Patience pays off with late King goal
Patience paid off for the Daniels as they opened their home account for the EvoStik Division One South season with victory over Carlton Town on Tuesday night.
John King eventually broke the visitors’ stubborn resistance with just nine minutes remaining to ensure a decent four point return from Stamford’s opening two league games.
Graham Drury’s charges were the better side for large parts of the contest, but it looked like their Nottingamshire visitors would frustrate the Daniels with a second successive goalless draw until King’s late intervention.
Drury made just one change to his starting line-up from Saturday’s stalemate at Market Drayton with Elliot Sandy being handed a start up front in place of Sam Hollis.
Stamford started on the front foot with visiting goalkeeper Jack Steggles making a tidy save to tip over a deflected effort from full-back Ben George.
Two headers in quick succession from Jordan Smith went narrowly wide before Carlton created their best opening as Kieran Walker headed straight at Dan Haystead when well placed.
Carlton were clearly intent on trying to knock Stamford out of their stride and collected a flurry of bookings with the Daniels also forced into a change midway through the first half when Liam Marshall was replaced by new signing Henry Eze.
Eze, who numbers Kettering and King’s Lynn among his former clubs, immediately made his presence felt with a number of power-packed challenges which endeared him to the home faithful.
Carlton finished the half strongly though with Haystead making a fine save to tip over a rasping free-kick from Daniel Gorman to ensure the first period finished goalless.
The visitors looked the most dangerous from setpieces with their long throws being continually launched into the Daniels box.
However, Stamford stood firm and, despite Hooton rifling into the home side netting when well placed, it was the Daniels who created the better chances.
Smith brought a fine save from the advancing Steggles before Eze created an opening for Sandy after a sublime turn and cross only for Carlton to block on the line.
A series of goalmouth scrambles saw Carlton cling on as Stamford upped the ante in search of the elusive opening goal.
And, shortly after making a double substitution, King climbed off the bench to make the most of a misunderstanding between Steggles and his defence to fire home what proved to be the winner.
Stamford will undoubtedly come across better sides during their league campaign, but their ability to dig in when the going got tough will stand them in good stead for the more difficult challenges ahead,
Full-backs George and Eliot Putnam both look excellent summer signings while being able to bring on impact players from the bench, who can be an influence at both ends of the pitch, suggest a promising campaign could be on the horizon.
Stamford: Haystead, George, Putnam, Armstrong, Gordon, Marshall, Morgan, Duffy, Smith, Sandy, Burgess. Subs used: King, Hollis, Eze; not used: Challinor, Hill.