Goals, goals, goals - and some positives for Stamford AFC in draw
If only Stamford AFC could have played all game like they did in the second half.
Things looked ominous for the Daniels after 45 minutes on Tuesday as they slunk back into the dressing room 3-1 down to Sutton Coldfield in the Evo-Stik NPL.
But a spirited and much improved second half performance saw them turn the game around and earn their first point under new manager Andrew Wilson with a 3-3 draw.
Stamford could, and probably should, have won it in the last minute of the match when Ryan Robbins had a glorious chance to fire the Daniels ahead for what would have been the first time in the match. But the international striker, who was isolated for much of the night, pushed his volley wide from five yards out.
Wilson has only been in the job for a week, but it was obvious to see there are still serious problems at the back for Stamford.
In the first half every time Sutton Coldfield attacked they looked like scoring and more often than not they did.
However that being said luck is just not on Stamford’s side right now and they went behind in the 11th minute through a horrible deflection.
Sutton’s Danny O’Callaghan was credited with the goal but his weak shot looked to be posing no threat until it hit a Stamford defender and looped up into the net, with goalkeeper Richard Knight on the ground having gone the other way to cover the original angle of the shot.
Four minutes later and the hosts were picking the goal out the back of the net once again.
Big Serigne Diop, who had almost been through on goal moments earlier but for a brilliant last ditch sliding tackling from Dominic McGarr, got free in the box and directed a header home from a corner. His lack of celebration suggested it got as decent touch off one of the Stamford defenders on its way into the net.
So Stamford found themselves 2-0 down to two dubious goals with just a quarter of an hour played.
Their response was quick. Dan Clements was the Daniels’ best player all night and he ran his legs off for the cause.
It was he who gave Stamford a lifeline at the Zeeco, scoring from the back post from an Andy Hall corner.
But the celebrations were short lived as Sutton scored their third of the match in the 26th minute. Full back Andre Gonzales was high up the pitch on an over-lapping run and scored a stunning 25-yard curling shot into the top of the net at what looked like an impossible angle. It was a magnificent goal, however its origins stemmed from giving the Coldfield attack too much space during the build-up.
The visitors were lucky to have their full compliment at half time as the crunching tackles were flying in, Jon Challinor was on the end of the worst of them but referee Daniel Middleton was in a lenient mood.
Stamford were much better in the second half, their movement saw them get the ball in space which allowed them to build attacks, however they still looked susceptible to counterattacks and Knight was called into action to make a brilliant save from a strike by Aaron Forde.
Sutton Coldfield looked uncertain at corners and they were punished again in the 71st minute when Jordan Smith got free at the back post to head home for 2-3.
Just nine minutes later Stamford levelled through skipper Richard Jones from another Hall corner.
The central defender powered a header past the Sutton keeper and turned to celebrate like he had just won the match.
In the end Stamford had to settle for a point after Robbins’ miss. They remain second from bottom, but a win on Saturday at Colwyn Bay, who themselves are struggling with just one more point than Stamford, would likely pull them out of the four team relegation zone.