Resilient Lions overcome sending off setback to record fifth successive victory
Stamford Lions boss James Sheehan hailed the tremendous resilience of his side as they recorded their fifth successive Peterborough League Premier Division victory on Saturday.
Sheehan’s side battled back from a goal down in the first half and having a player sent off in the second period to record an excellent 5-2 away victory at AFC Stanground.
Midfielder Neil Speck was shown a red card midway through the second half with the Stamford side leading 3-2. Remarkably it was the 10 men that went on to score two late goals to move Lions into fourth place in the standings.
Sheehan said: “It was a tough game and I was delighted with the win.
“I felt Neil Speck was very unlucky to be sent off. It was a full blooded game and, if you want to win these away games, you need your midfielders putting their foot in.
“There were fair and hard tackles from both sides so I felt it was unfortunate to have him sent off.
“We showed tremendous resilience to hold Stanground off and then to seal it with a couple of breakaway goals. It was a very pleasing result in the end.”
After a cagey start to the game, AFC Stanground took the lead halfway through the first period when an excellent strike flew past John Swales in goal.
The Lions were struggling to get their passing game going and were thankful to two fine saves from Swales to keep the score at 1-0.
With five minutes of the half remaining, Tom Edwards continued his good form with a solo run and neat finish to equalise.
The goal energised the Lions and on the stroke of the half-time whistle Rob Forster turned in a Zac Stevens cross to stun Stanground and send the visitors in at the break with a 2-1 lead.
The same combination extended the lead at the start of the second when again Forster was on hand to finish after excellent work from Stevens.
Stanground were fired up and soon struck a goal of their own with some slick football being completed with a calm finish.
The game heated up as both sides battled for every loose ball. Speck received a cautionary yellow card for a full blooded tackle before his midfield partner Danny Sheehan also received a caution for a fierce tackle.
Tackles were flying in as Stanground themselves saw yellow cards as both sides refused to give an inch.
With 65 minutes on the clock, Speck clattered into a hard tackle, the referee deemed it a foul and did not hesitate in producing a second yellow card and sending the player off.
Lions had a battle on their hands to hold off a surging Stanground side with a man less as Joe Lippett blocked a goalbound shot before Swales again saved well.
As the clock ticked into the final 10 minutes the home side became more desperate to break down the 10 men.
With players pushed forward, Lions sprung a swift counter attack and Tom Lees broke clear but, with just the keeper to beat, he was tripped by the defender rushing back and Edwards calmly slotted home the resulting penalty to give the Stamfordians a two goal cushion.
Again Stanground surged forward not giving up hope but they were punished as Luke Ball raced clear of a bare defensive line to slot home and seal a 5-2 victory for the Lions.