Myles and Stamford AFC making a fresh start together
Stamford AFC’s decision to give Ellis Myles a second chance looks to be the best thing the club has done all season.
Myles looked a class above in the Daniels’ 1-1 draw with Ilkeston FC on Tuesday night, bringing some much needed assurance to the back four and using his superb pace and agility to get the hosts out of trouble on several occasions at the Zeeco Stadium.
The young right-back’s career at Stamford was disrupted last season when he was sent to prison after being convicted of dealing class A drugs and cannabis back in 2013 before he joined the Evo-Stik NPL club.
Myles’ life went off the tracks after he was released from the Leicester City Academy and his hopes of a full time professional contract diminished.
However the Daniels have always had faith in the 22 year-old, expressing how his behaviour has always been nothing but exemplary since he joined in the summer of 2014.
So Myles was offered a chance for redemption and he seems to be taking it with both hands.
Despite his time out of the game the defender looks razor sharp. He looks like he has time on the ball no matter where he is on the pitch or how many players are putting pressure on him and the signs are he will only get better.
Against Ilkeston he put in a very disciplined defensive performance, but during his first spell with the club he caught the eye with marauding runs from full back, which no doubt will come back with time.
In fact both the wing backs were very good on Tuesday, with Nathan Fox also excelling at left back.
Neither man deserved to be on a side which conceded a goal, however had it not been for the heroics of man of the match Richard Knight in the Stamford net they could well have been on the losing side.
Knight was captaining the Daniels with Richard Jones benched again, with Lewis Carr and Dominic McGarr preferred at centre back, and he certainly rose to the occasion, make a couple of stunning saves in the final ten minutes to ensure his side earned at least a point from the match.
The first was a flying save to stop a shot heading into the top corner and the second was reflex save to deflect a stinging blast, which came through a mass of bodies in front of him, away to safety.
Striker Nabil Shariff had given Stamford the lead in the 16th minute, with his first goal on his second start after returning to the club last week. He finished with real class, converting a curling effort from the edge of the 18 yard box after a good corner from Fox was laid off to him.
However the visitors levelled six minutes before the break through substitute Danny Udoh.
The goal came far too easily. Ilkeston attacked down their left flank and got a dangerous cross into the box.
McGarr, for all his good play, was beaten in the jump for the ball and the powerful Udoh headed in from five yards out.
Despite his wonderful saves the ball should really have been gathered by keeper Knight who chose to stay on his line instead.
Wilson wrote in his programme notes it is about playing together as a team and not individuals and the 11 men he had out on the pitch on Tuesday seemed to be buying into that.
They worked hard for each other with and without the ball, no one more so than Tom McGowan in central midfield, who also returned to the club this week after leaving in the summer.
McGowan off course was the man who scored twice in Stamford’s now legendary 3-2 win on the final day of last season to keep them up.
But for all their improvements there were still cracks to be seen. Ilkeston had the ball in the back of the net twice but both efforts were ruled out for offside.
However this was by far Stamford’s best defensive display of the season, and lowest number of goals they have yielded in league this term.
The second half was a frantic affair with few chances for the Stamford, who are still yet to win in the league this season at the Zeeco Stadium.
Ilkeston were winning more of the 50/50 balls after the break and put increasing pressure on the Stamford defence however neither side could find the goal they were both chasing.
Dan Clements, on as a substitute, fired a half chance over and there was a goalmouth scramble in the Ilkeston box but no one managed to get a significant touch on the ball and it was scrambled to safety.
Wilson threw defender Jones on as a striker, trying to use his height to cause problems for the visiting defence, but his best efforts failed to make any significant impact.
So while Stamford picked up a point, with Grantham winning 3-2 at Mickleover, they remain second from bottom in the league, with a visit to Matlock Town on Saturday.
Stamford AFC: Richard Knight, Ellis Myles, Nathan Fox, Roger Lee, Dominic McGarr, Lewis Carr, Shawn Richards (Richard Jones), Tom McGowan, Nabil Shariff, Andy Hall (Dan Clements) Jordan Neil (Nathan Hicks).
Substitute not used: Will Rawdon.
Ilkeston FC: Ross Durrant, Marcus Harness, Olly Luto, Matt Baker, Jordan Wheatley, Liam Marshall (Joe Burgess), Joe Doyle, Paul McKay, Lee Ndlovu (Eli Bako), Jack McKay (Daniel Udoh), Michael Williams.
Substitute not used: Charlie Coulson and Evandro Rachoni
Referee: Mr Hristo Karaivanov