Rainworth MW 2 Stamford 2
THE Daniels young guns go into tomorrow’s match against Market Drayton with all guns blazing.
Stamford put five past Belper last Saturday, were twice on the scoresheet at Rainworth Miners Welfare on Tuesday and boss Simon Clark will expect his side to add to that tally against relegation-threatened Drayton.
But the moments of brilliance up front have too easily been undone by weaknesses in the rearguard and goalkeeper Chris Wright made vital saves in both games - a nine goal thriller at Belper and a 2-2 draw at Rainworth.
Fortunately for Clark, his side is starting to return to full strength as the Daniels enter possibly the busiest stage of the season.
Lee Beeson returned on Tuesday after a combination of frozen pitches and suspension had kept him out of action since November 20. Paul Malone has returned from flu and Ryan Oliver, who had been expected to be out for two or three weeks with a groin strain, came off the bench on Tuesday.
At the same time more young players are beginning to mark their mark with Jake Walton impressing the Daniels boss on Saturday.
“Jake did really well,” said Clark, adding: “These are young lads going away and getting a result.
“They are up against players who have eight to 10 years’ experience. Just think where they are going to be in two or thee years’ time when they have 60 games under their belt.”
Speaking after the Belper victory, Clark said: “Results are important at any level but five goals away from home is always good.
“We did a lot of work on Thursday on our deliveries and that training ground work has come to fruition.”
Stamford played the ball with confidence against a side that had not won in 12 games on Tuesday, leaving the Rainworth players chasing shadows early on.
Three minutes into the game and Malone forced Rainworth keeper Mark Hales into action, pushing his header away.
Stamford were moving the ball around quickly and after a foul on Andy Toyne, Beeson curled a 30 yard free kick into the top corner to give Stamford a well deserved lead.
Rainworth had their first chance on the half hour when a rising Matt Roberts shot curled away from goal. But from then Rainworth lifted their game.
The Nottinghamshire side exploited the long ball to get behind the Stamford defence and when Ian Clarke drove a hard low cross the box, Craig Mitchell was on hand to turn the ball in and bring Rainworth level with four minutes left in the half.
Rainworth carried on after the break where they had left off and four minutes after the restart they took the lead. Wright called for a long ball which he was never going to reach and Mitchell bagged his second.
Adam Millson was unlucky after fending off three defenders to see his shot creep past the far post, while Rainworth relied on long balls forward which the Stamford defence were failing to cope with.
Miles Chamberlain lacked power when he tried to head one back to Wright forcing the Stamford goalkeeper to rush out and head away from Mitchell. A minute later Mitchell was again one on one with Wright but dragged his shot wide.
Stamford gradually regained their composure and were level on 61 minutes when Beeson side-footed a cross from Nick Jackson past Hales.
Rainworth continued to play the long ball with great effect but, fortunately for Stamford, the Notts side either wasted the chance or Wright was in the right place to block the shot.
Oliver had a shot blocked on the line and Stamford might be disappointed not to have beaten a team clearly out of form, especially after a superb first 30 minutes. But had Rainworth finished better, they could also have won this game.
Stamford: Chris Wright, Ben Sedgemore, Nick Jackson, Adam Millson (Seth Burkett 82), Miles Chamberlain, Paul Malone, Lee Beeson, Andy Toyne, Tony Battersby (Ryan Oliver 64), Nathan Adams, Dan Cotton. Subs not used: Jake Walton, Craig Hill, John Swales
Man of match: Lee Beeson
* THE Daniels match against Market Drayton kicks off at 3pm, tomorrow at the Vic Couzens Stadium. Stamford won 3-0 at Drayton back in August.
* Turn to page 110 for a full reports of last Saurday’s nine-goal thriller at Belper
Photos: Kevin Rook