Unbeaten home record is ended as Daniels take Trophy tumble

Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson gave Stamford a fourth minute lead.
Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson gave Stamford a fourth minute lead.
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Stamford’s unbeaten home record was ended as two goals in as many first half minutes saw them beaten by Droylsden in Saturday’s FA Trophy tie.

The Daniels had taken a fourth minute lead through Bradley Fortnam-Tomlinson’s fifth goal of the season, however, the visitors levelled within 10 minutes and then grabbed the initiative 120 seconds later.

Despite a dominant second half performance, the Daniels were unable to force an equaliser and it was their Evo-Stik Division One North visitors who held out to book their place in the third qualifying round.

Stamford manager Graham Drury praised his players for their efforts, but felt it was just not the Daniels’ day.

He said: “We’ve had the majority of the second half against a good side. I can’t question any of the players after that performance because, as a group, they all want to achieve, but it just hasn’t gone for us today.

“The back line was too deep in the first half and it wasn’t working for us. But, after the break, the players did everything we asked of them.

“I thought Droylsden were a good side. They defended very well and always looked comfortable when they were in possession of the ball.

“We’ve had to change our shape three times during the game and that’s the first time we’ve had to do that this season.

“I can’t fault my players’ application though but, if you don’t take your chances and we have had enough of them, then you’ll go out of the competetion so it leaves us to concentrate on the bread and butter of the league.

“I’m disappointed to lose and I’m disappointed we’ve missed out on a chance to add some extra money to the pot, but we can’t feel sorry for ourselves and we’ve got to move on and keep positive.

“It’s disappointing that the unbeaten home record has gone as well - someone has cut the grass in the back garden this week and mown down the flowers as well.”

Stamford went into the match against an in-form Bloods side without ever-present centre-half Delroy Gordon who was ruled out through illness.

Joe Burgess was moved into the heart of the Daniels’ defence with Mike Armstrong returning to the starting line-up after missing last week’s home draw with Sheffield.

Stamford looked fired up from the start and took just four minutes to open the scoring as a superb long ball from Jake Duffy released Fortnam-Tomlinson who shrugged off a challenge before slotting home.

The Daniels could have doubled the lead shortly after when the ball fell invitingly for Henry Eze following a corner, but the powerful centre-half thundered his shot over the crossbar.

Droylsden drew level after 14 minutes when a corner to the back post saw John Shaw rise highest and his header beat Dan Haystead via a deflection.

The visitors then went ahead just two minutes later after Luke Daley found space down the right before cutting in and firing home a low shot beyond Haystead.

Fortnam-Tomlinson was denied by a smart Shaw block after another deft pass from Duffy created the chance with Eze heading over when well placed from the resulting corner.

Duffy went close with a well-struck shot from the edge of the box after a good Stamford move and the hosts continued to have the better of the contest after the break.

Jordan Smith saw a header well saved by Droylsden custodian Ritchie Branagan and, although Stamford continued to pepper the visitors’ goal, the Bloods looked dangerous on the break with Dominic Smith and Steve Hall both putting decent openings wide.

Substitute Jon Challinor was denied by Branagan after a flowing Stamford move and, although the Daniels piled more men forward in the dying throes, Droylsden held out to become the first visiting side to win at the Zeeco Stadium this season.

Stamford: Haystead, George, Putman, Armstrong, Eze, Morgan (Challinor 62), Mwanyongo (Hollis 54), Duffy, Smith, Clarke (70), Fortnam-Tomlinson, Burgess. Not used: Holzer.

Droylsden: Branagan, Clarke, Barber (Holden 70), Dylan Smith, Shaw, Ventre, Daly, J Frost (A Frost 84), Kilheeney (Hall 31), Dominic Smith, Caddick.

Attendance: 297.