamford.
Their uphill task became steeper still after 65 minutes when Tom Rogers’ pass found Porter whose cross from the right was headed in by Marc Grice.
Clark responded by bringing Seth Burkett on for Adams and three minutes later Stamford were back in the game with Paul Malone heading home a Beeson cross.
But Stamford failed to push on from this goal and the fightback never really materialised.
Drayton sealed their win three minutes into time added as their star performer Porter converted a Darryl Proffitt centre from the right as Stamford’s defence was exposed by a quick counter attack.
After two decent away results and seven goals since their last home match, the Daniels fans were left disappointed.
Tomorrow Stamford travel to nearby Grantham, who hit form last Saturday beating league leaders Barwell 5-2. Kick off at Grantham is at 3pm.
Stamford: Wright, Sedgemore (Walton 76), Jackson, Millson, Chamberlain, Malone, Beeson, Toyne, Oliver, Adams (Burkett 66), Cotton (Clarke 30). Subs not used: Battersby, R. King.
Attendance: 197. Match sponsor: The Green Man. Man of the match: Toyne.
l FORMER England goalkeeper Peter Shilton will be the guest speaker at Stamford AFC sportsman’s dinner at Burghley Park Golf Club on February 17.
Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams is also expected to attend. Adams, who won the BDO World Darts title for the third time was a special guest of the Daniels on Saturday, showing off his trophy and answering fans’ questions after the game.
Tickets for the sportsman’s dinner cost £38 and can be booked via Peter Lane on 01778 346439.